Lyric Fest Announces 2016 – 2017 Season

Media Contact: Lari Robling 215 978 6933


Song for America


In this fourteenth season, Lyric Fest casts its vote for American music with the theme Song for America. The season begins early October with I Hear America Singing, featuring selections from across the country and centuries as well as a newly commissioned work by Kile Smith.

“Creative expression in America is remarkable. I don’t know any other country that claims this kind of musical landscape – our songs are so varied, from classical to folk to spirituals to jazz and more. We thought the climate was right to be unabashedly American and hope to give voice to that spirit this season,” notes co-founder and artistic director Suzanne DuPlantis.

A family concert in November at Main Line Reform Temple features songs from around the globe and celebrates the music and traditions of our many immigrants who make up our nation’s diversity. This concert will be also be shared with Philadelphia Public Schools through generous donations.

In recognition of the inauguration of our 45th President, Lyric Fest caps the festivities the last week of January. Music in the White House showcases the history and emotional tone of our leaders and our country from the 1800’s to the present and is performed with Singing City.

Lyric Fest’s Happy Hour mini-concert was such a success it returns two-fold this season. This after-work happening offers a chance to enjoy a beverage and a 35 minute concert after work, leaving plenty of time for the commute home or dinner in town.

“Lyric Fest is always seeking to reach new audiences, so we tried a short weekday, after-work concert and had a great success. People are so busy these days, so we love that we hit on a way to bring music into their week,” said Suzanne DuPlantis.

Happy Hour on December 6, kicks off the holiday season with a song cycle of children’s Letters to Santa. It promises to be a funny, uplifting and wishful way to start the holiday season. And, to end the season, how could Lyric Fest not commemorate Irving Berlin’s birthday May 11 with a tribute to this timeless American songmaster.

The final full concert in April, It’s Elementary––Songs of Earth, Wind, Fire, brings together songs of our country’s natural elements and will include two newly commissioned song cycles by two highly accomplished song composers, Michael Djupstrom and John Musto.

Designed for the aficionado and newcomer to song alike, Lyric Fest is a unique musical offering in the city of Philadelphia. Equally noted for scholarship and entertainment, Lyric Fest presents artists of national and international stature who are heard in the intimate setting of song. Tom Purdom of the Broad Street Review calls Lyric Fest, “An irresistible mix of high art and humane feeling…as entertaining as a well managed party.”

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

Program Descriptions

I Hear America Singing

Saturday, October 8, 2016 at 7:30 pm at Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church
Sunday, October 9, 2016 at 3 pm at The Academy of Vocal Arts, 1920 Spruce Street

This celebration of the richness and variety of American music moves from classical to folk, shape note singing to spirituals, and regional strains to Tin Pan Alley. The concert features an all American roster of composers including Stephen Foster, George Crumb, Samuel Barber, Charles Ives, and Aaron Copland and more, as well as a commissioned work by Kile Smith and a commissioned new arrangement of John Conahan. With Tony Boutte, Tenor; Troy Cook, Baritone; Suzanne DuPlantis, Mezzo Soprano; Michelle Johnson, Soprano; and Laura Ward, Piano.

A Neighborhood of Friends— a world of song

Friday, November 11, 2016 at 10 am at Girard Academic Music Program (Invitation only)
Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 3 pm at Main Line Reform Temple (Open to public)

In a program designed for children and families, Actor Jake Miller introduces songs from a variety of world cultures all found here in this patchwork quilt country of America. Artists include: Jean Bernard Cerin, Baritone; Cristina Nassif, Soprano; and Laura Ward, Piano.

Letters to Santa—Happy Hour and Mini Concert

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at The Academy of Vocal Arts
5:30 pm for refreshments, 6 pm music

After sifting through hundreds of letters to Santa to find the perfect one for Lyric Fest’s 2016 Letters concert, composer Logan Skelton was inspired to create his Letters to Santa, a hilarious, quirky and touching new song cycle that sets letters dating from the 1800’s to the present. Interspersed with aphorisms on childhood, this work speaks to all ages, especially “grown-ups.” With Sara Duchovnay, Soprano; Keith Phares, Baritone; Katharine Pracht, Mezzo Soprano; and Laura Ward, Piano.

Music in the White House—a collaboration between Lyric Fest and Singing City

Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 7:30 pm at St. David’s Episcopal Church
Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 3 pm at Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square

This musical documentary is a timely retrospective on the American Presidency and the role that music has played in shaping the American spirit. Just in time for the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, the concert features historical narration and a sampling of the music performed in the White House from the early 1800’s to the present. With Kevin Deas, Bass; Suzanne DuPlantis, Mezzo Soprano; Stephen LaBrie, Baritone; Latonia Moore, Soprano; Laura Ward, Piano; Singing City Choir, Jeffrey Brillhart conducting and Charlotte Blake Alston, Narrator.

It’s Elementary—Songs of Earth, Wind, Fire and Water

Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 7:30 pm at Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church
Sunday, April 2, 2017 at 3 pm at The Academy of Vocal Arts

An eclectic program of songs about the natural world—earth, wind, fire and water— premieres two newly commissioned song cycles by Michael Djupstrom and John Musto. With Jonas Hacker, Tenor; John Moore, Baritone; Olivia Vote, Mezzo Soprano; Meryl Dominguez, Soprano; and Laura Ward, Piano.

Happy Birthday Irving Berlin—Happy Hour and Mini Concert

May 11, 2017 at The Academy of Vocal Arts
5:30 for refreshments, 6 pm music

Raise a glass to this great American treasure and enjoy a concert featuring the timeless songs of Irving Berlin and a brief biography of his amazing life story. With Suzanne DuPlantis, Mezzo Soprano; Randall Scarlata, Baritone; and Harold Evans, Piano.

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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