Canadian soprano Edith Wiens initially forged a reputation overseas in the concert hall, largely because of her numerous acclaimed appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. But she also gave many highly praised recitals elsewhere across Europe. Wiens was a relative late-comer to opera, though, making her major debut in 1986 at Glyndebourne singing Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni. Thereafter, she balanced her career mixing in opera with concert work and recitals. In opera she has tended to favor Mozart, but her repertory otherwise is quite broad, taking in lieder by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, and Richard Strauss; masses by Mozart and Beethoven; Haydn's The Creation; Mahler symphonies; Gershwin and Stephen Foster songs; and various folk songs and carols. Wiens has been widely praised for the beauty of her vocal tone, the clarity of her diction, and the intelligence of her phrasing. A Grammy and Diapason d'Or award winner, she has recorded for EMI, Philips, Telarc, and Erato.
Edith Wiens was born in Saskatoon, Canada, on June 9, 1950. Her father was a Mennonite minister and young Edith studied at the Bible College in Vancouver and later at the Hochschule für Musik in Hanover, Germany. She graduated in 1974, and then enrolled at Oberlin College, where she earned a master's degree in 1976. She later took vocal lessons privately with Ernst Haefliger in Munich.
After her 1979 first prize win at the Robert Schumann Music Competition in Zwickau, Wiens established a busy career in Europe, especially in Germany. From 1981-1886 she made 14 appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. During this period she also sang with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in two J.S. Bach concerts (1985).
Following her 1986 Glyndebourne debut Wiens became a familiar face at other important operatic venues, including La Scala, Amsterdam Opera, and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. She gave highly acclaimed recitals in Moscow in 1989 and 1990. 1990 was also the year she won a Grammy Award for her recording of Schumann's Das Paradies und die Peri.
From about the early '90s, Wiens began making more frequent appearances in North America: her Toronto recital debut came in 1994 and her 2000 appearance with the New York Philharmonic in Mendelssohn's St. Paul drew rave notices. In the new century Wiens remained active as a singer, but also serves on the faculties of the Munich Hochschule für Musik and the Hochschule für Musik, Nürnberg-Ausburg Abt. Augsburg.