Helga Davis


Helga Davis served as a principle actor in the 25th-anniversary international revival of Robert Wilson and Philip Glass's seminal opera Einstein on the Beach. Her appearance in You Us We All by Shara Nova (My Brightest Diamond) and Andrew Ondrejcak marked her fifth at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival.

Helga is a New York-based performer whose interdisciplinary work includes theater, opera, and fine art. Since 2012 Davis has starred in the international revival of composer Philip Glass and director Robert Wilson's opera Einstein on the Beach; Wilson describes her as “a united whole, with spellbinding inner power and strength.”

She also starred in Wilson’s The Temptation of St. Anthony, with libretto and score by Bernice Johnson Reagon (Sweet Honey in the Rock); Milton by Katie Pearl and Lisa Damour; Elsewhere by cellist Maya Beiser and composer Missy Mazzoli; The Blue Planet, a multimedia theater piece, by Peter Greenaway and Saskia Boddeke; and served as a “Sweet Peach” in Soho Rep’s Jomama Jones, Radiate, which made New Yorker theatre critic Hilton Als’ top ten list.

Helga’s interview with artist Kara Walker aired on WNYC's Morning Edition on the eve of her Whitney Museum retrospective. She wrote and performed a multimedia piece Imaginings at the retrospective’s conclusion.

She is the recipient of the BRIC Fireworks grant and has completed her first full-length theatre piece, Cassandra. Davis may be heard on the new VIA Records release, Oceanic Verses, a multi-media opera written for her by composer Paola Prestini. In Fall 2015, Davis performed in her fifth Next Wave festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Shara (Nova) Worden and Andrew Ondrejcak’s You Us We All.

She hosts the Helga podcast, live events for New Sounds and formerly for WQXR’s Q2 Music, and was awarded an ASCAP Multimedia Award for hosting WNYC's 24:33: Twenty-Four Hours and Thirty-Three Minutes of the Playful and Playable John Cage.


Helga Davis appears in the following:

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."


Learning from Elie Wiesel, 'The Female Persuasion,' The Helga Podcast

Monday, November 26, 2018

Ariel Burger on "Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom." Meg Wolitzer on "The Female Persuasion." Helga Davis on the Helga podcast.

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Art Maven Kimberly Drew

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Kimberly Drew, known online as @museummammy, is a unrelenting purveyor of art, fashion and culture. She joins Helga to talk mental health and how drinking water helps her keep the beat.


Author David Kyuman Kim

Monday, May 21, 2018

Teacher, author and speaker, David Kyuman Kim joins host Helga Davis to discuss "radical love" and the essential role of community in shaping how we perceive the world around us.


Author Jacqueline Woodson

Monday, May 07, 2018

National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson sits down with host Helga Davis to talk about the power of family – the so-called alternative ones she was born into and made for herself.


Director Kenneth Lonergan

Monday, April 09, 2018

Award-winning director, screenwriter and playwright Kenneth Lonergan talks with host Helga Davis about their charged, formative years in high school and how he fuels his creativity.


Studio Museum in Harlem's Thelma Golden

Monday, March 26, 2018

Thelma Golden, director and chief curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, joins host Helga Davis for a conversation about her upbringing, daily rituals, and seeing the world through art.


Season Two of 'Helga' Returns Next Week with Thelma Golden

Friday, March 23, 2018

The second season of our conversation podcast, Helga, with host Helga Davis is just around the corner. New episodes begin Monday, March 26 with eminent art curator Thelma Golden.


Bryndon Cook of Starchild & The New Romantic on Identity and 'Language'

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Ascendant singer and band-leader Bryndon Cook of Starchild & The New Romantic talks with host Helga Davis about his upbringing and his jazz, pop, and funk-inflected debut album.
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Laurel Halo (with Eli Keszler) and Embaci at Electric Nights

Monday, March 05, 2018

Our Electric Nights series return to Public Arts tonight, Thurs., March 29, with Berlin-based producer Laurel Halo and percussionist Eli Keszler. Singer-producer Embaci opens.


Watch: Starchild & The New Romantic's "Language" Release Party

Thursday, March 01, 2018

On Friday, March 9, songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Bryndon Cook lead his band Starchild & The New Romantic in performing his funk and electro-spanning debut album in The Greene Space.


Black Creativity: Toshi Reagon and Daniel Bernard Roumain

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The composers join Apollo Theater executive producer Kamilah Forbes and vocalist Helga Davis for a conversation about the contributions of black artists to contemporary opera.

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Holding Gentrification: Toshi Reagon on What it Means to Build and Unbuild Brooklyn

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Singer-songwriter Toshi Reagon's "Brooklyn Bound" offers a honest and poetic musical look at gentrification in Crown Heights. Watch the second of our "Silent Voices" documentaries.

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My Body as Me: Kamala Sankaram Shows Us How to Keep the Look Loose

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

The Brooklyn Youth Chorus recently created space for conversation about social justice through commissioning ten new works. We dive into one: Kamala Sankaram's "Keeping the Look Loose."


Watch: Vijay Iyer and Friends From The Greene Space

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Watch a performance by Vijay Iyer and friends from The Greene Space at WQXR as the genre-bending pianist-composer shared the stage with a diverse array of musical collaborators.


Watch: Brooklyn Youth Chorus' 'Black Mountain Songs' Release Party

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Watch the release party for Brooklyn Youth Chorus' 'Black Mountain Songs,' featuring Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry.


Listen: Next Look at 'Silent Voices' With Brooklyn Youth Chorus and ICE

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

In January, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus offered an early listen to their "Silent Voices" project, which gives voice to those who have been silenced by social and political circumstances.


Watch: Kronos Quartet and Face the Music

Monday, March 06, 2017

Tuesday, March 7 at 7:30 pm, watch a live video-stream of the trailblazing Kronos Quartet and Face the Music, Kaufman Music Center's acclaimed youth ensemble, live from The Greene Space.


Writer Hilton Als Talks Ruthlessness and Freeing Your Art-Making

Monday, January 23, 2017

Hilton Als is an intellectual omnivore who roots his art and criticism in reality and truth. Als talks with Helga Davis about being comfortable owning your anger and art-making.

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Stage Actress Sarah Jones Talks Dignity and Finding Home in Everyone

Monday, January 09, 2017

In Sarah Jones's one-woman shows, she seamlessly slips into characters of different classes, races and genders. Jones and Davis talk self-love in a culture that teaches self-alienation.

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