Brooklyn Art Song Society to Present CIRCLES IV: LES SIX at First Unitarian Church of Brooklyn

Join in on January 5, 2024, for a captivating performance featuring talented sopranos, mezzo-soprano, baritone, and pianists.

By: Dec. 04, 2023
Brooklyn Art Song Society to Present CIRCLES IV: LES SIX at First Unitarian Church of Brooklyn

Brooklyn Art Song Society (BASS) presents its first concert of 2024 on Friday, January 5 at 7:30PM at First Unitarian Church of Brooklyn with Circles IV: Les Six. This season, BASS has been exploring connections between composers throughout music history, and this fourth installment focuses on a group of six young composers who rebelled against the status quo in the first part of the 20th century.

Georges Auric, Louis Durey, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, and Germaine Tailleferre were brought together by their shared rejection of the excessive sentimentality they perceived in the late-Romantic period. They drew inspiration from jazz and pop culture and leaned into wit and frivolity. Besides the core ensemble of Les Six, there were two additional figures integral to the group's creation: the composer Erik Satie (1866-1925) and the writer/filmmaker Jean Cocteau (1889-1963). Without the former's musical innovation and the latter's public support, Les Six would be unthinkable.

Each member of Les Six developed their own distinct style, contributing to the group's rich and varied repertoire. Milhaud's compositions were as eclectic as they were vast, with over 400 opuses, while Poulenc was known for his elegant mastery of the French language. Honegger's works explored mysticism and abstraction, while Auric spent much of his career as a notable composer of film music. Durey's music was marked by its starkness and simplicity due to his involvement with the Communist Party, while Tailleferre's compositions showcased a unique female perspective in a male-dominated world.

Artistic Director Mike Brofman explains : "Les Six only officially existed for a few short years. After a small number of co-composed projects yielded nothing of substance, the composers went their separate ways. Nonetheless, the idea of Les Six, of open rebellion against convention and modern music representing modern life, lived on, having an irreversible impact on the development of music in the 20th- Century."

Sopranos Sara LeMesh (BASS debut) and Amy Owens, mezzo-soprano Anna Laurenzo, baritone Michael Kelly, and pianists Michael Brofman and Miori Sugiyama perform, following a pre-concert lecture, also given by Artistic Director Michael Brofman.

BASS continues its season and the Circles series with Circles V: The Minnesota Connection on Friday, February 2, 2024 at 7:30PM. Soprano Maria Valdes, baritones Jesse Blumberg and Randall Scarlata, and pianists Laura Ward and Michael Brofman perform works by Dominick Argento, Michael Djupstrom, Libby Larsen (BASS Commission), and Reinaldo Moya (BASS Commission).

BASS is pleased to once again offer its Digital Concert Hall Subscription, which reaches audiences all over the world. The subscription includes free admission and automatic RSVP for all in person concerts (excluding the Dichter Project), unlimited on demand viewing of BASS's entire season, complete programs, notes, texts and translations before each concert, access to BASS' performance archive, and more. Individual tickets are also available with a "Pay What You Choose" option. In addition to the ten-concert season, BASS partners with Heights and Hills Senior Services to bring monthly concerts to their Park Slope Center for Successful Aging.

Brooklyn Art Song Society's programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The New Voices Festival is made possible in part by support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Event information:

Circles IV: Les Six
Friday, January 5, 2024, at 7:30PM
First Unitarian Church of Brooklyn
119 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Georges Auric, Alphabet
Louis Durey, Trois Poèmes de Pétrone
Arthur Honegger, 3 Chansons de 'La Petite Sirène'
Darius Milhaud, Chansons de Ronsard
Francis Poulenc, Fiançailles pour rire; Tel Jour, Telle Nuit
Germaine Tailleferre, 6 Chansons Française

Sara LeMesh and Amy Owens, soprano
Anna Laurenzo, mezzo-soprano
Michael Kelly, baritone
Michael Brofman and Miori Sugiyama, piano

Ticket information:
In Person Concerts: Individual tickets are "Pay What You Wish" with a minimum of $10 and a suggested general admission price of $35.* Please note: All tickets purchased at the suggested price or higher include a month-long pass to the digital concert hall. Digital Concert Hall subscribers receive free admission to all performances*.

Digital Concert Hall: Annual Subscriptions: $111.99/year or $10.99/month. Includes free Admission to In Person Concerts*unlimited on demand viewing of BASS's entire season, complete programs, notes, texts and translations, and a bonus listening guide made available before each concert, exclusive access to full episodes of Song and Wine, BASS's hit web series.

Individual tickets and Digital Subscriptions available at

About Brooklyn Art Song Society

Brooklyn Art Song Society (BASS) will enter its 14th season of first-rate music making in the Fall of 2023, having earned a reputation as one of the preeminent organizations dedicated to the vast repertoire of poetry set to music. Its mission is to preserve art song's direct expressiveness and emotional honesty for today's audience and future generations.

