'The Bohemian Girl' and Other Traditional Melodies to Be Performed at "Songs Of the Irish Poets" 3/17

Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center and New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) present a special non-subscription program, Songs of the Irish Poets, on Tuesday, March 17 at 8 PM at Kaufman Center's Merkin Concert Hall.

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day and the Emerald Isle's masters of verse, this performance culminates the premiere season of Caramoor Vocal Rising Stars, a week-long residency for young professionals. The Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah, New York is the program's sponsor, and will present Songs of the Irish Poets on March 14 in the Music Room at Caramoor. The initial season of the Caramoor Vocal Rising Stars Program will be underwritten, in part, by the Terrance W. Schwab Fund for Young Vocal Artists. Leading the week's events will be NYFOS Artistic Directors and pianists Steven Blier and Michael Barrett, working with a select group of young singers from around the country.

Irish poets represented include Thomas Moore, W.B. Yeats, James Joyce and Paul Muldoon, as set to the music of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Britten, Schumann, Barber and others; the evening also comprises an excerpt from the operetta "The Bohemian Girl," and group of Irish traditional and popular songs featuring flutist and piper Christopher Layer. The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon will also visit Caramoor to conduct a special workshop with the company; Metropolitan Opera soprano Amy Burton is also slated to give a seminar.

Tickets for Songs of the Irish Poets are $40-$55, with $15 student discount tickets a half-hour before performances, as available. There are also $15 student tickets available in advance by calling (646) 230-8380. Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center is at 129 West 67th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenues), New York, NY 10023. Telephone (212) 501-3330, or visit www.kaufman-center.org.

Artists are Joelle Harvey, soprano, a regular performer at Glimmerglass Opera, who will debut this season with the San Francisco Symphony; Liza Forrester, an award-winning mezzo-soprano who has been repeatedly featured with the Glimmerglass Opera and Cincinnati Opera; Paul Appleby, tenor, acclaimed in NYFOS's Latin Lovers this past January and the company's world premiere of the NYFOS commission Bastianello / Lucrezia, and guest artist with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Opera Theatre of St. Louis; David McFerrin, baritone, a performer at the Ravinia Festival, Les Arts Florissants, and the Israel Philharmonic under the baton of Maestro Gustavo Dudamel; Christopher Layer, a specialist in the Uilleann bagpipes and a variety of flutes, the principal pipe soloist and flutist for Trinity Irish Dance Company and a regular guest with major symphony orchestras and in classical and traditional music festivals; Michael Barrett, pianist; and Steven Blier, pianist and arranger (bios below).

NYFOS Artistic Director Steven Blier, called by The New York Times "A national treasure when it comes to the art of song," also enjoys an eminent career as an accompanist and vocal coach. Among the many artists he has partnered in recital are Renee Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Susan Graham, Frederica von Stade, Jessye Norman and Samuel Ramey. He has performed throughout North America and Europe, including recitals at Carnegie Hall, La Scala, Milan, and a Live From Lincoln Center telecast. Mr. Blier co-founded the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) in 1988 with Michael Barrett. Since the Festival's inception he has programmed, performed, translated and annotated over one hundred vocal recitals with repertoire spanning the entire range of song. His discography includes the premiere recording of Leonard Bernstein's Arias and Barcarolles (Koch International), which won a Grammy Award; the NYFOS discs of Blitzstein, Gershwin, and German Lieder (Unquiet Peace); Gershwin's Lady Be Good! (Nonesuch Records); four albums of songs by Charles Ives in partnership with baritone William Sharp (Albany Records); first recordings of music by Busoni and Borodin with cellist Dorothy Lawson (Koch International); and Spanish Love Songs with Joseph Kaiser and the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Bridge Records). This year, Bridge will release the original cast recording of Bastianello / Lucrezia, the acclaimed John Musto and WIlliam Bolcom operas with libretti by Mark Campbell, commissioned and premiered by NYFOS.

Associate Artistic Director Michael Barrett is also the CEO of Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, and General Director of the Caramoor International Music Festival. In 1992 Mr. Barrett and his wife Leslie Tomkins founded The Moab Music Festival in Utah, for which he serves as music director. He has conducted major orchestras here and abroad in the symphonic, operatic, and dance repertoire, and is the former director of the Tisch Center for the Arts at the 92nd Street Y. Mr. Barrett has conducted and played premieres by Bernstein, Blitzstein, Bolcom, Kernis, Sellars, Harrison, Takemitsu, Del Tredici and John Corigliano.

New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) was founded in 1988 by Steven Blier and Michael Barrett. NYFOS is dedicated to creating intimate song concerts of great beauty, humor and originality, combining music, poetry, and history to entertain, educate and create community among audiences and performers. With a far-ranging repertoire of art songs, concert works and theater pieces, its thematic recitals have included programs from Brahms to the Beatles, from the nineteenth-century salons of Paris to Tin Pan Alley, from Russian art song to Argentine tangos, from sixteenth-century lute songs to new music. NYFOS particularly celebrates American song literature and culture, and specializes in premiering and commissioning new American works

This performance is made possible in part, by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The initial season of the Caramoor Vocal Rising Stars program is underwritten, in part, by the Terrance W. Schwab Fund for Young Vocal Artists.



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