Lyric Fest Announces 2014 – 2015 Season

Media Contact
Lari Robling
215 9788 6933
Celebrating the arts with Lyric Fest’s first Composer-in-Residence

PHILADELPHIA, PA – July 31, 2014
Lyric Fest’s new season focuses on the intersection of art and life. The season begins with Vienna—City of Song a Schubertiad-styled program celebrating the city, its composers and their house-music that gave birth to art song. It is followed by a family concert, Much Ado About Shakespeare, highlighting the life and work of Shakespeare (450 years old in 2014). In March, Waxing Poetic combines a new extended Lyric Fest commission by Kile Smith with an art showing and poetry reading. The final concert of the season is in collaboration with Singing City, I’ll Make Me a World, and uses James Weldon Johnson’s poem, “The Creation,” as a touchstone to engage the audience in questions about our world.

The Presser Foundation, in honor of its 75th Anniversary awarded Lyric Fest a coveted 75th Anniversary special grant, enabling Lyric Fest to welcome Kile Smith as its first composer-in-residence. While Lyric Fest has continually commissioned new works, this residency is a milestone for the organization.

“Having a composer-in-residence not only energizes the season, but adds a new dimension to the scope of the organization.” says pianist and co-artistic director Laura Ward. “Kile’s strength as a composer along with his multi-faceted career make him a perfect choice for our first residency.” Mr. Smith will compose for three of the four concerts and narrate the fourth, Vienna—City of Song.

Mr. Smith comes to the Lyric Fest composer-in-residency with high praise from critics and audiences. Gramophone hailed the “sparkling” beauty of his music and the American Record Guide and Fanfare both wrote glowing notes on his work “Vespers.” He has previously premiered a new work with Lyric Fest.

This year also sees Lyric Fest expand its geographic boundaries. Artistic Directors Suzanne DuPlantis, mezzo soprano, and Laura Ward, pianist, performed in six recitals at the prestigious Giancarlo Menotti house in Spoleto, Italy for the inauguration of the Menotti House recital series of Umbrian Serenades. The summer also saw Lyric Fest reprising the poetry performance, Dear March – Come In!, in Princeton. September debuts “Lyric Fest West” in Pittsburgh with Che Bella Vita, an all-Italian program with singers Jennifer Aylmer, Randall Scarlata, Eric Reiger, Suzanne DuPlantis and with Laura Ward at the piano for Music in a Great Space recital series at Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh.

Lyric Fest offers reasonable and affordable season subscriptions as well as single tickets online and at the box office.

Program Descriptions

Vienna – City of Song
It’s unusual for Lyric Fest to stay in one place and one language, but Vienna is a worthy destination for a full concert. Celebrate both the art of lieder (romantic German poems set to music for singer and piano) and composers who have a connection to Vienna. This song-sharing fireside chat on German Lied, celebrates the spirit of Vienna and the songs of its most beloved composers: Schubert, Mozart; Beethoven; Brahms; Strauss; Wolf; Mahler and more.

Guest Artists Erica Miller, Gabriel Preisser joining Suzanne DuPlantis and pianist
Laura Ward. With narration by Lyric Fest Composer-in-residence Kile Smith.

Sunday, October 5, 2014, 3 PM
Academy of Vocal Arts
1920 Spruce Street Philadelphia
Monday, October 6, 2014 7:30 PM
Bryn Mawr College, The Music Room in Goodhart Hall

Much Ado About Shakespeare

Happy Birthday to Shakespeare! Don’t Let the 450th anniversary of his birth pass you by. Bring the whole family to celebrate a world of Shakespeare in song, story and Shakespeare’s own verse. Opera, classical song, popular song and a newly commissioned work by Lyric Fest’s composer in residence create a program to introduce young audiences to the bard, as well as give new insight to seasoned fans. Featuring a spectacular cast of singers and actors: Michael Adams; Jessica Lennick; Eric Rieger; Jim Bergwall; and Charlotte Blake Alston. Pianist, Laura Ward.

Sunday, November 16, 2014, 3 PM

Main Line Reform Temple
410 Montgomery Avenue, Wynnewood

Waxing Poetic
Lyric Fest unveils an exciting new commission from its first ever composer-in-residence, Kile Smith. This cross-fertilization of visual, poetic and musical arts features works of four Philadelphia poets inspired by Laura Pritchard’s imaginative paintings of fine-art batik. A unique and lively art happening — art viewing, poetry reading and musical premiere all wrapped in one.
Guest artist baritone, Daniel Teadt with mezzo soprano, Suzanne
DuPlantis and Laura Ward, piano.

Friday, March 13, 2015, Widener Hall, The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill 7:30 PM
Sunday, March 15, 2015 Academy of Vocal Arts, 1900 Spruce Street, 3 PM

I’ll Make Me A World
A collaborative concert bringing Lyric Fest together again with Singing City for a musically eclectic, thought provoking look at our world. Inspired by James Weldon Johnson’s poem “The Creation,” this concert will be an exploration of the gifts of natural world, the art it inspires, and the challenges of sharing the bounty of these resources in the 21st Century. Solo songs interspersed with choral work—including a new work by Lyric Fest’s composer in residence, Kile Smith, scored for audience participation and percussion ensemble. (stet)
Guest Artists Elizabeth Weigle and Chrystal Williams
Singing City directed by Jeffrey Brillhart
Laura Ward, piano

Sunday, April 19, 2014 3 PM
The Church of the Holy Trinity
1904 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

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 lead 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.”

About The Presser Foundation
The Presser Foundation was established in 1939 under the Deeds of Trust and Will of the late Theodore Presser. It is one of the few private foundations in the United States dedicated solely to music education and music philanthropy. The Presser Foundation supports music performance and education through undergraduate and graduate scholar awards, operating and program support for music organizations, capital grants for music building projects, and assistance to retired music teachers. Much of the grant making focus of the Foundation is on organizations and institutions in the 100-mile radius surrounding Center City Philadelphia. For more information:
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