Praised by Sir Elton John as “the greatest songwriter on the planet,” Wainwright adeptly bridges and obscures borders between pop, classical and opera. The New York-born, Montreal-raised singer, composer has released seven studio albums to date, and has collaborated with artists as wide-ranging as Elton John, Burt Bacharach, Robert Wilson, David Byrne, Boy George, Joni Mitchell, Pet Shop Boys, Robbie Williams, Jessye Norman, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Sting, Deborah Voigt, Thomas Hampson and Mark Ronson. In addition to having won multiple Juno and GLAAD Media Awards, he has composed two operas plus music for film, television and theatre, and has appeared on stage with many of the world’s leading orchestras.
Having first become interested in opera during adolescence, the genre has strongly influenced his music over the years. His debut opera, Prima Donna, premiered at the Manchester International Festival in July 2009 and has since been performed in London, New York, Paris, Buenos Aires and Hong Kong, among others. His second, based on the love story between the Roman Emperor Hadrian and Antinous, was first seen in October 2018 at the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto and won a Dora Award for Outstanding New Opera.
On the concert stage, Rufus has worked with orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Residentie Orkest (The Hague), Britten Sinfonia, Orchestre national d’Île-de-France, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and the orchestra of the Teatro Real. He has appeared at many of the world’s great concert halls and festivals including the Royal Albert Hall and BBC Proms, Carnegie Hall, London Palladium, Sydney Opera House, Teatro Colón in Argentina, LA’s Hollywood Bowl, the Elbphilharmonie, the Olympia, Glastonbury and Roskilde, and at the Kennedy Center Honors paying tribute to Billy Joel. In 2010, he was joined by his father Loudon Wainwright III and sister Martha, among others, for a five-night residency at London’s Royal Opera House titled House of Rufus.