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:
Tuesday, February 07, 2023
Video artist and cinematographer Arthur Jafa discusses "Black potential" and the origins of "Love is the Message."
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Arthur Jafa, decorated video artist and cinematographer, talks "Black potential" and the passing of the critic and musician Greg Tate.
Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Macarena Goméz-Barris, Chair of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, discusses finding beauty in the most ambiguous of places.
Tuesday, January 17, 2023
Kara Walker, silhouettist and former MacArthur genius, discusses navigating her own inner conflicts and achieving great acclaim through making use of symbols of Black servitude.
Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Kevin Young, poetry editor for The New Yorker and director of Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, talks about the power of unexpected transformations.
Tuesday, January 03, 2023
Tricia Rose, Chancellor's Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University, discusses the beauty of chaos, and how essential it is to build safe communities of accountability.
Tuesday, December 27, 2022
Carrie Mae Weems, one of today’s most influential contemporary artists, discusses advancing the field by including Black artists and what "grace" means to her and her mother.
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Legendary dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones talks about growing up a "Black Yankee" in the 1950s through the 1960s and the adjacency of violence to the power of seduction.
Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Somi, GRAMMY-nominated jazz singer, discusses what happens when a teacher steals your joy, connecting to her ancestors, and how she is still finding her voice.
Tuesday, December 06, 2022
Producer and singer-songwriter Bartees Strange considers what it means to write music for the people who are not seen, heard, or cared about.
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.
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.
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.
Thursday, November 10, 2022
Conversations with extraordinary people.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.