Rose Theater Presents AN EVENING OF AMERICAN SONG 5/21/2010
Soprano Lisa Delan, pianist Kristin Pankonin and cellist Matt Haimovitz, present a rich and varied collection of art songs by living American composers entitled AND IF THE SONG BE WORTH A SMILE: AN EVENING OF AMERICAN SONG, Friday, May 21, 2010 at 8 p.m. at Rose Theater in Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Broadway at 60th Street.
This evening of music, presented by PentaTone Classics, pays tribute to the American art song, a form which has grown in popularity and stature in recent years. The program will include works by William Bolcom, John Corigliano, David Garner, Gordon Getty, Jake Heggie and LUna Pearl Woolf.
The program celebrates the release of the SACD available from PentaTone Classics also entitled AND IF THE SONG BE WORTH A SMILE (PTC 5186 099), featuring the same performers.
Tickets to the May 21 concert are $25-$35, Students/Seniors $15.
Jazz at Lincoln Center Box Office
Broadway at 60th Street, Ground Floor
Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm
The program is as follows (subject to change):
Four Cabaret Songs William Bolcom
Oh Close the Curtain
Poor Peter Gordon Getty
Where is My Lady
Tune the Fiddle
The Ballad of Poor Peter
Three Songs Jake Heggie
He's gone away
The Leather-Winged Bat
Phenomenal Woman David Garner
Call Letters: Mrs. V.B.
Lord, in My Heart
No Loser, No Weeper
Three Cabaret Songs John Corigliano
End of the Line
Odas de Todo el Mundo LUna Pearl Woolf
Information about the Program and Artists (based on liner notes from the CD by Clifford Cranna):
William Bolcom (honored as 2007 Composer of the Year by Musical America), leads the way with four selections from his well known, two-volume set of "Cabaret Songs" (1977-85), originally written for his wife, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris. The savvy lyrics are by the late playwright and librettist Arnold Weinstein (1927-2005), who collaborated with Bolcom on his operas McTeague; A View from the Bridge; and A Wedding. Many of these cabaret songs evoke the complex emotional terrain inhabited by the modern liberated woman, à la "Sex in the City." In the delightfully sensual "Amor," a pleased-with-herself beauty gloats at the wide admiration her irresistible charms inspire. "Oh, Close the Curtain" is a boozy, conflicted and wistful recollection of a wild, posh party. By contrast, "Waitin" affords a quiet moment of hope and faith in the simple style of a gospel song. An awkward scene of morning-after regrets following a night of so-so sex unfolds in "Toothbrush Time."
Noted San Francisco composer Gordon Getty (honored as an Outstanding American Composer at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1986) offers his set of songs, "Poor Peter" (March 2008). Getty conjures a vision of Merrie Olde England through the crystalline prism of his crisp, uncluttered modern sound, beginning with the delicately shifting chromatics of "Where is My Lady?" A wry twist on an old-fashionEd English dancing song, "Tune the Fiddle" offers some clever rhythmic surprises, while "The Ballad of Poor Peter" is a halting, enigmatically haunting beggar's plea. Its final stanza provides the title for this recoding: "And if the song be worth a tear/Or yet a smile/Then grant Poor Peter but a penny . . . ."
Jake Heggie, another San Franciscan, was catapulted to prominence with the phenomenal success of his first opera, Dead Man Walking, premiered at San Francisco Opera in 2000, but his career as a successful songwriter was well under way years earlier, as he found friendly collaborators among many well known American singers. Heggie's "Three Folk Songs" (1994), arrangements of familiar American tunes, were originally created for famed mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade. The first, "Barb'ry Allen," gives the familiar plaintive ballad fresh eloquence. An expressive piano part underscores the heartfelt pining of "He's Gone Away," and the near-nonsensical chatterings of "The Leather-Winged Bat" are dressed in cheekily sparkling accompaniment figures.
