NY Festival Of Song Presents 'The Newest Deal' 5/4, 5/6

Kaufman Center and New York Festival Of Song (NYFOS, www.nyfos.org), acclaimed by New York Magazine as "The best classical music programming in New York," will present an all-new program on May 4 and 6 at 8 PM of American composers, including the premiere of Beautiful Ohio, a song cycle by 2009 Pulitzer Prize- finalist Harold Meltzer, with texts of poet James Arlington Wright and composed specifically for the young American tenor Paul Appleby. The new cycle was commissioned by the ASCAP Foundation Charles Kingsford Fund. Also featured will several other contemporary American composers. Joining Mr. Appleby, a 2009 winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, will be soprano Anne-Carolyn Bird, baritone Andrew Garland, and pianists/hosts Steven Blier and Michael Barrett.

Tickets for the May 4 and 6 concerts, are $40-55, and available at www.kaufman-center.org, or by calling (212) 501-3330. Group discounts are available. A limited number of $15 student tickets are available by contacting New York Festival of Song 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.

PROGRAM:

RUSSELL PLATT
from From Noon to Starry Night
A Clear Midnight
Paumanok
A Sketch

LISA BIELAWA
from The Lay of the Love and Death
I Carry the Flag
Tower Room

PHIL KLINE
As We Know
Near Perfect Clarity

HAROLD MELTZER
Beautiful Ohio (World Premiere)
1 Small Frogs Killed On the Highway
2, Little Marble Boy
3. On Having My Pocket Picked in Rome
4. Caprice
5. Beautiful Ohio

RAYMOND LUSTIG
Velvet Shoes

GABRIELA FRANK
El Nacimento de Cifar
Eufemia

TOM CIPULLO
The Book, from Secrets

NYFOS has commissioned and premiered many new works, including Bastianello/Lucrezia, a double bill of one-act comic operas by William Bolcom and John Musto with libretti by Marc Campbell. The original cast recording of which will soon be released by Bridge Records; and Arias and Barcarolles, the final work of Leonard Bernstein, which was recorded by NYFOS and won a Grammy Award as Best Contemporary Classical Composition.

The Newest Deal is the closing NYFOS concert of the 2009-2010. An upcoming project is a 13-segment radio series highlighting NYFOS programming, to be produced by WFMT Radio of Chicago, producer of radio programs for the New York Philharmonic, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Wigmore Hall and other major musical organizations. It will be broadcast on WFMT, syndicated, and made available to stations locally, nationally and internationally during the 2010-2011 season, and hosted by world-renowned mezzo-soprano Frederica Von Stade.

Bios

Harold Meltzer was born in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College, studying composition with Lewis Spratlan, and then with Alexander Goehr at King's College, University of Cambridge and with Martin Bresnick, Anthony Davis, and Jacob Druckman at the Yale School of Music. While in graduate school Mr. Meltzer co-founded the ensemble Sequitur and he remains its co-Artistic Director.

Among his recent works is Brion (2008), a Finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Music, commissioned for the Cygnus Ensemble by the Barlow Endowment at Brigham Young University; Privacy (2008), commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and pianist Ursula Oppens; and Piano Sonata (2008), commissioned by Symphony Space for pianist Sara Laimon. Other commissions have come from the American Composers Forum (Brothers Grimm, for pianist Sarah Cahill); the Argosy Foundation (an orchestral work for the Colonial Symphony); the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (Piano Concerto No. 2, with pianist Sara Laimon); Concert Artists Guild (Full Faith and Credit, a concerto for two bassoons and strings, for bassoonist Peter Kolkay, co-commissioned by the Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and the Westchester hilharmonic); Meet The Composer (Sindbad, for the Peabody Trio and actor Walter Van Dyk; and Toccatas, for harpsichordist Jory Vinikour.

The Barlow Endowment awarded to Mr. Metlzer its 2008 Barlow Prize, commissioning him to write a major new string quartet for the Avalon, Lydian, and Pacifica Quartets. Other support for his work includes the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and residencies at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. In recent years he has begun again to perform, including as a harpsichord soloist with the American Composers Orchestra in his work Virginal at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall and the Annenberg Center in Philadelphia, and as a narrator in his music theater work Sindbad, in performances with the Mannes and Peabody Trios, Trio Cavatina, Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble, Meridian Phase 2, and Sequitur.

