New York Festival Of Song Presents A GOYISHE CHRISTMAS TO YOU! At Kaufman Music Center On December 14

Featuring Donna Breitzer, Cantor Joshua Breitzer, Rebecca Jo Loeb, Alex Mansoori, William Socolof, Lauren Worsham, Steven Blier, and Alan R. Kay.

By: Nov. 17, 2022
New York Festival Of Song Presents A GOYISHE CHRISTMAS TO YOU! At Kaufman Music Center On December 14

New York Festival of Song (NYFOS), led by Artistic Director Steven Blier, presents its annual holiday show, A Goyishe Christmas to You! on Wednesday, December 14, 2022 at 7:00pm at Merkin Hall's Upper Lobby at the Kaufman Music Center.

The program features favorite Yuletide tunes (performed with a twist) and specialty material by Jewish composers, sung by soprano Lauren Worsham, mezzo-sopranos Donna Breitzer and Rebecca Jo Loeb, tenor Alex Mansoori, bass-baritone William Socolof, and Cantor Joshua Breitzer. Steven Blier joins as pianist and host, alongside clarinetist Alan R. Kay.

Devised and premiered by Steven Blier at HENRY's in 2010 and now in its thirteenth year-A Goyishe Christmas to You! consists of Yuletide songs written by Jewish composers, from the wickedly funny to the meltingly beautiful. The show includes classics like Irving Berlin's White Christmas as well as Yiddish versions of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Baby, It's Cold Outside-a popular seasonal songbook packed with contributions by Jewish songwriters on behalf of their gentile counterparts.

Upcoming performances in NYFOS' 2022-23 season include: Amor on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 at 8:00pm with mezzo-sopranos Lucia Bradford and Kate Lindsey, bass-baritone Federico De Michelis, and others to be announced, together with pianist Steven Blier; and Mediterranean on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 at 8:00pm featuring Caramoor's 2023 Schwab Vocal Rising Stars with pianists Steven Blier and Bénédicte Jourdois.

All NYFOS programming is funded, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.

Concert Information
A Goyishe Christmas to You!
New York Festival of Song
Wednesday, December 14, 2022 at 7:00pm
Upper Lobby at Merkin Hall, Kaufman Music Center
Tickets: $45
Ticket Link:

Selections to include:
Howard Levitsky/Marc Miller: Candle in My Window
Frank Loesser: Baby, It's Cold Outside
David Javerbaum/Adam Schlesinger: Can I interest you in Hanukkah?
Felix Bernard/Dick Smith: Winter Wonderland
Jay Livingston/Ray Evans: Silver Bells
JOHNNY MARKS: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Yiddish arr. by Kugelplex/Joshua Breitzer)
Frank Loesser: What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?
Joan Javits/PHIL and TONY SPRINGER/R.J. LOEB: Santa Zaydee
ROY ZIMMERMAN: Don't Let Gramma Cook Christmas Dinner
MEL TORME/TORME and WELLS: The Christmas Song ("Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire") (new lyrics by Adam Gopnik)
David Friedman: My Simple Christmas Wish
Irving Berlin: White Christmas
JOHNNY MARKS: Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

Lauren Worsham, soprano
Donna Breitzer, mezzo-soprano
Rebecca Jo Loeb, mezzo-soprano
Alex Mansoori, tenor
William Socolof, bass-baritone
Cantor Joshua Breitzer
Steven Blier, pianist and host
Alan R. Kay, clarinet

Now in its 35th 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 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. In 2014, Canción Amorosa, a CD of Spanish song-Basque, Catalan, Castilian, and Sephardic-was released on the GPR label, with soprano Corinne Winters accompanied by Steven Blier.

Their latest endeavor is NYFOS Records, which released its first album (From Rags to Riches, with Stephanie Blythe and William Burden) in January of 2022. They also issue a monthly single, with archival performances by artists such as Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Bernarda Fink, and newly recorded songs by Joshua Blue and Sasha Cooke. NYFOS Records has reached rapidly growing audiences in over 100 countries, with well over 110,000 plays since its inception in November of 2021.

In November 2010, NYFOS debuted NYFOS Next, a mini-series for new songs, hosted by guest composers in intimate venues, including OPERA America's National Opera Center, National Sawdust, the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, the Ann Goodman Recital Hall at Kaufman Music Center, and now the Rubin Museum in Chelsea.

