Lyric Fest Residency: A Look Back on Film

As 2014–15 Composer in Residence for Lyric Fest, the Philadelphia art song group, I wrote three works for them: Mark the Music, a Shakespeare song for soprano, tenor, baritone, and piano, In This Blue Room, a 45-minute cycle for mezzo-soprano, baritone, and piano, and The Heavens Declare, a setting of Psalm 19 for the Singing City choir, trio (soprano, mezzo, baritone), audience, and piano.

John Thornton filmed us all during the year, as did Joe Hannigan of Weston Sound, who also recorded audio. John then put together the 18-minute film above. Some of the footage is from an interview during an on-air shift one afternoon at WRTI. He asked some very good questions which I don’t know if I got near to answering, but John lovingly edited and assembled this tribute to Lyric Fest and their vision in having their first-ever composer in residence in their 11-year history.

My huge thanks go to everyone involved.

For Mark the Music: soprano Jessica Lennick, tenor Eric Rieger, baritone Michael Adams

For In This Blue Room: mezzo-soprano Suzanne DuPlantis, baritone Daniel Teadt; poets Julia Blumenreich, Susan Fleshman, Siobhan Lyons, and Donna Wolf-Palacio, and all inspired by the vibrant batik artwork of Laura Pritchard.

For The Heavens Declare: soprano Elizabeth Weigle, mezzo-soprano Chrystal E. Williams, baritone Randall Scarlata, Singing City and their director Jeffrey Brillhart

Most of all, my deepest gratitude and thanks go to Suzanne DuPlantis and pianist Laura Ward, who are the artistic directors of Lyric Fest but more than that have become dear friends who are “connecting people through song” and who know the real purpose of music. I am honored beyond words to have been able to work with them.

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