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 three-time 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. Maybe it’s her new radio Crossover “Cheerful Mohana” from New Age to the Smooth Jazz station, The Wave (KRWV-FM), in Phoenix from her new album Traveling the Blissful Highway. Or, her Hot Shot Debut at #4 on the prestigious Billboard Classical Crossover Albums Charts (week of May 29, 2021), with her first solo piano album The Grand Piano Spa and #8 debut for her second solo piano album six months later; or being the first ever inductee into IMC's Indie Music Hall of Fame presented at the GRAMMY® Museum (4/28/19) and winning COVR’s 2019 Music of the Year a month later. Then there is the Lifetime Achievement Award from One World Music Radio and the Outstanding Legacy Award from Akademia in June of 2022. Or, appearing on the cover of the luxury in-flight and exclusive membership SkyLounge Magazine’s autumn 2021 issue with 11-page interview and follow-up feature in their spring 2022 issue. As an independent artist, in 2020 Darlene received official certification from the Indie Music Channel for Performing Before Over 500,000 People and for having multiple #1 Rankings on Top 100 Radio Airplay Charts.
Her new instrumental, New Age, Ambient, World influenced album, Traveling the Blissful Highway, has 12 songs she composed, arranged, produced and performed on keyboards and vocalese along with several GRAMMY® Award-Winning musicians to soothe the soul and heal the spirit, are rich in luxurious sounds and melody, from improvised to structured. In February 2023, it won the Grand Award for Best Ambient Instrumental Album from The Akademia Awards and a Gold Medal from The Global Music Awards. It debuted #1 on Australia’s SoundsLikeCafé radio charts and debuted #1 in Norway’s New Age Music Chart both in 11/22 and was voted by broadcasters worldwide at a debut #2 on the prestigious ZMR Radio Charts 10/22. The single from the album “Cheerful Mohana” won Best World Music Recording from the IMC, was nominated by Hollywood Music in Media Awards for Best Ambient/New Age, won Platinum in Best New Age Music from the LIT Talent Awards International, London 10/22 and won Best New Age Contemporary Instrumental song from New Age Notes Radio Awards 3/23.
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 final election stop in 1992. Because of the film, Darlene now has photos with both Bill in 1992 and Hillary Clinton in 2017 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, Celine Dion and Rod Stewart to jazz legend Ramsey Lewis to progressive rock icons Pink Floyd and rockers Neil Young and Kenny Loggins to soloing for David Byrne with London’s Royal Philharmonic at the Royal Albert Hall and debuting at age 19 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Chicago's Orchestra Hall/Symphony Center. A sampling of her vocal contributions include, solo vocal improvisations on films and popular TV shows such as Surrogates with Bruce Willis, 2012, Internal Affairs with Richard Gere (a commemorative CD soundtrack was recently released); Dances with Wolves with Kevin Costner, a Halloween episode of TV’s popular Grimm; a song with her ethnically diverse children’s choir (Young Vocal Artists of Los Angeles) working with composers/rappers/producer will.i.am and Common for the soundtrack Freedom Writers; her soaring vocals on the popular video games Baldur’s Gate (for Sony PlayStation II) and Harry Potter: Chamber of Secrets. Recently, Darlene completed working on an upcoming independent film, Knights of Swing, where in addition to acting in the film, Darlene arranged, recorded, and produced all the vocals for the singer/actors that she contracted for the project. Next up is another indie film with same responsibilities plus music talent coordinator for indie film “Forty-Seven Days,” slated for Easter release 2024.
With all of that and much more one would marvel that Ms. Koldenhoven has any time left for anything else, yet in 2021, she founded the Music Matrix Foundation a 501(c)(3) non-profit to foster music, music appreciation and the well-being of individuals of all ages through music, sound, education, technology, and kindness; while empowering them to carry on the mission of making the world a better place through all aspects of sound. The foundation offers assistance and services such as music education, sonic therapy, audio-psycho-phonology, and other related programs.
