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Juliana Hall

Simsbury, CT         

Bio

American art song composer Juliana Hall is a prolific and highly-regarded composer of vocal music, whose songs have been described as “brilliant” (Washington Post), “beguiling” (Times of London), and “the most genuinely moving music of the afternoon” (Boston Globe).

Hall began composition studies as a 26-year-old graduate student majoring in piano performance at the Yale School of Music. Her teachers – Martin Bresnick, Leon Kirchner, and Frederic Rzewski – encouraged her to change careers, and in 1987 she received her Master’s degree in Composition.

Following Yale, Hall completed her studies with Dominick Argento in Minneapolis. While there, in 1987, she received her first commission (from the Schubert Club of Saint Paul) for a song cycle for star soprano Dawn Upshaw; in 1989 she received a second commission, for Metropolitan Opera baritone David Malis, and was also awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Since then Hall has composed song cycles for numerous singers, including baritones Christopher Dylan Herbert and Richard Lalli; bass baritone Simon Chalifoux; countertenors Brian Asawa and Charles Humphries; mezzo sopranos Stephanie Blythe, Molly Fillmore, Clara Osowski, and Kitty Whately; sopranos Gwen Detwiler, Maggie Finnegan, Steffi Fischer, Martha Guth, Amy Petrongelli, Pamela Jordan Schiffer, and Laura Strickling; tenors Joel Burcham and Andrew Fuchs; and the vocal duo Feminine Musique (soprano Korliss Uecker and mezzo Tammy Hensrud), among many others.

Hall also received SongFest’s 2017 Sorel Commission, and was the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar’s 2018 Guest Composer as well as CollabFest’s 2018 Resident Composer.

Several art song organizations have presented concerts devoted to Hall’s music in recent years, including Sparks & Wiry Cries’ “Casement Fund Song Series” in New York City in 2016, the Contemporary Undercurrent of Song Project (CUSP) in Princeton in 2017, London’s “ReSung” art song series in 2018, and Calliope’s Call in Boston in 2019.

Hall’s music has been heard in 30 countries on six continents at concert venues including the 92nd Street Y, Ambassador Auditorium, Herbst Theater, the Library of Congress, and Wigmore Hall, as well as the London Festival of American Music, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Ojai Festival, and Tanglewood Music Center. Her music has also been presented on the Joy in Singing’s “Edward T. Cone Composers Concert” at New York’s Lincoln Center and in a Holy Week meditation service at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Recent festival performances include the Buxton International Festival (UK), Lindsey Christiansen Art Song Festival (Westminster Choir College, Princeton), Orvieto Musica Festival (Italy), Paradigm Shifts Music and Film Festival (New York), Rhonefestival für Liedkunst (Switzerland), Salisbury International Arts Festival (UK), Schumannfest in der Tonhalle Düsseldorf (Germany), and Sparks & Wiry Cries First songSLAM Festival (New York).

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Reviews

“through her brilliant tonal, textural, and rhythmic language, her work is immediately recognizable and wonderfully familiar…it is positively magical”

     –  Stephanie Blythe, mezzo soprano


“Juliana has mastered the ability to compose gorgeous art songs for any voice type”

     – Brian Asawa, countertenor


“Music that gives singers the ability to be better than their best, so natural and well-written it is…”

     – Margo Garrett, pianist


“wonderful and effective art songs from one of America’s most prolific composers who is dedicated to song composition”

     – Alan Louis Smith, pianist and composer


“Some day soon, every recital in the world will have on it some songs by Juliana Hall!”

     – Dominick Argento, composer

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Upcoming

GODIVA (monodrama for mezzo soprano and piano on a text by Caitlin Vincent)

world premiere

Kitty Whately, mezzo, and Libby Burgess, piano
Beverley Chamber Music Festival, Beverley, Yorkshire, UK
September 27, 2019

and

Kitty Whately, mezzo, and Simon Lepper, piano
Oxford Lieder Fest, Oxford, UK
October 18, 2019


THROUGH THE GUARDED GATE (5 songs for mezzo and piano on poems by Margaret Widdemer)

Ivy Walz, mezzo, and Diane Birr, piano
Middlebury Song Fest, Middlebury, VT
October 19, 2019


SENTIMENT (monodrama for unaccompanied soprano on texts by Caitlin Vincent)

Emily Truckenbrod, soprano
STL Opera Collective, Saint Louis, MO
October 18, 19, and 20, 2019


THROUGH THE GUARDED GATE (5 songs for mezzo and piano on poems by Margaret Widdemer)

Megan Roth, mezzo, and Chelsea Whitaker, piano
Calliope’s Call, Boston, MA
November 2 and 3, 2019

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Listen

SoundCloud 
YouTube 

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Publications

E. C. Schirmer
Boosey & Hawkes 

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At That Hour When All Things Have Repose

AT THAT HOUR WHEN ALL THINGS HAVE REPOSE is the sixth of seven songs comprising the contralto song cycle OF THAT SO SWEET IMPRISONMENT, composed for Stephanie Blythe. This song was premiered by Ms. Blythe and pianist Alan Louis Smith at the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar on May 23, 2018.

There is a gentle narrative throughout the cycle, based on poems by James Joyce, taking the listener from following love in nature (Orpheus perhaps) through various stages of love to a simple scene of lovers being together forever in a place special to them.

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SENTIMENT – MONODRAMA FOR UNACCOMPANIED SOPRANO

SENTIMENT librettist Caitlin Vincent writes “The general premise is emotions but also about the version of ourselves we try to present to the world. Each song leads into the next: giddy happiness followed by the inevitable plunge into depression, then anger and embarrassment for revealing too much to the audience, remorse for lashing out, and finally a plea for the world to see only the singer’s ‘best’ side.”

SENTIMENT was written for soprano Laura Strickling, who premiered it on the Calliope’s Call series in Boston on April 27, 2019.

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WHEN THE SOUTH WIND SINGS

WHEN THE SOUTH WIND SINGS was the 2017 Sorel Commission from SongFest, and was premiered on June 24, 2017 at the Colburn School in Los Angeles by soprano Tabitha Burchett and pianist Riley McKinch.

This cycle of seven songs on poems by Carl Sandburg, whose poems capture the small details we so often miss as we live daily life and speak of a world in which nature is not a backdrop to our human activities so much as an actor in them, follows a metaphorical journal from sin and storm to redemption and peace.

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