Vocal Artistry of Song Festival features the music of Spain - Albuquerque Journal

Vocal Artistry of Song Festival features the music of Spain

Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian will help judge the annual Vocal Artistry of Song Festival. (Courtesy of Vocal Artistry Of Song Festival)

Fans can log on to the Vocal Artistry of Song Festival in its virtual debut on Friday, Sept. 4 and Saturday, Sept. 5.

Each year, the event embraces a language as its theme; 2020 is no different with “Festival of Canciones Españolas,” a tribute to the music of Spain.

Fifty-nine singers and pianists, from age 14 through college, will participate and vie for $10,000 in scholarships. All of the young musicians are from New Mexico.

The program will open at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, with a free concert by Dos Tenores!, tenors Matthew Valverde and André Garcia Nuthmann with Kristin Ditlow on piano at vocalartistryartsong.com. The pair will sing music by Jean Berger, Manuel Maria Ponce, Manuel de Falla, Federico Longas, José López Alavéz and more. The concert will be live streamed from the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

Tenors Matthew Valverde and André Garcia Nuthmann.

The director of choral and vocal studies at New Mexico Highlands University, Nuthmann also is a tenor in the New Mexico Bach Chorale.

“He’s great with zarzuela (Spanish comic opera) and Spanish folk songs,” event founder Jacqueline Zander-Wall said.

Valverde recently received his doctoral degree from the Eastman School of Music and teaches at Adams State University in Colorado.

The students will be judged by soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, who teaches at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Her performing career was launched in 1997, the year she was a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She has sung with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera.

Art songs intimately combine poetry and music dating back before the Baroque era, Zander-Wall said.

Pianist Kristin Ditlow.

“It’s the combination of music and poetry and the singer is just the medium,” she said. “You’re communicating what is on the page. There are a lot of artistic levels to that.”

The German tradition of art song composition is known as Lieder. In France, the term mélodie distinguishes art songs from other French vocal pieces. The Spanish canción and the Italian canzone refer to songs in general.

By taking part in the festival, young musicians get a chance to win tuition money as well as experience.

“I think it helps every kid to learn this repertoire and the poetry and the musicianship and the professional aspect of it,” Zander-Wall said.

“I believe in the art,” she continued. “I believe in the depth and the challenge of it. And I feel that it’s contagious.”

 

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