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Press Release

"Classic Composers Under the Influence! From the Salon to Broadway," at Hudson Opera House

Yulia Van Doren



Free Recital Presents Classic Songs and Recent Works by Eminent Composers


HUDSON, N.Y.The American melting pot is a uniquely diverse blend of cultures, and many best-loved American compositions have melodies influenced by popular music. On Wednesday, December 5, 2007 at 8:00 p.m., the Hudson Opera House presents an exciting and innovative recital of American art song, “Classical Composers Under the Influence! From the Salon to Broadway,” that features students from the Bard College Conservatory of Music’s Graduate Program in Vocal Arts. This program is free and open to the public without charge.


Performed by sopranos Kristin Ezell, Yulia Van Doren, and Chanel Wood and baritone Yang Yang, with piano accompaniment by Lucas Wong, the recital program ranges from the cabaret-influenced songs of Kurt Weill and William Bolcolm to American spirituals and folk songs arranged by Aaron Copland, and from the intricate music of Charles Ives to playful songs by Adam Guettel, composer of the Broadway hit The Light in the Piazza.


The artists are all members of the inaugural class of the Conservatory’s Graduate Program in Vocal Arts, a ground-breaking new program designed by renowned soprano Dawn Upshaw. Emphasizing a strong commitment to new music and chamber music collaborations, the program cosponsored the singers’ Carnegie Hall debuts this March in a special program of newly commissioned chamber music. Hailing from around the United States as well as China and Canada, these young musicians are rapidly gaining international attention. This program provides a chance to hear the singers in an intimate recital of spirited music.


The Hudson Opera House is located at 327 Warren Street. For further information, see

About the performers:

Soprano Kristin Ezell, formerly of Harlingen, Texas, received her first master of music degree from Manhattan School of Music in 2006, where she earned the Janet Schenck Award. She holds a bachelor of music degree from Boston University, where she won the Ella Lou Dimmock Award for outstanding promise on the operatic stage. Also an alumna of the University of Texas at Brownsville, Ezell will perform this fall at its 10-year anniversary gala honoring the Bravo! Opera Company. She recently made her Carnegie Hall debut in the Osvaldo Golijov and Dawn Upshaw Workshop for Composers and Singers in the world premiere of Scenes, by Johannes Lauer. Roles and performances include Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird with TACTUS and Patti Monson at the Manhattan School of Music and at Bard College Conservatory of Music with Joan Tower; the cover of Susanna in Le Nozze diFigaro with the New Jersey Opera Theater; Cathleen in Riders to the Sea by Vaughan Williams; the Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte; and Grace in Annie. Committed to collaboration and contemporary music, Ezell spent the summer at Song Fest as a professional fellow where she worked with composers James Primosch and Ricky Ian Gordon, and singers Janice Felty and Judith Kellock. She is a cofounder of American Music Productions (AMP), a performance ensemble based at Manhattan School of Music. In 2006, she created the lead role of the Wife in Seymour Barab’s new opera, Everyone Has To Be Free, commissioned by AMP.

While still an undergraduate at New England Conservatory, soprano Yulia Van Doren was awarded the grand prize in the International J. S. Bach Vocal Competition, third prize in the American Bach Soloists’ Competition, and recorded the role of Ceres in the Boston Early Music Festival’s world-premiere recording of the Lully opera Thésée. In 2007 Van Doren made several important debuts, including her professional operatic debut as Poppea in L’Incoronazione di Poppea to much critical acclaim, which described her as having “the perfect baroque voice” (Seattle Times). Other debuts included Carnegie Hall, the Bach Festival of Philadelphia, the Boston Early Music Festival, and a summer of performances at Tanglewood, where as a vocal fellow she sang Belinda in the acclaimed Mark Morris Dance Group production of Dido and Aeneas and performed in a concert of opera scenes coached by Maestro James Levine. During the 2007–08 season Van Doren appears in concert with internationally renowned ensemble Teatro Lirico, the Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Portland Baroque Orchestra (Messiah), American Bach Soloists’ (Weilnacht’s Oratorium), Grace Church Choral Society (Mass in c minor), Berkshire Bach Society (Chandos Anthems), and reprises the role of Belinda on tour with Mark Morris Dance Group’s Dido and Aeneas. She is a 2007 recipient of the prestigious Soros Fellowship for New Americans.

