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LYRIC FEST PRESENTS HAPPY BIRTHDAY IRVING BERLIN

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

LYRIC FEST PRESENTS HAPPY BIRTHDAY IRVING BERLIN
Happy Hour mini-concert toasts this song-writing genius

PHILADELPHIA, PA – April, 2017
Born Israel Isidore Baline in 1888 in Tyumen, Russia, Irving Berlin became the Jewish immigrant who penned popular standards including God Bless America, White Christmas and Easter Parade. He died in 1989 at 101 having written an astonishing 1,500 songs. On the 129th anniversary of his birth, Thursday, May 11, at the Academy of Vocal Arts, Lyric Fest raises their voices and a glass in celebration of this song-writing giant.

Artistic Director Suzanne DuPlantis said, “Berlin was the tempo of our times over two world wars and the heyday of Broadway musicals and movies. His songs were covered by stars as diverse as Kate Smith, Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, and Aretha Franklin. We are excited to sing his songs and talk about his extraordinary life and contributions.”

Happy Hour mini-concerts have become synonymous with Lyric Fest and offer a week-day opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine and a nosh, hear a shorter concert, and still have time to commute home from work or make a dinner reservation.
Happy Birthday Irving Berlin features Suzanne DuPlantis, Mezzo Soprano; Randall Scarlata, Baritone; and Harold Evans at the piano performing a mix of favorites and lesser known works. The repertoire includes popular standards such as the energetic Puttin’ on the Ritz as well as discovering the melodic memories of Russian Lullaby. For those who love a good regret there’s What’ll I Do as well as the cheeky love lost You Can Have Him.
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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Tom Purdom reviews “It’s Elementary”

Tom Purdom’s review of It’s Elementary was published yesterday in the Broad Street Review. Here are a few brief quotes to entice you to follow the link (click here) so you can read the whole, elegantly written, review.

The lineup’s 21 songs were distributed among four appealing young vocalists. Soprano Meryl Dominguez and tenor Jonas Hacker are both Academy of Vocal Arts resident artists. Sutherland and baritone John Moore have been around longer and possess formidable bios […] Philadelphia composer Michael Djupstrom introduced his foursome, Oars in the Water, by noting that it began with the oddest commission he’s ever received […] The other premiere, John Musto’s Be Music, Night, got a good reading from Dominguez […] Ward, Lyric Fest’s co-director, is a master of the art and one of the primary reasons Lyric Fest wins must-see status on my personal music schedule.

Lyric Fest presents It’s Elementary

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

LYRIC FEST PRESENTS IT’S ELEMENTARY
John Musto and Michael Djupstrom premiere two newly commissioned song cycles
PHILADELPHIA, PA – February 16, 2017

As technology becomes central to our lives, what happens to our relationship with the natural world? In commissioning two new song cycles – one by Pulitzer Prize finalist John Musto and another by Philadelphia’s own Michael Djupstrom – Lyric Fest examines the four elements of the ancient Greeks through the ages, culminating in these new works. Performances are Friday, March 31st, 2017 at 7:30 PM at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill and Sunday, April 2nd, 2017 at 3:00 PM at the The Academy of Vocal Arts 1920 Spruce Street.
When Laura Ward takes the piano with Jonas Hacker, John Moore, Meryl Dominguez, and Elisa Sutherland, these two new settings will join Lyric Fest’s growing body of commissioned work connecting Art Song to today’s audiences.
Said Laura Ward, “To date, Lyric Fest has commissioned 21 composers creating 22 individual songs, 11 song cycles/groups (67 songs) and five arrangements.”
Co-founding artistic director Suzanne DuPlantis notes, “We pull from a vast body of existing Art Song in our programming, but commissioning has become central to our mission. We want future generations to be able to get to know us through the songs we leave. In this concert we bring together past and present to look at our relationship with earth, wind, fire and water.”
She continues, “Lately we’ve been affected by natural forces in so many ways. Art gives us a touchstone to the beauty, spirituality, and power the elements have over us.”
Known for both his command of the piano and the language of song, John Musto’s cycle, Be Music, Be Night, will be performed by Soprano Meryl Dominguez. Combining the works of Sri Aurobindo, Carl Sandburg, Leonie Adams and Kenneth Patchen, Musto will take the audience through the emotional terrain of the elements, ending with gentle praise for our earth.
Elisa Sutherland, Mezzo Soprano, will sing Michael Djupstrom’s setting of Jeanne Minahan poems beginning with Oars in Water. Previously, Djupstrom set Gwendolyn Brook’s poem, “infirm” for the highly acclaimed 2014 Lyric Fest concert, Dear March Come In, American Women Poets in Song. The program also includes selections of Rachmaninoff, Britten, Schubert and more.
Tickets for refreshments and concert are $25 for advanced purchase on the secure website and $30 at the door. Special student tickets are $10 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.
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Press coverage of “Music in the White House”

“Music in the White House” presented on January 28 and 29, 2017, received two write-ups in the local press.

Ronnie Polaneczky, writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer
“Speaking with feet, hearts, and voices”
(Article)
Excerpt:

[…] about 250 Philadelphians on the other side of town were moved to tears during a Rittenhouse Square concert called “Music in the White House.”

