Date of Submission

Fall 2016

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Music

Project Advisor 1

Ilka LoMonaco

Project Advisor 2

James Bagwell

Abstract/Artist's Statement

For my senior project, I’ve put together and sung two concerts, mostly consisting of voice and piano, but also with larger ensemble work.

The first concert I gave in the spring of 2016, was generally focused on the theme of longing and solitude, and tackled two sets of songs by famous German composers, both written at essentially the same time. These two sets were An Die Ferne Geliebte by Ludwig van Beethoven (the very first song cycle ever composed), and Gesange des Harfners by Franz Schubert. They match each other quite well, both written only a few years from one another, the two sets of songs tell stories of solitude and love unfulfilled, in very different ways. These were supplemented by a number of other pieces, all in very different musical styles and from very different time periods, but generally revolving around the theme of separation and solitude.

The second concert will be given on December 7th, 2016, a few days from the time of this statement’s writing. In this second concert, rather than programming for an emotional or storytelling theme, I’ve programmed entirely around two of the composers that I’ve been the most drawn to since coming to Bard; Henri Duparc and Charles Ives. The concert is essentially a survey of the two composers’ work, as I’ve attempted to showcase both of their musical styles in as much breadth as possible.

About myself as a musician:

When I first began at Bard College in the spring of 2014, I could just barely read music. Since then I’ve been working my ass off playing catchup to become a better singer musician in every way that I can. I’ve certainly come a long ways since my arrival here, but I’ve definitely still got a long ways to go as a singer and musician.

I must say that my greatest critique of my own instrument, the operatic style voice, is that 95% of the time I have no choice which side I take in the century-old argument between the camps of Wagner and Brahms as to whether music ought to be programmatic. I find myself somewhere between the two camps, I don’t mind me some storytelling music, but I also believe that one of the greatest strengths of music is the ability to tell a wordless thought process, a journey rather than a story. Unfortunately for the non-programmatic musician in me, the singer’s instrument is first and foremost a communicative tool, and mostly inseparable from language and the concrete intentions of a composer or poet/librettist.

I’ve always thought that music major’s senior concerts were very interesting when put into the context of the senior projects that are required of us here, that despite the great effort that goes into the creation of each senior concert, the concerts themselves are only snapshots of the body of work that has gone into shaping us as musicians. I feel I’ve been working on these concerts since the very day I arrived at Bard, despite their programming and preparation having started only a year ago.

The senior concerts have been by no means the endgame of what I’ve been working towards, they’ve been simply opportunities to grow as a musician. After all, a degree doesn’t mean a damn thing to an audience member if they aren’t moved by what they hear.

I will continue to do all I can to grow as an artist, singer, and musician.

Find me at the MET Opera in 10 years.

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