New York Festival Of Song Presents NYFOS NEXT FESTIVAL At The Rubin Museum Of Art's Theater

Curated by pianist Nathaniel LaNasa, the two programs highlight contemporary composers.

By: Sep. 14, 2022
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New York Festival Of Song Presents NYFOS NEXT FESTIVAL At The Rubin Museum Of Art's Theater

New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) continues its 2022-23 season with the 12th rendition of its NYFOS Next Festival on October 16, 2022 at 3:00pm and October 23, 2022 at 3:00pm at the Rubin Museum of Art's Theater. Curated by pianist Nathaniel LaNasa, the two programs highlight contemporary composers.

The first concert, Songs of Errollyn Wallen, features mezzo-sopranos Lucia Bradford and Leah Wool, alongside Mr. LaNasa at the piano. The Belize-born British composer's prolific body of work includes 22 operas and an extensive catalog of orchestral and vocal works. Coming from a composer who is known for her large ensemble pieces, Wallen's songs - many of which she performs herself - demonstrate an intimate side of her compositions. The lyrics, also by Wallen, examine our quickly changing world, using mythology, mystery, and even a modern household appliance to communicate both soulful and humorous bafflement about how we manage, and also fail to connect. When curating this program, Mr. LaNasa aimed to explore "that sweet sparkly spot between composer and performer," and Wallen's invitation for performers to improvise and "imbue their performances of this music with their own creative spirit." In addition to the published works on the program, Wallen has transcribed two unpublished songs specifically for this concert.

The second program, The Threefold Terror of Love, stars soprano Robin Steitz and baritone Dominik Belavy, joined by Mr. LaNasa at the piano, and features music by Matthew Ricketts, Thomas Adès, Katie Balch, Caroline Shaw, Shawn Jaeger, Tonia Ko, and others. The title of the program, taken from one of Matthew Ricketts' pieces, inspired Mr. LaNasa to explore intimacy's push and pull with this concert's programming. Asserting vulnerability as a superpower, Mr. LaNasa notes that this is a time when many have had to learn how to be closer to one another again, saying, "it's amazing how sweetly tender life feels when we are open to the possibility of pain."

Programming for NYFOS Next has been a wonderful opportunity to delve into the dizzying wealth of contemporary song," said Mr. LaNasa about his collaboration with NYFOS. "I was looking for two things: a sense of recognition - 'yes, that's EXACTLY what it's like!' - and a sense of surprise: '... but I'd never think to say it THAT way!' I revel in these songs that encompass the antipodes of human experience, and I can't wait to present them with this all-star cast."

The mini-series, which debuted in 2010, offers guest musicians a chance to collaborate with NYFOS to bring new music into intimate venues. Led by Artistic Director Steven Blier, NYFOS is dedicated to supporting musicians in the early stages of their careers and has developed platforms to support their artistic development. In addition to NYFOS Next, NYFOS hosts residencies at The Juilliard School's Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts, San Francisco Opera Center, Glimmerglass Opera, and NYFOS@North Fork in Orient, NY.

NYFOS' 35th season, which also marks Mr. Blier's 50th year as a professional musician, is devoted to the idea of resilience.

NYFOS' 2022-23 season also includes: Heroes on Wednesday, September 28, 2022 at 8:00pm; Kabarett on Wednesday, November 16, 2022 at 8:00pm with soprano Sari Gruber, mezzo-soprano Naomi O'Connell, baritone Justin Austin, and pianist Steven Blier; 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.

Concert Information

Songs of Errollyn Wallen
October 16, 2022 at 3:00pm
Rubin Museum of Art's Theater
150 West 17th Street | New York, NY

Lucia Bradford, mezzo-soprano
Leah Wool, mezzo-soprano
Nathaniel LaNasa, piano

Program to include songs by Errollyn Wallen

The Threefold Terror of Love
October 23, 2022 at 3:00pm
Rubin Museum of Art's Theater
150 West 17th Street | New York, NY

Robin Steitz, soprano
Dominik Belavy, baritone
Nathaniel LaNasa, piano

Program to include songs by Matthew Ricketts, Thomas Adès, Katie Balch, Caroline Shaw, Shawn Jaeger, Tonia Ko, and others

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.

Tickets are available for $25 at Subscribers receive a 20% off discount and student tickets are available for $10.

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.

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.

Pianist Nathaniel LaNasa discovers fresh possibilities of sonority, gesture, and storytelling in music - especially in music being written NOW. In early 2022, Nate played sixty performances of Ricky Ian Gordon's new opera for two pianos, Intimate Apparel, at Lincoln Center Theater. He has premiered works for quarter-tone pianos by Dimitri Tymoczko at Princeton, made first recordings of chamber works by Tobias Picker for Tzadik, and workshopped Hannah Lash's opera Desire at Columbia's Miller Theater.

A consummate collaborator, he has been praised for his "stormy lyricism" (The New York Times) and his "poise and elegance" (Feast of Music). As winners of the 2019 Joy In Singing International Art Song Competition, Nate and partner baritone Gregory Feldmann made their sold-out Carnegie Hall debut in February 2020. Nate also frequently partners with vocalist Lucy Dhegrae; they have performed together in a candlelit crypt, as part of the Resonant Bodies Festival, and at the American Music Festival (Albany Symphony). He's appeared in song partnerships at the Musée d'Orsay, Royaumont Abbey, Brooklyn Art Song Society, and New York Festival of Song.

Nate's NYC credits include Alice Tully Hall, MoMA, and (le) Poisson Rouge. A graduate of the Juilliard School and a 2018 fellow at Tanglewood, Nate joined the coaching staff at Berlin Opera Academy in 2019, and the faculty of Saluzzo Opera Academy in 2021.