I Hear America Singing – Press Release

Media Contact
Lari Robling
215 978 6933

Lyric Fest Presents I Hear America Singing
Throughout history American song has given voice to our rich cultural heritage

PHILADELPHIA, PA – September, 2016

Lyric Fest’s fourteenth season, Song for America, begins with a look at the richness and variety of American music. I Hear America Singing is a concert celebrating our cultural identity through the works of an all­-star American roster of composers. Performances are Saturday, October 8, 2016 at 7:30 pm at Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church and Sunday, October 9, 2016 at 3 pm at The Academy of Vocal Arts, 1920 Spruce Street.

The heritage of American song is stitched together like a patchwork quilt from regions as far-­flung as Appalachian mountains, the whaling north, westward expansion and Faulkner’s south. In venues as diverse as tent revivals, cotton fields or concert halls, American song expresses ideas, hopes, fears and everyday life.

In the signature style of Lyric Fest concerts, the program juxtaposes musical styles and expression from Bob Dylan’s poem Chimes of Freedom about the down and out, set by John Corigliano, to Stephen Foster’s famous Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair beguilingly arranged by Ned Rorem, or the dark ugliness in Strange Fruit by Lewis Allan to Harold Arlen’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Co­-founding artistic director Suzanne DuPlantis said, “When people raise their voices in song, you get a sense of who they are. Whether it is the purity of shape note singing as communal expression, a patriotic strain or the art music of our most revered composers, there’s a lifting up of the American spirit.”

In addition to works including Stephen Foster, George Crumb, Charles Ives, Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, I Hear America Singing will also feature an Iroquois tribal melody, The White Dawn is Stealing, set to music by Charles Wakefield Cadman.

“The program captures the beauty, humor, compassion, divisiveness, passion, and zeal that is evident throughout America’s colorful musical history,” said co-­founding artistic director Laura Ward.

In keeping with Lyric Fest’s commitment to supporting established and emerging composers, the program includes a newly commissioned work by Kile Smith to an Emerson text, a newly commissioned arrangement by John Conahan of the great American hymn tune How Can I Keep from Singing, and a premiere finale by Daron Hagen.

Says DuPlantis, “Our mission at Lyric Fest has always included supporting newly composed works through our commissioning initiative. As we focus on songs of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, we thought it particularly important to also represent the twenty-­first century. Kile Smith, Daron Hagen, and John Conahan give an exciting expression to this new millennium.”

Performances by Tony Boutté, Tenor; Troy Cook, Baritone; Suzanne DuPlantis, Mezzo Soprano; Michelle Johnson, Soprano; and Laura Ward, Piano.

Lyric Fest offers reasonable and affordable season subscriptions as well as single tickets online http://lyricfest.org/tickets/ and at the box office.

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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You can find a PDF of this press release for our upcoming concert, I Hear America Singing, here!