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 16th year); Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (its 14th year in March 2022); San Francisco Opera Center (over 20 years as of February 2018); 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.

About Steven Blier
Steven Blier is the Artistic Director of the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS), which he co-founded in 1988 with Michael Barrett. Since the Festival's inception, he has programmed, performed, translated and annotated more than 140 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. NYFOS has also made in-depth explorations of music from Spain, Latin America, Scandinavia and Russia. New York Magazine gave NYFOS its award for Best Classical Programming, while Opera News proclaimed Blier "the coolest dude in town" and in December 2014, Musical America included him as one of 30 top industry professionals in their feature article, "Profiles in Courage."

Mr. Blier enjoys an eminent career as an accompanist and vocal coach. His recital partners have included Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Samuel Ramey, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Susan Graham, Jessye Norman, and José van Dam, in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to La Scala. He is also on the faculty of The Juilliard School and has been active in encouraging young recitalists at summer programs, including the Wolf Trap Opera Company, the Steans Institute at Ravinia, Santa Fe Opera, and the San Francisco Opera Center. Many of his former students, including Stephanie Blythe, Joseph Kaiser, Sasha Cooke, Paul Appleby, Dina Kuznetsova, Corinne Winters, Julia Bullock, and Kate Lindsey, have gone on to be valued recital colleagues and sought-after stars on the opera and concert stage. In keeping the traditions of American music alive, he has brought back to the stage many of the rarely heard songs of George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Kurt Weill and Cole Porter. He has also played ragtime, blues and stride piano evenings with John Musto. A champion of American art song, he has premiered works of John Corigliano, Paul Moravec, Ned Rorem, William Bolcom, Mark Adamo, John Musto, Richard Danielpour, Tobias Picker, Robert Beaser, Lowell Liebermann, Harold Meltzer, and Lee Hoiby, many of which were commissioned by NYFOS.

Mr. Blier's extensive discography includes the premiere recording of Leonard Bernstein's Arias and Barcarolles (Koch International), which won a Grammy Award; Spanish Love Songs (Bridge Records), recorded live at the Caramoor International Music Festival with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Joseph Kaiser, and Michael Barrett; the world premiere recording of Bastianello (John Musto) and Lucrezia (William Bolcom), a double bill of one-act comic operas set to librettos by Mark Campbell; and Quiet Please, an album of jazz standards with vocalist Darius de Haas, and Canción amorosa, a CD of Spanish songs with soprano Corinne Winters. His latest release is From Rags to Riches with Stephanie Blythe and William Burden, on NYFOS Records. His writings on opera have been featured in Opera News and the Yale Review. A native New Yorker, he received a Bachelor's Degree with Honors in English Literature at Yale University, where he studied piano with Alexander Farkas. He completed his musical studies in New York with Martin Isepp and Paul Jacobs. Steve is a Yamaha Artist.

About Lauren Worsham
Lauren Worsham is a Drama Desk Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated actor and singer. She originated the role of Phoebe on Broadway in A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, for which she received a Drama Desk Award, a Theatre World Award, and a Tony Award nomination. Other favorite roles include Magnolia in Show Boat with the New York Philharmonic (also on PBS), Lisa in Dog Days at Montclair Peak Performances, Fort Worth Opera and LA Opera (dir. Robert Woodruff), Flora in Turn of the Screw at New York City Opera (dir. Sam Buntrock), Amy in Where's Charley at New York City Center (dir. John Doyle), Cunegonde in New York City Opera's Candide, and Olive in the first National tour of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Lauren co-wrote and starred in The Wildness at Ars Nova, nominated for a Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical. Additional credits include La Perichole at New York City Opera, Carnival (Lili) at Goodspeed Opera House, Into the Woods (Cinderella) at Kansas City Rep, Master Class (Sophie) at Paper Mill Playhouse, The Light in the Piazza (Clara) at Weston Playhouse and The Fantasticks (Luisa) at Emelin Theatre.