James Arlington Wright (1927 -1980) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet who helped put the Midwest back on the poetic map. He first emerged on the literary scene in 1956 with The Green Wall, a collection of formalist verse that was awarded the prestigious Yale Younger Poets Prize. But by the early 1960s, Wright, increasingly influenced by the Spanish language surrealists, had dropped fixed meters. His transformation achieved its maximum expression with the publication of the seminal The Branch Will Not Break (1963).

Wright had discovered a terse, imagistic, free verse of clarity, and power. During the next ten years Wright would go on to pen some of the most beloved and frequently anthologized masterpieces of the century, such as "A Blessing," "Autumn Begins in Martin's Ferry, Ohio," and "I Am a Sioux Indian Brave, He Said to Me in Minneapolis."
Technically, Wright was an innovator, especially in the use of his titles, first lines, and last lines, which he used to great dramatic effect in defense of the lives of the disenfranchised. He is equally well known for his tender depictions of the bleak landscapes of the post-industrial American Midwest. Since his death, Wright has developed a cult following, transforming him into a seminal writer of ever increasing influence. Each year, hundreds of writers gather to pay tribute at the James Wright Poetry Festival in Martin's Ferry. Wright's son Franz Wright is also a poet. Together they are the only parent/child pair to have won a Pulitzer Prize in the same category (Poetry).

Tenor Paul Appleby is a rising star enjoying his first year with the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and his second in The Juilliard School's Artist Diploma in Opera Studies Program where he recently performed the role of Fenton in Verdi's Falstaff. Other recent appearances include at Opera Theatre of St. Louis and his debut with the Wolf Trap Opera Company. As a recitalist, Mr. Appleby has performed extensively with Steven Blier, both with the New York Festival of Song (most recently in last fall's Where We Come From) and in solo recital. His NYFOS appearances include the world premieres of works by John Musto and William Bolcom. This season he performed with Mr. Blier on the Joy in Singing and The Marilyn Horne Foundation's "On Wings of Song" series, and the Judith Raskin Memorial Recital. He has appeared in concert with Musica Sacra, and with the Baton Rouge, Lansing, and South Bend symphony orchestras. This season, he performs at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society with other members of the Lindemann Program. In 2009 Mr. Appleby was a National Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Joy in Singing Competition, and the recipient of a Sara Tucker study grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. He received his master's degree from Juilliard in 2008 where he continues to study with Marlena Malas.
Soprano Anne-Carolyn Bird is rapidly gaining attention by major companies in her young career. Of a recent performance, the Seattle Times said, "no one shone brighter than Anne-Carolyn Bird...her stage presence [is] nothing short of magnetic." Recent operatic engagements include Najade in Ariadne auf Naxos and Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Metropolitan Opera, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro and Micäela in Carmen at Opera Carolina, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Marguerite in Faust at the Dayton Opera, Yum-Yum in The Mikado at the Arizona Opera, Celia in John Musto's Volpone and Cunegonde in Candide at the Wolf Trap Opera, Camille in Louise at the Spoleto Festival U.S.A., and Noémie in Laurent Pelly's production of Cendrillon at the Santa Fe Opera. Recent concert appearances include Golijov's La Pasion de segun San Marcos on tour with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, A Midsummer Night's Dream with the Cleveland Orchestra, "An Evening of Musical Shakespeare" with the Atlanta Symphony, Handel's Messiah and Bach's Magnificat with the Portland Baroque Orchestra, her Carnegie Hall debut in Evan Chamber's oratorio The Old Burying Ground, and soloist in a concert version of Osvaldo Golijov's Grammy Award-winning opera Ainadamar. Upcoming engagements include a return to the Metropolitan Opera for Boris Godunov and Don Carlo, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Nashville Opera, and Beatrice in Inspector from Rome at the Wolf Trap Opera.

