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Bard Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program Presents Dawn Upshaw and Friends in Concert at the Fisher Center, April 29

Mark Primoff
Soprano Dawn Upshaw
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Graduate Vocal Arts Program at The Bard College Conservatory of Music presents “Dawn Upshaw and Friends,” an evening of song with world-renowned soprano Dawn Upshaw and her master students, in the Sosnoff Theater of the Richard B. Fisher Center for Performing Arts on Wednesday, April 29, at 7:30 p.m. The program features solo songs performed by Upshaw and an ensemble repertoire including works by Purcell (arranged by Britten), Schumann, Mendelssohn, Foster, and Copland performed by singers of the Graduate Vocal Arts Program, and accompanied by pianists of the Post-Graduate Collaborative Piano Fellowship and faculty of The Bard Conservatory of Music. Tickets are $15, $25, $50, and $75. All proceeds benefit the Scholarship Fund of the Graduate Vocal Arts Program. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 845-758-7900 or e-mail

The evening’s program includes songs from Orpheus Britannicus by Henry Purcell and arranged by Benjamin Britten; songs from Spanisches Liederspiel, Op. 74, and Liebhabers Ständchen, Op. 34, no. 2 by Robert Schumann; Herbstlied, Op. 63, no. 4 and Maiglöckchen und die Blümelein, Op. 63, no. 6 by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy; “Gentle Annie” and “Katy Bell” by Stephen Foster; and “The Promise of Living,” from The Tender Land by Aaron Copland, among others.

“The Bard Conservatory’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program continues to bring great music to our community, along with the excitement that comes from watching gifted young singers become extraordinary artists. Dawn Upshaw, Kayo Iwama, and our faculty have created a jewel here at Bard, unique in its approach and thrilling in its outcomes,” says Robert Martin, director of The Bard Conservatory of Music.


Dawn Upshaw, artistic director of the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at The Bard College Conservatory of Music, has achieved worldwide celebrity as a singer of opera and concert repertoire ranging form the sacred works of Bach to the freshest sounds of today. In 2007, she was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation, the first vocal artist to be awarded the five-year “Genius” prize, and in 2008 she was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her acclaimed performances on the opera stage comprise the great Mozart roles (Pamina, Ilia, Susanna, Despina) as well as modern works by Stravinsky, Poulenc, and Messiaen. From Salzburg, Paris, and Glyndebourne to the Metropolitan Opera, where she began her career in 1984 and has since made nearly 300 appearances, Dawn Upshaw has also championed numerous new works created for her, including The Great Gatsby by John Harbison; the Grawemeyer Award–winning opera L’Amour de Loin and oratorio La Passion de Simone by Kaija Saariaho; John Adams’s Nativity oratorio El Niño; and Osvaldo Golijov’s chamber opera Ainadamar and song cycle Ayre. She is a faculty member of the Tanglewood Music Center and holds honorary doctorate degrees from Yale, the Manhattan School of Music, Allegheny College, and Illinois Wesleyan University. She began her career as a 1984 winner of the Young Concert Artists Auditions and the 1985 Walter W. Naumburg Competition, and was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Young Artists Development Program. A four-time Grammy Award winner, Upshaw is featured on more than 50 recordings, including the million-selling Symphony No. 3 by Henryk Gorecki. Her discography also includes full-length opera recordings of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro; Messiaen’s St. Francoise d’Assise; Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress; John Adams’s El Niño; two volumes of Canteloube’s Songs of the Auvergne, and a dozen recital recordings. Her most recent release on Deutsche Grammophon is Three Songs for Soprano and Orchestra, the third in a series of acclaimed recordings of Osvaldo Golijov’s music.