Professor David Garner has taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music since 1979, and was the 1997 recipient of the George Sarlo Family Foundation Outstanding Professor Award. His wide-ranging and multifaceted output spanning the past two decades includes vocal chamber music in Spanish, Catalan, German, Renaissance Italian, Modern Greek and Japanese. "Phenomenal Woman" is a set of seven songs for solo voice and piano, on poems by Maya Angelou. The work was commissioned by soprano Kathleen Sisco and premiered by her in 2004. Angelou's poetry, with its built-in fluidity of rhythm and cadence, ever lends itself to musical settings. These seven poems embody the poet's deep compassion and her faith in the indomitable human spirit as expressed in the feminine. Garner has departed from his usual highly interrelated form in this set, which is not so much a "cycle" as a group of cabaret songs, each one independent of its fellows. The style varies greatly from song to song: jazz, blues, rock and roll, and musical theatre are all present. And, as with much of Garner's music, the music stretches the technical abilities of both classical and pop musicians, borrowing equally as it does from both idioms.
John Corigliano's preeminence among living American composers has been confirmed by numerous honors, including several Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize for his Symphony No. 2 (2001), a Grawemeyer Award for his Symphony No. 1 (1991), an Academy Award for his score to Francois Girard's 1997 film, The Red Violin, and the designation as Musical America's first-ever Composer of the Year in 1994. His opera, The Ghosts of Versailles, commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera (1991), has met with huge success. His ventures into the world of cabaret songs, delving into the subject matter of modern classical music itself, are heard here, with witty texts by his longtime partner, Mark Adamo, composer of the frequently performed opera Little Women (1998). "Dodecaphonia" or "They Call Her Twelve-Tone Rose" (1997) cleverly pokes fun at the 20th-Century German atonal or "twelve-tone" school of composition championed by Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern and finds time to lampoon the endless repetitions of modern minimalist composers as well. "Marvelous Invention" (2001) has some fun imagining a stylish woman on the telephone rhapsodizing about the (supposed) delights of her new iPod-style music player, rattling off a modern "Who's Who" of performers and composers (including Corigliano himself, of course). "End of the Line," according to Lisa Delan, "is an ode to the neighborhood music store, a shared oasis of art and community, now supplanted by yet another chain coffee bar whose clientele contentedly (and quietly) seek music and conversation - alone with their laptops."
LUna Pearl Woolf
A composer whose distinctive new voice has won wide recognition across North America and Europe, LUna Pearl Woolf holds degrees in composition from Harvard University (1996) and Smith College (2002). She received the Ellen Taafe Zwilich Prize from the International League of Women Composers in 1993, and the Settie Lehman Fatman Prize for composition in large form from Smith College in 2002. She and her husband, cellist Matt Haimovitz, whom she met at Harvard, work to bring classical music to a younger, hipper audience. "Odas de Todo el Mundo" ("Odes for Everyone"), commissioned by Lisa Delan, sets an evocative poem by the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1904-1973). Woolf captures the wide-ranging moods of the poem, mixing spicy Latin dance rhythms, dry insouciance and pensive melancholy.
American soprano Lisa Delan has won acclaim as an outstanding interpreter of a vast repertoire and is recognized for her versatility and breadth of accomplishment in opera, song and recording. She has performed on some of the world's leading concert stages including Lincoln Center, the Auditiorio Nacional in Madrid, the Moscow Conservatory, and in special appearance at Windsor Castle. Her festival appearances include the Bad Kissingen Festival in Germany, the Colmar Festival in France, the Rachmaninoff Festival in Novgorod, Russia, the Festival del Sole in Napa Valley, California, and the Tuscan Sun Festival in Cortona, Italy. Most recently, she performed in the 2009 Domaine Forget Festival in Canada in collaboration with cellist Matt Haimowitz.
Ms. Delan won recognition from singing the title role in the world premiere of Gordon Getty's Joan and the Bells in 1998, a role she has since reprised in France, Germany, the U.S., and Russia, and in the 2002 recording for PentaTone Classics. Critics have praised her depiction of Joan of Arc as "beautifully sung" (International Record Review), "refreshingly unpretentious" (Gramophone Magazine), and "a role she has made her own, with the kind of pure tone one expects of a saint-to-be and the passion one expects from a 19-year-old girl going to her death. Miss Delan is exceptional" (Nevada Events).