During the current season Baritone Andrew Garland will portray Dancaito in Carmen with Boston Lyric Opera, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Knoxville Opera, and the title role of Don Giovanni with Opera New Jersey. On the concert stage he will sing Carmina Burana with the Quad Cities Symphony, Dona Nobis Pacem with the Plymouth Philharmonic, and he'll participate in the New York Festival of Song at Merkin Concert Hall in New York. A highlight of the previous season was his Carnegie Hall solo recital debut where he premiered several works by living American composers. He also performed Handel's Messiah with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Handel's Samson with the Dartmouth Handel Society, and Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots with the Bard Festival. On the opera stage, he portrayed Hermann in Les contes d'Hoffmann and The Gamekeeper in Rusalka both with the Boston Lyric Opera, as well as Dandini in La Cenerentola with the Fort Worth Opera and the Opera Company of North Carolina. In addition, he took home the third prize in the 2009 Montreal International Music Competition, and saw the release of his disc of songs by Lee Hoiby called A Pocket of Time (Naxos). In recent seasons he has performed with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Nevada Opera, Dayton Opera, and the Utah Opera, as well as with the Atlanta Symphony, National Philharmonic, Washington Master Chorale at the Kennedy Center, and with the New York Festival of Song at Carmoor and at Carnegie Hall.

Steven Blier. Artistic director Steven Blier co-founded the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) in 1988 with Michael Barrett. Since the Festival's inception he has programmed, performed, translated and annotated over one hundred vocal recitals with repertoire spanning the entire range of American song, art song from Schubert to Szymanowski, and popular song from early vaudeville to Lennon-McCartney. Mr. Blier also enjoys an eminent career as an accompanist and vocal coach. His recitals with Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Samuel Ramey, Susan Graham, Frederica von Stade, and Jessye Norman have taken him to the stages of Carnegie Hall, La Scala, and London's Wigmore Hall. He has premiered works of John Corigliano, Ned Rorem, William Bolcom, John Musto, Paul Moravec, Tobias Picker, Robert Beaser, and Lee Hoiby, many of which were commissioned by NYFOS. In addition to his many recordings with NYFOS, Mr. Blier's discography includes the upcoming May 2010 release of Bastianello/Lucrezia on Bridge Records; two NYFOS commissioned comic operas by William Bolcom, John Musto and Mark Campbell (libretti); four volumes of songs by Charles Ives with baritone William Sharp (Albany Records), a Grammy-nominated CD of American songs with Mr. Sharp (New World Records), and first recordings of music by Busoni and Borodin with cellist Dorothy Lawson (Koch International). His two most recent releases are The Land Where the Good Songs Go with Sylvia McNair and Hal Cazalet, and Spanish Love Songs with Joseph Kaiser and the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Bridge Records). Mr. Blier is on the faculty of The Juilliard School, and has been active in encouraging young recitalists at summer programs, including the Wolf Trap Opera Company, Glimmerglass Opera, and the San Francisco Opera Center.

Michael Barrett. NYFOS co-founder and Associate Artistic Director Michael Barrett also serves as Chief Executive and General Director of the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. In 1992, he co-founded the Moab Music Festival with his wife, violist Leslie Tomkins. From 1994 to 1997, he was the Director of the Tisch Center for the Arts at the 92nd Street Y in New York. A protégé of Leonard Bernstein, Mr. Barrett began his long association with the renowned conductor and composer as a student in 1982. He is currently the Artistic Advisor for the estate of Leonard Bernstein. Mr. Barrett has been a guest conductor with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the New York Philharmonic, the London Symphony, the Israel Philharmonic and the Orchestre National de France, among others. He also has served variously as conductor, producer, and music director of numerous special projects, including the world premiere of Volpone by John Musto. Mr. Barrett's discography includes: the upcoming May 2010 release of Bastianello/Lucrezia on Bridge Records; two NYFOS commissioned comic operas by William Bolcom, John Musto and Mark Campbell (libretti); Spanish Love Songs, recorded live at Caramoor with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Steven Blier, and Joseph Kaiser; Live from the Moab Music Festival; the Grammy-nominated Evidence of Things Not Seen (New World Records); Aaron Jay Kernis: 100 Greatest Dance Hits (New Albion); On the Town (Deutsche Grammophon); Kaballah (Koch Classics) by Stewart Wallace and Michael Korie; Schumann Lieder with Lorraine Hunt and Kurt Ollman (Koch); and Arias and Barcarolles (Koch) by Leonard Bernstein (Grammy Award).

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.

NYFOS's New York City concert series is funded, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts.?The May 4 and 6, 2010 performances of The Newest Deal are made possible, in part, by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.? Beautiful Ohio is commissioned by the ASCAP Foundation Charles Kinsgford Fund.?Paul Appleby appears with the cooperation of The Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program

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