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“Darlene is an enormously gifted singer who’s striking in a sensual, yet sincere way.Read More...
She has a . . . wholly magnetic stage presence.” – Music Connection Magazine
#1 Album Infinite Voice April, 2007 & #2 Top 100 Airplay 2007 Infinite Voice –Radio & Internet Airwaves Chart
Best Vocal Album 2007 Infinite Voice & Best Holiday Album 2007 Heavenly Peace voted by Broadcasters Worldwide
What sets Darlene Koldenhoven, this beautiful tall blond Grammy® Award winner and three-time nominee, apart from the rest . . . It could be her worldwide 1.5 billion viewing audience on PBS as the memorable vocal soloist in Yanni, Live at the Acropolis . . . It could be her work in the war-torn jungles of Sierra Leone, West Africa where she met and coached musicians and singers whom she took on her tour of the US and Canada . . . Or the fact that she is one of the few classically trained singers with a five-octave range who improvises in classical and non-classical styles with both voice and piano, produces, composes, arranges, programs keyboards, and writes lyrics . . . Or even, perhaps it’s her ability to create, produce, and release in less than a year on her indie label TimeArt, three solo albums and two singles in 2011: the newest Solitary Treasures 10/10/11, Inspired by a True Story 6/28/11, Angel on Ivories 2/11/11 and two holiday singles What Child is This and Cherry Tree Carol 12/19/11. Darlene put all her talents and creativity to use in a similar way in 2007 with her Classical Crossover albums, Infinite Voice and re-release of her holiday Heavenly Peace while authoring and publishing a success-oriented, innovative, comprehensive music education book with 7 instructional CDs to train the mind’s musical ear and teach people how to sing entitled, Tune Your Voice, endorsed by faculty & students from Juilliard to American Idol. Both albums went to #1 on the radio charts and were voted by Broadcasters worldwide as Best Vocal Album and Best Holiday Album, respectively.
At the core of her remarkable musical gifts is a voice for the ages. Angelically clear and expressively strong, Ms. Koldenhoven’s soul-stirring voice is a mesmerizing wonder, the touch of a celestial goddess on the souls of all. This is the woman who brings all people together from classical purists and jazz hipsters, Christians, New Agers, to rockers and video gamers. Ms. Koldenhoven has appeared on-camera singing: with Robin Williams in the Academy Awards 2000; The Young and the Restless; Studio 60; in three American Idol specials; Academy Awards 2010; and as the beloved tambourine-waving choir nun and real life vocal coach/musical director of both Sister Act films with Whoopi Goldberg. Darlene’s voice has graced a plethora of albums from pop giants Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston and Rod Stewart to jazz legend Ramsey Lewis to progressive rock icons Pink Floyd to soloing with London’s Royal Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to singing for President Clinton. Some of her vocal contributions include solo vocal improvisations on the main title of Surrogates with Bruce Willis, soundtrack of 2012; rocker Neil Young’s CD Living With War, and a song with her ethnically diverse children’s choir (Young Vocal Artists of Los Angeles) by rapper/producer will.i.am (of the group Black Eyed Peas) for the soundtrack Freedom Writers (starring Hilary Swank). And she gets major “cool points” with young people for her soaring vocals on the video games Baldur’s Gate (for Sony PlayStation II) and Harry Potter: Chamber of Secrets.
With all of that and much more ground zero work in the film, television, session, concert touring, and educational industries filling her resume, one would marvel that Ms. Koldenhoven has any time left for anything else. Yet this prolific and multi-talented singer has done just that with her seventh album release Solitary Treasures: 12 classical crossover pieces including Darlene’s two original pieces and eight arrangements, from "Nessun Dorma" to "Kiss From a Rose." “Lucid See” the only purely instrumental piece was recently nominated for the Independent Music Awards 2011 Best New Age Song. Number six – Inspired by a True Story: 10 positive, spiritual songs (nine are Darlene’s) designed to uplift and restore your spirits including Darlene’s arrangement of “The Prayer” that she sang on camera in The Young and The Restless. Number five – Angel on Ivories, a timeless collection of 17 classical art songs and arias with Darlene performing both roles as vocalist and piano accompanist, garnered her a Finalist in The American Prize 2012 – Best Professional Art Song Vocalist. She also launched her annual holiday single release in 2011 with her arrangements of “What Child is This?” and “Cherry Tree Carol.” Darlene’s fourth, the classical crossover Infinite Voice, went to #1 on the Radio Charts and was voted by Broadcasters worldwide as Best Vocal Album 2007 as was her third album, Heavenly Peace voted Best Holiday Album 2007.