Chanel Wood’s “gleaming soprano” (The New Yorker) has been heard in an increasingly diverse repertory. Her orchestral credits include appearances with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops in both their Holiday Concerts and A Tribute to Stephen Sondheim. Most recently, she made her American Symphony Orchestra debut as the Erste Gespielen in Bard SummerScape’s production of Der Zwerg. In the summer of 2006, Wood was heard at the Tanglewood Music Center as Helene in Hindemith’s There and Back and as Die Schleppträgerin in a concert version of Elektra, conducted by Maestro James Levine. Most recently she performed a solo recital in Lenox, Massachusetts, and gave the world premiere of a new composition by Lawrence Kramer at Fordham University. Upcoming engagements include a 2007–08 performance of Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the American Symphony Orchestra. Wood is a graduate of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. 

Baritone Yang Yang was born in North China. He began ballet studies at age 10, and at 19 was accepted at the Shanghai Conservatory, earning a bachelor of music degree in vocal studies as a student of Zhou Zheng. As a participant at Zhou Xiaoyan’s International Opera Center, he performed in productions of Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni, among others. Yang made his Carnegie Hall debut in March in a new composition by British composer David Bruce, and in November he made his debut with the Berkshire Bach Society in a concert of Bach cantatas.

Canadian Lucas Wong is quickly establishing a career as a young emerging solo and collaborative pianist. After winning the Debut Young Artist Competition 2003, he made notable appearances at CBC Vancouver Studio One (later broadcaston CBC Radio), Holland Music Sessions, Concours International de Musique de Chambre de Lyon, Banff Keyboard Festival, Songfest, and Norfolk Chamber, and Choral Festival. Most recently, Wong has been honored with a Post-Graduate Collaborative Piano Fellowship at the Bard Conservatory, under the direction of Frank Corliss, Kayo Iwama, and Dawn Upshaw. He is also pursuing his doctoral degree in piano performance at Yale. Mentors in the past years include Boris Berman, Claude Frank, Peter Frankl, Richard Goode, Martin Katz, Graham Johnson, Julian Martin, JJ Penna, and Robert Silverman.


About the Graduate Program in Vocal Arts at the Bard College Conservatory:


Conceived and designed by the renowned American soprano Dawn Upshaw, the Graduate Program in Vocal Arts was created to prepare the young singer to meet the special artistic and practical challenges of a musical career in the 21st century. This unique two-year master of music degree balances a respect for established repertory and expressive techniques with the flexibility and curiosity needed to keep abreast of evolving musical ideas. It also includes a strong practical component with seminars and classes on career skills led by some of the leading figures in arts management and administration. Each year a select group of up to 8 singers is invited to join the program through an intensive audition process.


About the Hudson Opera House:


The oldest surviving theater in New York State, the Hudson Opera House offers a year-round schedule of arts and cultural programming, community events, classes, exhibitions, and more. Hudson Opera House, Inc. (HOH Inc.), founded in 1991 by Hudson and Columbia County residents, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the community by restoring the historic and architecturally significant Old City Hall—long known as the Hudson Opera House—as a cultural and civic center for Hudson and the surrounding region. Since opening in December of 1997, HOH Inc. has restored five rooms on the first floor, and presented more than 2,000 cultural and educational programs. The Hudson Opera House provides free or low-cost cultural offerings every week of the year. Ongoing programs include concerts, readings, lectures, exhibitions, theatre and dance presentations, after-school programs, workshops, classes, and community arts events like the annual “Winter Walk on Warren Street."


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This event was last updated on 12-06-2007