The American soprano, Melissa Givens, studied at Hutchinson Technical High School in Buffalo, New York (Class of 1985). She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Music, Voice from Davidson College in avidson, North Carolina (1985-1989); her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, Texas (1990-1992); and her Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Vocal Performance/Musicology from Houston’s Moores School of Music in Texas (2006-2012).
Melissa Givens moves and excites audiences and critics alike with a rich, powerful tone, crystalline clarity, and intelligent musical interpretations. Especially noted for her expressiveness and elegance on the stage, she's been hailed as a singer whose music making is “consistently rewarding” and “a pleasure to hear,” [Houston Chronicle]. She is also an extremely versatile artist, regularly performing repertoire from the Baroque era through music of the 21st century. An Early Music America review of her performance in the 2011 Boston Early Music Festival Fringe Concerts praised her voice as “beautiful and rich, [singing] Baroque music with conviction.”
A writer for Classical Net mused, “Melissa Givens has a voice you imagine coming from the goddess Erda” in a review of Sing Freedom!, Conspirare’s 2012 recording of spirituals on the Harmonia Mundi label. Her most recently appeared as soprano soloist in a recreation of the historic Leipzig New Year’s concert of 1813 with Mercury: The Orchestra Redefined. Other recent performances include Felix Mendelssohn’s rarely heard solo cantata Infelice with Symphony North, the title role in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Camerata Ventapane and the Baroque Music Festival of San Miguel de Allende, and George Frideric Handel's Israel in Egypt with the Houston Symphony Orchestra. She also toured Europe and Africa in Pitié!, an adaptation of J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) , with the Belgian dance collective Les Ballets C de la B. She can be heard on the soundtrack recording on Cypres Records and is featured in a documentary film about the tour by ZDF/Arté.
Melissa Givens remains in demand on concert series throughout the USA and internationally, including recent recitals in Georgia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and back home in Houston. A champion of collaborative musical endeavors, she performs with various chamber music groups, including Grammy© nominated Ars Lyrica Houston and Conspirare: Craig Hella Johnson and Company of Voices, the 2015 Grammy© winner for Best Choral Performance. Her solo appearances on major label releases from both groups have received enthusiastic reviews and she can also be heard on her solo CD, "let the rain kiss you".
Melissa Givens was Teaching Assistant at University of Houston; Assistant Professor at Houston Baptist University (November 2006-May 2014); Adjunct Professor of Voice Sam at Houston State University (August 2014-May 2016); Adjunct Professor of Voice at Texas Southern University (August 2014-December 2015). Since July 2016, she serves as Assistant Professor of Music at Augusta University in Georgia.