Stephen Schwartz Single 'Testimony' to Benefit Anti-Bullying Workshops in NYC Schools

By: Nov. 16, 2017

Judith Clurman, Silas Brown, Essential Voices and Tony & Grammy Award-winning producer Van Dean (Broadway Records) announced today the release of "Testimony," a new single written by award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Pippin) with proceeds benefiting anti-bullying workshops in New York City Public Schools. The new single will be released on iTunes, and all major retailers on Friday, November 17, 2017.

"'Testimony' was written using interviews for the 'It Gets Better' project, but to me it has always had a broader implication, speaking for those who have experienced bullying or felt shame for who they are, whatever the reason," said Schwartz. "I have always hoped for a good SATB performance, and hearing the piece so beautifully sung by the EVUSA under the always impeccable direction of Judith Clurman is ?a real joy for me."

Inspired by the "It Gets Better Project", Schwartz wrote "Testimony" for a 2012 concert performance by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. Essential Voices USA (EVUSA) performed the World Premiere of the mixed chorus version, at Carnegie Hall, in 2013, as part of a New York Pops concert celebrating the composer, and once again, at the Wall to Wall Stephen Schwartz concert, at Symphony Space in 2016.

"Rehearsing, conducting, and recording 'Testimony' has been a moving experience for me and for my chorus members," said Clurman. "I hope that this recording can help inspire people to be more sensitive to other people's feelings."

The recording with Essential Voices USA includes Joseph Beutel, Luthien Brackett, Connor Cheek, Lianne Coble, Margery Daley, Lana Graves, Paul Hernandez, Alonso Johnson, Helen Karloski, Matthew Leonard, David Gabriel Lerner, Kate Levin, Drew Martin, Steven Moore, Kim Queren, Heather Petrie, Jamet Pittman, Gregory Purnhagen, Mikki Sodergren, Elisa Singer, John Tiranno, Kim Queren, Tommy Wazelle, Katherine Wessinger, Lewis White. James Cunningham is at the piano.

Stephen Schwartz (Composer) has contributed music and/or lyrics to the following shows: Godspell, Pippin, The Magic Show, The Baker's Wife, Working (which he also adapted and directed), Rags, Children of Eden, My Fairytale, and the current Broadway hit, Wicked. For films, he collaborated with Alan Menken on the songs for Disney's Enchanted as well as the animated features Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame and wrote the songs for the DreamWorks animated feature The Prince of Egypt. In the field of classical music, he collaborated with Leonard Bernstein on the English texts for Bernstein's Mass, composed the choral pieces "Testimony" and "Keramos," and his first opera, Séance on a Wet Afternoon, premiered with Opera Santa Barbara in the fall of 2009 and was recently produced by New York City Opera. Other credits include the title song for the play and movie Butterflies Are Free, songs for two musicals for children, Captain Louie and My Son Pinocchio, and two CDs of new songs entitled Reluctant Pilgrim and Uncharted Territory. A book about his career, "Defying Gravity," has recently been released by Applause Books. Under the auspices of the ASCAP Foundation, he runs musical theatre workshops in New York and Los Angeles, and is currently the President of the Dramatists' Guild. Mr. Schwartz has been given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Other awards include three Academy Awards, four Grammy Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, and a tiny handful of tennis trophies.