Frank Corliss, director of the Post-Graduate Collaborative Piano Fellowship at The Bard College Conservatory of Music, is a frequent performer on the Boston Symphony Prelude Concert series and performs throughout the United States as a chamber musician and collaborative pianist. Prior to his appointment at Bard College, he was for many years a staff pianist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, as well as the director of music at the Walnut Hill School, one of the nation’s premier private secondary arts schools. Corliss has worked as a musical assistant for Yo Yo Ma and has assisted him in the musical preparation of many new works for performance and recording, including concertos by Elliot Carter, Richard Danielpour, Tan Dun, John Harbison, Leon Kirchner, Peter Lieberson, Christopher Rouse, and John Williams. A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, he received his master of music degree from SUNY Stony Brook, where he studied with Gilbert Kalish. While at Oberlin he received the Rudolf Serkin Award for Outstanding Pianist and was a member of the Music from Oberlin Ensemble, which toured throughout the United States. He has also studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and the Cracow Academy of Music in Cracow, Poland. Corliss has participated in several summer festivals, including the Tanglewood Music Festival and the Taos Chamber Music Festival. He was appointed as an artistic ambassador for the United States Information Agency, and in that capacity went on a three-week concert tour of Eastern Europe. He was also the recipient of a Rockefeller grant from the Cultural Contact U.S.-Mexico Fund for Culture to commission and perform in Boston and Mexico City works for flute and piano by American and Mexican composers. He can be heard in recording on Yo Yo Ma’s Grammy-winning SONY disc Soul of the Tango as well as the Koch International disc of music by Elliot Carter for chorus and piano with the John Oliver Chorale.

American pianist Kayo Iwama, head of the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at The Bard College Conservatory of Music, has concertized extensively with singers throughout North America, Europe, and Japan and has performed in many prestigious venues including the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Jordan Hall, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, the Kennedy Center, Tokyo’s Yamaha Hall, and the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. The Washington Post has called her a pianist “with unusual skill and sensitivity to the music and the singer” and the Boston Globe has praised her “virtuoso accompaniment . . . super-saturated with gorgeous colors.” Since 1995 she has taught at the Tanglewood Music Center, where she is also the coordinator of the Vocal Studies Program. There she has worked with some of today’s most exciting young singers and collaborative pianists, and assisted Maestros James Levine, Seiji Ozawa, and Robert Spano in major operatic and concert productions. Her teaching has also taken her to some of the foremost universities of the United States to give master classes and performance/demonstrations. A former resident of the Boston area, she was a frequent performer on WGBH radio and performed with such groups as the Florestan Recital Project, the Handel and Haydn Society and Emmanuel Music. In addition, she was the pianist and music director of the critically acclaimed Cantata Singers Chamber Series, creating programs devoted to rarely heard works of art song and vocal chamber music. She was formerly on the faculties of the Hartt School of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, and Boston Conservatory. Iwama earned a bachelor of music degree at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and her master’s degree at SUNY Stony Brook, where she studied with Gilbert Kalish. She also attended the Salzburg Music Festival, the Banff Music Center, the Music Academy of the West, and the Tanglewood Music Center, where she worked with such artists as Margo Garrett, Martin Isepp, Graham Johnson, Martin Katz, and Erik Werba. She has served previously on the music staffs of the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Miss Iwama can be heard on CD on the Well-Tempered label, with baritone Christópheren Nomura in Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin, and on two ISMM discs devoted to French mélodies and the songs of Schumann with tenor Ingul Ivan Oak. She is married to pianist Frank Corliss and has two children.

Singers of the Graduate Vocal Arts Program

Mary Bonhag, Ariadne Greif, Rie Miyake, Celine Mogielnicki, Madyson Page, Rachel Schutz, Megan Taylor

Leona Carney, Solange Merdinian, Tania Rodriguez, Kasia Sadej

Patrick Cook, Sung Eun Lee

Pianists of the Post-Graduate Collaborative Piano Fellowship
Adam Bloniarz, Chen Chen, Sungha Lee, Becky Lu



The Graduate Vocal Arts Program at The Bard College Conservatory of Music is a two-year master of music degree conceived and directed 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 head of program Kayo Iwama; voice teachers Edith Bers, Patricia Misslin, and Lorraine Nubar; diction coaches Sharon Bjorndal and Jennifer Ringo; Alexander Technique teachers Gwen Ellison and Judith Grodowitz; and career workshop coordinator Carol Yaple. Master classes have been held with conductor James Conlon; pianists and vocal coaches Ken Noda and Pierre Vallet; vocalists Phyllis Curtin, Timothy Hill, and Lucy Shelton; and directors Marc Verzatt, Eve Shapiro, and Peter Sellars.


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 06-25-2009