As a recital artist, her repertoire encompasses the Baroque to the contemporary and she is privileged to collaborate with composers whose musical lives are still works in progress: Ms. Delan has performed and recorded the music of William Bolcom, John Corigliano, David Garner, Gordon Getty, Jake Heggie, Andrew imbrie, and LUna Pearl Woolf, among others. Most recently, in 2009, she performed Getty's well-known song cycle The White Election, to poems by Emily Dickinson, in a recital presented by the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Ms. Delan was featured on three recordings released by PentaTone Classics in 2009: And If the Song Be Worth a Smile, her debut solo recording of songs by American composers (with pianist Kristin Pankonin and guest artists Matt Haimovitz and Susanne Mentzer); The White Election, a new recording of Getty's song cycle (with pianist Fritz Steinegger); and as a guest artist on Phenomenon, a recording of works by San Francisco-based composer David Garner. About these recordings, critics have noted, "The performance by Lisa Delan reveals her to be singer with an unusually versatile voice, ranging from rich operatic tones to Broadway belt, with excellent diction and imaginative characterization. Delan has the ability to tell a story through song very effectively..." (International Record Review); "Lisa Delan has a lovely, bright soprano voice that she can color appropriately..." (Fanfare); and "Her singing is full of thoughtful detail and rings clear (yes, you can actually hear the words), plus her acting is dramatic enough to be direct but is never over the top" (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle).
Lisa Delan's performances in 2010 include an appearance on the Cal Performances series with the Russian National Orchestra under the baton of Mikhail Pletnev, in the world premiere of a work by the conductor, and a return to the Festival del Sole.
Pianist Kristin Pankonin performs regularly throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and has appeared in numerous recitals across the United States, Canada and Europe. In recent seasons, she has appeared in concert with such artists as vocalists Frederica von Stade, Zheng Cao, Catherine Cook, Christine Abraham and Lisa Delan, cellist Matt Haimowitz, and many others. Audiences have heard her in various concert series including the Festival del Sole concerts in Napa, the Tuscan Sun Festival in Cortona, Italy, the Shenson Recital Series at Stanford, Maestro Foundation Concerts, Mills College Concert Series, San Francisco Conservatory of Music Faculty Artist Series, Old First Church Concerts, and Composers Inc.
Committed to performing the music of contemporary composers, Ms. Pankonin is featured on two newly-released recordings on the PentaTone Classics label, If the Song Be Worth a Smile, performing vocal works of living American composers, and Phenomenon, songs by Bay Area composer David Garner with vocalists Lisa Delan, Susanne Mentzner, Francisco Araiza, William Stone and Stephanie Friede, cellist Matt Haimovitz, and members of the San Francisco Symphony.
Ms. Pankonin currently serves on the faculties of Mills College and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Matt Haimovitz is an Israeli-born cellist now based in the United States and Canada. He is known not only for his outstanding technical and musical skill, but also for his highly unusual concert career and repertoire choices. He mainly plays a cello made by Matteo Gofriller in 1710. Matt is married to composer LUna Pearl Woolf; they have a daughter, born in 2007. Haimovitz began to study the cello at the age of seven with Gabor Rejto in California. In 1983, Haimovitz took up his studies with Leonard Rose at The Juilliard School. Rose described Haimovitz as "probably the greatest talent I have ever taught," praising his "ravishingly beautiful tone" and "unusual sense of style and musical sensitivity." After graduating from Harvard University in 1996, Haimovitz became dissatisfied with the traditional career path of a modern classical musician. He began exploring non-standard classical and non-classical repertoire more intensively, and began a program of concerts in unusual venues. A 2002 North American tour that attracted international attention saw Haimovitz performing J. S. Bach's cello suites in nightclubs, restaurants and other highly non-traditional venues in a wide variety of towns and cities across the United States. This was followed in 2003 by Haimovitz's Anthem tour, in which he brought a variety of American compositions to a similar variety of audiences, including his interpretation of Jimi Hendrix's famous improvisational rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner."