September 2, 2017

Lyric Fest Presents Pedals, Page-turns and Postludes

Media Contact: Suzanne DuPlantis
Lyric Fest Presents Pedals, Page-turns and Postludes
– a view from the bench –

Thursday, September 21st, 2017 at 6 p.m. Reception and Mini Concert
at The Community House, Moorestown, NJ
Friday, September 22nd, 2017 at 8 p.m. (wine and cheese reception at 7:30)
    at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA
Sunday, September 24th, 2017 at 3 p.m.
    at the Academy of Vocal Arts, Philadelphia, PA

PHILADELPHIA, PA – September 1, 2017
To inaugurate its 15th season, Lyric Fest looks at the art of art song from a different vantage point: the bench. Pianist Laura Ward, one of Lyric Fest’s founding directors who has made a career of performing with singers, has created an informative and entertaining program to shine lights on the art, craft and tricks of the trade of the collaborative pianist.
“I’ve chosen from my top-40 art songs to demonstrate what it is that I do. There is a lot going on from the bench, and most of it executed without anyone knowing… kind of like making sausage!” Ward focuses on the handling of this king of instruments, actually a member of the percussion family, and the demands of the vocal repertoire.
The program opens with three important Schubert songs: Gretchen am Spinnrade, Die Forelle and Im Frühling. “The history of art song shifted dramatically with the composition of Gretchen am Spinnrade by 17-year-old Franz Schubert. All of a sudden the writing for the piano becomes completely enmeshed with the storytelling, and is elevated to equal importance with the voice,” says Ward. The program then moves from orchestrated song to opera, premieres and pop, before closing with four songs of the composer who brought piano writing in art song to full flower, Hugo Wolf. The concert ends with Wolf’s grand waltz on the piano from his Abschied, as a self-proclaimed critic is kicked out of the door and bounced down the stairs by an unappreciative recipient of his criticism, a character song with a masterful postlude by one of the best.
Ward will introduce Dr. Benjamin C. S. Boyle, Lyric Fest’s Composer-in-Residence for the 15th-anniversary season, and will premiere his Lullaby, a setting of a Sara Teasdale poem for mezzo-soprano and piano composed specifically for Artistic Directors Suzanne DuPlantis and Laura Ward.
The four vocalists, Jennifer Aylmer, soprano; Suzanne DuPlantis, mezzo-soprano; Jonas Hacker, tenor; and Randall Scarlata, baritone, are longtime collaborators and close friends with pianist Laura Ward, who will share personal stories about each of these artists.
The concert will be given in shortened form with Ward and two of its singers, Jennifer Aylmer and Randall Scarlata, at The Community House in Moorestown, NJ. A wine and cheese reception starts the event at 6 p.m. and the concert begins at 6:30.
On Friday, September 22nd, the season will officially open with the full-length program at 8 p.m., (following a wine and cheese reception at 7:30) at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, and will be given in Lyric Fest’s main venue, the Helen Corning Warden Theater at the Academy of Vocal Arts on Sunday, September 24th, at 3 p.m. It will be followed by a reception with wine and hors d’oeuvres, and an opportunity to meet the artists.
Concert running time: 1.30
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Lyric Fest’s mission 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.
Lyric Fest (LF) was founded in 2003 by three Philadelphia-area musicians: mezzo-soprano Suzanne DuPlantis, soprano Randi Marrazzo and pianist Laura Ward, with the shared goal of celebrating and revitalizing the song tradition. It has produced and presented over 70 concerts and recitals featuring more than 200 local, regional and national artists, actors, dancers and choral groups. Currently LF is run by Artistic Directors Suzanne DuPlantis and Laura Ward.
Commissioning and performing new works has become integral to LF’s mission and programming philosophy. Since its founding, LF has commissioned and premiered over 80 new works of local, regional and nationally recognized composers. LF enjoys working in partnership with composers, providing them with opportunities for creating and mounting performances of their work.
Lyric Fest is one of very few voice-recital series of its kind in the region. Its reputation for excellence and innovation is growing nationally and LF has begun to receive invitations to bring concerts to Pittsburgh, PA, Princeton, NJ, and Washington, DC. LF has received critical acclaim and has also been noted in a number of national publications, such as Opera News.
Lyric Fest remains committed to access through affordable ticket prices, to broadening its audience, and to expanding the region’s interest in and knowledge of song as an important and relevant art form.
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