Tom Purdom, writing for The Broad Street Review
“Music Hall of the Nation”
(Review)
Excerpt:

[…] This was one of the most emotionally moving concerts I’ve ever attended […] The program was tied together with a well-written narrative given a spirited delivery by Charlotte Blake Alston […] Baritone Steven LaBrie and tenor Matthew White both sang show-stopping operatic arias but sounded just as effective singing pieces like “Brother Can You Spare a Dime?” and the ode to Maria from West Side Story. Christine Lyons added a sparkling soprano to Handel’s “Let the Bright Seraphim” and […] [m]ezzo Suzanne DuPlantis delivered a moving “Take Care of This House” […] Singing City played a major role all through the afternoon […] Laura Ward once again provided accompaniments that placed the songs in poetic, scene-painting settings.

WHITE HOUSE SONG BLOG

4. Music hath charms…

The year was 1914 and the world stood on the brink of its first World War. Woodrow Wilson had just held a formal diplomatic dinner for the Central Powers at the White House. Harpist Melville Clark had provided the music for the evening.

And this is what happened at the end of the night:

Melville Clark wrote: ”When the last distinguished guest had departed, the president asked me to take the harp and go with him to the rear portico of the White House. It became plain that he was gravely worried about the possibility of war and he wished only to sit a while in the soft Maytime air and listen to the harp. I was counting it a privilege to give the president a lift, when he was burdened with the melancholy thought that his guests might soon be his mortal enemies.  The moonlight was all-pervading and [everything] was wrapped in a phosphorescent glow.  … He asked if I could play “Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes.”  And as I bent eagerly over the harp and began softly the familiar melody, much to my surprise, the President began to sing it in his clear, lyric tenor voice. He suggested one after another, and it was nearly midnight when he stood up. And now it pleased me to note, he was amazingly buoyant and relaxed.”

 

Join us for MUSIC IN THE WHITE HOUSE

  • Saturday, January 28th, 2017 at 7:30 PM
    at St. David’s Episcopal Church
  • Sunday, January 29th, 2017 at 3:00 PM
    at Church of the Holy Trinity

TICKETS: https://lyricfest.org/tickets/

WHITE HOUSE SONG BLOG

3. Today, A Dirge

Need I say more?

 I need not, but I think I will.

Abraham Lincoln (O Captain, my Captain) loved opera. His favorite one was Flotow’s “Martha.” He loved it so very much that he had it staged for his inauguration. So, on this day, so full of precedence and history, I give you the song Lincoln longed to hear and that soothed his heart, “The Last Rose Of Summer” from “Martha.”  

May it soothe yours.

 

‘Tis the last rose of summer left blooming alone
All her lovely companions are faded and gone
No flower of her kindred, no rosebud is nigh
To reflect back her blushes and give sigh for sigh

I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one, to pine on the stem
Since the lovely are sleeping, go sleep thou with them
Thus kindly I scatter thy leaves o’er the bed
Where thy mates of the garden lie scentless and dead

So soon may I follow when friendships decay
And from love’s shining circle the gems drop away
When true hearts lie withered and fond ones are flown
Oh who would inhabit this bleak world alone?

– Thomas Moore

WHITE HOUSE SONG BLOG

 White House image by Dan Kessler, kesslerart.com

2. Winter in the White House

This embedded YouTube clip is almost All-American.

An American President (Jimmy Carter) invites a world renowned American opera singer (Leontyne Price) to the White House and she sings a new song composed for her by an American composer (Dominick Argento) and the president had the concert filmed to be broadcast out to all you, the American people. But here is the rub: Does the American composer set an Emily Dickinson poem? Does he set a Robert Frost poem? Does he set a Walt Whitman poem?

He does not. 

He sets … Shakespeare. I suppose that will have to do.

On this Winter’s day, treat yourself to a fabulous song sung by one of the greats. And the president is not bad either, if you consider that he continues to be a spectacular force for good in the world.

Here is a two minute clip of the moment it happened.  THAT’S Music in the White House, for you.

Join us for more MUSIC IN THE WHITE HOUSE:

Saturday, January 28th, 2017 at 7:30 PM, at  St. David’s Episcopal Church

Sunday, January 29th, 2017 at 3:00 PM, at The Church of the Holy Trinity

TICKETS HERE

WHITE HOUSE SONG BLOG

    White House image by Dan Kessler, kesslerart.com

The Music of Richard Nixon and Pearl Bailey

What a time to be presenting Music in the White House! No, really… what BETTER time to be presenting Music in the White House?

Having spent the last few months immersing myself in presidential history and the story that music tells about us, I have been at turns amazed, grateful, proud, tearful, comforted and consoled… and I have laughed!

Time for you to laugh, too.

Who knew that Richard Nixon was a pianist. Okay, maybe not the best pianist in the world, but good enough to have the cheek to try and accompany Pearl Bailey. It almost makes you forget Watergate.

Ah, the good ol’ days…

Here is a two minute clip that proves it happened.  THAT’S Music in the White House, for you.

Join us for more MUSIC IN THE WHITE HOUSE:

Saturday, January 28th, 2017 at 7:30 PM, at  St. David’s Episcopal Church

Sunday, January 29th, 2017 at 3:00 PM, at The Church of the Holy Trinity

TICKETS HERE