Lyric Fest Announces 2017 – 2018 Season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Peter C. Phillips, M.D.
pcphillips1@comcast.net, 215-808-1963 (mobile)

Lyric Fest Announces 2017 – 2018 Season

In celebration of its 15th year of concerts, Lyric Fest continues its fresh and innovative approach to art song performance, showcasing song in an intimate and glorious expression.

Laura Ward, Lyric Fest’s Co-Founder and internationally recognized collaborative pianist, together with a distinguished cast of singers, inaugurates the season with a pianist’s unique perspective on vocal collaborations. The birthday festivities continue into October as Lyric Fest celebrates the 90th birthday of an acclaimed American treasure, composer Dominick Argento, in a concert of his art songs for the first of the season’s two mini concerts.
December continues Lyric Fest’s celebration of newly-commissioned works with a presentation of stunningly beautiful, new art songs of Benjamin C. S. Boyle, Lyric Fest’s Composer-in-Residence. February adds another edition to the ever-popular Lyric Fest Biography Series with “Claude Debussy – Biography in Music,” an exploration of the composer’s tempestuous life and loves as revealed by his own letters and music. The second Lyric Fest mini concert series welcomes Spring with “Humming and Strumming,” a concert featuring Philadelphia’s premier guitarist Allen Krantz, in music for the voice, from early, classical, folk, jazz, and modern traditions, where all have equal footing. The 15th Anniversary season is brought to a climactic finale by international opera stars Bryan Hymel (tenor) and Irini Kyriakidou (soprano) in a special concert with pianist Laura Ward, featuring a program of songs of Vaughan Williams, Ravel, Benjamin C. S. Boyle, and includes some operatic favorites.
With programming designed for the art song aficionado and newcomer alike, Lyric Fest occupies a unique place in the Philadelphia’s musical Artscape. Co-Directors Suzanne DuPlantis and Laura Ward seamlessly combine scholarship and entertainment by weaving together performance insights, cultural history, music history, and the highest level of musical performance. By championing the songs of contemporary composers, they bring the genre of the song out of the museum and into the lives of 21st century audiences.
“Lyric Fest’s artistic directors have a genius for picking themes that generate unpredictable variety…” Tom Purdom, Broad Street Review.

2017 – 2018 Lyric Fest Program Descriptions
Pedals, Page-turns and Postludes – A View from the Bench
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2017, 6PM WINE & CHEESE, 6:30PM MINI CONCERT
THE COMMUNITY HOUSE, MOORESTOWN, NJ

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2017, 7:30PM WINE & CHEESE, 8PM CONCERT
THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF CHESTNUT HILL

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2017 AT 3PM
ACADEMY OF VOCAL ARTS

Laura Ward reveals the trade secrets of the collaborative pianist in a new concert format combining features of a “master class” with those of a “master performance”. Laura shares what it means to perform with singers: the art of attending to the word; the breath; and the composer. Featuring Jennifer Aylmer, Randall Scarlata, Jonas Hacker and Suzanne DuPlantis, with insights from the bench by Laura Ward on playing art song, opera and premiering new works.

Dominick Argento Turns 90
Happy Hour and Mini Concert
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2017, 5:30PM RECEPTION, 6PM MUSIC
ETHICAL SOCIETY AUDITORIUM, RITTENHOUSE SQUARE

Lyric Fest celebrates Dominick Argento’s 90th birthday with a concert of his songs. This Pulitzer Prize awarded, living American composer, born in York, Pennsylvania, has dedicated nearly his entire career to composing for voice. Come to experience a short concert of his beautiful art songs and learn about the life of this American musical treasure, Dominick Argento, with Jessica Lennick, Claire Shackleton, and Laura Ward at the piano. Put a little music into your work week with Lyric Fest’s happy hour mini concert series.

Art Songs of Benjamin C.S. Boyle – Lyric Fest’s Composer-in-Residence
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2017 AT 3PM
ACADEMY OF VOCAL ARTS

To commemorate our 15th Anniversary Season, Lyric Fest is proud to present the Stasiuk & Farion Composer-in-Residence, Benjamin C.S. Boyle. Boyle has produced a stunning body of art song that brings together his lyric and pianistic gifts with an affinity for exquisite verse. Repertoire including “Ophelia,” “Songs of Virtue and Loss,” and a world premiere of Lyric Fest’s newly commissioned song cycle, “Spirits in Bondage,” settings of the early love poetry of C. S. Lewis. In concert with Daniel Teadt, Sarah Shafer, Hannah Ludwig and Laura Ward at the piano, with commentary by the composer.