In addition to her work in theater and opera, Lauren is the lead singer for the rock band Sky-Pony (called "indie pop aces" by The New York Times). Lauren has performed in concert frequently, both with her band and solo, including shows at Carnegie Hall, Caramoor, Merkin Hall, Oregon Bach Festival, Mercury Lounge, Joe's Pub, The Park Avenue Armory and New York City Opera's VOX Program. Lauren was second-place award winner of the Kurt Weill Foundation's Lotte Lenya competition. She is the co-founder and executive director of the downtown opera company, The Coterie.

Lauren has appeared in the CW television show Valor, as well as the indie film Saint Janet. Lauren is also especially proud of her performance as the voice of the cousin-loving Urara in the English-language dub of the anime classic The Sakura Diaries. Lauren graduated cum laude from Yale University, with a B.A. in Spanish Literature. She is represented by Ted Schachter and Rachel Saltzman of Schachter Entertainment and Ben Sands of Artists & Representatives.

About Donna Breitzer
Brooklyn-based mezzo-soprano Donna Breitzer enjoys a varied schedule of solo and ensemble performances in New York City and beyond. Equally versatile in early music, contemporary works, art song, opera, and sacred music, Donna is an in-demand singer in both small and large ensemble settings. Recent performance highlights include appearances with The Metropolitan Opera's Extra Chorus, which she joined in 2014, and concerts with the American Classical Orchestra, New York Virtuoso Singers, Bard Festival Chorale, American Symphony Orchestra, Voices of Ascension, and New York Festival of Song's After Hours series. In addition to performing, Donna maintains a private voice teaching studio in NYC, and is the Executive Director of Five Boroughs Music Festival, which she co-founded in 2007.

About Rebecca Jo Loeb
Hailed as "a theatrical performer whose rise to watch" by Opera News, Rebecca Jo Loeb recently made debuts with the Teatro Municipal de Santiago reprising Gymnasiast/ein Groom in Lulu and with Theater Freiburg as Susan in Weill's Love Life. Her other engagements include her return to the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Zweite Magd in Elektra and New York Festival of Song for Arias and Barcarolles on tour to Arizona Opera and Wolf Trap. She made debuts with the Metropolitan Opera as Flora in La traviata and Oper Köln as The Fox in The Cunning Little Vixen.

In concert, Rebecca has performed with the Hamburg Ballet as the Alto in both Handel's Messiah and Bach's St. Johannes Passion, with the CPE Bach Chor as the Alto Soloist in Bach's Markus-Passion, and as a soloist in her concert series The Jenny and Johnny Project at both the Kurt Weill Festival in Dessau and the Brecht Festival in Augsburg, Germany. She has joined James Conlon in a concert performance of Mahagonny Sonspiel at the Ravinia Festival and has sung Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream with the New York City Ballet, the Alto and Second Soprano Soloist in Bach's Mass in B minor at Carnegie Hall, and made her Alice Tully Hall debut singing Bolcom's acclaimed Cabaret Songs with orchestra.

Her awards include a Sullivan Educational Award, the Curt Englehorn Scholarship from the Opera Foundation, first prize in the Lotte Lenya Competition, a 2009 Career Bridges grant, and the Ginney and John Starkey Young Artist Award at Central City Opera. She is a proud graduate of the Juilliard School, The Manhattan School of Music, and especially the University of Michigan, from which she received the Stanley Medal.

About Alex Mansoori
Called "Outstanding" and "Hilarious" by critics, tenor Alex Mansoori has been hailed as "solid and convincing" and "smartly characterized" by The New York Times. Specializing in character tenor roles, Mr. Mansoori's varied repertoire runs the gamut from Handel and Mozart to Bernstein and Sondheim. Recent seasons included debuts with Dallas Opera (Falstaff), Tanglewood (Candide), Opera Tampa (Le Nozze di Figaro), and Opera Colorado (Falstaff). He also made returns to Opera Naples (On the Town), Ravinia Festival (Candide), Opera Orlando (Les Contes d'Hoffman, Pagliacci), Titusville Playhouse (Mamma Mia!), the New York Festival of Song (Blitzstein/Weill Double Bill). Future seasons include returns to Opera Tampa for L'Contes d'Hoffman and Opera Colorado. This season, he returns to Opera Colorado for Turandot.

