NOTE: Due to recent rises in COVID cases in Ulster County and the surrounding area, this performance is online only.
The Curious Connection is one of three recitals in a series presented by the Vocal Arts Program at Bard College Conservatory. The evening will feature American art song in an unconventional atmosphere, where the audience will be invited to take a look at the ‘smaller’ things. On Saturday, December 4th at 8:00pm, in the Great Room that sits above their main art gallery space, the Arts Society of Kingston will host a terrific collaborative pianist accompanied by a trio of treble voices from Bard as they draw their listeners back in time to visit their inner child. There will be a visual art component with drawing and writing prompts, inviting the audience to share fond musical memories from their childhood. Seating arrangements will include traditional recital seating alongside floor pillows and bean bag chairs for those who might feel compelled to stretch out a little.
Music can lend form and expression to the deep-down feelings that can be difficult to find words for, and thus can facilitate vibrant unspoken connections between performers and their audience. The performers on this program feel that the voice can, on the whole, be an effective vehicle for widespread social change, but also that it can create social change on a smaller, more individualized level, where it can provide a uniquely profound mode of catharsis for both singer and audience. During this recital, the performers will guide their listeners through a progression of three phases that wrestle with themes such as play, identity, suffering, healing, and self-discovery. Through the process of making music, it is possible to transform our pain or trauma into purpose. It can help us uncover our truest identities–our most enlightened selves. We want to challenge the idea that vulnerability must be dangerous or that we should shy away from strong emotions. We hope that as we let our inner children shine by telling the stories they needed to tell, we might give our listeners permission to do the same.
Soprano Kirby Burgess’ interest in singing came from a fascination with sound itself, and the innate expressivity of the human voice. A student in Bard College Conservatory’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program, where she studies with Lorraine Nubar, Ms. Burgess has recently worked on projects such as Kurtág’s Kafka-Fragmente, Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins, and Menotti’s The Medium. Past stage credits include the role of Amalia in She Loves Me and The Dew Fairy in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, both with Furman University Opera Theater. In 2020 she was set to portray the title role in Cendrillon, but alas, COVID intervened. With Furman Singers and the South Carolina Bach Choir, she has performed as a soloist in Haydn’s Creation, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, and Mozart’s Missa Brevis. Ms. Burgess looks forward to finding ways to bring the thoughtfulness and intentionality cultivated by a year of socially-distanced performances to post-pandemic audiences.
Mezzo-soprano Melanie Dubil strives to contribute to experiences in which the world of opera can be relatable, accessible, and cathartic. She has explored this through operatic scene work including Le Nozze di Figaro, Cendrillon, Falstaff, Der Rosenkavalier, Carmen, L’Etoile, The Beggar’s Opera. Most recently, Melanie sang fragments of Kurt Weill’s 7 Deadly Sins as Anna I, and Menotti’s The Medium as Ms. Nolan. Melanie is also recognized for her work in musical theatre, and was recently awarded an Emerging Artist Award in the 2020 Lotte Lenya Competition. She also recently starred in a virtual production of 110 in the Shade with the Chautauqua Institute of Music. A graduate of Manhattan School of Music, Melanie is completing her master’s degree from Bard College Conservatory’s Vocal Arts Program.
Samantha Martin is a second-year soprano at Bard Conservatory’s Vocal Arts Program. Samantha is an avid supporter of new music and has recently appeared in a performance of Georgy Kurtág’s Kafka-Fragmente with the VAP, and previously as well as a soloist in concert with the Crane Wind Ensemble performing a work by James Mobberly. She has also performed works by Julianna Hall, John Musto, Michael Csányi-Wills, Libby Larsen as well appearing in the world premiere of Tom Cipullo’s Mayo as Miss Goodrich and Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Additional opera credits include Monica in Menotti’s The Medium in 2021, Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Buoso’s Ghost by Michael Ching and Laurie in Copland’s The Tender Land. Recently she was named the winner of Bard Conservatory’s 2020 Concerto Competition and was a featured recitalist at the 2021 Bard Music Festival’s Nadia Boulanger series: Nadia Boulanger and Her World.
Pianist Chewon Park is a collaborative piano fellow at the Bard College Conservatory of Music. She has been playing and performing piano since age three. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music from Yeungnam University, where she studied with Gyula Kiss Junie Cho and Vladimir Shakin, as well as a second Master’s degree and Graduate diploma from New England Conservatory, where she pursued advanced study of chamber music and collaboration with Pei-Shan Lee, Lisa Saffer, Bradley Williams and Ayano Ninomiya. During her NEC years, she performed at the 150th Anniversary Chamber Gala, and was chosen for the outstanding Piano Trio. She was also invited to the Annual Fenwick Tribute Concert as well as to the Bowdoin International Music Festival, and a staff pianist at Conservatory Audition Workshop. She got invited as a full scholarship piano student for SongFest and Tokyo International Vocal Arts Academy.
The Bard Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program is a unique master of music program in vocal arts that balances a respect for established repertory and expressive techniques with the flexibility and curiosity needed to keep abreast of evolving musical ideas. Led by the renowned American mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, the program prepares young singers to meet the special challenges of pursuing a professional life in music in the 21st century. Students engage with art song, chamber music, contemporary music, and operatic repertoire throughout their course work. Operatic performance includes a fully staged production at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. The program includes seminars and classes in Alexander Technique, acting, diction and translation, development of performance opportunities, and a workshop in career skills with guest speakers who are leading figures in arts management and administration.
ASK (the Arts Society of Kingston) is a member-based multi-arts center in the historic Rondout district of Kingston, NY. ASK renovated its 1925 2-story building to include 2 galleries, featuring 24 separate visual arts shows per year, and an upstairs performance space with an audience capacity of 99. At least 10 shows annually are open member shows, where members can hang their work. ASK encourages its members to develop exhibitions and performances to be produced at ASK. Members and non-members have also rented space at ASK for private parties, receptions, weddings and other events. Members receive a discount on the space rental fees. For information about ASK, please go to www.askforarts.org. ASK’s Great Room Theater, located on the 2nd floor, is not fully wheelchair accessible. There is a motorized chair that can aid individuals with mobility issues.
Our program will feature music by U. S. American composers such as Sara Bareilles, Leonard Bernstein, Christopher Cerrone, Chris DeBlasio, Jake Heggie, Lee Hoiby, Andre Previn, and Kurt Weill. Featured poets include Elizabeth Bishop, Perry Brass, Bertolt Brecht, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Tao Lin, Toni Morrison, Theodore Roethke, and Hugo Salus. Join us at the Arts Society of Kingston on December 4th at 8:00pm to celebrate your inner child– tickets are free with a suggested donation of $10. All proceeds go to ASK. For more information, please visit our website, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org’, or find us on Instagram @the.curious.connection.
COVID protocols are still in effect; ASK is requiring all patrons to wear a mask while in the Great Room and gallery.
On December 6th, 2021, Loam will host Fragile Femme, an evening of semi-immersive chamber music and dance examining femmephobia and feminine experiences, both historical and contemporary. The recital will be held at 7pm at the Senate Garage in Kingston, NY.
On December 17th and 18th, 2021, Sarah Rauch and Alexis Seminario will host virtually their recital I Bear Your Colors, a concert exploring the rich relationships between queer women. The concert will be recorded in the historic Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, NY and shared via link on the I Bear Your Colors website.