Leonard Bernstein, Voices of the Jewish Diaspora and
Fugitives (composers who left Germany during the 1930’s), will all
be themes of the acclaimed New York Festival Of Song (NYFOS, for
2008-9. A guest artist will be the rising Israeli mezzo-soprano
Rinat Shaham, already an acclaimed Carmen in Europe.

Opens September 23, 2008 in NYC with a Bernstein/Bolcom Celebration

Also: Fugitives on NOVEMBER 18 AND 20, 2008 and Voices of the Jewish Diaspora on February 10 and 12, 2009.

Below is a description of the season:






New York Festival Of Song (NYFOS,,
co-founded and directed by pianists Steven Blier and Michael
Barrett, who “reinvented the song recital during the 1990’s with
daring and dramatic programming” (The New Yorker), announces its
21st season (2008-2009).

The company’s New York City concerts begin on September 23 at the newly
renovated Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center, with A Bernstein /
Bolcom Celebration. The concert pays tribute to two of NYFOS’s
guiding lights, Leonard Bernstein and William Bolcom; Bolcom and his
wife, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris, will cap the evening with a selection of
songs from their vast repertoire. The program also celebrates the
ninetieth birthday of NYFOS’s Founding Advisor, Leonard Bernstein, who
bestowed the American premiere of his last work, Arias and
Barcarolles, to the newly-formed company. Their subsequent recording
of the work in 1989, with Judy Kaye and William Sharp, earned the
composer a posthumous Grammy Award for Best New Composition.

Other concert programs this year include Fugitives (Nov. 18 and
20), works by composers who fled Europe during Hitler’s rise to
power; Voices of the Jewish Diaspora (Feb. 10 and 12), songs in
many languages from the worldwide Jewish community; Songs of the
Irish Poets, scheduled for St. Patrick’s Day, featuring the lyricism
of the Emerald Isle’s greatest writers set to music by Beethoven, Britten
and others; and The Welcome Shore (May 19 and 21), songs of rivers
and oceans, by composers ranging from Brahms to Noël Coward.
Special events include Latin Lovers (January 14), the
fourth annual NYFOS@Juilliard concert. The collaboration between
NYFOS and The Juilliard School’s Vocal Arts Department celebrates the
students’ creative energy and superior vocal talent; alumni of the
program have begun to participate in NYFOS’s regular season concerts.
NYFOS will also have a Gala Concert on April 17 at Weill Recital Hall,
program to be announced.

Guest artists at NYFOS for 2008-2009 include: mezzo-soprano
Rinat Shaham, who will be featured in opera and concert at Paris’
Theatre de la Champs-Élysées and the Lucerne Festival; mezzo-soprano
Sasha Cooke, the Lucrezia in Bastianello / Lucrezia last
spring, and soon to sing Kitty Oppenheimer in the Metropolitan Opera’s
New York Premiere of Doctor Atomic; mezzo-soprano Kate
Lindsey, who will be seen as Cherubino and in many other roles at the
Metropolitan this season; tenor Joseph Kaiser, the Tamino of the
Kenneth Branagh film version of The Magic Flute, and Narraboth in
the Met’s Salome this year as well as at Covent Garden; and
soprano Dina Kuznetsova, featured in NYFOS’s Obsession à la
Russe, who will star as Alice Ford in a new production of Falstaff
at Glyndebourne, and will appear with the Chamber Music Society of
Lincoln Center.

On its touring schedule, NYFOS brings Bastianello / Lucrezia, the
acclaimed double-bill of one-act comic operas by William Bolcom and John
Musto with librettos by Mark Campbell, to the Moab Music Festival in Utah
on September 5; The Last Time I Saw Paris, French song from
The Jazz Age to post-World War II, to the Robbie Colomore Concert
Series in Chester, Connecticut (October 26) and the Andover Chamber Music
Series in Massachusetts (November 9); Fugitives to the Kennedy
Center in Washington, D.C., presented by the Vocal Arts Society (November
14); Voices of the Jewish Diaspora to the Clarice Smith
Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland at College Park
(February 15); and Songs of the Irish Poets to the Caramoor
Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah, NY (March 14), which culminates
a week-long professional training residency, Caramoor Vocal Rising
Stars, sponsored by and presented at Caramoor. Leading the week’s
events will be NYFOS artistic directors and pianists Steven Blier and
Michael Barrett who will be working with a select group of young singers
from around the country invited to participate in this auspicious
project. The program will be repeated as part of NYFOS’s New York City
concert season at Merkin Concert Hall on March 17, 2009.

The initial season of the Caramoor Vocal Rising Stars
Program will be underwritten, in part, by The Terrance W. Schwab Fund for
Young Vocal Artists.

Tuesday and Thursday, SEPTEMBER 23 & 25, 2008
Merkin Concert Hall
“A Bernstein / Bolcom Celebration”

A tribute to two of New York Festival of Song’s guiding lights,
Leonard Bernstein and William Bolcom, quintessential American composers
and great spirits who have long provided wisdom, guidance, and music to
NYFOS. Songs from Bernstein’s Peter Pan, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,
Songfest, Wonderful Town, On the Town, Arias and Barcarolles;
Bolcom’s Cabaret Songs, I Will Breathe a Mountain, Briefly It Enters,
McTeague; and a special appearance by Joan Morris and William Bolcom,
who will share signature songs from their repertoire.

