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The New York Festival of Song Announces New Details in the 2015 Edition of NYFOS Next

The New York Festival of Song's "invaluable contemporary-music series" (The New Yorker) NYFOS Next enters its fifth season and shifts to a new format-a three-concert mini-festival during the month of February. The series is set to showcase new works from a host of composers including Adam Guettel, Gabriel Kahane, George Steel, and a preview of a pair of highly anticipated new operas: Paul Moravec's The Shining and Bright Sheng's The Dream of Red Chamber.
The concerts will take place on three consecutive Tuesdays in the intimate state-of-the-art recital hall at OPERA America's National Opera Center on February 3, 10, and 17, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets to individual concerts are $15 General Admission and a subscription to all three concerts is $30. Purchase online or by calling (646) 230-8380.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015, 7:00 p.m.

The opening night of NYFOS Next's new festival format is curated by NYFOS Artistic Director Michael Barrett. Gabriel Kahane premieres his 2013 work Three Vernacular Songs, Adam Guettel previews songs from his new work Millions, a musical based on the Danny Boyle film, and George Steel offers selections from a new theatrical work in progress. The evening also includes a piece from Jonathan Dove and a debut vocal work by the intriguing Navajo composer Juantio Becenti, with whom Barrett has worked at the Moab Music Festival.
Meredith Lustig, soprano; Jonathan Estabrooks and Theo Hoffman, baritone
John Musto, Leann Osterkamp, Michael Barrett, piano

Adam Guettel:
From Millions
There Go I
Find Me
St. Who?

George Steel:
Five selections from a new theatrical work
Prologue: Sabrina's Recitative and Waltz
There's You
Fight Song of '49
How Does it Feel?
Am I Home?

Gabriel Kahane:
Three Vernacular Songs (2013, world premiere, Matthew Zapruder)
Dream Job
First Time, Long Time

Juantio Becenti:
The Obsidian Morning (2015, world premiere, Renee Pudonovich)

Jonathan Dove:
Selections to be announced


Tuesday, February 10, 2015, 7:00 p.m.

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec hosts and curates an evening that includes selections from his exceptional body of vocal music, including his forthcoming opera The Shining. The opera, with a libretto by Mark Campbell, is set to have its world premiere with Minnesota Opera in May 2016. The evening's program also includes selections from Moravec's friends and colleagues James Primosch, Christopher Theofanidis, and Paola Prestini. Moravec's music has been described as "tuneful, ebullient and wonderfully energetic" (San Francisco Chronicle), "riveting and fascinating" (NPR), and "assured, virtuosic" (Wall Street Journal). NYFOS has premiered works by Moravec over the years, including commissioning the song cycle Parables in 2006, and is pleased to welcome a longtime friend to NYFOS Next.
Meredith Lustig and Amy Owens, soprano;
Jonathan Estabrooks and Shea Owens, baritone
Charles Yang, violin; Jay Campbell, cello; Michael Barrett, piano

Paul Moravec:
Your Song (W.H. Auden)
The Coming of Wisdom (W.B. Yeats)
The Rose and the Nightingale (Gardner McFall)
"I Was Born on a Sunday" from The King's Man (Libretto by Terry Teachout)
Leslie's Aria from The Letter (Libretto by Terry Teachout)

Paola Prestini:
Oceanic Verses (Anon)

Christopher Theofanidis:
"Rick's Aria" from The Heart of a Soldier (Donna Di Novelli)

James Primosch:
Waltzing The Spheres (Susan Scott Thompson)

Paul Moravec:
From The Shining (Libretto by Mark Campbell)
Scene 1: "Danny, Danny don't run"
Hallorann's Aria: " Shine On"
Wendy's Aria: "I Never Stopped Loving You"


Tuesday, February 17, 2015, 7:00 p.m.

The "exquisite blend of the musical East and West" of Bright Sheng (The New York Times) closes out three weeks of contemporary song and the 2014-15 NYFOS Nextseries. The Chinese-American composer and MacArthur Fellow hosts and curates a concert that includes a preview of the opening to his new opera Dream of the Red Chamber, written with co-librettist David Henry Hwang. The opera is set to premiere with the San Francisco Opera in fall 2016.

