Top Five Celebrations of Song

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New York is bursting into song, or it seems that way with the number of song cycles, recitals, series and festivals around. The George London Foundation Recital Series at the Morgan Library kicked off on Nov. 14.

Gabriel Kahane, the young composer of Craiglistlieder, is performing sold-out concerts singing his own songs as part of the New York Festival of Song and those of others at Issue Project Room the following night. There’s even a series at the 92nd Street Y called Music and the Brain, which looks into the psychology of songwriting. As for the upcoming concerts, here are our Top Five over the next few weeks:

1. The newly founded Five Boroughs Music Festival, committed to bringing high quality music programming to all corners of the city, heads to Park Slope on Nov. 21. Pianist Martin Katz will accompany four singers in an exploration of Schumann and Wolfe at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. Another performance and a master class with Katz follow later in the week at NYU’s Fredrick Lowe Theater.

2. World class musicians are always passing through Carnegie Hall, but a number of top notch singers seem to be coalescing there lieder in tow. This unintentional series starts with Bryn Terfel, fresh off his turn as Wotan in the Met’s Das Rheingold. The American mezzo-soprano, Susan Graham joins the Orchestra of St. Luke’s for Berg’s Seven Early Songs on Dec. 9. Another mezzo, Christianne Stotijn, takes on Grieg, Brahms, Richard Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky and Rachmaninoff at Zankel Hall on Dec. 10.

3. A 2009 Metropolitan Opera National Council Winner, recent Juilliard grad, and current member of the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist program, Paul Appleby returns to his alma mater for the Alice Tully Vocal Arts Debut Recital. The annual concert honors a student selected through an audition process in the spring. Rather than choose a series of flashy arias, Appleby will sing Schubert’s song cycle, Die shöne Mullerin (The Miller Boy). The vocal department head, Brian Zeger, will accompany him.

4. The sweet-voiced Canadian tenor, Colin Balzer, makes his New York debut at the Frick Collection alongside pianist Erika Switzer on Dec. 12. Though known best as a baroque and early music specialist, his song selection spans three centuries. He begins with Haydn and Schubert, but concludes with Britten’s Winter Words and the composer’s arrangement of folk songs

5. American Opera Projects and Opera on Tap keep expanding the boundaries of art form. Together they joined to create Opera Grows in Brooklyn at Dumbo’s Galapagos Art Space on Dec. 5. The theme of the evening: Sex, Cigarettes and Psychopaths (A Night of Laughs). Selections and song cycles from four works in progress are on the schedule.

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