The New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) presents an annual series of concerts in New York City dedicated to the art of song, classical, modern and popular. In addition, this organization commissions new works and recordings, including the Grammy Award winning recording of Leonard Bernstein's Arias and Barcarolles (Koch), and the Grammy nominated recording of Ned Rorem's Evidence of Things Not Seen (1997, New World Records).
For the 100th anniversary of the Juilliard School in January 2006, NYFOS collaborated on a program featuring "100 Years of Juilliard Composers in Song".
In 2007, NYFOS released a live-recording CD entitled Spanish Love Songs (Bridge), featuring Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Joseph Kaiser, performing with Blier and Barrett at Caramoor. The program was recorded live just before Lieberson's death in 2006.
In December 2008, Bridge Records released an original cast recording of Bastianello / Lucrezia, featuring soprano Lisa Vroman, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, tenor Paul Appleby, baritone Patrick Mason and bass Matt Boehler, with pianists Steven Blier and Michael Barrett. With a score by John Musto and a libretto by Mark Campbell, Bastianello is a family fable of love and folly based on a poignant Italian folk tale. In March 2008, it had its World Premiere, along with William Bolcom's comic piece Lucrezia (a version of Machiavelli?s La Mandragola, libretto also by Mark Campbell) at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, commissioned and presented by the New York Festival of Song.
NYFOS has created and premiered over a hundred unique programs, many of which have toured the United States. Some that have been favorably reviewed and/or frequently reprised:
Songs of Peace and War, premiered in 2001, shortly after the World Trade Center attack.
Dvo?ák and the American Soul, premiered in 2002, juxtaposes songs by Czech composer Antonín Dvo?ák and those of his African-American students from the period in the 1890s when he was teaching at the National Conservatory in New York, showing how each influenced the other.
Blok and Akhmatova: Poets Without Heroes, premiered in 2005, explores music composed around the work of these Russian poets.
I first heard Hunt Lieberson twelve years ago with another such group, the New York Festival of Song, at a benefit evening in Leonard Bernstein's apartment, in New York. She sang several Spanish love songs, and when she had finished I went up to her and said, "You have one of the most beautiful voices I've ever heard. Who are you?"