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The Bard College Conservatory of Music Graduate Vocal Arts Program Presents Three Lives at an Intersection

A Concert of Works by Argento, Beach, Bolcom, Dvořák, Gershwin, Ginastera, Hamlisch


Mark Primoff

RHINEBECK, N.Y. – The Bard College Conservatory of Music’s Graduate Program in Vocal Arts presents an unusual semi-staged evening of American songs at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck on November 5, at 8:00 p.m. Three singers – soprano Rachel Schutz, mezzo Solange Merdinian, and tenor Sung Eun Lee – join pianist Sungha Lee for Three Lives at an Intersection. The songs bridge the worlds of Broadway and the concert hall; they also help people to make connections with each other. The composers include William Bolcom, George Gershwin, Dominic Argento, Cole Porter, Ned Rorem, and Marvin Hamlisch.

Every good recital program sets up a conversation among the songs. The musicians have decided to take this a step further by creating a new dramatic context for the songs and performing them in character. The lives of four people converge around a piano, late at night, in a bar. We follow a single hour in the life of these ordinary people and how their simple every-day interactions can affect each others’ lives profoundly. 
The performers have programmed, written, directed, and produced Three Lives at an Intersection themselves. Admission is free. The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck is at 661 Route 308 in Rhinebeck, N.Y. For further information and directions, call the Center at 845-876-3080, ext. 12.
About the Performers

Sung Eun Lee, a native Korean tenor, has performed operatic roles and recitals in the U.S. and Italy. In 2006, he was a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, New York District. In 2008, he participated in the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Singer Program, where he performed in Falstaff and Le Nozze di Figaro and covered the role of Maintop in Britten’s Billy Budd. He completed his first master’s degree at Manhattan School of Music, and is currently in his second year of the master’s program at the Bard Conservatory.


Sungha Lee, a native of Seoul, Korea, has won numerous competitions including the grand prize of all divisions at the Tuesday Musical Club, the Arthur Dann competition in Ohio, and the Oberlin Concerto Competition. An avid collaborative musician, she has performed in New York, Ohio, Korea, and Italy and was the winner of VARN Art Song Competition and the Lillian Fuchs Chamber Music Competition. She received her bachelor’s degree and artist diploma from Oberlin Conservatory, a master’s from Manhattan School of Music, and is currently in the postgraduate Collaborative Piano Fellowship Program at the Bard Conservatory.


Mezzo-soprano Solange Merdinian was born in Argentina. Future performances include recitals in Maine with the Bayside Trio, Composing Songs in Zankel Hall, and recitals at Bard College and its Conservatory. Past concert engagements include a first-time performance of Pierrot Lunaire by Schoenberg at Bard College; recitals at Weill Hall, Carnegie Hall; soloist at Alice Tully Hall with the Juilliard Chamber Orchestra; and alto soloist with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Merdinian graduated in 2007 from The Juilliard School, with a bachelor’s of music in Voice. She is currently a member of Bard College Conservatory of Music’s Graduate Program in Vocal Arts, newly created by Dawn Upshaw.


Hailed for her “diamantine high notes … and giddy delirious coloratura” (Richard Dyer, Boston Globe), Welsh-born soprano Rachel Schutz is increasingly in demand throughout the United States and Europe for a wide range of repertoire, from Bach to Bernstein and Babbitt. She has performed operatic roles, recitals, orchestral works, and new music throughout the U.S. and abroad and recently finished a tour with the Boston Pops Orchestra, performing the works of Bernstein. She completed her B.A. in music at Stony Brook University.

About the Graduate Program in Vocal Arts:

The Graduate Program in Vocal Arts at Bard College is a two-year master of music degree conceived by soprano Dawn Upshaw. The course work is designed to support a broad-based approach to a singing career that extends from standard repertory to new music. Alongside weekly voice lessons and diction and repertory courses is training in acting, as well as core seminars that introduce and tie together the historical/cultural perspective, analytical tools, and performance skills that distinguish vocal and operatic performance at the highest level. In addition to artistic director Dawn Upshaw, the program includes associate director Kayo Iwama; voice teachers Edith Bers, Patricia Misslin, and Lorraine Nubar; diction coach Jennifer Ringo; Alexander Technique teachers Gwen Ellison and Judith Grodowitz; staff pianist Ying-Chien Lin; and career workshop coordinator Carol Yaple. Master classes have been held with conductor James Conlon; pianist Richard Goode; vocalists Phyllis Curtin, Timothy Hill, and Lucy Shelton; and directors JoAnne Akalaitis, Eve Shapiro, and Peter Sellars.


About The Bard College Conservatory of Music

Building on its distinguished history in the arts and education, Bard College launched The Bard College Conservatory of Music, which welcomed its first class in August 2005. Now in its third year, the Conservatory’s undergraduate program is guided by the principle that musicians should be broadly educated in the liberal arts and sciences to achieve their greatest potential. While training and studying for the bachelor of music degree with world-class musicians and teachers and performing in state-of-the-art facilities, such as the Frank Gehry–designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Conservatory students also pursue a bachelor of arts degree at Bard, one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges. Robert Martin serves as director of the Conservatory, Melvin Chen as associate director.


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This event was last updated on 11-03-2008