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NYFOS Next Moves to National Sawdust, Opens with Gabriela Lena Frank

A new season of NYFOS Next opens Wednesday, November 2 at 7:00 p.m. at National Sawdust with GABRIELA LENA FRANK. Frank curates and hosts an hour-long evening of her vocal works and those of her friends and colleagues Avner Dorman and Derek Bermel.

A native Californian (born in Berkeley) of mixed Peruvian, Chinese, Lithuanian, and Jewish descent, Gabriela Lena Frank explores her multicultural heritage ardently through her compositions. Her pieces refract her studies of Latin American folklore, incorporating poetry, mythology, and native musical styles into a western classical framework uniquely her own.

Performers for the evening include a trio of vocalists: soprano Amy Owens, tenor Joshua Blue, and baritone Andrew Garland; as well as the Momenta Quartet. Frank joins NYFOS Associate Artistic Director Michael Barrett at the piano.

The program features the New York premiere of Frank's Iberian Songs for soprano and string quartet, drawing its text from anonymous Spanish gypsy songs. "These short and almost haiku-like poems are intensely emotional," says Frank. "I was struck by how often several poems could be edited and stitched together beautifully into a larger poem."

The evening also debuts a new arrangement of Frank's recent composition The Five Moons of Lorca with text by playwright Nico Cruz. Originally commissioned by the Oakland-East Bay Gay Men's Chorus, this version for solo tenor, baritone, and piano was created especially for New York Festival of Song.

Also on the program are a pair of works by Israeli-born composer Avner Dorman and selections from Grammy-nominated composer and clarinetist Derek Bermel's Cabaret Songs. Dorman's first opera, Wahnfried, receives its premiere this season at the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe. Bermel is Artistic Director of the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and also the Director of Copland House's emerging composers institute Cultivate.

From Gabriela Lena Frank: "As a Peruvian-American composer long interested in how classical music can partner with popular and non-western idioms, I'm delighted to share a concert of vocal music on New York Festival of Song's NYFOS Next series with two colleagues who also share this philosophy. Avner Dorman of Israel and New Yorker Derek Bermel easily wear the mantle of 'global artist' as they virtuosically personalize a breathtaking range of cultures and styles. I am so looking forward to hearing how their music and my own, inspired by Iberian and Latin American cultures, will be interpreted by a terrific cast of singers and instrumentalists."

2016-17 marks the seventh season NYFOS Next; the moveable modern song salon finds a new home at Brooklyn's much buzzed-about National Sawdust. Upcoming shows will be curated and hosted by Christopher Cerrone (12/8/16) and the husband/wife team of Kyle Jarrow and Lauren Worsham (rescheduled date TBA).

With an emphasis on spontaneity, novelty, and collaboration, NYFOS Next looks to the future, offering today's song composers a forum for their work. Audiences get an intimate look inside the creative process, as freshly-minted songs are offered-some for the first time-in an informal setting. Curator/hosts for past NYFOS Nexts include Bright Sheng, Paul Moravec, Gabriel Kahane, Joseph Thalken, Phil Kline, Carla Kilhstedt, Mohammed Fairouz, Kevin Puts, Russell Platt, Mark Adamo, John Musto, Harold Meltzer, David T. Little, and Lowell liebermann.


Gabriela Lena Frank
Eufemia, En la Vela
Avner Dorman
The Fear of Men
The Five Moons of Lorca
(world premiere arrangement)

Derek Bermel from Cabaret Songs:
Spider Love

Frank Iberian Songs for soprano and string quartet
(New York premiere)

Now in its 29th 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 evenings of compelling theater, NYFOS fosters community among artists and audiences. Each program entertains and educates in equal measure.

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 musical 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. Among the many highlights is the 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 ofSpanish 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. This past season saw the release of Canción Amorosa, 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 debuted NYFOS Next, a mini-series for new songs, hosted by guest composers in intimate venues. The series is currently held at National Sawdust in Brooklyn.

NYFOS is passionate about nurturing the artistry and careers of young singers, and has developed training residencies around the country, including with The Juilliard School's Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts (now in its 12th year); Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (its 9th year in March 2017); San Francisco Opera Center (over 18 years as of February 2016); Glimmerglass Opera (2008-2010); and its newest project, NYFOS@North Fork in Orient, NY.

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.

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