BASS has been called "a company well worth watching" by The New York Times and "superb" by New York Classical Review. Opera News wrote, "Brooklyn Art Song Society keeps the intimate recital alive with innovative programming," and "BASS delivered a triumph of a program, as they have throughout their distinguished history, skillfully reminding us of the great vitality and power of Art Song." The New Yorker praised BASS as "invaluable" and "uncompromisingly dedicated to continuing the traditions of classical art song, both old and new." BASS was named the "Most Innovative" Classical Music organization of 2019 by Classical Post. Seen and Heard International wrote "BASS has not only made Brooklyn its home over the past decade, but also one of the most exciting venues for song anywhere."

BASS's innovative and ambitious programming has reached thousands of audience members- lifelong classical music and first-time concert-goers alike. Since 2010 BASS has presented thousands of songs- nearly the entire canon. Highlights include presentations of the complete songs of Charles Ives and Hugo Wolf and annual themed festivals that range from surveys of the lieder of Franz Schubert, British song, French Melodie, and songs from the two World Wars. BASS is dedicated to creating the next generation of great song composers. In fact, it is the single largest commissioner of new art song working today. BASS has commissioned over 25 composers, including Katherine Balch, The Balliett Brothers, Lembit Beecher, Eve Beglarian, Daniel Felsenfeld, Daron Hagen, Mikhail Johnson, Libby Larsen, James Matheson, Harold Meltzer, Reinaldo Moya, Kurt Rohde, Huang Ruo, Carlos Simon and Scott Wheeler.

Highlights from the 2023-2024 season include the six-concert festival Circles and the fourth annual New Voices Festival, a three-concert series focused on art song in the 21st-century, featuring commissioned world premieres by Iain Bell, Jessica Meyer, and Aida Shirazi. In addition to monthly concerts in Brooklyn, BASS has traveled to Philadelphia, Kansas City, Portland, ME, Raleigh, San Francisco, and Seattle and has held residencies at Cornell University, University of Notre Dame, University of California-Davis, University of Chicago, Ithaca College and University of South Carolina. BASS also reaches music lovers around the country and globe with its innovative Digital Concert Hall and partners with Heights and Hills Senior Services to bring monthly concerts to their Park Slope Center for Successful Aging. BASS's artist roster features over 50 of the finest young interpreters of art song. For more information visit

About Michael Brofman

Pianist Michael Brofman has earned a reputation as one of the finest vocal accompanists of his generation. He has performed hundreds of songs, from Schubert's earliest lieder to premieres of new songs by today's most-recognized composers. He was hailed by the New York Times as an "excellent pianist" and Feast of Music recently praised his "elegant and refined playing ... exhibiting excellent touch and clean technique." Parterre Box Blog called Mr. Brofman a "master communicator at the piano," and Voix des Arts praised his "finesse and flexibility." Seen and Heard International recently wrote "Brofman got to the core of each song...delving into their emotional depths." Opera News stated "Michael Brofman provided exquisite piano accompaniment."

Highlights from Mr. Brofman's 2023-2024 season include performances of Arnold Schoenberg's Das Buch der Hängenden Gärten with Kate Maroney, Poulenc's Tel Jour, Telle Nuit with Michael Kelly, and repeat or premiere performances of works written for him by Daniel Felsenfeld, Libby Larsen, Jessica Meyer, and Reinaldo Moya. Mr. Brofman also performs works by Benjamin Britten, Johannes Brahms, Michael Djupstrom, Shawn E. Okempolo, Caroline Shaw, Clara Schumann, Anton Webern, Kurt Weill, and Hugo Wolf.

Mr. Brofman has championed new works and has fostered relationships with many living composers, including Katherine Balch, Lembit Beecher, Tom Cipullo, Michael Djupstrom, Daniel Felsenfeld, Herschel Garfein, Mikhail Johnson, Daron Hagen, Jake Heggie, James Kallembach, Libby Larsen, Lowell Liebermann, David Ludwig, James Matheson, Reinaldo Moya, Harold Meltzer, Russell Platt, Kurt Rohde, Glen Roven, Andrew Staniland, Carlos Simon, and Scott Wheeler. In all, he has premiered over 100 songs, many of them dedicated to him.

Mr. Brofman is the founder and Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Art Song Society, an organization dedicated to the vast repertoire of poetry set to music now in its 14th season. His first CD New Voices on Roven Records includes four world-premiere recordings and was number one on Amazon's new releases for Opera/Vocal and debuted in the top 10 of the Traditional Classical Billboard Chart. Since then he has recorded world premiere recordings of Kurt Rohde on Albany Records and Herschel Garfein for Acis Records.

An eloquent and passionate advocate for art song, Mr. Brofman has been interviewed by Russell Platt for Opera News, for Caught In the Act on Brooklyn Public Television, on the WQXR radio show Soundcheck, on Seattle KING FM 98.1, and for the Linked Music blog. He also hosts his own internet show Song and Wine. Mr. Brofman has a reputation as a gifted educator and has presented masterclasses at the University of Chicago, Cornell, Ithaca College, the University of Notre Dame and University of South Carolina. Mr. Brofman holds a bachelor of Music from Northwestern University where he studied with James Giles. There he was awarded the Frida A. Pick Award for Piano and featured on Chicago's classical radio station. Mr. Brofman spent several summers at the Aspen Music Festival as a student of Rita Sloan and continues his studies with Robert Durso. He resides in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn with his wife, violinist Stanichka Dimitrova and his two daughters, Julia and Lillian.