Kofi's Professional Bio
Kofi Hayford, Ghanaian-American bass, described as possessing an “impressive” (Brooklyn Discovery) “sonorous,” (Meet Me at the Opera) and “stentorian bass voice” (National Herald) also produces a distinct sound - easily identified for its unique timbre. He is swiftly building his reputation as an accomplished young bass by bringing an ‘exciting’ and ‘stunning’ sound to the stage. Kofi’s major opera roles have included: La Roche in Strauss’ Capriccio, Raimondo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Sarastro in The Magic Flute, Mephistopheles in Faust, Rodolfo in La Sonnambula, Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro, Sparafucile and Monterone in Rigoletto, Commendatore in Don Giovanni, and Baldassare in La Favorita. Kofi sang the inaugural performance of the Greek Opera Olympic Flame singing the role of the titan Prometheus at Lincoln Center - later receiving an award from UNESCO for this performance. Other operatic roles and oratorio engagements include: The Monk and The Grand Inquisitor in Verdi’s Don Carlo; The Bonze in Madama Butterfly; Bass Soloist in Mozart’s Requiem and Rossini's Stabat Mater; Count Monterone and from Verdi’s Rigoletto; Angelotti and Sacristan in Puccini’s Tosca; Masetto in Don Giovanni, the Doctor and Baron Douphol in Verdi's La Traviata; Balthazar in Amahl & The Night Visitors. The 2018 1st Place Winner of the Tchaikovsky Music Competition in Albany, a 2007 Songfest Young Artist, and 2017 NJ State Opera Guild Competition Finalist, Kofi received his Bachelor’s in Vocal Performance from SUNY Buffalo. Since graduating, Kofi has sung with many opera companies and orchestras in the East Region including: United Nations Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Loft Opera, Apotheosis Opera, Chelsea Opera, Central Florida Lyric Opera, Buffalo Opera Unlimited, Regina Opera, Vocal Productions NYC, dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, Manhattan Opera Studio, Amore Opera, Erie Opera Theatre, and several others. Details on future engagements are available at: www.KofiHayford.com
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Kofi was born in the small city called New York in 1986 at the Metropolitan Hospital into a loving Ghanaian family while his father was a diplomat on mission with the Ghanaian government. He was then the 3rd born of a growing family. Shortly after his birth Kofi’s family left the US and returned to Ghana. The family would make several moves around the world mainly in Africa and Europe. Eventually the family returned to the US where he completed high school in Scarsdale, NY. Kofi then left to attend the University at Buffalo where he completed a Bachelor's in Music Performance for Voice.
Kofi’s love for music developed very gradually and organically. He had always enjoyed singing but had no intentions to take it seriously. Kofi would be caught singing along with Whitney Houston and Eternal songs while he was a kid but as his voice started to change, he started to gravitate towards male artists like Usher and groups like Boyz II Men. He remained hooked on the R&B and Pop Genre for years to come.
It wasn't until the family moved from South Africa back to the US that Kofi started to develop an interest in “classical style” singing. As a regular member of the local church he was exposed to a wide variety of pieces in the "classical" repertoire from composers like Bach, Handel and Vivaldi to Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Rachmaninoff. He grew to truly love the depth and grandness of the pieces they would perform on special high occasions like Easter, Pentecost and Christmas. They possessed a majestic quality to them that he still cherishes very much to this day. Kofi’s senior year in high school was when his desire to attain a mastery of singing really took hold. He took the initiative and ordered himself a singing program called Vocal Release which he started to use to train his voice on his own. He would do the exercises religiously - working to improve his breath support, power, projection, tonal quality and control. Not long into this self-study, he started to realize that this love of mine was destined to carry him on a life-long journey and that I had barely scraped the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Towards the end of high school Kofi started to search the internet for pieces to inspire him and to fill his appetite for the grandness of the singing in the classical genre. He happened across some recordings of the great Pavarotti and was just in shock and awe at the power and beauty of the sound that he produced. Pavarotti was just the beginning though. He continued to scour the internet for other singers that were like him. Though Kofi longed very much to be able to sing in the high-lying tenor range, his anatomy was that of a 'bassier' persuasion. Having been blessed with longer thicker vocal chords, trying to sing in Pavarotti's range wouldn't make the best use of what Kofi had been given. He had to begin searching for singers who sounded like him and had the same vocal qualities and range as he did. Time was kind to him and he soon found a page hosted by an opera singer called Joseph Shore who was very much a vocal master himself. Mr. Shore admired Jerome Hines very much since Hines was an important mentor of his. I paid attention very much to things he said and noticed that there was truly something special about singers like Hines. They came from a sort of “golden age” of opera singers. He along with Cesare Siepi, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Boris Christoff and many others were the singers he has admired and still admires today. Siepi has taken the mantle as his favorite in terms of overall vocal mastery. The complete mastery of legato singing that Siepi possessed is something many basses hope to one day acquire.
Kofi started college as an undeclared major but knew deep down that he wanted to study music. His only true interest though, was in developing himself vocally to become a great singer - something he still aspires to. He had started to listen to the singing of Josh Groban. His style of music was something Kofi could appreciate and admire since it was closer to the style of singing he was aspiring to. Here was someone that almost felt almost like a peer - around the same age and sang songs in a style very much unlike most young artists his age. It was refreshing. It helped encourage Kofi that even though the classical genre wasn’t as accessible to the masses, it could still be appreciated, loved, supported and sustained. Josh Groban's selections for his albums are a set from which Kofi has gleaned from to create his first performances albeit with some transposition. There is much more to this story so we hope you will stay tuned as many exciting chapters are added while Kofi is on his journey forward and upward!