Sheng, the Leonard Bernstein Distinguished University Professor of Composition at the University of Michigan, will also showcase recent work from his studentsBrandon Scott Rumsey, Iman Habibi, and Matthew Tommasini, and an affectionate acknowledgement of his mentors, George Perle and Leonard Bernstein. Sheng's diverse background informs an approach that Anthony Tommasini in The New York Times writes, "has won critical respect and appreciative audiences for works that deftly synthesize wildly varied musical influences." The Telegraph (UK) called Sheng's opera Madam Mao, which debuted at Santa Fe Opera in 2003, "...extraordinary music and a riveting evening in the theater."
Amy Owens, soprano; Mingjei Lei, tenor; Shea Owens, baritone
Michael Barrett and Bright Sheng, piano

Bright Sheng:
Act I, Scene I, from Dream of the Red Chamber (Libretto by David Henry Hwang)

Iman Habibi:
The River Lip
False Morning

Brandon Scott Rumsey:
Planting Tulips (Neil Aitken)
Peaches in November (August Kleinzahler)

Matthew Tommasini:
Olas grises (Leopold Lugones)
Nocturno (Ruben Dario)

George Perle:
The Heart Asks Pleasure First (Emily Dickinson)

Leonard Bernstein:
The Love of My Life

Matthew Bridgham:
sweetfeather (Kat Finch)


The Series for New Song

"a breath of fresh air on the scene of serious vocal music." - Q ON STAGE

NYFOS Next looks to the future, opening a forum for the next generation of song composers and interpreters. Now in its fifth season, this "invaluable contemporary-music series" (The New Yorker) takes the longstanding NYFOS tradition of presenting new work, and puts it in the hands of the composers themselves. Each composer becomes a curator, building an hour-long program that features his/her own works and those of colleagues and students. The composer also acts as host of the evening. This approach has allowed NYFOS to expand the perspectives of its two Artistic Directors, creating room for multifarious approaches to vocal music.
NYFOS Next has featured programs in front of enthusiastic full houses, curated by a wide range of established and emerging artists including Gabriel Kahane, Joseph Thalken, Phil Kline, Carla Kihlstedt, Mohammed Fairouz, Kevin Puts, Russell Platt, Mark Adamo, John Musto and Harold Meltzer.
Held in intimate venues with a relaxed atmosphere, the series has since last year found a home in the newly designed state-of-the-art recital hall at OPERA America's National Opera Center.


"People have a primal need to be sung to and communicated with through song. The essential core of truth in each song-that part where you feel 'that's me, I've been there'-that's what we're always looking for." - Steven Blier

Now in its 27th 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 NYFOS MAINSTAGE, its series of thematic song programs, drawing together rarely-heard songs of all kinds, overriding traditional distinctions between high and low performance 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. Its recently released CD on the GPR label, Canción amorosa, focuses on Spanish song-Basque, Catalan, Castilian, and Sephardic-with soprano Corinne Winters accompanied by Steven Blier.

In November 2010, NYFOS premiered NYFOS NEXT, a series for new songs, hosted by guest composers in intimate venues. This season the series returns as a mini-festival during the month of February 2015 with all concerts presented at OPERA America's National Opera Center. In the fall of 2014, NYFOS officially introduced its unamplified cabaret series NYFOS AFTER HOURS at HENRY's Restaurant on the Upper West Side, drawing full houses and superlative voices accompanied by Blier at the piano.

NYFOS is passionate about nurturing the artistry and careers of young singers, and through its NYFOS EMERGING ARTISTS program has developed professional training residencies around the country, including The Juilliard School's Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts (now in its 10th year); Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (its 7th year in March 2015); San Francisco Opera Center (over 15 years as of March 2014); Glimmerglass Opera (2008-2010); and its newest project, NYFOS@North Fork in Orient, NY (2 years).

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.

Photo Courtesy of the NYFOS

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