On Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 7:30pm at Opera America's National Opera Center, New York Festival of Song opens the 2013-14 edition of its forward-looking NYFOS Next series with MARK ADAMO & FRIENDS.

NYFOS Next-which spotlights today's composers, lyricists and interpreters of modern song-finds a new home this season, moving to the recital hall at Opera America's National Opera Center, a newly designed state-of-the-art facility ideally suited to NYFOS Next's intimate and relaxed atmosphere.

Acclaimed composer-librettist Mark Adamo curates this NYFOS Next evening featuring both his own music and that of his colleagues and friends, including John Bucchino, Michele Brourman, Conrad Winslow, Mark Baechle, and librettist Royce Vavrek.

Having risen to prominence with his critically acclaimed opera Little Women, Mark Adamo, a "brilliant theater composer" (The New Yorker), premiered a new song cycle last season, The Racer's Widow, as well as his latest opera, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, commissioned by San Francisco Opera in June 2013. "The densely rhapsodic new opera...burns with the fervor of an artist championing a cause," wrote The San Francisco Chronicle.

John Bucchino's work has been performed and recorded by artists as diverse as Art Garfunkel, Audra McDonald, Barbara Cook, and Nathan Gunn. With numerous awards including two Drama Desk nominations, his work has been praised by The New York Times as possessing "a singular voice and an absolute integrity of expression."

Michele Brourman, "an unquestionably amazing talent," (Broadway World) is the winner of the Johnny Mercer Award for "Emerging American Songwriters." Her songs have been recorded by Olivia Newton-John, Donny Osmond, Sheena Easton, Rita Coolidge, and more. Her best known song, "My Favorite Year", recorded by Michael Feinstein, Cleo Laine and Margaret Whiting, has become a cabaret standard. A frequent performer in ASCAP's songwriter concerts, her work spans television and the theater, and she has appeared in the prestigious Lyrics and Lyricist Series at New York's 92nd Street Y.

Con­rad Winslow's music, often buoy­ant, col­oris­tic, and deeply archi­tec­tural, is char­ac­ter­ized by "har­monic thorni­ness and rhyth­mic vital­ity," accord­ing to The New York Times. His instru­men­tal music has been com­mis­sioned and per­formed by ensem­bles such as the Albany Sym­phony Orches­tra, the New York Youth Sym­phony, the Amer­i­can Com­posers Orches­tra, New York City Ballet's Chore­o­graphic Insti­tute, the Juil­liard Orches­tra, the New Juil­liard Ensem­ble, the NYU Sym­phony, and the Guidon­ian Hand trom­bone quar­tet. He also com­posed the music for the film "The Last Roman­tic" (2006), an "IndieWIRE undis­cov­ered gem" avail­able on IFC on-demand.

New York-based composer and producer Mark Baechle works for the theater, stage and film. As arranger and orchestrator, he has worked on over 30 films; his credits include "The Good Shepherd" (2006), "Across The Universe" (2007), "Sin Nombre" (2008), "Public Enemies" (2009), "Remember Me" (2010), "Enough Said" (2013) and many more. His expertise in electronic music and synthesizer programming has led to collaborations with the St. Louis Opera, London Metropolitan Orchestra and the Albany Symphony.

Royce Vavrek is a multi-disciplinary narrative artist from Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada, whose work has been hailed as "wildly dramatic and...exhilarating" by The New York Times. His work spans filmmaking, libretti, and playwriting, including collaborations with composers David T. Little, Missy Mazzoli and Ricky Ian Gordon, presented by ensembles and venues including the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble,Carnegie Hall, New York City Opera, and The Kitchen.

Tickets for NYFOS Next are free, though seating is limited and reservations are required. To reserve tickets please contact (646) 230-8380 or info@nyfos.net.

NYFOS Next looks to the future, opening a forum for the next generation of song composers and interpreters. Now in its fourth 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 a program that features his/her own works and those of favorite 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 Kilhstedt, Mohammed Fairouz, Kevin Puts, and Russell Platt.

Held in intimate venues with a relaxed atmosphere, this year the series finds a home in the newly designed state-of-the-art recital hall at OPERA America's National Opera Center. Hour-long shows will be curated by composing greats Mark Adamo, John Musto and Harold Meltzer.

Upcoming NYFOS Next shows:


Tuesday, March 4, 7:30pm
NYFOS celebrates John Musto with a special evening dedicated to his music. Known as much for his eclectic compositional influences as his pianistic authority, Musto is equally at home in opera, vocal chamber music, and piano works. Musto has seen four operas produced in the last decade, including the "masterpiece" Volpone, which "stands out not only for its humor but also its brilliant marriage of words and music" (The Washington Post). Sure to be an evening as diverse and adventurous as it is virtuosic, Musto returns to NYFOS with music as "disparate as a rumba and a quote from 'Don Giovanni,' woven into a fresh and original organic whole" (The Wall Street Journal).


Tuesday, April 1, 7:30pm
"Haunting, quirky and continually inventive" (The New York Times), composer Harold Meltzer closes out the NYFOS Next concert series. The Brooklyn native and Pulitzer Prize finalist has a history of premiering new works with NYFOS, including last season's Topography and his 2010 song cycle for tenor and piano, Beautiful Ohio, which The New York Times chief music critic Anthony Tommasini praised for its "riveting tension between the somberly elegaic vocal writing and the heaving piano part, thick with grating precisely textured chords."

