University of Toronto

Office of Convocation

Barbara Hannigan

Barbara Hannigan divides her time between singing on the world’s major stages and conducting leading orchestras. She performs regularly with orchestras that include the Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Orchestra Philharmonique de Radio France, London Philharmonic Orchestra, LA Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Rome’s Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. She has worked with prominent conductors and directors including Sir Simon Rattle, Kent Nagano, Katie Mitchell, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Peter Greenaway, Sasha Waltz, Andris Nelsons, Krszysztof Warlikowski, Christoph Marthaler, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Kirill Petrenko, David Zinman, Vladimir Jurowski, Sir Antonio Pappano, Peter Oundjian, Alan Gilbert, and Reinbert de Leeuw. Operatic appearances include Pelléas et Mélisande (Festival d’Aix en Provence and  Ruhrtriennale) and Lulu (Hamburg Staatsoper and La Monnaie in Brussels) Marie in Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten (Munich Staatsoper) and Poulenc’s La voix humaine (Opera de Paris). Her commitment to contemporary music has led to over 80 world premieres, and collaborations with composers including Boulez, Dutilleux, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Gerald Barry, Pascal Dusapin, and Hans Abrahamsen.

Born and raised in Nova Scotia, she benefitted from excellent music teachers in her childhood and youth. She received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Toronto, where she studied with Mary Morrison, and also studied at the Banff Centre for the Arts, and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague.

Ms. Hannigan was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2016. Her cd and dvd recordings have garnered Gramophone, Edison, Victoires de la Musique, and Royal Philharmonic Society awards. Other honors include Singer of the Year (Opernwelt, 2013) Germany’s Faust Award (2014), and Musical Personality of the Year (Syndicat de la Presse Française, 2012). In September 2017, Ms. Hannigan released her first album as both singer and conductor, titled Crazy Girl Crazy. The film titled Music Is Music, directed by Mathieu Amalric, accompanies the CD.

Ms. Hannigan has been the subject of the film documentaries I’m a creative animal, (Switzerland) produced at the 2014 Lucerne Festival, where she was Artiste Étoile; Dutch television’s Canadees podiumdier; and Mathieu Amalric’s films C’est presque au bout du monde, and Premières Repetitions (France).  She has been artist in residence at the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Gothenburg Symphony, and Presences Festival in Paris. She has given masterclasses and lectures at the University of Toronto, Juilliard School, IRCAM and the Ecole Cortot in Paris. In 2017 she created Equilibrium, a mentoring initiative for young professional musicians in the first substantial phase of their career. Their first production will be Stravinsky’s opera The Rake’s Progress with Gothenburg Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, La Monnaie/Ludwig Orchestra, and at the Ojai Festival, in the 2018/19 season.