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Posted by on Jun 14, 2012 in News | 0 comments



Steven Blier, Artistic Director • Michael Barrett, Associate Artistic Director


25th Anniversary Season


NYFOS celebrates a quarter century as the gurus of song


The contemporary song mini-series NYFOS NEXT expands to three salons;
hosts & curators include rising star Mohammed Fairouz and Pulitzer Prize-winner Kevin Puts


NYFOS at MERKIN unearths rarities: a presidential satire by the Gershwins (an election special),

Brel and Trénet ballads, Scandinavia’s special beauty, and…Women


FOUR WORLD PREMIERES: Adamo, Fairouz, Kihlstedt, Meltzer



Sasha Cooke, Corinne Winters, Lauren Worsham, Anne-Carolyn Bird, Marie Lenormand, Andrew Garland



“Mr. Gershwin Goes to Washington”

Saturday October 20, 8:00PM

A rarely performed presidential satire, just in time for the election

Lyrics by Ira Gershwin, Music by George Gershwin and Burton Lane

Adapted by Laurence Maslon from the libretti by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind

Anne-Carolyn Bird, soprano • Lauren Worsham, soprano

Steven Blier & Joseph Thalken, piano • Laurence Maslon, director



Tuesday, December 4, 8:00PM

Songs exploring the lives of women

World premieres by Mark Adamo, Harold Meltzer, Carla Kihlstedt, Mohammed Fairouz

plus works by Thea Musgrave, John Musto, and others

Corinne Winters, soprano • Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano • Andrew Garland, baritone

Steven Blier, piano


“Jacques Brel & Charles Trénet Revisited”

Tuesday, February 19, 8:00PM

Famous and rare treasures by two of the twentieth century’s greatest balladeers

 Marie Lenormand, mezzo-soprano

Bill Schimmel, accordion • Greg Utzig, banjo & guitar • Steven Blier, piano


“Song of the Midnight Sun”

Tuesday, March 12, 8:00PM

Scandinavian composers reveal hidden loves and the poetry of nature

Music by Grieg, Sibelius, Stenhammar, Nystrom, Nielsen, and Rautavaara

with Young Artists from Caramoor’s 2012 Terrance W. Schwab Vocal Rising Stars Program

Steven Blier & Michael Barrett, piano


Mary Flagler Cary Hall at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music



Tuesday, November 13, 7:00PM



Tuesday, February 5, 7:00PM



Tuesday, April 30, 7:00PM

“A NYFOS concert is one of the greatest pleasures you can have hearing music.”  — Classical TV



The New York Festival of Song celebrates a stunning twenty-five years since its inception at the hands of pianists Steven Blier and Michael Barrett, with a season set to highlight the “insightful and imaginative, touching and funny” programming that has made NYFOS “one of the longstanding delights of New York’s music scene” (The New York Times)


Leading audiences on a cultural and political journey around the world, taking musical inspiration from France, Scandinavia, the heart of American politics, and the lives of women, NYFOS pays tribute not only to its illustrious history but to its dynamic future, with the world premieres of four works by a diverse sampling of today’s composers, and the increasingly popular NYFOS Next mini-series, which enters its third season at the DiMenna Center.


From the Artistic Directors

Steven Blier, legendary accompanist and teacher whom The New York Times calls “a national treasure,” says: “We have gathered a roster of beautiful singers to celebrate our Silver Anniversary season, as well as a staggering range of composers. I’m especially proud to present four new works in our December concert by a truly distinguished quartet of composers: Mark Adamo, Carla Kihlstedt, Mohammed Fairouz, and Harold Meltzer. Each of them was eager to write us a new piece to help us ring in our next quarter-century. We’ll also hear from a raft of composers whose music has animated my soul for decades, including George Gershwin, Arthur Sullivan, and Edvard Grieg. The season ranges from politics in swingtime, to the intimacy of a woman’s boudoir, to the daffy wit of light opera, to the grit and charm of France’s greatest chansonniers, to the pristine power of Scandinavian music. And the evening I most anticipate? Twist my arm, and I’ll confess that I dream about our NYFOS party in May, when we’ll program 90 minutes of our favorite songs sung by as many of our family members as we can assemble. That should be a feast worth waiting for!” 

Michael Barrett, acclaimed programming innovator and conductor who is General Director of Caramoor and co-founder of the Moab Music Festival, adds: “It is an honor to have been associated with NYFOS from our beginning. The wonderful artists that have performed in the hundreds of NYFOS concerts over the years have contributed to the vitality of the song form and to the tradition of live intimate performances in New York City. All of the virtues of the past 25 years are on display this season: new work by important young composers, older works presented in fresh contexts, songs from a variety of languages and cultures, and of course the astonishing array of vocal talent, with the ongoing discovery of up-and-coming stars. I think our slogan ‘No song is safe from us’ still applies in full force.”

