New York Festival of Song's 2013-14 Edition of 'NYFOS Next' Concludes with HAROLD MELTZER Tonight
Tonight, April 1 at 7:30pm at Opera America's National Opera Center, New York Festival of Song concludes its 2013-14 edition of NYFOS Next-the series for new song in which composers curate and host an hour of contemporary song-with celebrated composer HAROLD MELTZER.
The Brooklyn native and Pulitzer Prize finalist has a history of premiering new works with NYFOS, including last season's Topography and his 2010 song cycle for tenor and piano, Beautiful Ohio, which The New York Times chief music critic Anthony Tommasini praised for its "riveting tension between the somberly elegaic vocal writing and the heaving piano part, thick with grating precisely textured chords."
Meltzer invites a multitude of performers to join him in sharing the music of his friends and colleagues, as well as his own. The program will debut numerous works including the world premiere of a new work, Late Air, by Russell Plattwith text by Elizabeth Bishop; the New York premiere of Fred Hersch'sPaparazzi; and the American premiere of David Lang's ark luggage, which was born out of a collaboration in 2005 between Lang and English artist/filmmaker Peter Greenaway.
"The text was so moving to me that I asked Peter if he would write me another one," says Lang of their previous collaboration. "Ark Luggage was the text he sent me, a list of 92 things Noah took along with him during the flood. The act of packing these suitcases itself becomes a statement of faith, and a simple list becomes a kind of prayer."
Two works for small ensemble by Harold Meltzer himself, as well as music byChris Cerrone, Fred Hersch, Amy Beth Kirsten, James Matheson, and the New York premiere of Scott Wheeler's Mozart, 1935 round out the evening's program.
Vocalists for the evening include mezzo-soprano Mary Nessinger, whose "exacting musicianship and quiet dignity have made her a fixture of the New York scene," (The New Yorker) and soprano Elizabeth Farnum, whom The New York Times has praised for her "honeyed tone that sailed gracefully."
Joining Nessinger and Farnum is a cadre of musicians including Jessica Schmitz and Barry Crawford, flute; Alan Kay and Jo-Ann Sternberg, clarinet; William Anderson, mandolin; and Oren Fader, guitar. Thomas Sauer and NYFOS Associate Artistic Director Michael Barrett will play piano for the evening.
"These are my actual friends, both composers and performers," says Meltzer. "To share the stage with them is both a pleasure and an honor."
Tickets for NYFOS Next are free,
though seating is limited and reservations are required.
To reserve tickets please contact (646) 230-8380 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About NYFOS Next
NYFOS Next looks to the future, opening a forum for the next generation of song composers and interpreters. Now in its fourth season, this "invaluable contemporary-music series" (The New Yorker) takes the longstanding NYFOS tradition of presenting new work, and puts it in the hands of the composers themselves. Each composer becomes a curator, building a program that features his/her own works and those of favorite colleagues and students. The composer also acts as host of the evening. This approach has allowed NYFOS to expand the perspectives of its two Artistic Directors, creating room for multifarious approaches to vocal music.
NYFOS Next has featured programs in front of enthusiastic full houses, curated by a wide range of established and emerging artists including Gabriel Kahane, Joseph Thalken, Phil Kline, Carla Kilhstedt, Mohammed Fairouz, Kevin Puts, and Russell Platt.
Held in intimate venues with a relaxed atmosphere, this year the series finds a home in the newly designed state-of-the-art recital hall at OPERA America's National Opera Center. Hour-long shows will be curated by composing greats Mark Adamo, John Musto and Harold Meltzer.
Harold's association with NYFOS began when he composed Beautiful Ohio, a song cycle written for tenor Paul Appleby and pianist Steven Blier, and commissioned by the ASCAP Foundation, for NYFOS' The Newest Deal program in May 2010. That collaboration launched a spate of new vocal works with piano, among themTopography (2012), premiered on Kevin Puts' NYFOS Next program, and new cycles with piano for Paul Appleby and Sasha Cooke. But until The Newest Deal program Harold's vocal music left the piano out partly or completely; works include Two Songs from Silas Marner for soprano and cello and Exiles for baritone and four instruments, both on a 2010 Naxos release of the composer's music. His work on tonight's concert follows this trajectory, with voice surrounded by wind instruments, mandolin, and guitar.
In 2009 his sextet Brion was a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; other recognition of his work includes the Rome Prize, the Barlow Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and commissions from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Library of Congress, the Fromm and Koussevitzky Music Foundations, Meet the Composer, Concert Artists Guild, the Barlow Endowment, and the Minnesota Commissioning Club, among others. In recent years he has begun again to perform, including as a harpsichord soloist in his concerto Virginal with the American Composers Orchestra, Ensemble X, and the Stony Brook Contemporary Ensemble, and as the narrator in his music theater work Sindbad with the Cavatina, Mannes, Peabody, and Prometheus Trios and with a host of new music ensembles and summer festivals. For fifteen years Harold directed the new music ensemble Sequitur, and has taught at Amherst and Vassar Colleges. He lives in the East Village with his wife and two children.