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This year’s art song fest journeys through Italy

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Art songs weave a combination of poetry and melody into a musical tapestry for recital.

Kendra Colton

This year’s Vocal Artistry of Song Festival stars soprano Kendra Colton, a soloist who has performed with the Boston Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony. Colton will be accompanied by her pianist Allison Voth. The concert is slated for Friday at the Simms

Auditorium. Colton is from Ohio’s Oberlin College.

“She lives in Boston,” festival founder Jacqueline Zander-Wall said. “She’s a wonderful art song singer.

“She got me my first job . Even though she is so exquisitely talented, she’s so down-to-earth and she’s always interested in learning from others.” This year’s celebration boasts an Italian theme, with the composers ranging from Menotti to Mancini. Past festivals have featured French, German, Spanish and British composers. This marks the second year for the Italians.

Colton will travel through Italy with works by Donaudy, Torelli and Giordani. She then moves into “Italienishes Liederbuch” by Hugo Wolf, a cycle of Italian poems, and selections from Mélodies de Venise” by Gabriel Fauré before moving onto the Italian Americans with Gian Carlo Menotti’s “The Old Man Song” and Henry Mancini’s “Moon River.”

This marks the festival’s ninth year. Guests can expect a weekend filled with concerts by 11 student pianists and from 75-100 singers.

“They all pick their own music,” Zander-Wall said.

High school and middle school students will perform on Saturday morning. The non-competitive adult division will sing and play at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Performance Hall at Albuquerque Academy. Each singer performs two songs.

The final awards concert and reception will give more than $9,000 in scholarship money at 2 p.m. Sunday in Simms Auditorium.

A singer and voice teacher, Zander-Wall founded the event in 2008 as a way to expand the study of the art song repertoire. The first year drew about 50 singers, she said.

“Now the younger divisions are really popular.”

WHERE: Simms Auditorium, Albuquerque Academy, 6400 Wyoming NE

HOW MUCH: Free. Inforamtion at
WHAT: “Vocal Artistry of Song Festival”

WHEN: Opening concert 7 p.m. Friday, April 20; final awards concert 2 p.m. Sunday, April 22.

WHERE: Simms Auditorium, Albuquerque Academy, 6400 Wyoming NE

HOW MUCH: Free. Inforamtion at



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