Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 8pm
With this new program, NYFOS honors composers from abroad who have based their musical lives in the U.S. along with first-generation American composers whose close links to their parents’ homelands can be heard through their compositions. The concert features works by Bright Sheng (Chinese American), Daniel Sabzghabaei (Persian-American), Roberto Sierra (Puerto Rican-American), Clarice Assad (Brazilian-American) and others.
Amy Owens, soprano
Alexandra Urquiola, mezzo-soprano
Jesse Blumberg, baritone
Steven Blier, Michael Barrett and Leann Osterkamp, piano
Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu, violist
Amy Owens and Jesse Blumberg have sung with NYFOS many times, most recently at last season’s Bernstein Marathon, where they premiered Daniel Sabzghabaei‘s At The Door, commissioned by NYFOS (watch their performance here). The song was so alluring that NYFOS eagerly programmed it again for this concert. Born in Denton, Texas where he graduated summa cum laude from The University of North Texas, Daniel is now a rising young composer who has become increasingly interested in his Persian heritage, seriously studying Persian art, music, and poetry. He is currently a doctoral student and Sage Fellow at Cornell University.
Daniel’s teacher at Cornell is the acclaimed composer Roberto Sierra. Born and educated in Puerto Rico, then Europe, he has lived in America for the past three decades. His colorful and rhythmic music has attracted a growing international audience. At this concert, NYFOS presents the American premiere of his 33 Sueños (33 Dreams), a major song cycle based on the beautiful poetry of Juan Carlos Garvayo. The world premiere took place at the Teatro Central in Seville, Spain in March 2018.
Bright Sheng‘s music has been celebrated by NYFOS over the years. Born in Shanghai, China, he moved to the United States in the 1980’s and has been a professor of music at the University of Michigan since 1995. A composer with a distinctive and original voice, Sheng has created an oeuvre that is not only with Asian influence but also with a strong synthesis of Western musical tradition. Sheng himself says: “I consider myself both 100% American and 100% Asian.” NYFOS will perform his Three Chinese Love Songs from 1988, dedicated to Leonard Bernstein when he was alive. These are some of the first pieces Bright Sheng wrote after he came to America.
Clarice Assad, born in Rio de Janeiro into one of Brazil’s musical dynasties, is another composer whose work has been championed by NYFOS. For this concert, she has written some brand new songs for NYFOS in her inimitable soulful and vibrant Brazilian style. After her recent NYFOS Next concert at SubCulture, where she not only sang her own works but also brilliantly played the piano, Sounds and Colours magazine stated: “She is exploring music in ways comparable to no one.” Clarice Assad is a member of the celebrated musical family that includes her father Sergio Assad (composer and guitarist), uncle Odair Assad (guitarist), and aunt Badi Assad (vocalist). A highly prolific and commissioned composer, she has received numerous honors, awards and commissions.
Mainstage concerts will be followed by a complimentary wine reception with the artists.