T H E  ’12 / 13  S E A S O N


All concerts begin at 8:00PM

Four programs, Four concerts, One Night Only

Available Now: $140-$200 Subscriptions for Entire Series

Available After August 1: $40-$55 for Single Tickets; $10 for Student Tickets

$20 for Real Deal Tickets: Advance Purchase, Limited Availability and Seating

Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center

129 West 67th Street • 212-501-3330

NYFOS Artistic Directors Steven Blier and Michael Barrett have hosted New York Festival of Song’s signature NYC series since NYFOS was founded in 1988. This intimate series, consisting of both subscription and standalone concerts, features original programs showcasing rarely-heard songs or presenting familiar repertoire in surprising ways that enable audiences to hear it with fresh ears. “An evening of transporting theatre—with music” (The New York Times), each NYFOS concert is organized thematically and draws from song repertoire across musical genres and styles. Thoroughly researched program notes and animated commentary from the stage guide the listener along each concert’s musical and dramatic arc.


Saturday, October 20, 8:00pm

Lyrics by Ira Gershwin, Music by George Gershwin and Burton Lane

Adapted by Laurence Maslon from the libretti by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind


Two NYFOS favorites and critical darling sopranos, the “lustrous” (Opera News) Anne-Carolyn Bird and Lauren Worsham, who “delights with her pure, warm tone and her agile comic delivery” (The New York Times), return just in time for election fever in Mr. Gershwin Goes to Washington. Directed and adapted by Laurence Maslon, the evening gathers George and Ira’s best satirical songs about politics—including “Of Thee I Sing,” “Love is Sweeping the Country,” “Union Square,” and “Strike Up the Band”—into a headline narrative about the trials and tribulations of presidential hopeful John P. Wintergreen. He is surrounded by a zany crew of irrelevant running mates, dangerous opponents, obstreperous anarchists, a femme fatale, and of course, his devoted First Lady. Joseph Thalken, who curated last season’s opening NYFOS Next concert, joins NYFOS artistic director Steven Blier on piano. A distinguished member of the political news media will be the surprise guest narrator.


This program will be reprised on Monday, October 22 at 7:30PM, when NYFOS goes on tour to Washington, DC, at the Terrace Theater at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.



Anne-Carolyn Bird, soprano (Diana Devereaux)

Lauren Worsham, soprano (Mary Turner)

Other roles to be announced

Steven Blier, piano

Joseph Thalken, piano

Laurence Maslon, director



Tuesday, December 4, 8:00pm


An exciting new program features four world premieres by composers Mark Adamo, Harold Meltzer, Carla Kihlstedt, and Mohammed Fairouz, in an evening dedicated to exploring the lives of women, narrated in their own words and observed through the eyes of men—both straight and gay. Rapidly rising soprano Corinne Winters, who made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2011 and has been acclaimed by Opera News for her “passionate lyricism and deep burgundy coloring,” leads the program alongside mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, whom Alex Ross of The New Yorker commended for her “luminous tone, a generously supported musical line, a keen sense of verbal nuance, and a flair for seduction.” Also returning is baritone Andrew Garland, whose previous NYFOS appearances have been praised for their “commanding intensity” (The New York Times) and “beautifully tragic overtones” (The Washington Post). Rounding out the musical program are contributions from Thea Musgrave, John Musto, and others, hosted by NYFOS artistic director and pianist Steven Blier.



Corinne Winters, soprano

Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano

Andrew Garland, baritone

Steven Blier, piano




Jacques Brel & Charles Trénet Revisited

Tuesday, February 19, 8:00pm


Two of the twentieth century’s greatest balladeers, the Belgian-born Jacques Brel and Frenchman Charles Trénet are revisited with an authentically French flair under the graceful touch of Marie Lenormand. The mezzo-soprano, also a marvelous actress about whom French music magazine Diapason raved is a “distinguished and emotive musician, whose every phrase is a model of simplicity and elegance,” leads a tour-de-chant to include some of Brel and Trénet’s most famous pieces—Brel’s “Ne me quitte pas” and “Madeleine,” and Trenet’s “Que reste-t-il de nos amours” and “La mer”—along with lesser-known treasures. Joining pianist Steven Blier are virtuoso accordionist Bill Schimmel, dubbed the world’s greatest by National Public Radio, and longtime Broadway veteran Greg Utzig on banjo and guitar.


This program will be reprised on Thursday, February 21 at 8:00PM, when NYFOS goes on tour to the Joseph & Alma Gildenhorn Recital Hall at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD.



Marie Lenormand, mezzo-soprano

Bill Schimmel, accordion

Greg Utzig, banjo & guitar

Additional artists to be announced

Steven Blier, piano



Song of the Midnight Sun

Tuesday, March 12, 8:00pm


Closing out NYFOS’s Merkin Concert Hall season is their annual showcase featuring four of the nation’s most promising young artists, chosen to participate in this year’s Caramoor’s Schwab Vocal Rising Stars Program. Song of the Midnight Sun explores the great Scandinavian songwriters, including Grieg, Sibelius, Stenhammar, Nystrom, Nielsen, and Rautavaara. Their songs reveal a world of hidden loves, night-time confessions, and the poetry of nature. These songs are imbued with both passion and pristine freshness, lending them a special beauty. Associate artistic director Michael Barrett joins artistic director Steven Blier at the piano.


