Official Biography Highlights
What sets GRAMMY® Award winner and three-time GRAMMY® nominee Darlene Koldenhoven apart from the rest? It could be her worldwide 1.5 billion viewing audience on PBS as the memorable soprano soloist in Yanni, Live at the Acropolis; her work in the war-torn jungles of Sierra Leone where she coached musicians and singers whom she took on tour in the US and Canada; production vocal coach/music director/tambourine-waving choir nun in both Sister Act films with Whoopi Goldberg; or her recent donation of time and performances in 3 tours to India with U.N. humanitarian ambassador and Grammy Winning-composer Ricky Kej, for his concerts, videos, TEDx Talk, Shanti Samsara, to raise awareness of climate change and animal cruelty causes she holds dearly. Or, debuting #4 on the prestigious Billboard Classical Crossover Albums Charts week of May 29, 2021, her first week out with a solo piano album; or being the first ever inductee into the Indie Music Hall of Fame at the Grammy Museum on 4/28/19 and winning 2019 Music of the Year a month later. In 2020, Darlene received official certification from the IMC for Performing Before Over 500,000 People and for having multiple #1 Ranking on Top 100 Radio Airplay Charts.
The phenomenally gifted songbird is equally talented on her piano. It's fitting that Darlene's latest upcoming album created during the long isolation of the pandemic is her first Contemporary Instrumental Solo Piano album titled The Grand Piano Spa 5/14/21. Nine beautiful, original, piano pieces from Neo-Classical to New Age created to sooth the soul and heal the spirit are rich in luxurious sound and melody, from improvised to structured, for attentive listening or background for relaxing, reading, massage, yoga, dining, or enjoying the simple pleasures in life. The sequel, The Grand Piano Spa: Legacy, will be coming out in the fall. Darlene’s TimeArt Publications is releasing coordinating downloadable sheet music titled Darlene Koldenhoven Solo Piano Collection from The Grand Piano Spa and also later this year, the music from the Legacy album.
Album ten is Chromatones, winning 2019 Music of the Year. The culmination of years of deep devotion to her craft and association with some of the world’s greatest musicians and recording artists including the 19 for whom she wrote all the arrangements; some are Tom Scott, Wouter Kellerman, David Arkenstone … This album was produced from a place within Darlene to create beautiful music that is inspirational and healing, integrating her sonic therapy principals, which has resulted in its own sound. With Chromatones, Darlene rests her voice to reveal the instrumental soul of a true artist manifesting itself in every nuance of her album. Darlene produced, composed, arranged all the music, played piano, keyboards & solos, Native drums & shaker, programmed, and engineered. Harkening back to the days of her Grammy-winning work as lead soprano in Clare Fischer’s 2+2, Darlene released a single awarded Best Jazz Song and Best Jazz Video 2020 by the IMC titled The Butterfly Samba, where she sang and wrote the lyric to his music, produced the video and co-arranged the track with Brad Cole, Phil Collins’ music director/keyboardist.
Darlene performs internationally with her concerts and workshops. She has sung on over a thousand recordings, for and in films, television, albums, commercials and charitable causes. Highlights include singing with Robin Williams on the 2000 Academy Awards; in three American Idol specials; the 2010 Academy Awards; and her role as the tambourine-waving choir nun and real life vocal coach/musical director for Disney in both Sister Act films with Whoopi Goldberg, leading to singing for President Clinton during his last election stop in 1992. Because of the film, Darlene now has photos with both Bill in ’92 and Hillary Clinton in ‘17 taken when Darlene was performing on The View for the 25th Sister Act reunion. 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 and rocker Neil Young’s CD Living With War to soloing with London’s Royal Philharmonic and debuting at age 19 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. A sampling of her vocal contributions include, solo vocal improvisations on films and popular TV shows: Surrogates with Bruce Willis, 2012, Internal Affairs, and a Halloween episode of TV’s popular Grimm; a song with her ethnically diverse children’s choir (Young Vocal Artists of Los Angeles) by rappers/producer will.i.am and Common for the soundtrack Freedom Writers; her soaring vocals on the popular video game Baldur’s Gate (for Sony PlayStation II) and Harry Potter: Chamber of Secrets. Currently in the works as a TV movie is Knights of Swing where Darlene arranged, recorded, and produced all the vocals for the singer/actors she contracted for the project.
