Four Questions: Art Song Preservation Society of New York

Four Questions: Art Song Preservation Society of New York

Blair Boone-Migura, Founder and Executive Director of the Art Song Preservation Society of New York, took the time to answer our four questions ahead of their exciting 2020 festival! Stay tuned for their updated website and the application for the 2020 Mary Trueman Art Song Vocal Competition.

1. What songs and song performers are you presenting this season?

The Art Song Preservation Society of New York is presenting our Spring Into Art Song Festival in 2020 hosted by our partner, The Manhattan School of Music. We engage the public by presenting events with internationally-established artists in art song performance, and as this season is 10-year anniversary, we are planning to make it worthy of celebration.

From May 27 - June 10, 2020, the public will have the opportunity to hear some of the most recognizable names in classical music including Mark Markham (pianist to opera legend Jessye Norman), Thomas Grubb (author/Juilliard faculty), Margaret Lattimore (Metropolitan Opera), and Raehann Bryce-Davis (Oratorio Society of New York), among others who will perform or lead performance workshops with singers hoping to learn from renowned professionals. Each guest artist will guide the singers on an illuminating journey of art song performance before the public. Throughout the festival, five aspiring singers will be presented daily in each of the performance workshops. The master workshops are open to the public. The daily workshop events are augmented by various recitals. Recitalists include famed pianist Mark Markham, winner of the John Hopkins Distinguished Artist Award. Markham has famously partnered for 20 years with opera and concert luminary, soprano Jessye Norman. This season for the ASPS festival, Markham will perform with rising star of the opera and concert stage, Raehann Bryce-Davis (mezzo). 

Additionally, this will be the 5th time in our 10-year history that ASPSNY will sponsor the Mary Trueman Art Song Vocal Competition. Past winners include Micheal Weyandt (baritone), Virginie Verrez (mezzo), Sandra Hamaoui (soprano) and Christine Lyons (soprano). This competition is open to all singers over the age of 18. Online applications will be accepted during the preliminary round beginning in Jan 2020, with semi-finals held at MSM in March 2020 and finals at MSM on Saturday, May 30th. That afternoon, the finalists will give a public performance. In addition to a grand prize winner, the audience will select an audience favorite, a prize will be given to a collaborative pianist, and the Gérard Souzay prize will be given to a singer excelling in French diction and interpretation. This award is generously supported by our Advisory Board member, the legendary collaborative pianist Dalton Baldwin, with whom Gérard Souzay performed for over 30 years.

Spring Into Art Song Festival at a glance: May 27 - June 10, 2020

Master Class Workshops: 2pm daily
Italian Song
German Song
French Song
Contemporary American Song
Latin-American Song
Ravel & Poulenc Mélodies
Bel Canto Vocal Technique Through Song
Collaborative Duos
Dramatic Interpretation Through Song
American Songbook

Recitals: 7pm
May 30th - 10-year Anniversary Mary Trueman Art Song Vocal Competition Finals Concert
June 6th - Solo Recital: Raehann Bryce-Davis (mezzo-soprano) & Mark Markham (piano)
June 10th - Community Outreach Artist For Social Change Concert (SAGE)

2. What makes your series unique?
We engage the public by presenting events with internationally-established artists in art song performance. The immediate benefits are the artistic merit of preserving this critical but often-neglected area of vocal literature. The opportunity for the public to observe legendary artists like Dalton Baldwin, Marni Nixon, Mark Markham, Margaret Lattimore, Andrea DelGuidice, Neil Semer, Kathryn LaBouff, Carol Kimball, Joan Dornemann, and Thomas Grubb, among other artists who have presented classes or recitals for us, is a unique but key aspect and benefit of our series. The broader community will have a rare opportunity to see aspiring singers perform in a workshop setting next to artists with international reputations, and they will also have opportunities to ask questions of the guest artists during the Q&A and when meeting the performers. ASPSNY also sponsors a bi-annual art song vocal competition called The Mary Trueman Art Song Vocal Competition. Singers from all over the world have come to compete in this event. ASPSNY’s primary objective is to expose developing artists and the public to living legends in the field of art song interpretation so as to educate both musicians and the community. We believe that through access to performance, education and engaging audiences with experts and performers, art song will thrive making ASPSNY a refuge that lives up to its credo: “Where Music Speaks & Words Sing!” 

3. What stories do you seek to tell through art song?
Art song is the unification of two art forms: poetry and music, making the art song one of the most intimate (albeit oftentimes most neglected) gifts in the realm of classical music. When the ideal proportions are met—the heartfelt piano accompaniment, the exquisite voice and the endearing poetry—the affect is tremendously breathtaking. It touches the mind and the soul revealing a shared experience. In our effort to reignite a resurgence of interest in this genre of music that springs from various cultures, we help to reaffirm that there is more the we share in common than that separates us.

4. How are you engaging in socially relevant themes through art song?
As in previous years, a free community outreach concert, "Artists for Social Change," will also be presented at SAGE, a senior advocacy center for NYC LGBTQ community. ASPSNY works to highlight that art song is relevant, and we do this by promoting master classes in songs by LGBTQ, female, and/or Latin American composers, for example.

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