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"No group in the city
presents a more
scintillating program
of songs
than those
offered in this
valuable series"
– The New Yorker

"The festival may be
the most reliably
excellent musical
organization in New York.
What orchestra, ensemble
or opera company
can make every show
so special
…"
—Newsday

 

 

Quotes & Clips

Read full Features & Reviews >

"You can always depend on NYFOS to serve up probing, provocative concerts filled with worthwhile music and outstanding singers." —TimeOut New York

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Manning the Canon: Songs of Gay Life, "a richly varied 90-minute recital, delivered on the promise of its title. Such programs can easily fall into the trap of social politics and turn maudlin, agenda driven and campy. This one was insightful and imaginative, touching and funny, ranging from Schubert and Saint-Saëns to Bernstein and Bolcom." —The New York Times
Read the full New York Times review >
More rave reviews for Manning the Canon >
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"How many concerts have the narrative power of exciting theater? How many concerts offer such a rich sense of discovering new and vital music? This is what we want all concerts to be, though we know it rarely happens. An evening of discovery and enchantment, a reminder of how illuminating a journey a great song can be." —New York Daily News
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"No group in the city presents a more scintillating program of songs than those offered in this valuable series" —The New Yorker
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"The festival may be the most reliably excellent musical organization in New York. What orchestra, ensemble or opera company can make every show so special." —Newsday
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"The best classical programming in New York." —New York Magazine

...an evening of transporting theater—with music. —The New York Times

"… the oldest permanent floating song party in New York." —Newsday

"Wonderful singers always seem just that much more wonderful when they join up with NYFOS." —New York Magazine
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"New York Festival of Song is the most important nucleus of contemporary song in the world." —Ned Rorem
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"During the surreal days before the attack on Iraq, the New York Festival of Song, a tiny but doggedly inventive organization in Manhattan, held a concert about waiting for the killing to begin. This proved to be a sensitively executed evening of reflections on violence encompassing a litany of conflicts. All the songs were delivered with undiluted intensity; this was music the singers needed to sing and the audience needed to hear." —Newsday
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"Founded by Steven Blier and Michael Barrett, this admirable group has luxuriated in the richness of the song recital … shrugging off stuffy conventions and charming audiences with programs that combine meticulous research with an infectious strain of vocal hedonism. Mr. Blier's deliciously witty introductions sew the parts together so that playful Gershwin tunes, lofty Schumann songs and hot-blooded tango numbers emerge as complementary pleasures feeding the same addition to the human voice in all its variegated splendor." —The New York Times
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"This festival was founded partly because Mr. Blier and Mr. Barrett feared for the heritage of the song recital. They have succeeded beyond all expectations, because they know how to program familiar repertory in contexts that make us hear it freshly, because they have uncovered and championed cherishable songs that have been neglected, and because they have honored the heritage by continuing it: the list of works the festival has commissioned is impressive." —The New York Times
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"Lost Tribes of Vaudeville was my favorite night out in the theater all year. It's been nine months since that evening, and I'm still raving to friends about the incredible talent, polish, and originality of the program. Absolute fun from start to finish. I'd never seen a show like that anywhere before and don't expect to again outside of NYFOS." —Donald Weise, Editor, Carroll & Graf Publishers
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"NYFOS has invented a song recital that breaks all the rules … there are always ensemble numbers and very often staging. It's an entirely new recipe [for the recital] that puts the emphasis on the song and not the singer. . Over the years Barrett and Blier have built a devoted audience." —Opera News
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"Their extensive knowledge of the field, the original research that goes into each creative program, the well-wrought program notes and their smart repartee from behind the keyboard all combine to create a sense of celebratory occasion at every concert they give." —Andante Magazine

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"Steven Blier is a national treasure when it comes to the art of song." —The New York Times

"Everything that a song recital can achieve, in terms of musical revelation, vocal excellence and audience engagement." —The Washington Post (Kennedy Center performance)

"Daring and dramatic programming" The New Yorker

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"It's one measure of the success of New York Festival of Song that it's no longer eye-popping to find on the programs of New York recitals material culled not only from the French and German canon but from music-halls, Latin America and Broadway. Even singers who've never appeared under the NYFOS aegis have profited from the repertory choices and basic principles propounded by founders Michael Barrett and Steven Blier ... Chief among these is utter poise: through detailed preparation, canny musicianship, textual precision and innate respect for both the material (whatever its source) and the audience, NYFOS singers are prepared for any eventuality. Singing in any language or style, conveying any emotion, finalizing the program minutes before the concert begins — none of this seems to faze the NYFOS alumni." —Opera News
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"I hope someone will think about bringing the New York Festival of Song to the Baltimore area before too long. We could use the lift." —The Baltimore Sun
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"Every detail was designed to give the evening seamless coherence, and you left the hall feeling enriched, enlightened, entertained and grateful for the experience." —The Washington Post
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"The whole point is to dig up songs you probably don't know, and make you want to hear them. Mr. Blier does this by illustrating even the oddest byways with interesting and amusing commentary that has helped create an audience willing to follow him anywhere. It's a simple formula, and one that most of the classical music world would desperately love to emulate." —The New York Times
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"What can make you smile for two hours? … the New York Festival of Song." —Broadway.com
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"On Tuesday night in the Juilliard School's Peter Jay Sharp Theater, a really good idea came to fruition. Curating the program was Steven Blier, a New York apostle of vocal music … What Mr. Blier's concert proved — or confirmed—was that the world of song is rich, and fascinating, and comforting" —The New York Sun