The program highlighted the impressive gifts of the soprano Julia Bullock — a mesmerizing performer who combines an alluring voice with a natural theatricality. During recitals, singers often stand uneasily onstage, their movements appearing calculated. But Ms. Bullock imbued every song with myriad physical nuances that seemed natural and spontaneous; subtly unclenching a fist, arching her eyebrows, pointing a finger, or narrowing her gaze.
New York Times, Vivien Schweitzer
This is the kind of great Schubert singing that were I not to hear another song sung this year, it wouldn’t be a wasted year.
Los Angeles Times, Mark Swed
Soprano Julia Bullock is recognized as an “impressive, fast-rising soprano… poised for a significant career” (The New York Times). Equally at home with opera and concert repertoire, she has both captivated and inspired audiences through her versatile artistry, probing intellect, and commanding stage presence. Opera News extols, “Bullock’s radiant soprano shines brightly and unfailingly… Most compellingly, however, she communicates intense, authentic feeling, as if she were singing right from her soul.”
This season Miss Bullock joins Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, David Robertson and the Sydney Symphony for concert performances of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, the Los Angeles Philharmonic for John Adams’ El Niño under the baton of the composer, and the BBC Symphony for a concert performance of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic, which also is to be recorded for future commercial release. Chamber music programs include songs of Maurice Ravel and Jonathan Berger with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and a theatrical exploration of the common ground between Franz Schubert and Samuel Beckett in collaboration with tenor Ian Bostridge and stage director Yuval Sharon under the auspices of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In summer 2017, Julia Bullock brings light and life to the role of Anne Truelove in a new production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence staged by Simon McBurney and conducted by Daniel Harding.
Shaped by artistic partner, Peter Sellars, truly inspired performances were achieved in the summer of 2016 at the Ojai Music Festival in collaboration with Roomful of Teeth and the International Contemporary Ensemble for Kaija Saariaho’s La passion de Simone, in a new staging by Peter Sellars, and in the world premiere of Josephine Baker: A Portrait. Composed and arranged by Tyshawn Sorey with accompanying poetry by Claudia Rankine, this theater piece was called by The New York Times, “a ritual of mourning, not a gay-Paree nostalgia trip, and …one of the most important works of art yet to emerge from the era of Black Lives Matter.” Just as Josephine Baker was ever evolving, Julia Bullock’s own exploration of the icon evolves for performances at Lincoln Center and Da Camera of Houston in its revised iteration Perle Noir: Meditations on Joséphine Baker.
Highlights of the past season include a debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker in performances of Kaija Saariaho’s La passion de Simone, London Symphony Orchestra performances of Delage’s Quatre poèmes hindous led by Sir Simon Rattle, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Lincoln Center, a program of Falla and Ravel with the New World Symphony Orchestra, and solo recitals at leading venues throughout North America including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Kennedy Center.
Miss Bullock made her debut with the New York Philharmonic performing Bernstein’s West Side Story Concert Suite No. 1 with Alan Gilbert in New York City parks, at Bravo! Vail, and in Santa Barbara. She made her San Francisco Symphony debut in concert performances of West Side Story conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas; an album of the concert was released on the orchestra’s label in June 2014. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote: “The evening’s most remarkable showstopper, Julia Bullock, appeared out of nowhere to deliver a full-voiced stunningly paced account of ‘Somewhere’—for just a moment, it seemed as though nothing Bernstein ever wrote was quite as magical as that one song.”
A frequent collaborator of Steven Blier and Michael Barrett, Julia Bullock has appeared numerous times with the New York Festival of Song, recently in the Harlem Renaissance program. She has performed the title role in Henry Purcell’s The Indian Queen at the Perm Opera House, Teatro Real, and the English National Opera: the Peter Sellars production was captured and released commercially on DVD for Sony Classical. She has performed in South America as Pamina in Peter Brook’s award-winning A Magic Flute. Other opera roles include Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Monica in The Medium, and the title roles of Cendrillon, The Cunning Little Vixen, and L’enfant et les Sortilèges.
Julia Bullock earned her Bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music, and her Master’s degree at Bard College’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program. She received her Artist Diploma from the Juilliard School. Accolades include the 2016 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, a 2015 Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship, the 2015 Richard F. Gold Grant from the Shoshana Foundation, Lincoln Center’s 2015 Martin E. Segal Award, First Prize at the 2014 Naumburg International Vocal Competition, and First Prize at the 2012 Young Concert Artists International Auditions.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Ms. Bullock integrates her musical life with community activism. She has organized and participated in benefit concerts in support of the FSH Society, which funds research for Muscular Dystrophy, the Medicine Initiative for New York’s Weill Medical Center, and the Shropshire Music Foundation, a non-profit that serves war-affected children and adolescents through music education and performance programs in Kosovo, Northern Ireland, and Uganda.