Recognized for her “velvety legato and embracing warmth of sound” (Washington Classical Review) and “lyric-mezzo of uncommon beauty” (The Washington Post,) mezzo soprano Kristen Dubenion-Smith enjoys an active performing career in oratorio and sacred vocal chamber music, specializing in music of the medieval, renaissance and baroque eras.
As a concert soloist, Kristen has earned recognition for her performances of the works of the high baroque, especially Bach and Handel. Her “ lyric-Mezzo of uncommon beauty” (The Washington Post) was praised following her December 2019 performance as Alto Soloist in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with The Washington Bach Consort. Highlights from recent seasons include Handel’s Israel in Egypt at the Washington National Cathedral and Bach’s St. John Passion with The Dryden Ensemble. In previous seasons, she has appeared as Alto Soloist in works such as Handel’s Messiah, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, Praetorius’ Christmas Vespers and Mozart’s Requiem among others, with ensembles including Apollo’s Fire, Handel Choir of Baltimore, Opera Lafayette, The New Dominion Chorale, The Folger Consort, and Chatham Baroque. In the summer of 2019, Ms. Dubenion-Smith attended the American Bach Soloists Academy where she was featured in Bach’s Trauerode and Mass in B Minor. She is also a future Virgina Best Adams Fellow with the Carmel Bach Festival.
Starting in the fall of 2016, Ms. Dubenion-Smith joined the Choir of Men and Boys/Girls at the Washington National Cathedral as the first woman to be offered a position in this choir. She had previously served as cantor since 2010. In her time with the Cathedral Choir, she has sung for liturgies, commemorations, and events of national importance- most recently, the State Funerals of President George H. W. Bush and Senator John McCain, the internment of Matthew Shepard, the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony and Prayer Service, and the 9/11 services at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Primarily based in Washington DC, she sings frequently with the Washington Bach Consort and Cathedra in addition to distinguished ensembles such as The Clarion Choir in New York City and The Dryden Ensemble in Princeton, New Jersey.
Ms. Dubenion Smith has been involved in a number of commercial recordings with The Folger Consort, Apollo’s Fire, Cathedra Via Veritae and The Experiential Orchestra.
Originally from Michigan, Ms. Dubenion-Smith attended Alma College (Bachelor of Music) before moving to Maryland to complete her studies at The Peabody Conservatory of Music (Master of Music) in Baltimore.