The New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) will continue its season with a program titled At Harlem's Height on Wednesday, February 23 at 8:00pm as part of LincolnCenter's American Songbook in the RoseTheatre at Jazz at LincolnCenter. The featured soloists will be soprano Dana Hanchard, tenor Darius de Haas, and baritone James Martin, with Steven Blier at the piano.
The performance celebrates the sounds of the Harlem Renaissance and will offer a musical portrait of Harlem as expressed by the gifted African-American artists who lived there. The program will feature the music of such legendary jazz artists as Eubie Blake, Duke Ellington, and Billy Strayhorn, with lyrics drawn from the wordsmiths who wrote about life in Harlem with wit and insight, such as Andy Razaf and Noble Sissle. The program will also present song repertoire from the classical composers William Grant Still, Cecil Cohen, and Florence Price, as well as poetry and prose from some of the great writers of the Harlem Renaissance, including Langston Hughes and W.B. DuBois.
Program highlights will be The Joint Is Jumpin' by Andy Razaf, J. C. Johnson and "Fats" Waller; Song to the Dark Virgin by Langston Hughes and Florence Price; What's the Use by Paul Laurence Dunbar and Florence Price; the traditional I've Heard of a City Called Heaven arranged by Hall Johnson; You're Lucky to Me by Andy Razaf and Eubie Blake; Harlem Blues by W. C. Handy; My Handy Man Ain't Handy No More by Andy Razaf and Eubie Blake; Mo' Lasses by Alex Rogers and Charles "Luckey" Roberts; Black and Blue by Andy Razaf and "Fats" Waller; and What Harlem Is to Me by Andy Razaf and Russell Wooding.
Since it was launched in 1999, American Songbook has been dedicated to celebrating the extraordinary achievements of the popular American songwriter from the turn of the 20th century to the present day. Spanning all styles and genres from Tin Pan Alley and Broadway to the eclecticism of today's singer-songwriters working in pop, cabaret, rock, folk and country, American Songbook traces the history and charts the course of the American song from its past and current forms to its future direction.
The New York Festival of Song
The New York Festival of Song brings a special energy to the once-faded form of the song recital, recreating it as a vibrantly entertaining theater experience meticulously researched and engagingly narrated by its two artistic directors, Michael Barrett and Steven Blier. Blier and Barrett's innovative, thematic programs present a broad repertoire of art songs, concert works, and theater pieces. NYFOS also supports and builds the American song repertoire by performing and commissioning new works and exploring seldom-heard music from the country's rich musical heritage.
Steven Blier, co-founder and artistic director of The New York Festival of Song, is a musician with extensive expertise in the art songs and popular music of many countries. For NYFOS he has programmed, performed, translated and annotated more than ninety vocal recitals. An accomplished accompanist and vocal coach, Mr. Blier has partnered in recital such renowned artists as Samuel Ramey, Susan Graham, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Frederica von Stade and Jessye Norman, and appeared at Carnegie Hall with Cecilia Bartoli and throughout North America and Europe with Renée Fleming. Mr. Blier is on the faculty of the JuilliardSchool and appears regularly on the Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcasts.
Michael Barrett, co-founder and associate artistic director of The New York Festival of Song, is Chief Executive and General Director of the Caramoor Festival and also the musical director and founder of the Moab Music Festival in Utah. He has guest conducted with major orchestras here and abroad in symphonic, operatic and dance repertoire. Mr. Barrett served as the director of the TischCenter for the Arts at the 92nd Street Y and is currently music advisor to the Leonard Bernstein estate. His recording, The Joys of Bernstein, features Mr. Barrett playing solo piano with Maestro Bernstein conducting.
James Martin, baritone, has performed throughout the United States Europe, apprenticing with the Santa Fe Opera, San Francisco's Merola program and Western Opera Theater Tour, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and educational work with the New York City Opera and the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Recently he made his Den Norske Opera debut as Don Giovanni in Oslo, and with L'opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg, as Junius in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia and Matt of the Mint in The Beggar's Opera. Other recent engagements: Sofia Gubaidulina's Rubaiyat, Bach's Johannes-Passion with the Marlboro Music Festival, a Copland recital with New York's Continuum ensemble, recitals in Mississippi and Chicago, and a tap-dancing Papageno.
Dana Hanchard, soprano, has collaborated with many of today's most respected conductors and artists and in past seasons has appeared as a soloist singing Mahler's Fourth Symphony with New World Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas conducting; played Nerone in Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea with John Eliot Gardiner conducting; and later Poppea in the acclaimed Jonathan Miller production for Glimmerglass Opera. She was cast as Euridice in the Mark Morris production of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, Christopher Hogwood conducting. She originated the role of Gwen St. Clair in Meredith Monk's Atlas for the Houston Grand Opera; sang the role of Romilda in Handel's Xerxes at the Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen with Reinhard Goebel conducting; and performed the role of Tigrane in Handel's Radamisto with Nicholas McGegan conducting the Gottingen Festival Orchestra in Germany.
Darius de Haas, tenor, has been on Broadway in Marie Christine, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Carousel, Rent and The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm. He created the title role in Music Theatre Group's Running Man for which he received an Obie Award. Other credits include The Bacchae at the 92nd Street Y, Saturn Returns at The Public, Paper Mill Playhouse's Children of Eden, Once on This Island and the world premiere of I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky. In concert, Darius has appeared at Carnegie Hall, The Russian Tea Room and Aaron Davis Hall.
Concert begins at 8 p.m.
Single ticket prices are $45, $30 and $20.
Tickets are available by phone at CenterCharge: (212) 721-6500.
The RoseTheatre box office is located in The Shops at Columbus Circleinside the Broadway at 60th Street entrance.