With all of that and much more one would marvel that Ms. Koldenhoven has any time left for anything else, yet she has produced twelve albums on her label, TimeArt Recordings. Beginning with most recent, The Grand Piano Spa 5/14/21 won Akademia Awards Best Classical Album and the sequel The Grand Piano Spa: Legacy is coming out in the fall 2021. Chromatones debuted #1 on the New Age Guide Charts 6/20/18, won Gold in Visionary Music and took the 2019 Music of the Year from COVR Coalition of Visionary Resources, a trade award voted by retailers and the public. Color Me Home debuted #1 on the ZMR radio charts worldwide 2017; the broadcasters voted it “Best Vocal Album 2017” at the ZMR Awards in New Orleans 2018. Color Me Home has 20 wins and 35 nominations in various international and USA competitions! Infinite Voice went to #1 on the radio charts and was voted by Broadcasters worldwide as Best Vocal Album 2007, with Heavenly Peace debuting #2 and winning Best Holiday Album. Tranquil Times (instrumental only) went to #1 and won Best New Age Album from the Independent Music Awards and a nomination for Best Piano Album with Instrumentation by the Broadcasters with several tracks featured in the C.A.R.E. Channel Network and in Don Campbell’s music therapy sound systems, both played in hospitals and hospices nationwide. Chromatones has been added to their roster. Solitary Treasures was Nominated Best Vocal Album. Angel on Ivories was Finalist Best Classical Art Song Vocalist – pro division by The American Prize. Different from her other albums and singles, Darlene released a jazz samba single with lyrics she wrote to music of Grammy Winner Clare Fischer titled The Butterfly Samba in November, 2020. Darlene Koldenhoven's first two albums are her debut Keys to the World (an adult contemporary pop work with an emphasis on positive lyrics, both humanitarian and for the environment), and 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).
TimeArt Recordings, has also released two artists in 2020: oboist Earle Dumler’s award-winning Best Classical Singles trio of Neo-Classical duets for oboe and piano that Darlene wrote, played piano and produced titled A Single Trine and a new original 80’s rock artist she produced, Denoven Rock’s Retrofuturism.
In addition to her career as a recording artist, Ms. Koldenhoven is a credentialed teacher by the state of California with a Master in Voice, magna cum laude and B.A.in Music Education cum laude from Chicago Conservatory College. She is certified in iLs audio-psycho-phonology from Integrated Listening Systems USA and was invited to speak as well as studied & performed in Belgium at the Tomatis headquarters, the Atlantis-Mozart Brain Lab 2015. Darlene is an internationally renowned, credentialed sonic therapist and lecturer. Her own blend in sonic therapy practice focuses on the ear, voice, and health connections. Darlene writes a column for In the Key Magazine/Blog titled "The Prescription is Music," exploring all the many benefits of sound and music. In the vein of empowerment for all as a way to express oneself and improve physical wellness through music, Darlene has created a music education program incorporating a 94-page book with 7 instructional CDs with worldwide sales titled Tune Your Voice: Singing and Your Mind’s Musical Ear that has been endorsed by faculty and students from Juilliard, NYU, Berklee to American Idol. Ms. Koldenhoven was hired by McGraw-Hill Publishing as a producer, vocalist, vocal contractor & coach for over 200 children's songs in multiple languages for their PreK-8 curriculum series, Spotlight on Music. Darlene is an active member of former Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, trained and certified in Los Angeles 2018. It is Darlene’s sincere wish to make the earth a better place, to live in harmony with and within. Is it any wonder that Darlene has been inducted to the Indie Music Hall of Fame?
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. Two years prior, she learned sewing from grandmother and continues to carry on the tradition to this day, sewing and occasionally designing her clothes and concert gowns. 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 learned 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 in January with only a leap-of-faith, $400, her car, her turntable, 6 wool turtleneck sweaters and slacks (she’s from Chicago), all other belongings destroyed en route 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 speech therapy of her only sibling, a sister 9 years younger who was born deaf with bilateral aural atresia. 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.
When asked about the future, in addition to her regular activities, Darlene is looking forward to touring with her concerts and workshops and is in the process of developing a unique music education program for those with special needs.
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