With her latest work, Solitary Treasures (debuted #5 on worldwide radio charts 2/12), Darlene did the majority of the arranging, orchestration, keyboard and programming work as well as performed all the solo vocals and some choir parts on the album. In her role as producer, she called upon some of the world’s most accomplished, award-winning composers, arrangers, and instrumentalists performing on acoustic, synthesized, World instruments and crystal singing bowls. Of the twelve songs on the album, two are her originals and eight were arranged and orchestrated by her. As Darlene tells it, “I chose or wrote songs that deeply spoke to me regardless of the original genre, to introduce my audience to, how in my musical mind, classical and pop can live together and thrive. I wanted each song to be a sparkling gem glistening in the ear of the listener. This way, they can fully enjoy the most exciting thing about music – the sweet anticipation and mystery of ‘what will come next’ and how these new musical treasures all curiously come together into one solitary treasure.”
" . . . Listening to her for the first time literally brought tears to my eyes. There is a reason her singing has been compared to a voice of angels . . . it was a joy and I really do believe Darlene Koldenhoven may be an angel on earth after all . . . Key Tracks: Nessun Dorma From Turandot, Bella’s Lullaby From Twilight, Remember Me"
–Dana Wright-Muzikreviews.com Staff January 23, 2012
The exquisite dynamical range of her vocal work throughout her entire career is second to none and we see the soul of a true artist manifesting itself in every nuance of Solitary Treasures. Weaving all this together is Koldenhoven’s ‘vocal alchemy.’ Sounds that touch the depths of your soul, from the powerful operatic tones in “Nessun Dorma” to the lyrical coloratura of “Lo Specchio;” and then include her high, power packed, long tones that crescendo to the duelling voice and rock guitar climax in the haunting tribute to heroes “Remember Me.” Or how she pours her heart out in the dramatic ballads “All I Am” and “The Last Words You Said;” or shifts into that silvery innocence on “A Celtic American Treasury.” Not to be forgotten is her sultry contralto, Spanish singing on “Ay Cariño.” Thrilling may describe how she uses the wide range of her voice like an instrument on “Bella’s Lullaby” the only vocalise on this album and its introduction “Clair de lune.” As Darlene explains, “Singing in vocalise liberates me in my choices of melodies and allows the listener room to interpret and feel the full emotional content of the music without the lyrics getting in the way. My passion for improvising in all styles requires me to be bold and take risks.”
And some of these beautifully entertaining risks are starting to be noticed, such as singing a traditional tenor aria but up an octave; creating a medley of Celtic and American folk songs; or including her original instrumental track “Lucid See,” featuring Darlene’s piano prowess. Already, tastemakers and industry professional are recognizing Solitary Treasures as a tour-de-force of musicianship, performance, composition, and vocal excellence.
"Darlene's unique and beautiful interpretations of classical and modern songs, along with her original pieces, creates an unparalleled musical experience. From producing to vocals, she has presented a solid album without sacrificing her vision. Another great piece from Darlene Koldenhoven. Las interpretaciones de Darlene tanto de sus canciones como de las clasicas generan una experiencia sin igual. Su version de "Ay Cariño" es esquisita. Darlene hace uso de su experiencia y su talento para generar una maravillosa interpretacion de la cancion. Otro gran disco de Darlene."
–Gustavo Borner, Multi-Latin Grammy Award-Winning Record Producer
“Solitary Treasures is an absorbing and exhilarating listening experience that never lets up from beginning to end. Rarely have I been so captivated by a singer throughout an entire album . . . Every song on this CD is a stunner, thanks to Koldenhoven’s golden voice, the impeccable musicianship, the high technical quality of the recordings, and the pedigree of many of the tunes. No matter your musical taste, this is really a winner.”
–Raj Manoharan, RajReviews, February 26, 2012
"Solitary Treasures is a masterpiece by one of the most truly remarkable vocal talents I have heard in quite a while. It is a rare gift to be able to cover such diverse musical terrain and to do it all so exceedingly well. As the title implies, there is treasure to be found within the tracks of this exceptional recording.”
