Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar Returns to Crane School of Music for Sixth Season

'New Works with Old Friends' Celebrated in Opening Recital for 2017 Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar

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A song cycle by Crane School of Music alumnus Daniel Mertzlufft ’15 will have its debut during the opening gala recital for the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar on Wednesday, May 24.

POTSDAM, NY (05/19/2017) (readMedia)-- The Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar will kick off its sixth season with a special benefit gala recital featuring "new works with old friends" next week at SUNY Potsdam.

The Crane School of Music is proud to host the 2017 Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar, which will be held from Wednesday, May 24 to Sunday, May 28. The seminar will welcome nine Fellows this year.

The Fall Island Vocal Arts seminar was founded by Artistic Director Stephanie Blythe '92, the acclaimed opera singer and recitalist, as a venue for emerging singers and pianists to cultivate their artistry through contemporary American art song.

Nine emerging artists, including six singers and three pianists between the ages of 23 and 35, were selected from a competitive international audition for a fellowship to work with Blythe and Music Director Alan Smith. Smith is a noted pianist, vocal coach and composer, who is a member of the faculty at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music and the Tanglewood Music Center.

Alumni of the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar's Emerging Artist Fellowship Program have gone on to win distinguished competitions and participate in some of the top-tier young artist programs in the country.

The opening gala recital will include a new commission written by Crane School of Music alumnus Daniel Mertzlufft '15 on Wednesday, May 24. The young graduate's work is a cycle of seven songs, titled "far memory," with text by the late poet Lucille Clifton. Blythe and Smith will perform the new work at the concert.

In addition, three Fall Island alumni will return to perform in the recital as special guests. Soprano Diana Newman (Fall Island '13) will perform one of Smith's song cycles, "Windows," along with the composer at the piano. Tenor Steven Brennfleck (Fall Island '12) and pianist Mario Antonio Marra (Fall Island '16) will return to present contemporary works by Steven Mark Kohn.

The gala recital will be offered on Wednesday, May 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater at SUNY Potsdam's Crane School of Music. Tickets are $18 for general admission or $15 with SUNY ID. Tickets may be purchased by contacting the Community Performance Series Box Office at (315) 267-2277 or by visiting www.cpspotsdam.org. All proceeds will benefit the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar.

The remaining public events are free to attend, and all are welcome.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 25 to 27, there will be daily open masterclasses featuring Blythe and Smith working with the 2017 Fellows. All masterclasses will be held at 10:30 a.m. each day in Snell Theater.

On Friday, May 26, Dr. Gary Bush will present a lecture/recital, titled "Echoes of Patriot Voices: Early American Songs in Times of War & Peace," at 7:30 p.m. in the Ralph Wakefield Recital Hall, located on the second floor of Bishop Hall. Busch will be joined by participants in the Repertoire Development for Teachers Program.

The final recital featuring the 2017 Fellows performing the music of living American composers will be offered on Sunday, May 28 at 2 p.m., also in Snell Theater.

Three events will stream live on the Crane School of Music YouTube channel, including the opening recital on May 24, the May 25 masterclass and the final recital on May 28. To view the livestream, visit www.potsdam.edu/academics/Crane/streaming.

The 2017 Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar Fellows are:

  • Kristina Bachrach, a soprano from New York City
  • Stephen Carroll, a tenor from Scotch Plains, N.J.
  • Mieczyslaw FitzDaniel, a baritone from San Luis Obispo, Calif.
  • Kateri Gormley, a soprano from Chicago, Ill.
  • Katie Hannigan, a mezzo-soprano from Rochester, N.Y.
  • ChoEun Lee, a pianist from South Korea
  • Daniel Overly, a pianist from Cleveland, Ohio
  • Chelsea Whittaker, a pianist from Boston, Mass.
  • Yeji Yoon, a soprano from South Korea

A complete list of all public performances that will take place at SUNY Potsdam's Crane School of Music for the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar can be found at www.fallisland.org.

Lorraine Yaros Sullivan, an associate professor of voice at The Crane School of Music, serves as the executive director of the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar. In addition to his work as a composer, Mertzlufft is the assistant director for the seminar.

For more information about SUNY Potsdam's Crane School of Music, please visit www.potsdam.edu/crane.

Founded in 1886, SUNY Potsdam's Crane School of Music has a long legacy of excellence in music education and performance. Life at Crane includes an incredible array of more than 300 recitals, lectures and concerts presented by faculty, students and guests each year. The Crane School of Music is the State University of New York's only All-Steinway institution.