Mark Adamo

American composer-librettist Mark Adamo prepared for the world-premiere performances in June 2013 of his third full-length opera, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, following a busy season of opera and chamber premieres. In May 2012, Fort Worth Opera opened its first production of his second opera, Lysistrata; that September, the Constella Festival in Cincinnati opened their season with August Music, for flute duo and string quartet, commissioned by Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway: in December, Sasha Cooke and the New York Festival of Song introducedThe Racer's Widow, a cycle of five American poems for mezzo-soprano, cello, and piano; and, in April 2013, baritone Thomas Hampson and the Jupiter String Quartet introduced Aristotle, after the poem by Billy Collins, in concerts at the Mondavi Center in Davis, California before continuing to Boston and New York under the auspices of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Adamo first attracted national attention with his uniquely celebrated debut opera,Little Women, after the Alcott novel. Introduced by Houston Grand Opera in 1998 and revived there in 2000, Little Women is one of the most frequently performed American operas of the last fifteen years, with more than 80 national and international engagements in cities ranging from New York to Minneapolis, Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco, Adelaide, Perth, Mexico City, Brugges, Banff, Calgary, and Tokyo, where it served as the official U.S. cultural entrant to the 2005 World Expo. The Houston Grand Opera revival (2000) was telecast by PBS/WNET on Great Performances in 2001 and released on CD by Ondine that same year; in fall 2010, Naxos released this performance on DVD and on Blu-ray. (Little Women was the first American opera recorded in high-definition television.)

Comparable enthusiasm greeted the debut of the larger-scaled Lysistrata, Adamo's second opera, adapted from Aristophanes' comedy but also including elements from Sophocles' Antigone. Lysistrata was commissioned by Houston Grand Opera for its 50th anniversary and introduced in March 2005; its New York City Opera debut in March 2006 led to concert performances by Washington National Opera (May 2006) and Music at the Modern by the Van Cliburn Foundation (May 2007) before the new staging of the work at Fort Worth Opera in spring 2012, which was included on the best-of-2012 lists of both D Magazine and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

While Adamo's principal work continues to be for the opera house, over the past 5 years he has ventured not only into chamber music but also into symphonic and choral composition. Adamo's first concerto, Four Angels, for harp and orchestra, was commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra and debuted in June 2007: the Utah Symphony, led by their Music Director Emeritus, Keith Lockhart, presentedFour Angels in January 2011. In May 2007, Washington's Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, for which Adamo served as its first composer-in-residence, performed the revised version of Adamo's Late Victorians, a cantata for singing voice, speaking voice, and orchestra: Naxos released Late Victorians in 2009 on Eclipse's all-Adamo CD, which also included Alcott Music, from Little Women, for strings, harp, celesta, and percussion; "Regina Coeli," an arrangement of the slow movement of Four Angels for harp and strings alone; and the Overture to Lysistrata for medium orchestra. In April of 2010, Harold Rosenbaum's New York Virtuoso Singers paired six of Adamo's newly-published choral scores with the complete chamber-choral work of John Corigliano. This concert featured the New York premières of Cantate Domino (after Psalm 91,) Pied Beauty and God's Grandeur (Gerard Manley Hopkins; commissioned by the Gregg Smith Singers,) Matewan Music (Appalachian folk-tune variations,) Supreme Virtue (Stephen Mitchell's translation of the Tao te Ching,) and The Poet Speaks of Praising (Rilke: commissioned and introduced by Chanticleer.)

Composer-in-residence at New York City Opera from 2001 through 2006, where he led the VOX: Showcasing American Composers program, Adamo also served as Master Artist at Atlantic Center for the Arts in May 2003. Since 2007 he has served as the principal teacher of American Lyric Theatre's Composer-Librettist Development Program in New York, in which he coaches teams of composers and librettists in developing their work for the stage.

Adamo began his education in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where, as a freshman in the Dramatic Writing Program, he received the Paulette Goddard Remarque Scholarship for outstanding undergraduate achievement in playwriting. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Music Degree cum laude in composition in 1990 from the Catholic University of America. His music is published exclusively by G. Schirmer, Inc.


Now in its 26th 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 unforgettable evenings of compelling theater, NYFOS fosters community among artists and audiences. Each program entertains and educates in equal measure. Everyone has a primal need to be sung to; NYFOS was made to meet that need.

Founded by pianists Michael Barrett and Steven Blier in 1988, NYFOS continues to produce 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, featuring premieres and commissions of new American works. These include a 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. Soon to come: a CD of Spanish song-Basque, Catalan, Castilian, and Sephardic-on the GPR label, with soprano Corinne Winters accompanied by Steven Blier.

In November 2010, NYFOS began its latest programming venture with the debut of NYFOS Next, a mini-series for new songs, hosted by guest composers in intimate venues. For the 2013-2014 season, the series moves to Opera America's National Opera Center for all three concerts.

NYFOS also nurtures the artistry and careers of young singers in training residencies (current and past projects) with The Juilliard School's Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts (now in its 9th year), Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (its 6th year in March 2014), San Francisco Opera Center (over 15 years as of April 2013), Glimmerglass Opera (2008-2010), and its newest project, NYFOS@North Fork in Orient, NY, successfully completed in August 2013.

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.

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From This Author Kaitlin Milligan

Kaitlin Milligan is from Fort Lauderdale, FL, but is currently a Senior studying Telecommunications Production with a Minor in English at The University of Florida. (read more...)

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