Kaufman Center and New York Festival of Song (NYFOS, www.nyfos.org) will present Where We Come From on Tuesday October 13, 8 PM at Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center. This concert, which opens NYFOS’s 22nd season, celebrates the festival’s newly formed Artist Council with a musical journey that explores the backgrounds, the birthplaces, and the artistic homes of the cast, a team of highly acclaimed singers, ranging from Russia to Canada, and covering a wide swath of the United States. Founded by Steven Blier and Michael Barrett in 1988, New York Festival of Song “redefined the song recital with daring and dramatic programming,” (The New Yorker).
The program will include songs by Hoagy Carmichael ("Can't Get Indiana Off My Mind"), W.C. Handy ("Harlem Blues") and Harry Revel and Noble Sissle ("Guiding Me Back Home") as well as classical music and Harold Arlen and George Gershwin.
Single ticket prices at Merkin Concert Hall are $40 to $55 and a limited number of $15 student tickets are available by calling NYFOS at (646) 230-8380. Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center is at 129 West 67th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue), New York, NY 10023. Discounted 2009-2010 subscription packages are still available as well. For all ticket information, visit www.kaufman-center.org, or call (212) 501-3330. Where We Come From features performance styles spanning art song, vocal chamber music, blues, music theater, and popular song. The artists include: Paul Appleby, tenor (winner of last spring’s Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and praised in Opera News for his “knockout performance” last season with NYFOS); Amy Burton, soprano (featured at the Metropolitan Opera and called “luminous” by The New York Times); Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano (acclaimed for her performances of Kitty Oppenheimer in Doctor Atomic at the Metropolitan and English National Operas, and called “genuine magic” by Opera Today); Sari Gruber, soprano (“Sensational.” – Opera Magazine); Dina Kuznetsova, soprano (“A brilliant Tatiana.” at the Chicago Lyric Opera – Chicago Sun); Kate Lindsey, mezzo-soprano (the Metropolitan Opera artist called “profoundly moving” by The New York Times in NYFOS’s Fugitives program last season); James Martin, baritone (“Excellent, engaging.” – The New York Times); and baritone William Sharp, baritone (praised by The New York Times as a sensitive and subtle singer" and featured on NYFOS’s Grammy-winning recording of Leonard Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles). NYFOS’s Steven Blier (“A national treasure when it comes to the art of song” – The New York Times) and Michael Barrett (also General Director of the renowned Caramoor Festival) will be pianists/hosts. The artists in the concert are members of a new company project: The Artist Council. Council members will contribute their time and expertise to NYFOS in programming, consulting and advocacy.
NYFOS’s upcoming concerts include Great American Songwriting Teams (November 17 and 19) with Broadway and cabaret’s Mary Testa, Sylvia McNair and Jason Graae; Killer B’s: American Song From Amy Beach To the Beach Boys (January 13), the fifth annual NYFOS@Juilliard at The Juilliard School; The Voluptuous Muse (February 16 and 18) a survey of the last vestiges of lush tonality and decadent Romanticism at the dawn of the 20th century; the first great flowering of French art song performed by America’s brightest new vocal stars in The Sweetest Path, part of the Caramoor Vocal Rising Stars program, March 13 at Caramoor and March 16 at Merkin Concert Hall; and The Newest Deal (May 4 and 6) featuring recent American works, including the premiere of the Harold Meltzer song cycle Beautiful Ohio*, created for and performed by Paul Appleby. New York Festival of Song was founded in 1988 by Steven Blier and Michael Barrett. NYFOS is dedicated to creating intimate song concerts of great beauty, humor and originality, combining music, poetry, and history to entertain, educate and create community among audiences and performers. With a far-ranging repertoire of art songs, concert works and theater pieces, its thematic recitals have included programs from Brahms to the Beatles, from the nineteenth-century salons of Paris to Tin Pan Alley, from Russian art song to Argentine tangos, from sixteenth-century lute songs to new music. NYFOS particularly celebrates American song literature and culture, and specializes in premiering and commissioning new American works, including the double bill of Bastianello / Lucrezia, which premiered in 2008. They have produced five recordings on the Koch label, including a Grammy Award-winning disc of Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles, as well as the Grammy-nominated recording of Ned Rorem’s Evidence of Things Not Seen on New World Records, and the Bridge Records release of the NYFOS program Spanish Love Songs. NYFOS’s concert series, touring programs, radio broadcasts, recordings, and educational activities have sparked a new interest in the creative possibilities of the song program, and have inspired the creation of thematic vocal series around the world. Artistic Director Steven Blier has programmed, performed, translated and annotated over 100 song programs with repertoire spanning the entire range of American song, art song from Schubert to Szymanowski, and popular song from early vaudeville to Lennon- McCartney. In addition, Mr. Blier enjoys an eminent career as an accompanist and vocal coach. Among the many artists he has partnered in recital are Renee Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Samuel Ramey, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Susan Graham and Frederica von Stade. Associate Artistic Director Michael Barrett, General Director of Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, founded The Moab Music Festival in Utah in 1992 with his wife Leslie Tomkins, and serves as music director. He has conducted major orchestras in the U.S. and abroad in symphonic, operatic, and dance repertoire, and is the former director of the Tisch Center for the Arts at the 92nd Street Y. Mr. Barrett has conducted and played premieres by Bernstein, Blitzstein, Bolcom, Kernis, Sellars, Harrison, Takemitsu, Del Tredici and Corigliano.
NYFOS’s New York City concert series is funded, in part, by the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts. Beautiful Ohio is commissioned by The ASCAP Foundation/Charles Kingsford Fund. Paul Appleby appears with the cooperation of The Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.