Jorell Williams is an American operatic baritone with a wide variety of experience from standard repertoire to premiere pieces. Praised for his “magnificent, rich-toned” Baritone (The New York Times), Mr. Williams begins the 2018 – 2019 season with the American premiere of Frank London’s Cuban-Yiddish Opera Hatuey: Memory of Fire produced by Peak Performances and Music-Theatre Group, returns to Victory Hall Opera in the role of Mr. Gobineau in Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Medium, and reprises the role of Hannah-Before in a Co-Production of Laura Kaminsky’s critically acclaimed chamber opera As One with American Opera Projects and New York City Opera at Merkin Hall in New York City. He will also make his debut with New York Festival of Song performing a world premiere song cycle of Laura Kaminsky’s, and joins the Brooklyn Art Song Society for Aaron Copland’s Old American Songs and the world premiere of David Ludwig’s Songs from the Bleeding Pine.
A former resident artist of the American Opera Projects Composers and the Voice series from 2011-2014, Jorell is a much in demand interpreter of contemporary opera, and has created roles in several world premieres, notably: Hilliard and Boresi’s Blue Viola at Urban Arias; Matt Aucoin’s Crossing with the American Repertory Theater; John David Earnest’s The Theory of Everything with Encompass New Opera Theater; Anthony Davis’ Lear on the Second Floor at the University of San Diego; John Musto’s Bastianello with Rochester Lyric Opera; and workshops of Michael Torke’s Senna (2010), Nico Muhly’s Two Boys (2011), and Ricky Ian Gordon’s Intimate Apparel (2018) with The Metropolitan Opera.
Jorell has performed in apprenticeships with the Santa Fe Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Caramoor Bel Canto Program, Opera North, the Steans Institute of Music at the Ravinia Festival, Songfest-Los Angeles, Des Moines Metro Opera, and the Westchester Vocal Institute. His concert engagements include the baritone solos in Ginastera’s Estancia with the Eugene Symphony Orchestra; Dvorak in America with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra; Jennifer Hidgon’s Dooryard Bloom with the Philharmonic of Southern New Jersey; Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Omaha Symphony Orchestra; and John Musto’s River Songs with Songfest – Los Angeles. Mr. Williams has recorded world premieres by Wynton Marsalis, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, David Lang’s Difficulty of Crossing a field with Beth Morrison Projects (Opera News top critics’ choice of 2015), and most recently, Jennifer Higdon’s 2017 Grammy nominated Cold Mountain with the Santa Fe Opera. Mr. Williams made his off-broadway debut in Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars with New York City Center Encores!, and has toured as a soloist with the Mark Morris Dance Group. He had the honor to perform with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in “A Celebration of America” at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater on the occasion of the first Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama, as well as the European premiere of Marsalis’ Abyssinian Mass at the Barbican during the 2012 Olympics in London.
Jorell is a recipient of the 2018 Rochester Classical Idol XII Top Prize and Audience Choice awards, and garners top awards from the Gerda Lissner International Competition, Schuyler Foundation for Career Bridges, Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation, The American Prize, Serge Koussevitzky Foundation, David Adams Art Song Competition, The American Traditions Competition, Civic Morning Musicals Foundation, the National Association of Negro Musicians, and the Liberace Foundation.