Here’s a little write-up I did for a local paper about our Barrington concert:
A few months ago, I identified a hole in American concert repertoire.
As a classical musician, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to make what is sometimes considered a dying art form relevant to today’s audiences. Many companies and organizations have tried, some successfully, to address this issue by creating programs targeted specifically at young professionals, by commissioning new works that cross and combine musical genres, or by modernizing opera and concert programs from the standard repertoire to speak to today’s fast-paced, technologically driven society. I support and advocate all of these solutions, but none of them address the hole that I’ve identified: despite these efforts, there still remains a language barrier.
You see, if you go to an art song concert– that is, a concert of classical songs not from an opera– in Germany or France, you’ll find native speakers singing in their native language for other native speakers. The richness of the European musical tradition has cast such a shadow on the United States that you will rarely find American singers singing American songs for American audiences. Not only that, but even in this country, American Art songs are often thought of as second-rate– quite normally taking their place as party pieces at the end of a concert or recital.
I have long been a passionate supporter of American song, which is what drove me to found Patchwork Project, a new concert production organization devoted entirely to American concert repertoire. And it is with great pleasure that I bring our inaugural concert tour for a stop at Barrington’s White House on Wednesday, August 3 at 7:30 pm.
We’ve designed a program performed entirely in English that features American song, opera, and folk music spanning the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I was blessed in high school to have a vocal instructor and fine arts department that encouraged the exploration of all musical styles– not just classical– and this program really reflects that. There are bits of Samuel Barber’s iconic 1953 Hermit Songs programmed alongside Brooklyn-based composer Gabriel Kahane’s 2006 Craigslistlieder, which feature texts from, you guessed it, Craigslist personal ads. There are heartwarming arias from an opera based on Louisa May Alcott’s canonical Little Women (one of my very favorite books) and songs featuring the poetry of e.e. cummings, Walt Whitman, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Rosemary Benet. There are songs that tell the stories of lauded American women Nancy Hanks Lincoln and Kitty Oppenheimer, and we round this all out with a few cabaret songs, a little musical theater, and some Bob Dylan for good measure. All of these things come together to weave our “Tapestry of American Song”.
All in all, this is not your average classical concert! This is a vibrant, unique survey of American classical music crafted with the American audience in mind. I’ve been thrilled with it’s reception by audiences in New York City and Westchester and cannot wait to bring it home to Barrington, where my love and passion for this music was first cultivated over ten years ago.
Please join us for a wonderful event at Barrington’s White House on Wednesday, August 3 at 7:30 pm. General admission is $20; $15 for students and seniors. Tickets are available now at: patchworkbarrington.bpt.me. For more information, please visit our website: http://patchworkproject.co.