Ms. Koldenhoven has produced thirteen albums on her label, TimeArt® Recordings, most recently Traveling the Blissful Highway (10/14/22). The phenomenally gifted songbird is equally talented on her piano: The Grand Piano Spa (5/14/21) that hot shot debuted #4 on Billboard Classical Crossover Albums Chart (5/29/21); Gold Medal Best Classical Crossover Album and Composer from the Global Music Awards (8/8/21); The Akademia Award’s Best Classical Album (5/17/12); the Indie Music Channel Awards Best New Age Song “Delphi’s Dream” and Best Easy Listening Song “Clover Fields,” (9/5/21); and One Earth Awards “Wisteria” Best New Age/Ambient Song (10/3/21) and a Bronze medal from COVR (6/11/22). The sequel, The Grand Piano Spa: Legacy, (10/22/21) won Best Classical Album from the Akademia Awards (8/7/21) and debuted #8 on the Billboard Classical Crossover Albums Chart (11/6/21). Both albums won Gold in Clouzine International Music Awards for Best Double Album Set – Solo Piano (9/27/21). Darlene’s TimeArt® Publications has released coordinating downloadable sheet music titled Darlene Koldenhoven Solo Piano Collection from The Grand Piano Spa and The Grand Piano Spa: Legacy albums.
Album 10 is 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. Here, 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. 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 GRAMMY® Winners Tom Scott, Wouter Kellerman (South Africa), Charlie Bisharet, Brent Fischer, and GRAMMY® Nominees Rocky Dawuni (Ghana) and 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.
Album 9, 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 won a stunning 20 awards 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. The Indie Music Channel awarded Darlene, Best Classical Artist for her performance on “Emmanuel” from Heavenly Peace (9/5/21). Tranquil Times, instrumental, 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 along with Chromatones. Solitary Treasures was Nominated Best Vocal Album. Angel on Ivories was Finalist Best Classical Art Song Vocalist – pro division by The American Prize. 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.
Harkening back to the days of her GRAMMY® winning work as lead soprano in GRAMMY® winner Clare Fischer’s 2+2 vocal group where she sang lead soprano, Darlene released a single awarded Best Jazz Song and Best Jazz Video 2020 by the IMC titled The Butterfly Samba, (11/2020) 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. Her TimeArt® Recordings label, 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 music teacher by the state of California with two degrees from Chicago Conservatory College: Masters in Voice, magna cum laude and Bachelors in Music Education cum laude. 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 internationally renowned, credentialed sonic therapist and lecturer. Her own blend of sonic therapy practice focuses on the ear, voice, and health connections. Darlene 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 in 2015. From 2020-2021, Darlene wrote a column in In the Key Magazine with her articles 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, Ms. Koldenhoven has created Tune Your Voice: Singing and Your Mind’s Musical Ear, a music education program incorporating a 94-page book with 7 instructional CDs or downloads with thousands of worldwide sales titled that has been endorsed by faculty and students from The Juilliard School of Music, New York University, Berklee School of Music to American Idol.
Darlene is an active member of former Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, personally trained by him and certified in Los Angeles 2018. In 2019, working with former VP Al Gore’s staff, Darlene financed and performed in her own climate concert and presentation, contributing to his “24 Hours of Climate Reality” annual climate awareness event. 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?
Available for Interviews, presentations, appearances, concerts and the like. Full biography with personal life stories and other information: DarleneKoldenhoven.com • TimeArt.us. Connect on Social Media and subscribe to Darlene’s YouTube Channel.
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 maternal 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 musical training was classical piano, which she began studying in earnest from age 9 through her college years and beyond. At 7, she learned sewing from grandmother and continues to carry on the tradition to this day, sewing and occasionally designing most all of her clothes and concert gowns. Her father, awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and two Bronze Stars with valor, died from malaria complications contracted during his “tours of duty" when she was 14. 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 when she won her first scholarship vocal competition. 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 and one of the first to use bone conduction hearing aids at 6 months old. 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.
About twenty years ago, Darlene lost the use of her right hand for 5 years from a horrible accident where reconstructive surgery left her with a deformed finger. In spite of the possibility of never being able to play piano again, the determined young woman persisted through years of sometimes painful practice, to finally regain most of her prowess on the piano. Previously she performed harpsichord and piano with orchestras and accompanied several well known artists on synthesizer, piano and vocals. Now Darlene enjoys performing on piano, synth and vocals at her own concerts, live or streaming.
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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Indie Music Hall of Fame
#1 Top 100 Radio
Live Performance over 500,000 people