This program will also be performed on Sunday, March 10 at 4:00PM, when NYFOS goes on tour to the Music Room in Rosen House, at the Caramoor Center for Music and Arts, in Katonah, NY.



Young Artists from Caramoor’s 2012 Terrance W. Schwab Vocal Rising Stars Program

Steven Blier, piano

Michael Barrett, piano



NYFOS NEXT, the series for new songs

Mary Flagler Cary Hall at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music

450 West 37th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues

Tickets: $10 (subscribers to the Merkin series get in free) • Reservations are required

646-230-8380 or

Complimentary beverages will be served


“NYFOS Next continues to astonish even the most sophisticated listeners…The series is a breath of fresh air on the scene of serious vocal music, and the singers were brilliant.” — Q ON STAGE


Held in intimate venues with a relaxed salon atmosphere, NYFOS Next looks to the future, opening a forum for the next generation of song composers and interpreters. Now in its third season, audiences enjoy an up-close encounter with the creative process, and freshly-minted songs are shared among creative companions—some for the first time. With an emphasis on spontaneity, novelty, and collaboration, NYFOS Next pioneers an experimental venue for song, paralleling New York Festival of Song’s original subscription concert series.


Tuesday, November 13, 7:00pm


Tuesday, February 5, 7:00pm

Described by The New York Times as “exhilarating and compelling,” the music of Kevin Puts has been commissioned and performed by leading orchestras, ensembles and soloists throughout North America, Europe and the Far East. Puts’ first opera Silent Night recently won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music. Known for his distinctive and richly colored musical voice, he has received many of today’s most prestigious honors and awards for composition. Curated by the distinguished composer, this NYFOS Next concert evening features both his own music and that of his colleagues and friends.


NYFOS NEXT: MohammEd Fairouz & Friends

Tuesday, April 30, 7:00pm

Composer Mohammed Fairouz is one of New York’s brightest rising stars. Following the NYFOS commission of his new song “A Prayer to the New Year,” which receives its premiere December 4, 2012 on NYFOS’s Merkin Hall program “Women,” Fairouz returns to curate the final NYFOS Next evening of the season. Fairouz has been recognized as an “expert in vocal writing” by The New Yorker and as a “post millennial Schubert” by Gramophone Magazine. Straddling Eastern and Western idioms, Fairouz has emerged as a leading musical force of his generation, with his work having been performed at Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, the Kennedy Center and throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.






In the 2012-2013 Season, NYFOS will return to Boston, Washington DC and College Park, MD with performances at the unique, cube-shaped Calderwood Hall in Renzo Piano’s new wing at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Terrace Theater at the Kenndey Center for the Performing Arts, and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in College Park, MD. NYFOS will also continue its residency with the Caramoor Vocal Rising Stars program in Katonah, NY.


Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum presents NYFOS:

Dvorak and the American Soul



Antonin Dvorak discovered America’s voice in the Negro spirituals brought to him by Harry T. Burleigh, his African-American composition pupil at New York’s National Conservatory of Music, where Dvorak taught from 1892-1895. NYFOS’s program celebrates this inspiring creative exchange, its profound influence on Dvorak and his other pupils, and on the path of American music. Soprano Dina Kuznetsova, soprano Julia Bullock, baritone James Martin, and pianist Michael Barrett perform works by Dvorak, Burleigh, Will Marion Cook and others.


Vocal Arts DC presents NYFOS:


MONDAY, October 22, 7:00PM

Kennedy center for the performing arts


(An Encore Performance, See Merkin Concert Series)


Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center presents NYFOS:

Jacques Brel & Charles Trénet Revisited

THURSDAY, February 21, 8:00PM




(An Encore Performance, See Merkin Concert Series)


Song of the Midnight Sun

SUNDAY, March 10, 4:00PM



(An Encore Performance, See Merkin Concert Series)





A Night at the operetta

Wednesday, January 16, 8:00pm

Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center


NYFOS continues its rich tradition of collaboration with The Juilliard School Vocal Department, marking its eighth annual concert with an evening dedicated to the world of operetta—witty, charming music from England, France, Spain, Austria, and America. The collaboration trains young vocalists in the NYFOS model of research, program building, rehearsal process, text analysis, presentation/production and performance. From October through January, participants work directly with NYFOS’s artistic directors to conceive, build and present their own thematic vocal program, engage their audiences through carefully crafted programming, write their own program notes, and deliver verbal commentary from the stage. Each annual program concludes with a performance, free to the public, presented in one of the premiere Juilliard School theaters. Details about this season’s concert will be released at a later date.



Monday, April 8, 7:00pm

Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall


A celebration to mark the end of another successful season at NYFOS, the annual spring gala is the major fundraising event for the season, and contributions to the event help keep the music playing at NYFOS events all year round. Steven Blier hosts a star-studded lineup of special guests in concert at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, to be followed by an elegant supper at ‘21’ Club. Performers and program TBA. Contact New York Festival of Song (646) 230-8380 for further information.




Monday, May 13, 7:30pm

DiMenna Center for Classical Music

450 West 37th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues


The public is invited to join the New York Festival of Song, as a company of past and present singers, composers and librettists celebrate the organization’s Silver Anniversary.

Program and performers TBA.

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