At 8 pm on Wednesday, May 9th and Thursday, May 10th, the New York Festival of Song will perform We Open in Paris. Paris is the backdrop for four musical theatre works in vest-pocket NYFOS productions, including Jacques Offenbach's La Vie Parisienne and Cole Porter's Fifty Million Frenchmen. The singers include Sari Gruber, Marie Lenormand, Mary Testa, Nicholas Phan, and Hugh Russell with Steven Blier at the piano.
"In 1988, pianists Michael Barrett and Steven Blier founded New York Festival of Song, a performance group dedicated to creating beautiful, intimate song concerts that entertain, educate and connect extraordinary performers and adventurous audiences in an informal atmosphere of shared discovery. NYFOS programs combine music, poetry, monologue and story, unified by a common theme, weaving together great songs of diverse genres, exploring the character and language of other regions and cultures, and the personal voices of song composers and lyricists," state press notes.
"Since its founding, NYFOS has particularly celebrated American song, featuring premieres and commissions of new American works, and has produced five recordings on the Koch label, including a Grammy Award-winning disc of Bernstein's Arias and Barcarolles, and the recent Grammy-nominated recording of Ned Rorem's Evidence of Things Not Seen on New World Records. NYFOS' concert series, touring programs, radio broadcasts, recordings, and educational activities have inspired a new interest in the creative possibilities of the song recital, and contributed to the birth of thematic vocal recital series around the world."
Mr. Blier, co-founder and artistic director of the New York Festival of Song, enjoys an eminent career as an accompanist and vocal coach. He recently received the 2006 Classical Singer Magazine Coach of the Year award. Among the many artists he has partnered with in recital are Samuel Ramey, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Susan Graham, Frederica von Stade, Jessye Norman, Wolfgang Holzmair, Susanne Mentzer, Sylvia McNair and Arlene Augér. Mr. Blier co-founded the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) in 1988 with Michael Barrett, Caramoor's current Chief Executive and General Director. Since the Festival's inception he has programmed, performed, translated and annotated over ninety vocal recitals with repertoire spanning the entire range of American song, art song from Schubert to Szymanowski, and popular song from early vaudeville to Lennon-McCartney. NYFOS has also made in-depth explorations of music from Spain, Latin America, Scandinavia and Russia.
Mr. Barrett is co-founder and associate artistic director of the critically acclaimed New York Festival of Song. He is also the Chief Executive and General Director 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. Mr. Barrett has distinguished himself as a conductor with major orchestras here and abroad in the symphonic, operatic, and dance repertoire. From 1994–1997 he was the director of the Tisch Center for the Arts at the 92nd Street Y in New York. A protégé of Leonard Bernstein, he began his long association with the renowned conductor and composer as a student in 1982. He served as Maestro Bernstein's assistant conductor from 1985–1990. He currently serves as music advisor to the Leonard Bernstein Estate.