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Graham. Barton. Fang. Tsymbalyuk. Camarena.

2015-16 Season

GrahamSeptember 12, 2015
Susan Graham
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BartonOctober 15, 2015
Jamie Barton
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FangNovember 19, 2015
Ying Fang
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TsymbalyukJanuary 31, 2016
Alexander Tsymbalyuk
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CamarenaMarch 24, 2016
Javier Camarena
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BullockApril 18, 2016
Julia Bullock
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AntonacciMay 1, 2016
Anna Caterina Antonacci
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Vocal Arts DC
PO Box 42423
Washington, DC 20015
202-669-1463
info@vocalartsdc.org


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University of Maryland Opera Studio
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JOIN US FOR A MEMORIAL TRIBUTE TO OUR BELOVED FOUNDER, THE LATE DR. GERALD PERMAN


Gerald Perman.

The Board of Directors and General Director of Vocal Arts DC invite family, friends and admirers of Gerry Perman to join us for a memorial tribute to his remarkable professional and musical accomplishments. The event will take place in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater on Sunday, May 31 at 2:00 pm. and will be free of charge and open to the general public. Gerry, an eminent Washington psychiatrist and a lifelong devotee of vocal music and art song, founded Vocal Arts DC in 1990 and remained its Artistic Director until 2012. He passed away on April 11, 2015, at age 91 from pancreatic cancer. At the May 31 event, Gerry will be remembered in song, as well as in spoken recollections by friends and colleagues from his psychiatric career and from the world of music.

Gerry was beloved by many, not only in the Washington arts community for his creation of Vocal Arts DC, his support of other performing arts organizations and his great cordiality toward all Vocal Arts patrons, but globally, for the kindness and deep appreciation he displayed toward the artists who appeared under his auspices as impresario. The organization he founded is unique in the nation. Now preparing to celebrate its 25th anniversary season in 2015-2016, Vocal Arts DC has presented over 150 recitals during its first quarter-century, featuring virtually all the world's greatest singers.

Doors to the theater will open at 1:30 pm on the afternoon of the concert, one half-hour prior to the start of the event, which should run approximately one hour in duration. We hope that you'll be able to join us.

Obituary from The Washington Post

Photo by Michael Williamson, reprinted with permission of The Washington Post and GettyImages.

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2015-2016 Season


Vocal Arts DC Celebrates Our 25th Anniversary in Style in 2015-2016

From the time our founder, Gerald Perman, first opened our doors in the small auditorium of the Charles Sumner School on 17th Street NW, quality has always been the guiding principle in planning Vocal Arts DC seasons. We feel certain that you will find our celebratory line-up for 2015-2016 exceptional. Highlights include our first commission, a new song cycle by the acclaimed team of composer Jake Heggie and lyricist Gene Scheer. In addition, we look forward to return visits by three artists who have been enormously popular with our audiences in past recitals - Susan Graham, Jamie Barton, and Anna Caterina Antonacci - the Washington recital debut of the gifted newcomer Ying Fang, the area debuts of two of today's most acclaimed artists, tenor Javier Camarena and bass Alexander Tsymbalyuk, plus a return to Washington by "star on the rise" Julia Bullock.

2015-2016 Season Brochure

Click here to purchase a Full Season Subscription.

Click here to purchase a Mini-Subscription.

More Information (Season Brochure PDF)

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Kennedy Center Parking Advisory


Click here to learn more about the Kennedy Center Expansion Project and how it may effect parking for the last two concerts of our 2014-2015 season.

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'My Favorite Song'

Welcome to the monthly feature of the Vocal Arts DC web site in which guest contributors select one song that has a special, personal meaning for them, sharing specific reasons about why they find the music and lyrics irresistible, and choosing a performance that they feel ideally captures the spirit of that song.

Samuel Viggiano

Leonard Bernstein: "I Hate Music!"

In an American society that values Disney's latest musical movie and Billboard Top 40 hits over opera and art song, we are faced with a dilemma: what keeps art relevant? When deciding on my favorite song, I considered relevancy rather than what I try to "belt out" in the shower.

I first heard Leonard Bernstein's comical musical masterpiece "I Hate Music" at a close friend's recital. The recital was meant for academic purposes, but exceeded the expectations of academia and entertainment through the artist's mastery of challenging and unique vocal works, including repertoire from Mozart to Debussy, Brazilian jazz, and of course, Bernstein's "I Hate Music."

The song is one of five in Bernstein's cycle "A Cycle of Five Kid Songs for Soprano and Piano" and is anything but childish. "I Hate Music" requires strong vocal technique and fluid musicianship. The song is considered "atonal," or not written within a key or mode. Yet, the melody is surprisingly hummable and recognizable. Bernstein's accompaniment does very little to aid the singer musically, however provides supportive drama, much like Schubert's lieder accompaniment.