Bass-baritone William Socolof from White Plains, New York began training at the Interlochen Arts Academy. In 2019, William participated in the Marlboro Music Festival, and will return in 2021. As a vocal fellow at Tanglewood Music Festival (2017-18) William appeared in Sondheim on Sondheim with the Boston Pops, Bach Cantatas conducted by John Harbison, and premiered works by Michael Gandolfi and Nico Muhly. In the 2020 season, William debuted with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons, and with The Juilliard Chamber Orchestra in Alice Tully Hall. William also appeared as Daniel Webster (Mother of Us All) in collaboration with Met LiveArts and the NY Phil, and as Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte) at Juilliard. William had the honor of being named a winner in the 2020 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and started their career through YCA. William holds a B.M. and M.M. from Juilliard, and is pursuing an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies with William Burden.

Cantor Josh Breitzer (he/him) was called to Brooklyn's Congregation Beth Elohim soon after his 2011 ordination from HUC-JIR. Named by The Forward in its "Soundtrack of Our Spirit" series as a leading voice of Jewish music, Cantor Breitzer has sung and taught in communities around the world. He appears throughout the PBS documentary "The Four Sons And All Their Sons: A Passover Tale" and helped create the New York Festival of Song's acclaimed cabaret "A Goyishe Christmas to You" in which he performs annually. Among his most influential mentors were Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Yehudi Wyner, Cantor Lawrence Avery, and Dr. Jack Gottlieb, whose artistic legacy Cantor Breitzer himself continues to preserve and promote as an innovative instructor at the HUC-JIR Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music.

Josh proudly hails from mid-Michigan and spent formative summers at Interlochen Arts Camp, eventually earning degrees from the University of Michigan and the New England Conservatory. Committed to inspiring the next generation of Jewish music makers, he was the founding conductor of HaZamir Brooklyn, a chapter of HaZamir: The International Jewish Teen Choir, and has been on faculty at multiple URJ summer camps. He has also presented classes at the North American Jewish Choral Festival, the Academy for Jewish Religion, and at the Abraham Geiger Kolleg in Potsdam, Germany. Alongside his work at CBE and HUC, he has served as a vice president of the American Conference of Cantors since 2016. Cantor Breitzer lives in Park Slope with his wife Donna and their children Jonah and Gideon.

Praised by The New York Times for his "spellbinding" performances and "infectious enthusiasm and panache," Alan R. Kay is Principal Clarinetist and a former Artistic Director of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and serves as Principal Clarinet with New York's Riverside Symphony and Little Orchestra Society. Mr. Kay is the recipient of the Classical Recording Foundation's Samuel Sanders Award, the C.D. Jackson Award at Tanglewood, a Presidential Scholars Teacher Award, and the 1989 Young Concert Artists Award with the sextet Hexagon, featured in the prizewinning film, "Debut." A founding member of the Windscape Quintet, he is a regular guest in chamber music venues throughout the world, including the Yellow Barn, Orlando (Holland), Bowdoin, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society Festivals, and the Cape May Music Festival, where he curated a concert series for 25 years. A frequent performer of the clarinet quintet canon, he has collaborated with the Orion, Calidore, Miró, Shanghai, Guarneri, Mendelssohn, Rus, Fine Arts, Chester and Colorado string quartets. Mr. Kay taught at the Summer Music Academy in Leipzig, Germany in 2004 and currently teaches at the Manhattan School of Music, The Juilliard School and Stony Brook University, where he also serves as Executive Director of the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra. A virtuoso of wind chamber music repertoire, Mr. Kay has recorded with Hexagon, Windscape and the Sylvan Winds; his transcriptions for wind quintet are published by Trevco Music and International Opus. Recent recording projects include the Brahms Clarinet Quintet with Rusquartet for Etcetera Records, a full-length CD of the works of Rudolf Escher, both to be released in 2022, Michael Torke's "Psalms and Canticles," released in 2021 and "TIME," released in 2022. He has served on the juries of international chamber music competitions in Trapani, Italy and Rolduc, Holland, Young Concert Artists, Concert Artist Guild, and the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. Also a conductor, Mr. Kay studied conducting at Juilliard with the late Otto-Werner Mueller and has led orchestras and chamber ensembles at Juilliard, Stony Brook and in the New York City area.

Photo credit: Cherylynn Tsushima