American Voices: European Influences

Les Dimanches Musicaux


Date: 05 November 2017 15:00

Place: American Cathedral in Paris  |  City: Paris, France

Katherine Nicholson, mezzo-soprano; Anyssa Neumann, piano 
Works by Copland, Barber, Ives, Rorem (see full program)

Katherine Nicholson headshot

Hailing from Suffolk, Katherine Nicholson studied Modern Languages before turning to singing. She regularly appears with Polyphony, BBC Singers, Collegium Vocale Gent, Britten Sinfonia Voices and the Eric Whitacre Singers, among others. Recent projects have included European tours and recordings of Haydn’s Creation and Seasons, a rare performance of Birtwistle’s Yan Tan Tethera with Britten Sinfonia and her debut with The Tallis Scholars at the BBC Proms. 2016 will bring performances of Reich’s Desert Music, and a return to Pau, France, with the London Bach Players to perform Bach’s Easter Oratorio. Equally at home on the solo platform, recent solo performances include Purcell Ode for St Cecilia 1692, Bach St John Passion, St Matthew Passion, B Minor Mass, Handel Messiah, Dixit Dominus, Israel in Egypt, CPE Bach Magnificat, Copland In The Beginning, and solo recitals of Classical songs repertoire and French and English Song.

Anyssa Neumann 030 lo res
Raised in California, American pianist Anyssa Neumann has been praised for the “clarity, charm, and equipoise” of her performances, which span solo and collaborative repertoire from the Baroque to the 21st century. In December 2010, she released her solo debut album of works by Bach, Beethoven, Messiaen, and Prokofiev. Recent projects have included all-Bach recitals at the Banff Centre (Canada), the Sacramento Bach Festival (USA), and St James Piccadilly, concerts with the London Chamber Collective, and a concert tour of England with American soprano Rena Harms. She has additionally appeared in solo and chamber concerts at St-Martin-in-the-Fields, Queen’s Gate Terrace, Blackheath Halls, the Holywell Music Room, the Hudson Valley Piano Club (New York), Salle Claude-Champagne (Montréal), and Mazzoleni Hall (Toronto), among others. A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and Oxford University, Anyssa continued advanced studies with Fabio Bidini in Berlin and Paul Stewart at Université de Montréal, and has participated in master classes with Thomas Adès and Rita Wagner at IMS Prussia Cove. In 2016, she completed a PhD in musicology at King’s College London as a recipient of the King’s Overseas Research Studentship.

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Aaron Copland – Four Early Songs

Night - A Summer Vacation - My Heart Is In The East - Alone

Samuel Barber – Hermit Songs, Op. 29

At St Patrick’s Purgatory - Church Bell at Night - St Ita’s Vision - The Heavenly Banquet - The Crucifixion -

Sea Snatch - Promiscuity - The Monk and His Cat - The Praises of God - The Desire for Hermitage

Charles Ives – selected songs

Songs My Mother Taught Me - The Light That Is Felt 

Samuel Barber – Three Songs, Op. 45

Now have I fed and eaten up the rose - A Green Lowland of Pianos - O boundless, boundless evening

Ned Rorem – selected songs 

Early in the Morning - For Poulenc - The Lordly Hudson


“American Song, like Topsy in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, ‘just growed’,” as Carol Kimball observes – and this growth resulted in an eclectic output mirroring the melting pot of America’s vibrant 20th-century culture. Our project focuses on composers who forged distinctive voices that formed the backbone of the American sound, creating melodic, emotive works that captured hearts and imaginations and inspired modern generations, both at home and abroad. 
These American composers looked to the European Art Song tradition to inspire their writing, putting text at the heart of their settings; many of these composers travelled to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger, soaking up the influence and inspiration of European culture. This collection of songs, composed by Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, Charles Ives, and Ned Rorem, traverses the Atlantic to feature words uttered by 8th-century Irish monks, translations of German, Polish, and Czech poetry, and songs about Paris.



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