Claude Debussy – Biography in Music
SATURDAY AFTERNOON, FEBRUARY 10, 2018 AT 4PM
THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF CHESTNUT HILL

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2018 AT 3PM
ACADEMY OF VOCAL ARTS

The latest in our biography series, this program features the fascinating life, tempestuous times and sublime songs of one of the greatest song composers, Claude Debussy. Narrating and reading from the composer’s letters will be Lyric Fest’s composer-in-residence, Benjamin C. S. Boyle. With Amy Burton, Suzanne DuPlantis, Thomas Meglioranza, Rebecca Myers, and Laura Ward at the piano.

15th ANNIVERSARY CANDLELIT CABARET FUNDRAISER
SATURDAY, MARCH 24, 2018 AT 7PM
ACADEMY OF VOCAL ARTS

Join Lyric Fest for a sparkling evening with round table seating, fine wines, appetizers, desserts… and the unforgettable songs of Rodgers and Hart, with Suzanne DuPlantis, Richard Troxell, Harold Evans, piano and Ron Kerber, sax. Tables at $1500, half-tables $750, individual seats $150. Join us for a spectacular evening that supports Lyric Fest!
Humming and Strumming – Guitar Songs with Allen Krantz
Happy Hour and Weekday Mini Concert
TUESDAY, APRIL 3, 2018 6PM RECEPTION, 6:30PM MUSIC
THE COMMUNITY HOUSE MOORESTOWN, NJ

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 2018 5:30PM RECEPTION, 6PM MUSIC
ETHICAL SOCIETY AUDITORIUM RITTENHOUSE SQUARE

A winsome and fun program inspired by the art of the guitar and the songs it has tenderly accompanied through the years. Classical, folk, jazz and modern songs stand side by side in a program featuring Philadelphia’s premiere guitarist, Allen Krantz, with Suzanne DuPlantis, and Emily Drummond. Put a little music into your midweek with Lyric Fest’s happy hour mini concert series.

Bryan Hymel and Irini Kyriakidou in Concert with Laura Ward
SUNDAY, MAY 6, 2018 AT 3PM
CHURCH OF THE HOLY TRINITY, RITTENHOUSE SQUARE
1904 WALNUT STREET, PHILADELPHIA

Lyric Fest is thrilled to present international opera stars, tenor Bryan Hymel and soprano Irini Kyriakidou in a special concert with pianist Laura Ward. Featuring a program of Vaughan Williams, Ravel, Benjamin C. S. Boyle, and operatic favorites, in the couple’s first-ever recital performance in Philadelphia. Join us for this grand finale to Lyric Fest’s 15th Anniversary Season! Priority Seating and elegant reception with Bryan Hymel and Irini Kyriakidou Hymel at the Academy of Vocal Arts following the concert, for ticket price of $150. General seating $35.
The appearance of Bryan Hymel and Irini Kyriakidou on Lyric Fest’s 15th Anniversary Season is made possible through a generous gift from the Apgar Black Foundation.

Jessica Lennick

Soprano Jessica Lennick –is a complete package, including a terrific smile and stage presence to go along with her pleasing voice,” according to The Baltimore Examiner.

La Dolce Vita – Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact
Lari Robling
larirob@gmail.com
215 978 6933
Lyric Fest Presents La Dolce Vita
Thirteenth season premieres sweetly with a program of Italian favorites and little-known gems
PHILADELPHIA, PA – September 9, 2015  Designed to be a delightful Lyric Fest season opener with a lot of sparkle and fun, La Dolce Vita is a mix of beloved Italian vocal works and lesser-known gems from this culture best known for its operatic tradition. Just as the last season began with the origins of art song, La Dolce Vita explores the origins of vocal music in Italy and the passion Italians show for the sensuality of the voice.

There will be a Friday evening concert on October 2, 7:30 pm at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill as well as Sunday afternoon October 4, 3 pm at the Academy of Vocal Arts, with receptions in both venues More information and tickets available at www.lyricfest.org and a link to the program selections here.

Laura Ward, pianist, notes, “There’s a lot of dramatic flair and fun in the selections. We have Rossini, Puccini, and Respighi who wrote not only opera but also lighter songs.” She adds, “The music captures the Italian spirit and dramatic flair, but isn’t necessarily operatic.”

There will be a jazz version of “Se tu m’ami” as well as a nod to Mozart, playfully considered “the other Italian.”  The French are even represented with Reynaldo Hahn’s “La Barcheta” from his “Six Songs of Venice.”

Suzanne DuPlantis said, “La Dolce Vita features one of our favorite artists, soprano Jennifer Aylmer, and we are so lucky to have her back this season. She is such a special singer, a consummate–and hilarious– artist. She’s totally magnetic!”

In addition, Aylmer is joined by mezzo-soprano Suzanne DuPlantis, tenor Eric Rieger and baritone Randall Scarlata with Laura Ward at the piano.

