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Juliana HallSimsbury, CT
“There is a beautiful alchemy that occurs when composer Juliana Hall meets a poem. Revealing each morsel of poetry through her brilliant tonal, textural, and rhythmic language, her work is immediately recognizable and wonderfully familiar. Singers and audiences alike take delight in her songs. Over the years, many of my young colleagues have brought her work for me to coach in my own song program, Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar, but equally, I have heard her songs in virtually every university in which I have taught master classes over the last decade. Ms. Hall’s songs have a very important endorsement – singers want to sing them. Indeed, they love to sing them, and it is readily understood why. Her choice of text is varied, impressive and speaks to a wide cultural audience. The topics are relevant to today’s artists, and therefore, extraordinarily desirable. It is also incredibly evident that she understands the singing voice and the great art of collaboration with the pianist – there is a level of musical discourse here that demands expertise, and rewards the work with a generous and complete technical, interpretive and emotional experience. It is positively magical.”
– Stephanie Blythe, Mezzo Soprano
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.
More recent singers of note, for whom Hall has composed song cycles, include renowned countertenor Brian Asawa, acclaimed mezzo soprano Stephanie Blythe, and Metropolitan Opera soprano Molly Fillmore. 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.
The 2018-2019 season includes 7 world premieres:
– How Do I Love Thee? (for soprano Martha Guth, in Princeton, NJ)
– Cameos (for soprano Molly Fillmore, in Denton, TX)
– And It Came To Pass (for countertenor Charles Humphries, in Gloucester, VA)
– Of That So Sweet Imprisonment (for mezzo soprano Stephanie Blythe, in New York City)
– Through the Guarded Gate (for mezzo soprano Clara Osowski, in Seattle, WA)
– The New Colossus (for bass baritone Simon Chalifoux, in Montreal, Canada)
– Sentiment (for soprano Laura Strickling, in Boston, MA)
“SOME THINGS ARE DARK” from the song cycle “NIGHT DANCES”
Setting of a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay – Dawn Upshaw, soprano and Margo Garrett, piano
“THEME IN YELLOW” from the song cycle “THEME IN YELLOW”
Setting of a poem by Carl Sandburg – Katherine Eberle, mezzo soprano and Robin Guy, piano