Lyric Fest Presents Concert of World Premieres, THE SONG CATCHER: THE FOLK SONG RE-IMAGINED

Featuring Charlotte Blake Alston, Steven Brennfleck, Cree Carrico, Jean Bernard Cerin, Devony Smith, Laura Ward, and Orchestra 2001.

By: Mar. 08, 2022
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Lyric Fest Presents Concert of World Premieres, THE SONG CATCHER: THE FOLK SONG RE-IMAGINED

Lyric Fest presents an exciting program of world premieres from ten composers in The Song Catcher, a concert centered on re-imagining the folk song. The folk song is appreciated for its direct expression and narrative quality, and honors world culture as well as speaks to our shared humanity.

The Song Catcher looks to the long tradition of composers who have used the folk song as a touchstone for their creativity. Performances will be held on Saturday, April 9, 2022 at 3:00pm at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, PA, and on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at 3:00pm at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church Sanctuary in Bryn Mawr, PA.

The concert features world premieres of folk song-inspired works by Gregory Brown (The Ballad of Anna Rosina), John Conahan (American Dreams), Michael Djupstrom (Sejdefu majka buđaše), Melissa Dunphy (Eat the Rich), Jennifer Higdon (Little River Songs), Allen Krantz (Three Sephardic Songs), Gilda Lyons (El Zopilote), Robert Maggio (The Story of Cherokee Rose), Jeffrey Scott (A Morte Devager), and Benjamin P. Wenzelberg (Through the brightening air). These new works will be partnered with dramatic storytelling by Charlotte Blake Alston, and performed by soprano Cree Carrico, mezzo-soprano Devony Smith, tenor Steven Brennfleck, baritone Jean Bernard Cerin, pianist Laura Ward, and instrumentalists from Orchestra 2001.

"The idea was to create new works inspired by the spirit of the folk song," says Artistic Director Suzanne DuPlantis. "We didn't know how the composers would respond to this idea, but in fact, it was met with complete enthusiasm from all of them. They were encouraged to explore their own culture or a culture that interested them, or simply to make of it what they wanted. The resulting variety is amazing. Jennifer Higdon's is Appalachian in spirit, and she wound up writing both words and music. Melissa Dunphy wrote a modern folk protest song in the spirit of Woody Guthrie and Gil Scott-Heron, Jeffrey Scott wrote a Brazilian inspired piece setting a poem that spoke to him, and our youngest composer Benjamin P. Wenzelberg, composed a setting of a Yeats poem that is folkloric in mood. These are only four of ten completely unique pieces!"

Lyric Fest's 2021-22 season continues with Anything Goes on May 17 and 18, 2022 at 7:00pm, featuring Randall Scarlata, Suzanne DuPlantis, and Laura Ward; and The Art of Song on June 3, 2022 at 7:30pm, featuring Justine Aronson, Gilda Lyons, Elisa Sutherland, Meg Bragle, James Reese, Steven Eddy, Laura Ward, and Michael Brofman.

Concert Information
The Song Catcher
Saturday, April 9, 2022 at 3:00pm
The American Philosophical Society | 104 S. Fifth St | Philadelphia, PA
Tickets: $25

The Song Catcher
Sunday, April 10, 2022 at 3:00pm
Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church Sanctuary | 625 Montgomery Ave | Bryn Mawr, PA
Tickets: $25

GREGORY BROWN: The Ballad of Anna Rosina (text by Todd Hearon) [World Premiere]
JOHN CONAHAN: American Dreams [World Premiere]
Shenando (based on the traditional "Shenandoah")
Big Rock Candy Mountain (based on the traditional folk song)
MICHAEL DJUPSTROM: Sejdefu majka buđaše (traditional Serbs-Croatian text) [World Premiere]
MELISSA DUNPHY: Eat the Rich (lyrics by Ozzie Jones) [World Premiere]
JENNIFER HIGDON: Little River Songs [World Premiere]
Little River
Blue Smoke
ALLEN KRANTZ: Three Sephardic Songs (traditional Sephardic folk song texts) [World Premiere]
GILDA LYONS: El Zopilote (traditional Nicaraguan lyrics, adapted by the composer) [World Premiere]
ROBERT MAGGIO: The Story of Cherokee Rose (lyrics by Justin Warner) [World Premiere]
JEFFREY SCOTT: A Morte Devager (poem by Martha Medeiros) [World Premiere]
BENJAMIN P. WENZELBERG: Through the brightening air [World Premiere]
"The Song of the Wondering Aengus" by W.B. Yeats

Charlotte Blake Alston, narrator
Steven Brennfleck, tenor
Cree Carrico, soprano
Jean Bernard Cerin, baritone
Devony Smith, mezzo-soprano
Laura Ward, piano
Instrumentalists from Orchestra 2001

Lyric Fest has been hailed in the press as "An irresistible mix of high art and humane feeling... As entertaining as a well-managed party" (Broad Street Review). Founded in 2003 with the goal of celebrating and revitalizing the art song tradition, it is the only performing arts organization in the Mid-Atlantic region with a primary focus on song in all its varied expression.

Lyric Fest has produced and presented over 100 distinctly crafted and curated concert programs. Each has featured multiple artists of national and international stature sharing song through theme and story, together with the spoken word. The organization has defined commissioning new works as an integral part of its mission and programming philosophy. To date, Lyric Fest has commissioned an impressive body of more than 200 new American songs from many of the nation's preeminent composers.

Lyric Fest is run by two of its founders, artistic directors Suzanne DuPlantis and Laura Ward. Known for their excellence and innovation in creating rich, thematic, accessible concerts, Lyric Fest performs throughout the Philadelphia region, and has brought programs to Washington DC; Moorestown, NJ; Wilmington, DE; New Orleans, LA; Pittsburgh, PA; Brooklyn and New York City, NY; and San Jose, CA. Learn more about Lyric Fest at


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