–Michael Diamond, Music and Media Focus, February 2, 2012
In addition to her career as a recording artist, Ms. Koldenhoven is a respected music educator with a magna cum laude Master’s Degree in Voice and a cum laude Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Chicago Conservatory College. She feels it’s essential to open her professional recording studio in Los Angeles for classes and private lessons, to distill her vast knowledge of the voice, singing, musicianship, and music therapy to an array of students from non-singers to name professionals. In the age-old model of giving back, she has formed a professional children’s choir, the “Young Vocal Artists of Los Angeles.” Participating children have the opportunity to learn from and sing on a wide variety of professional recording sessions, benefiting from Ms. Koldenhoven’s many contacts in the industry, the likes of Disney, Paramount . . .
Koldenhoven emphasizes, “Singing is a learned experience and often people are afraid to open themselves to the uplifting energy of singing and the powers of music. By creating the Tune Your Voice program, it allows me to reach everyone, empowering them to enhance the quality of their life by experiencing the joy and nurturing effects of singing and appreciating music. It’s like they have their very own personal voice coach. I am very proud of Tune Your Voice. It is a comprehensive body of work that trains the mind’s musical ear both consciously and sub-consciously, enabling pitch challenged individuals to open up and find their voice; refining and developing the ear-to-voice connection of the natural singer or professional; and preparing the mind to audiate (to think musically) which is fundamental to writing music, playing an instrument, and singing.”
Darlene explains, “I enjoy motivating people and sharing my gifts with others, whether it be through my music, my singing, or through music education. I’m grateful for the divine gifts I have been given and for the privilege of helping others, engaged in something I absolutely love – music. It was my desire to do an album that could touch all people and bring the beauty of these melodies to each and every land, simply creating beauty in everyday life.”
Darlene Koldenhoven’s Biography
Darlene Koldenhoven was born in a mixed neighborhood on the South side of Chicago to a family with an extensive musical lineage, but hearing only the singing of her mother and grandfather. Darlene could hold her own harmony part by age 3, making her Easter Sunday debut in church singing a solo, "Low in the Grave He Lay." Her initial emphasis of formal training was classical piano, which she began studying in earnest at age 9. Her father, awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, died from malaria complications contracted during his “tours of duty.” The family suffering from the financial hardship, a single mother, and her sister being born deaf, didn’t allow her hard working mother to afford formal singing lessons for Darlene until age 16. The product of a strict Dutch Christian Reformed/Calvinist family, Darlene was only allowed to listen to or play religious or classical music, not allowed to improvise, and never really listened to pop music until college where she absorbed everything from the Beatles and Middle Eastern music to jazz. But the fierce work ethic and discipline she gleaned from home and her schooling made her an outstanding scholarly achiever, thus preparing her for the ubiquitous and enviable career she now relishes in the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles. Arriving in Los Angeles with only a leap-of-faith, $400, her car, 6 wool turtleneck sweaters (she’s from Chicago) and no contacts – therein lay the story of how hard work and perseverance pays off . . .
Ms. Koldenhoven revealed an early sensitivity to teaching and nurturing when she assisted in the early therapy of her only sibling, a sister 9 years younger who was born deaf. Experimental surgery created some hearing capabilities for her at age 4. Revelations from that experience impacted Koldenhoven three-fold, sparking her intense interest in how vocal sound is created by the smallest gestures of the structures of the mouth, sound vibration as a source of healing and restoration, and the expressive possibilities of vocal sound without words - a signature element of her singular style.
Darlene Koldenhoven's first two albums are her debut Keys to the World (an adult contemporary pop work with an emphasis on positive lyrics), Free to Serve (an eclectic gospel soundtrack commissioned by the Christian Reformed Church of North America and lifted from a World Missions multi-media concert that she co-directed, wrote all the music for and performed in, featuring musicians and singers she brought back from the impoverished Sierra Leone, West Africa). When asked about the future, Darlene is looking forward to touring with her new concerts and starting a music educational non-profit organization.
©2012 TimeArt® Recordings
Top SongsTotal plays on Last.fm over the last 6 months
- Pavane - 1,322 plays
- Inspirial (instrumental) - 534 plays
- Infinite Voice - 389 plays
- Enchantment - 402 plays
- Lucid See - 183 plays
- Atmosphere - 89 plays
- Kiss From a Rose - 91 plays
- Gabriel's Oboe - Nella Fantasia from The Mission - 147 plays
- Saint Agnes and the Burning Train - 188 plays
- Clair de lune for Bella's Lullaby - 48 plays