Paul Sperry

Paul Sperry


• Born 1934


Paul Sperry is an American tenor, noted for his eloquent performances of contemporary art songs, as well as for having a broad repertoire that encompasses music from the Baroque period to the Romantic era. Earning degrees from Harvard and the Sorbonne, Sperry studied with Richard Barrett, Michael Trimble, E. Randolph Mickelson, and Olga Ryss, and he was influenced by his coaches, Pierre Bernac, Jennie Tourel, Paul Ulanowsky, and Hans Hotter, who helped him develop a highly expressive and flexible style. Sperry has numerous world premieres to his credit, including works by Dominick Argento, Leonard Bernstein, Robert Beaser, William Bolcom, Paul Chihara, Peter Maxwell Davies, Daron Hagen, Richard Hundley, Libby Larsen, Harold Meltzer, John Musto, Stephen Paulus, Robert Rodriguez, Louise Talma, and Charles Wuorinen, among many others. He created the central role of Michael in the world premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s opera Donnerstag aus Licht at La Scala, and sang in Jacob Druckman’s "Animus IV" for the inauguration of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. He has appeared in concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Moscow Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, singing in more than a dozen languages. He has also performed with smaller ensembles, such as the Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the New York Virtuosi. Sperry has taught at the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, and served as the president of the American Music Center and chairman of the board of the American Composers Orchestra. He also taught at the Aspen Music Festival and was the director of the vocal program at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan. Sperry has been the director of the organization Joy In Singing since 1987 and has worked to help young singers and composers enliven the art of vocal music.

Sperry has recorded for several labels, among them Nonesuch, Zephyr, Albany, and Innova.