Lyric Fest performed a version of this program in Pittsburgh last season to an enthralled
audience and greatly anticipates bringing the same joy to Philadelphia. There will be solos, duets, trios and quartets, and lots of fun all around. Bring on the Prosecco!

About Lyric Fest
“Compulsively enterprising…” (David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer)
Lyric Fest was founded in January 2003 as a 501 c.3 and is currently led by two of its founders, Artistic Directors Suzanne DuPlantis and Laura Ward. Dedicated exclusively to the voice recital, Lyric Fest occupies a singular place in the Philadelphia artscape and expands the definition of the song recital by jointly featuring regional and internationally recognized artists. Together they produce a happening that is more than just a concert of songs. The mission of Lyric Fest is “to bring people together through the shared experience of song by offering to diverse audiences lively, theme-oriented voice recitals designed to edify, educate, stimulate dialogue, and foster community.”

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The Raven – Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact
Lari Robling
larirob@gmail.com
215 978 6933

Experience Edgar Allan Poe as you never have before
with settings for solo voice, string quartet, and narration.
LYRIC FEST PRESENTS THE RAVEN­ – A POE FEST

 

PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER, 2015
In a co­-production with Dumbarton Concerts in Washington, DC, Lyric Fest presents a program celebrating the works and life of Philadelphia poet Edgar Allan Poe on Saturday November 7, at 8 PM at Dumbarton, followed by the area premiere of Nicholas White’s The Raven November 8 at 3 PM at The Academy of Vocal Arts 1920 Spruce Street, Philadelphia. White’s The Raven is scored for five solo voices, string quartet and piano. In addition, the concert includes solo song settings of Poe’s poetic works, and readings from Poe’s prose fiction.

White was commissioned by Dumbarton in the Fall of 2011 to set The Raven.Catherine Payling, administrator for Dumbarton Concerts, wanted to reprise the work, Poe. Lyric Fest was invited to partner in the project and decided to feature song settings of Poe’s poetical works but also include an actor to read from Poe’s well known stories.

Says founding artistic director Suzanne DuPlantis, “Not only was this an opportunity to take Lyric Fest to Washington, but also a great opportunity to create a rich, multi­layered, musical and literary happening, just the kind of thing we like to do. We’ll be premiering two new settings of Poe, one of which we commissioned and premiering this latest version of The Raven, as well.”

For White there were challenges setting the original piece, The Raven.

“How does one set such a long poem that dwells on sadness, despair, longing and gloom throughout its eighteen verses,” said White. “It was not long before I was thinking along the lines of a very presentational, theatrically inspired piece, most definitely divided into several movements. And thus this cantata in eight movements was born.”

White notes that this new all­-Poe focus of this program adds a new dimension. He has added a fifth voice and with Laura Ward at the piano he is able to step out front and conduct.

Said White, “It will create a different focus for me and hopefully improve the precision of the performance. I’m very excited about that. I should also mention I wrote a setting of Poe’s A Dream that Roger Isaacs will sing to function as prologue.”

Both performances feature singers Emily Noël, Roger Isaacs, James Reese, Steven Combs, and Suzanne DuPlantis with pianist Laura Ward, conductor Nicholas White, and narrator Duncan Wu. Three of the singers were in the first version premiere, all but James Reese, which features a vocal quartet that uses countertenor instead of mezzo.

Tickets are $20 for advanced purchase on the secure website and $25 at the door. Special student tickets are $5 cash at the door with ID.
About Lyric Fest
“Compulsively enterprising…” (David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer)

Lyric Fest was founded in January 2003 as a 501 c.3 and is currently led by two of its founders, Artistic Directors Suzanne DuPlantis and Laura Ward. Dedicated exclusively to the voice recital, Lyric Fest occupies a singular place in the Philadelphia artscape and expands the definition of the song recital by jointly featuring regional and internationally recognized artists. Together they produce a happening that is more than just a concert of songs. The mission of Lyric Fest is “to bring people together through the shared experience of song by offering to diverse audiences lively, theme­oriented voice recitals designed to edify, educate, stimulate dialogue, and foster community.”