Artists: Sari Gruber, soprano; Rebecca Jo Loeb, mezzo-soprano; Joan
Morris, mezzo-soprano; Renée Tatum, mezzo-soprano; Alex Mansoori, tenor;
William Sharp, baritone; Marc Webster, bass; William Bolcom, Steven Blier
and Michael Barrett, piano

Tuesday and Thursday, NOVEMBER 18 & 20, 2008
Merkin Concert Hall

An evening of songs from the concert stage, the movies, Broadway, and
Berlin’s cabarets that trace the varied fortunes of the gifted composers
who fled destruction during Hitler’s rise to power–some to begin new
lives and brilliant careers abroad, others to meet with darker fates.
Music by Kurt Weill, Franz Schreker, Arnold Zemlinsky, Kurt Tucholsky,
Erich Korngold, Hanns Eisler, Friedrich Hollaender, Emmerich Kálmán, and
many others.

Artists: Kate Lindsey, mezzo-soprano; Joseph Kaiser, tenor; Steven
Blier, piano

Peter Jay Sharp Auditorium at The Juilliard School

“Latin Lovers: An Evening of Cuban and South American Song,”
the fourth annual NYFOS@Juilliard concert.

Songs by Guastavino, Astor Piazzolla, Carlos López-Buchardo, Heitor
Villa-Lobos, Ernesto Lecuona, and many others.

Tuesday and Thursday, FEBRUARY 10 & 12, 2009
Merkin Concert Hall
“Voices of the Jewish Diaspora”

Songs in many languages celebrate the culturally diverse Jewish
communities that flourished as the tribes of Israel spread out across the
globe. Sephardic melodies arranged by Alberto Hemsi and Roberto
Sierra; Second Avenue specialties by Irving Berlin and Joseph Rumshinsky;
art songs by Ravel, Milhaud, and Rubinstein; plus music by Gershwin and

Artists: Dina Kuznetsova, soprano; Rinat Shaham, mezzo-soprano;
Steven Goldstein, tenor; Steven Blier and Michael Barrett, piano

Tuesday, MARCH 17, 2009
Merkin Hall
“Songs of the Irish Poets”

The lyricism of the Emerald Isle’s greatest writers, including Thomas
Moore, W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, and Paul Muldoon, as set to music by
Beethoven, Britten, Balfe, Barber and others; with a group of traditional
Irish songs featuring the fiddle playing of Paul Woodiel.

Artists: Paul Appleby, tenor; other members of Caramoor’s Terrence W.
Schwab Vocal Rising Stars Program; Steven Blier and Michael Barrett,

Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall

Spring Gala

Program TBA

Tuesday and Thursday, MAY 19 & 21, 2009
Merkin Concert Hall
“The Welcome Shore”

A hymn to rivers and oceans stirs the heart and the imagination as
the summer season draws near. Music by Elgar (the magnificent
Sea Pictures), Fauré, Guastavino, Rachmaninoff, Brahms, Noël
Coward, Pauline Viardot, and many others.

Artists: Michelle Areyzaga, soprano; Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano;
Philip Cutlip, baritone; Steven Blier and Michael Barrett, piano

New York Festival of Song was founded in 1988 by Steven Blier and
Michael Barrett. NYFOS is dedicated to creating intimate song
concerts of great beauty, humor and originality, combining music, poetry,
and history to entertain, educate and create community among audiences
and performers. With a far-ranging repertoire of art songs, concert works
and theater pieces, its thematic recitals have included programs from
Brahms to the Beatles, from the nineteenth-century salons of Paris to Tin
Pan Alley, from Russian art song to Argentine tangos, from
sixteenth-century lute songs to new music. NYFOS particularly
celebrates American song literature and culture, and specializes in
premiering and commissioning new American works. They have produced five
recordings on the Koch label, including a Grammy Award-winning disc of
Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles, as well as the Grammy-nominated
recording of Ned Rorem’s Evidence of Things Not Seen on New World
Records, and the Bridge Records release of the NYFOS program Spanish
Love Songs. NYFOS’s concert series, touring programs, radio
broadcasts, recordings, and educational activities have inspired a new
interest in the creative possibilities of the song program, and have
inspired the creation of thematic vocal series around the world.

Artistic Director Steven Blier has programmed, performed,
translated and annotated over 100 song programs with repertoire spanning
the entire range of American song, art song from Schubert to Szymanowski,
and popular song from early vaudeville to Lennon-McCartney. In
addition, Mr. Blier enjoys an eminent career as an accompanist and vocal
coach. Among the many artists he has partnered in recital are Renée
Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Samuel Ramey, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Susan
Graham and Frederica von Stade. Associate Artistic Director Michael
Barrett is also the CEO of Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts,
and General Director of the Caramoor International Music Festival. In
1992 Mr. Barrett and his wife Leslie Tomkins founded The Moab Music
Festival in Utah, for which he serves as music director. He has conducted
major orchestras here and abroad in the symphonic, operatic, and dance
repertoire, and is the former director of the Tisch Center for the Arts
at the 92nd Street Y. Mr. Barrett has conducted and played
premieres by Bernstein, Blitzstein, Bolcom, Kernis, Sellars, Harrison,
Takemitsu, Del Tredici and John Corigliano.

Funding for the Bastianello / Lucrezia CD release on Bridge
Records was provided by the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc. Commission
and first performance of Bastianello by John Musto and Mark
Cambell and Lucrezia by William Bolcom and Mark Campbell by New
York Festival of Song, Inc. were supported by the New York State Music
Fund, established by the New York State Attorney General at Rockefeller
Philanthropy Advisors.

NYFOS’s New York City concert series is funded, in part, by the City of
New York Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the