Helga Davis


Helga Davis is a vocalist and performance artist with feet planted on the most prestigious international stages and with firm roots in the realities and concerns of her local community whose work draws out insights that illuminate how artistic leaps for an individual can offer connection among audiences. Davis was principal actor in the 25th-anniversary international revival of Robert Wilson and Philip Glass’s seminal opera Einstein on the Beach.

 She also starred in Wilson’s The Temptation of St. Anthony, with libretto and score by Bernice Johnson Reagon. Among the collaborations and works written for her are Oceanic Verses by Paola Prestini, You Us We All by Shara Nova and Andrew Ondrejcak and Yet Unheard, a tribute to Sandra Bland by Courtney Bryan, based on the poem by Sharan Strange. She has conceived and performed First Responder and Wanna as responses to Until and The Let Go by multidisciplinary artist Nick Cave. In addition to hosting HELGA, she is artist in residence at National Sawdust and Joe’s Pub, winner of the 2019 Greenfield Prize in composition, a 2019 Alpert Award finalist, and the 2018-21 visiting curator for the performing arts at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  


Helga Davis appears in the following:

Glenn Ligon

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Contemporary American artist Glenn Ligon discusses what it means to have a parent who fiercely supports you and the essential lesson that there's value in the things you do differently. 


Claudia Rankine

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Claudia Rankine, one of the most celebrated writers of our time, talks about who holds the power in our democracy and what it means to earn a mother's understanding of your work.  


Michael R. Jackson

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Michael R. Jackson, who wrote the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical A Strange Loop, talks about artistic fearlessness and how we use identities to foster understanding.


Helga Season 5 Trailer

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Conversations with extraordinary people.


Lincoln Center's Juneteenth Celebration

Friday, June 18, 2021

Carl Hancock Rux and Helga Davis join us to discuss 'I Dream a Dream That Dreams Back at Me: A Juneteenth Celebration' at Lincoln Center.


A Little Night Music With Jenny Lin and Dover String Quartet

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Pianist Jenny Lin performs works by Silvestrov, Mozart, and Stravinsky. We also hear the Dover String Quartet with highlights from the ensemble’s performance in WQXR’s Greene Space.   


A Little Night Music With Juho Pohjonen, Davóne Tines, and the Junction Trio

Friday, August 14, 2020

This program features a 2011 A Little Night Music performance of Haydn and Mozart by pianist Juho Pohjonen and highlights from the opera The Black Clown, with bass-baritone Davóne Tines.


A Little Night Music With Inon Barnatan

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

This A Little Night Music features Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan’s 2016 Mostly Mozart debut, for which he performed a range of works from the 18th to the 21st centuries.


A Little Night Music With Emanuel Ax, Anna Polonsky, and Orion Weiss

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

This late night presentation features three pianists — Emanuel Ax, Anna Polonsky, and Orion Weiss — from A Little Night Music performance in 2015 at the Kaplan Penthouse.


A Little Night Music With Pianist Paul Lewis

Monday, August 10, 2020

This Mostly Mozart Festival late night concert features celebrated pianist Paul Lewis performing works of Schubert and Brahms, recorded in 2016 at the Kaplan Penthouse.


A Little Night Music With Pekka Kuusisto and Knut Erik Sundquist + Beatrice Rana

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Classical and folk collide on this late night program featuring Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto and Norwegian bassist Erik Sundquist. 


Esperanza Spalding

Friday, May 08, 2020

Esperanza Spalding joins Helga mere weeks before her most recent Grammy win to talk about what it means to truly be a part of a community and how to find the “the yum” in things.


Elizabeth Alexander

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Poet and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation President, Elizabeth Alexander shares her thoughts on a life alongside words, maintaining relationships, and what the world looks like after loss.


Ranky Tanky

Friday, May 01, 2020

Gullah Band, Ranky Tanky, talk about the tradition of the music they play, where it’s been and where they’d like to take it next. 


Maury Rubin

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Pastry Chef Maury Rubin joins us in the wake of the closing of New York restaurant, City Bakery.


Judy Collins

Friday, April 24, 2020

Musician and activist Judy Collins shares the story of her decades long career. Alongside loss and addiction she maintains a clarity of voice, passion and vision as a conduit for music.


Bethann Hardison

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Activist, entrepreneur, and former model Bethann Hardison recounts moments from her unconventional life.


Stanley Whitney

Friday, April 17, 2020

Visual artist and colorist, Stanley Whitney talks about life as an artist and as a person. He uncovers what it means to be a black abstract painter, firmly rooted in the United States.


Krista Tippett

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Krista Tippett talks about her life as a mother, daughter, lover and leader and the ways that all of those roles converge in her work as host of the podcast, On Being.


Tune in to 'Helga' This Week on WNYC

Monday, November 26, 2018

Host Helga Davis stops by to talk about her chats with cultural luminaries and her "unconventional life in performance."