The Krista River Guest Recital: A Moving Experience For All

Filling the Cochran Chapel with her mellifluous voice, Krista River, along with soprano Ilana Davidson and pianist Stephen Porter, gave a captivating performance in this weekend’s recital hosted by Phillips Academy’s Music Department. River is an accomplished singer and voice instructor at Phillips Academy.

River shared her musical journey, starting with her love for the cello. She started as a classical cellist, as well as in her local church.

“Well, it’s a bit of a long story, but I started singing in my church and in choirs when I was very young, in elementary school. I sang a lot of religious music, but I was more of a serious cellist. I didn’t get serious about singing until I was in my twenties actually, so I switched over to singing much later,” said River.

River also experimented with various genres in singing. She explained that although she has dabbled in many genres, such as musical theater and jazz, she enjoys singing classical music the most.

“I’ve done a little bit of everything classical-wise. I’ve played around with musical theater, and I’ve been in a couple of shows, but it’s just never been quite as much of a passion for me as classical music has,” said River.

As a winner of the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording and numerous other prestigious competitions, River acknowledged her more famous and recognized performances. Simultaneously, she highlighted the importance of her more sentimental performances.

“[Winning the Grammy Award] was very fun and exciting, it felt like a nice affirmation that I spent a lot of my life trying to do good work…I think the performance of Messiah was just an incredibly emotional experience for everybody, so that was an experience I will always remember, too,” said River.

Today, River enjoys interpreting various facets of music, and believes that music has the power to deliver emotion and change people. River hopes to spread her passion for singing to her current voice students at Andover.

“Personally, [music is] a really wonderful mode of expression. It feeds both the analytical side of me, because I like the puzzle aspect of it, and the artistic side. I also just think it’s a really important thing. It’s something that can help people process things and helps transport people and can really be moving and transformational for people… [I] love that I get to pass along my passions,” said River.