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Sibelius Celebrates 150 – Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact
Lari Robling
Lyric Fest Presents Sibelius Celebrates 150
Happy Hour Concert Features His Philadelphia Connections and Lifetime Contributions to Music and Swedish Culture
In a new concert format that combines a happy hour with a week night mini performance, Lyric Fest fetes the 150th anniversary of the birth of Jean Sibelius at 6pm on Tuesday, December 8th at the Academy of Vocal Arts, 1920 Spruce Street, Philadelphia.
Song aficionados know that, though seldom programmed in the U.S., Sibelius songs are considered to be among the finest in the art song repertory. Singers Anne Marie Frohnmayer, Anthony Schneider, and Suzanne DuPlantis join Laura Ward at the piano to present many of his most beautiful works, sung in the original Swedish, Finnish, and German.
Tickets are $20 for advanced purchase on this secure website and $25 at the door. Special student tickets are $5 cash at the door with ID.
Founding artistic director Suzanne DuPlantis says, “We were inspired by our art show connected with last season’s In This Blue Room. The event started with a wine and cheese… ” says DuPlantis, ” It was such a relaxed and enjoyable experience, we came up with our happy hour mini concert concept for Sibelius… Or, as we like to call it Eat, Drink, Be Nordic.”
About Lyric Fest
“Compulsively enterprising…” (David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer)
Lyric Fest was founded in January 2003 as a 501 c.3 and is currently led by two of its founders, Artistic Directors Suzanne DuPlantis and Laura Ward. Dedicated exclusively to the voice recital, Lyric Fest occupies a singular place in the Philadelphia artscape and expands the definition of the song recital by jointly featuring regional and internationally recognized artists.
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Johannes Brahms – ­­­Biography in Music Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact
Lari Robling
larirob@gmail.com
215 978 6933
 Lyric Fest Presents Johannes Brahms­­­ – Biography in Music 
The man behind the music and the music behind the man 
Philadelphia, Pa December, 2015
Johannes Brahms’s lullaby is widely known and often used to conjure up the mood of an innocent child sleeping. Yet, this piece that so identifies him belies the complexity of his own life. On Friday, January 22 at 7:30 pm at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill and on Sunday, January 24 at 3 pm at The Academy of Vocal Arts, Lyric Fest looks at the life of Brahms in one of their signature Biography in Music concerts.
Through his music and letters, as well as theatrical narration, this concert reveals the context of Brahms’s life. Performances by Laura Dixon Strickling, soprano; Jeffrey Williams, baritone; Jonas Hacker, tenor and Chrystal E. Williams, mezzo soprano include a varied selection of solo songs, vocal quartets and duets with Laura Ward at the piano and actor Jim Bergwall reading from the letters of Brahms.
Biography in Music is a signature program of Lyric Fest, combining the composer’s vocal works with their own words from letters. Narration adds the context of life events, relationships and place in time. Previously, Biography in Music has profiled Benjamin Britten, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Gustav Mahler.
Said Suzanne DuPlantis, “Let’s face it… most composers are geniuses. But their letters reveal that they are also quirky, driven, troubled, lonely, complex human beings. Does it matter when you listen to their music? I’ll let you decide, but I can tell you this this much ­- it is completely fascinating.”
Suzanne DuPlantis also said of Brahms, “There is so much more to it than his being a romantic composer who was ‘in love’ with Clara Schumann. When you leave this concert, besides revering him, I guarantee you will have a profound compassion for Johannes Brahms, and I guarantee you will listen to him in a new way.”
Tickets are $20 for advanced purchase on the secure website and $25 at the door. Special student tickets are $5 cash at the door with ID.
About Lyric Fest 
 
“Compulsively enterprising…” (David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer) 
Lyric Fest was founded in January 2003 as a 501 c.3 and is currently led by two of its founders, Artistic Directors Suzanne DuPlantis and Laura Ward. Dedicated exclusively to the voice recital, Lyric Fest occupies a singular place in the Philadelphia artscape and expands the definition of the song recital by jointly featuring regional and internationally recognized artists. 

Ron Kerber

Ron Kerber is one of Philadelphia’s first call musicians, with a career that has crossed genres and styles. He was formerly saxophonist, composer and producer for Blue Note recording artists “Pieces of a Dream.”

Irini Kyriakidou

Greek soprano Irini Kyriakidou continues to showcase her “sweet and virtuosic vocal talents” (The Observer) with opera companies and symphony orchestras throughout the United States and Europe.

Emily Drummond

Select Roles: Laura, Iolanta (Tchaikovsky); David, Handel’s Saul 

Musical Theater – Marmee, Little Women; Nellie Forbush, South Pacific; Crystal, Little Shop of Horrors

Amy Burton

With a voice the New York Times has called, “luminous” and “lustrous,” versatile soprano Amy Burton has sung with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, at the White House, and with major opera companies and orchestras throughout the US, Europe, UK, Japan and Israel, as well as on recital and cabaret stages from New York to Barcelona.

Rebecca Myers

Recently described in the San Francisco Chronicle as singing with “an appealing blend of vulnerability and grace” soprano Rebecca Myers is a solo and ensemble singer who performs in and around the Philadelphia area.

Hannah Ludwig

Mezzo-soprano Hannah Ludwig is currently in her fourth year at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, PA., where she has recently performed the role of Charlotte in Werther, Isabella in L’italiana in Algieri, Frugola in Il Tabarro, and Siebel in Faust.