New York Festival of Song was founded in 1988 by its co-artistic directors, Michael Barrett and Steven Blier. With a far-ranging repertoire of art songs, concert works and theater pieces, its thematic recitals have included programs from Brahms to the Beatles, from Russian songs to the Argentine tango, from sixteenth-century lute songs to new music. The festival has also sought to enlarge the repertoire of American vocal music through a notable series of commissioned works.
A sampling of past concert seasons includes, among other works, the world premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s Appalachian Liebeslieder; Evidence of Things Not Seen, a commission in collaboration with the Library of Congress in celebration of Ned Rorem’s seventy-fifth birthday; a companion piece to Brahms’s Liebeslieder Waltzes for vocal ensemble and four-hand piano created by ten American composers (John Corigliano, Ned Rorem, James Sellars, Bright Sheng, Richard Danielpour, Jeffrey Stock, Davide Zannoni, Dalite Warshaw, John Musto, Jane Komarov); and American Love Songs and Songbook for a New Century, in collaboration with the commissioning body Meet The Composer.
The New York Festival of Song got its start at the Greenwich House Music School, where it presented its first six-concert season. It takes place today at Merkin Concert Hall on the Upper West Side.