The vocal range and capabilities of the singer are tested by the tessitura (or range) and ever-changing style, as are the singer's musical aptitude and acting ability. The song begins with a giant leap scaling a typical soprano's range, followed by a disjunctive chromatic, yet catchy, melody. After the virtuosic beginning, the singer suddenly jumps into vocal patter with changing and asymmetrical meters.

While considering its musical difficulties, the singer must also understand and develop an appropriate character presentation. Although the song cycle's title alludes to children's songs, the cycle is anything but. "I Hate Music" comments with child-like simplicity on the "state" of music, claiming music is, " a lot of men and a lot of tails/Making lots of noise like a lot of females/Music is a lot of folks in a big dark hall/ Where they really don't want to be at all/With a lot of chairs and a lot of heirs/And a lot of furs and diamonds." This perception of music encapsulates the attitude millennials and young audience currently feel towards opera and art song, yet so many continue to love to sing and explore the music.

The composer, Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), although not a millennial, held a similar attitude towards music. Hailed as the "dean of American music," Bernstein championed symphonic and orchestra music, ballet, film, and theater music, choral works, opera, chamber music and pieces for piano. A multifarious composer, author, and musician, Bernstein wrote some serial music, but later rejected the musical movement that many composers considered was the next popular musical form. His "I Hate Music," among his other notable choral, vocal, and orchestra works, is a reflection of his attitude, that music can be simultaneously enjoyable, intelligent, and virtuosic. His timeless song cycle, among his other works, remains a relevant musical staple which comments on that state of music while displaying superior musical qualities.

I HATE MUSIC (1943)
A Cycle of Five Kid Songs for Soprano and Piano

1. My Name is Barbara  2. Jupiter Has Seven Moons  3. I Hate Music!  4. A Big Indian and a Little Indian (Riddle Song)  5. I'm a Person Too

I hate music but I like to sing
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
But that's not music
Not what I call music, no sir

Music is a lot of men and a lot of tails
Making lots of noise like a lot of females
Music is a lot of folks in a big dark hall
Where they really don't want to be at all
With a lot of chairs and a lot of heirs
And a lot of furs and diamonds

Music is silly
I hate music but I like to sing
La, la, la, la, la

Click here to view previous month's submission.

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Peter Russell Named General Director of Vocal Arts DC

Peter Russell, a noted figure in American opera, has been named as General Director of Vocal Arts DC (incorporated as The Vocal Arts Society). In his new position, Russell will assume responsibility for both the artistic and business management of Vocal Arts DC, working closely in the field of artistic programming with the organization's founder and President Emeritus, Dr. Gerald Perman, who is stepping down as Artistic Director to become Artistic Director Emeritus.
More Information > 

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maltman About Vocal Arts DC

Hear world-renowned singers
and discover tomorrow's stars

You’ll hear them here first!  Vocal Arts DC has given Washington recital debuts to many of the great singers whose names are familiar to lovers of vocal artistry throughout the world.  We pride ourselves on identifying and bringing to Washington singers -- often already celebrated on the European opera and concert stage -- who are on the cusp of attaining world-wide fame and achieving sensational success on the US opera scene.  

Our 22nd season begins with mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe and pianist Warren Jones giving an "American Songbook" program. This is followed by New York Festival of Song, a longtime favorite of Washington audiences, who bring their delightful, and timely, arrangement of three Broadway shows of the 1930's to town in "Mr. Gershwin Comes to Washington." Following NYFOS, soprano Christine Brewer returns and she and pianist Craig Rutenberg give an October 31 recital of Spanish and American song. Baritone Russell Braun and pianist Carolyn Maule traverse Schubert's Winterreise on November 7. DC favorite, tenor Vinson Cole performs on December 12, and he is followed by British tenor Toby Spence, a Washington debut, who rounds out the season, on January 16.  More Details >

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what video What's an Art Song?

Watch a video, hosted by Elizabeth Daniels, of young singers presented in recital by Vocal Arts DC at the Kennedy Center this past spring as part of the America Sings in the Nation's Capitol. Click here >

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Education Programs

discovery
Art Song Discovery Series Winners of the Vocal Arts DC competition appear in free recitals at various venues in the community each Spring. More >

school
Take Song to our Schools Classroom programs presenting young professional singers and song to students around the region inspire the singers and audience of the future. More >

young artists
Young Artists Competition
An annual, juried competition for singers in the greater Washington area. Find more information here. More >

 

"My Favorite Song"

Archive of Past Selections

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