CLURMAN (Conducter & Producer) Emmy and Grammy-nominated conductor, educator, and choral specialist Judith Clurman has worked with many of the world's finest musical organizations including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke's, New York City Ballet, Mostly Mozart Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Lincoln Center's Great Performers, American Songbook Series, American Composer's Orchestra, and the New York Pops. She has commissioned, premiered and recorded works by over sixty American composers including Milton Babbitt, William Bolcom, Jason Robert Brown, Marvin Hamlisch, Jennifer Higdon, and Nico Muhly. She has been involved with highly praised US Premieres of the music of Philip Glass, Rossini, and Wagner, the World Premiere of a newly-discovered Mozart text for Lincoln Center's Mozart Bicentennial, and a Leonard Bernstein arrangement of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, performed at Harvard. She is familiar to television audiences for her national broadcasts on NBC and PBS as music director of the Singing Tree Float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (2017), as conductor of the July 4th Macy's Fireworks Spectacular (2014); and as associate music director for Sesame Street (season 39), which earned her a 2009 Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition. She commissioned "Sing Out Mr. President," which premiered at the Library of Congress, was performed on National Public Radio, during the 2013 inauguration activities, and is a favorite of high school choruses nationwide. Tania Leon's recording In Motion, featuring Ms. Clurman and the Son Sonora Voices received a Grammy nomination. Her two latest recordings, Season of Light: Songs of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, New Year and Holiday Harmonies: Songs of Christmas, celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. She has recorded for New World, Sono Luminus, Albany, and Delos. Ms. Clurman is a member of the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music and has taught the Juilliard School, Harvard University, NEA/Columbia University Institute of Classical Music, Cambridge University, Curtis Institute of Music; and Princeton University. Her music and arrangements are published by G. Schirmer, Hal Leonard, and Schott.

VOICES USA Judith Clurman's Essential Voices USA (EVUSA) is one of New York's preeminent choral ensembles. EVUSA performs in many of the city's iconic venues and events and records and premieres works by America's finest composers and lyricists. Regularly on stage with the New York Pops in its Carnegie Hall subscription series, televised on NBC's July 4th Macy's 2014 Spectacular Fireworks and the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting, the ensemble comprises a talented roster of seasoned professionals and auditioned volunteers, dynamically fitted to the unique needs of each project. EVUSA participated in the 2013 Presidential Inaugural activities; and held a month-long residency at National Public Radio. The ensemble has performed with a diverse and impressive array of artists including the young opera sensation Jamie Barton, Broadway star Idina Menzel and numerous musical theater luminaries. EVUSA has premiered works by composers Milton Babbitt, Jennifer Higdon, Nico Muhly, and Howard Shore. The group currently produces The Composer Speaks at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, a series of musical performances complemented by panel discussions with composers and lyricists. EVUSA Youth Workshop provides select high school students the opportunity to participate with the main ensemble in the heart of New York City's music scene. The ensemble's recordings include Celebrating the American Spirit, Cherished Moments: Songs of the Jewish Spirit, Holiday Harmonies: Songs of Christmas, and Season of Light: Songs of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, New Year.

BROADWAY RECORDS (Van Dean, President) is one of the preeminent theatrical record labels to produce original cast albums for major Broadway and Off-Broadway shows including the Grammy and Tony Award-winning The Color Purple (2015 revival), the Grammy nominated Matilda The Musical and Fiddler on the Roof (2015 revival), Allegiance and Disaster! among others. Recent releases include Anastasia, Bandstand, Groundhog Day, The Lightning Thief, The Visit, Doctor Zhivago, Side Show (2014 revival), Bonnie & Clyde, Big Fish and NBC's television events, The Wiz Live! and Peter Pan Live!. The label's critically-acclaimed "Live at Feinstein's/54 BELOW" series features top Broadway stars including Patti LuPone, Aaron Tveit, Annaleigh Ashford, Norbert Leo Butz, Sierra Boggess, Laura Benanti, Emily Skinner & Alice Ripley, Frank Wildhorn and Friends, Micky Dolenz and many others. Most recently, Broadway Records launched the Broadway for Orlando initiative (in partnership with creators Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley) as a response to the Pulse nightclub mass shooting. The all-star benefit single, "What the World Needs Now is Love" (recorded at NYC's Avatar Studios on Wednesday, June 15, 2016) has been downloaded more than 65k times and raised over $100k to date and counting, with 100% of the proceeds benefitting the GLBT Center of Central Florida. Additionally, the song reached No. 1 on the iTunes song chart in its first week of release and broke into the Billboard Top 100 with no commercial radio play. To learn more, visit


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