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Barbara Cook, Marilyn Horne, Hal Prince and More Set for NYFOS Gala, Celebrating Leonard Bernstein, 4/28

Barbara Cook, Marilyn Horne, Hal Prince and More Set for NYFOS Gala, Celebrating Leonard Bernstein, 4/28

NEW YORK FESTIVAL OF SONG announces its star-studded 2014 spring gala, Remembering Lenny, celebrating the life of Leonard Bernstein with a performance on Monday, April 28 at 6:30PM at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, followed by supper at the '21' Club.

NYFOS founders, artistic directors and pianists Steven Blier and Michael Barrett play host to a stunning line-up of the maestro's collaborators, friends, and family, who will share reminiscences of their time with him amid performances of some of his classic songs.

Gracing the stage with stories are Bernstein's three children, Alexander, Jamie and Nina Bernstein, as well as Barbara Cook, Matthew Epstein, Marilyn Horne, Phyllis Newman, Harold Prince, Frederica Von Stade, and Jessye Norman.

The evening will feature performances by the two artists who sang in Bernstein's final concert at Tanglewood: Judy Kaye, who also took roles in On the Town (as Hildy) and Trouble in Tahiti, and who performed with NYFOS in the New York premiere of Bernstein's final work, Arias and Barcarolles; and Kurt Ollmann, who sang in Bernstein's Deutsche Grammophon recordings of West Side Story and Haydn's Creation.

The pair will be joined on the program by two young rising star sopranos: Julia Bullock, who is featured on the soon to be released concert version of West Side Story with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas; and Lauren Worsham, who played Cunegonde in New York City Opera's 2008 production of Bernstein's Candide and is currently appearing on Broadway in A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.

Bernstein has had a significant impact on NYFOS since its inception. Michael Barrett served as his assistant conductor for almost a decade, and Bernstein's passionate commitment to all genres of music served as a beacon for both Barrett and Blier. In its second season, NYFOS' recording of Arias and Barcarolles earned both Bernstein and NYFOS a Grammy award. Bernstein is still listed as the Founding Advisor of NYFOS and has served as its honorary President.

NYFOS has since been hailed throughout the world for its artistic contributions. "New York Festival of Song reinvented the song recital," wrote The New Yorker. "One of the longstanding delights of the New York music scene," offered The New York Times, while New York Magazine lauded NYFOS for the "best classical programming in New York."

Marking the end of another successful season, and paying tribute to its rich history, this year's spring gala serves as the major fundraising event for the season, and contributions to the event help keep the music playing at NYFOS events for years to come. From NYFOS Associate Artistic Director Michael Barrett: "I had the great fortune of being Leonard Bernstein's student, and then his assistant conductor from 1982-1990. During this time, NYFOS was born and we developed a new relationship with the Maestro. He was our honorary President, having signed our articles of incorporation. He gave us his brand new piece Arias and Barcarolles for its first public performance in New York City. He looked on with delight as we celebrated his 70th birthday at Alice Tully Hall. And of course, there were special times at his home. Steven and I played our first Brahms Liebeslieder Waltzes there for my own wedding party, and there was the afternoon photo shoot when Lenny appeared in his bathrobe and posed for the camera with us at the piano.

His music, his spirit, and his music-making continue to inspire us. I'm pretty sure our motto 'No song is safe from us' and our programmatic courage came from Lenny's own path-breaking musical voraciousness. He made it not only okay, but necessary for us to take risks, and find new and forgotten musical treasures. We miss him, and we are happy to remember his mentorship, his gifts to us and the world, and his great friendship."

New York Festival of Song announces "Remembering Lenny", A Gala Celebration of Leonard Bernstein (Founding Advisor NYFOS). NYFOS Artistic Directors and pianists STEVEN BLIER and MICHAEL BARRETT host an extraordinary lineup of special guests.

Featuring reminiscences by...
and JESSYE NORMAN serving as co-host
performances by
and more!

The concert is set for Monday, April 28, 2014 a 6:30 p.m. in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, followed by an elegant supper at '21' Club. Gala tickets, which include the concert and dinner, range from $750 to $15,000 for a premium table of ten. Information regarding donations and on purchasing tickets and tables can be obtained online at or by calling (646) 230-8380.

ABOUT NYFOS ( Now in its 26th season, New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) is dedicated to creating intimate song concerts of great beauty and originality. Weaving music, poetry, history and humor into unforgettable evenings of compelling theater, NYFOS fosters community among artists and audiences. Each program entertains and educates in equal measure. Everyone has a primal need to be sung to; NYFOS was made to meet that need.

Founded by pianists Michael Barrett and Steven Blier in 1988, NYFOS continues to produce its series of thematic song programs, drawing together rarely-heard songs of all kinds, overriding traditional distinctions between high and low performance genres, exploring the character and language of other cultures, and the personal voices of song composers and lyricists.

Since its founding, NYFOS has particularly celebrated American song, featuring premieres and commissions of new American works. These include a double bill of one-act comic operas, Bastianello and Lucrezia, by John Musto and William Bolcom, both with libretti by Mark Campbell, commissioned and premiered by NYFOS in 2008 and recorded on Bridge Records. In addition to Bastianello and Lucrezia and the 2008 Bridge Records release of Spanish Love Songs with Joseph Kaiser and the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, NYFOS has produced five recordings on the Koch label, including a Grammy Award-winning disc of Bernstein's Arias and Barcarolles, and the Grammy-nominated recording of Ned Rorem's Evidence of Things Not Seen (also a NYFOS commission) on New World Records. Soon to come: a CD of Spanish song-Basque, Catalan, Castilian, and Sephardic-on the GPR label, with soprano Corinne Winters accompanied by Steven Blier.

In November 2010, NYFOS began its latest programming venture with the debut of NYFOS Next, a mini-series for new songs, hosted by guest composers in intimate venues. For the 2013-2014 season, the series moves to Opera America's National Opera Center for all three concerts.

NYFOS also nurtures the artistry and careers of young singers in training residencies (current and past projects) with The Juilliard School's Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts (now in its 9th year), Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (its 6th year in March 2014), San Francisco Opera Center (over 15 years as of April 2013), Glimmerglass Opera (2008-2010), and its newest project, NYFOS@North Fork in Orient, NY, successfully completed in August 2013.

NYFOS's concert series, touring programs, radio broadcasts, recordings, and educational activities continue to spark new interest in the creative possibilities of the song program, and have inspired the creation of thematic vocal series around the world.

Pictured: On the piano bench: Michael Barrett and Leonard Bernstein; behind them left to right: William Sharp, Judy Kaye, Steven Blier. Photo by Peter Schaaf, 1989.

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