Episode 49: Christie Finn (SE)

In this episode, ResBods catches up American soprano Christie Finn, who performed two seminal works of the contemporary classical repertoire on past Festivals: Georges Aperghis' complete "Récitations" (NYC '13) and Helmut Lachenmann's "Got Lost" (NYC '14). Christie discusses her journey with both of these mammoth works, and also updates us on her recent activities in Stuttgart, Germany.

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Christie Finn Show Notes

PC: Alexandr Karjaka

PC: Alexandr Karjaka

American soprano Christie Finn is actively involved in the world of contemporary vocal performance and new music theater.  Finn has performed as a soloist with the Asko | Schönberg Ensemble (Netherlands), CrossingLines (Spain), the Hezarfen Ensemble (Istanbul, Turkey), ICTUS (Belgium), Nadar(Belgium), Oerknal! (Netherlands), oh ton-ensemble (Germany),
VocaalLAB (Netherlands), and several ensembles in New York City, including ekmeles, the S.E.M. EnsembleExperiments in Opera, and Tactus. She is a co-founder and member of the experimental music duo NOISE-BRIDGE, collaborating with clarinetist Felix Behringer, and Co-Artistic Director of ExVoCo. She is also a permanent member of Forum Neue Vokal Musik and Ensemble Hörwerk (currently on hiatus). All of these ensembles all based in Germany. 

International festivals and concert series include the Bregenzer Festspiele (Austria), the Beijing Modern Music Festival, klarafestival (Brussels, Belgium), Hamburg International Music Festival, (Germany), Festival Mixtur (Barcelona, Spain), MUSICON (Durham, U.K.), and Resonant Bodies (New York City, U.S.A.) In the Stuttgart area, festivals include Musik am 13., Südseite Nachts, Klangraum, Sommer in Stuttgart, Konzertreihe für aktuelle Musik, tonArt (Esslingen a. N.), musica nova (Reutlingen), Zeitgenuss (Karlsruhe), and Opernfestspiele Heidenheim. Finn is a two-time winner of an interpretation prize at the International Stockhausen Concerts and Courses (Kürten, Germany) and was awarded a prize in the Karlsruher Wettbewerb für die Interpretation zeitgenössischer Musik 2014.

Highlights from the 2018-2019 season include the German premiere of Beat Furrer’s a sei voci with Voces Suaves (Basel) as part of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden’s Barocktage 2018 (Pierre Boulez Saal, Berlin); directing and performing with her ensemble ExVoCo in the Klangraum Festival (Stuttgart); and creating the role “Spider Woman” in the world premiere of Thierry Pécou’s staged Nahasdzáán: A Navajo Oratorio (Rouen, France). This season, Finn will also teach and perform as a guest lecturer at the Interpretation and Performance Practice Days in Saarbrücken (Germany), as well as work with students at the University of Bristol. Upcoming recording releases include Christopher Trapani’s Waterlines with Ictus; current collaborations include a new multimedia work by Anthony R. Green for her duo NOISE-BRIDGE.

In addition to her career as a professional singer, Finn is also an active poet.  Composer Matt Aelmore set her poetry in the five-movement Pierrot Opera, and she collaborated with Chicago-based composer Christopher Fisher-Lochhead on his piece Tandem, written for NOISE-BRIDGE.  For more information about Finn’s projects in music and poetry, please visit Passion-Flowers. For her rants about music, poetry, and aesthetics, please visit her blog: The Single Artificer.

Finn also serves at the Managing Director of the Hampsong Foundation (http://hampsongfoundation.org).  Past work with the Hampsong Foundation include the radio series Song: Mirror of the World and the Song of America radio series, both syndicated through WFMT Chicago, among other projects.

A native of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, she is a graduate of Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart.  Finn is also a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music’s Contemporary Performance Program, where she studied with Lucy Shelton.  Finn holds a Master of Music in Voice from Southern Methodist University (Dallas, Texas), where she studied with Joan Heller, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a minor in Modern Languages & Linguistics from UMBC (University of Maryland Baltimore County).  She currently resides in Stuttgart, Germany, where she sits on the Music Advisory Board for Kunstraum34 (http://kunstraum34.de) and is actively involved with the Stuttgarter Kollektiv für aktuelle Musik (http://skam.io).

Episode 48: Lucy Shelton

On this special episode of Resonant Bodies Podcast, legendary soprano Lucy Shelton (2015 NYC Festival) talks about her life in music and her upcoming 75th birthday concert on February 24th at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. Lucy's recital is also a celebration of her 1979 recital which was one of the first in the Merkin Concert Hall space, and celebrates her many collaborations with dozens of artists, including her work with Jan DeGaetani, Elliot Carter, Oliver Knussen, Joseph Schwantner, and the dozens of musicians she has mentored as a teacher.

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Lucy Shelton Show Notes

Photo: Karjaka Studios

Photo: Karjaka Studios

Winner of two Walter W. Naumburg Awards - as chamber musician and solo recitalist - soprano Lucy Shelton continues to enjoy an international career bringing her dramatic vocalism and brilliant interpretive skills to repertoire of all periods. An esteemed exponent of 20th- and 21st- Century repertory, she has worked closely with today’s composers and premiered over 100 works. Notable among these are song cycles by Elliott Carter, Oliver Knussen, Louis Karchin and James Yannatos; chamber works by Carter, Joseph Schwantner, Mario Davidovsky, Stephen Albert, Lewis Spratlan, Charles Wuorinen, Gabriella Lena Frank, Bruce Adolphe, Alexander Goehr, Poul Ruders, Anne Le Baron and Thomas Flaherty; orchestral works by Knussen, Albert, Schwantner, David Del Tredici, Gerard Grisey, Ezra Laderman, Sally Beamish, Virko Baley and Ned Rorem; and an opera by Robert Zuidam. In recent seasons, Shelton has premiered works written for her by Shulamit Ran, Dan Visconti, Frank Stemper, Kathleen Ginther, Tamar Muskal and Fang Man.

An avid chamber musician, she has been a guest artist with ensembles such as the Emerson, Brentano, Enso, Mendelssohn, Chiara and Guarnieri string quartets, the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, 21st Century Consort, Speculum Musicae, Da Capo Chamber Players, Sospeso, New York New Music Ensemble, Boston Musica Viva, Da Camera of Houston, eighth blackbird, Dolce Suono Ensemble, the Ensemble Moderne, Nash Ensemble, Klangform Wien, Schoenberg-Asko, and Ensemble Intercontemporain. Shelton has participated in numerous festivals including those of Aspen, Santa Fe, Ojai, Tanglewood, Chamber Music Northwest, BBC Proms, Aldeburgh, Caen, Kuhmo, Togo and Salzburg. In the fall of 2013, she is honored to begin a three-year term as a Board Member of Chamber Music America.

Shelton has appeared with major orchestras worldwide including Amsterdam, Boston, Chicago, Cologne, Denver, Edinburgh, Helsinki, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Minnesota, Munich, New York, Paris, St. Louis, Stockholm, Sydney and Tokyo under leading conductors such as Marin Alsop, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Reinbert De Leeuw, Charles Dutoit, Alan Gilbert, Oliver Knussen, Kent Nagano, Simon Rattle, Helmuth Rilling, Mstislav Rostropovich, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Leonard Slatkin and Robert Spano.

Highlights of recent seasons include Shelton’s 2010 Grammy Nomination (with the Enso Quartet) for the Naxos release of Ginastera’s string quartets, her Zankel Hall debut with the Met Chamber Orchestra and Maestro James Levine in Carter’s A Mirror On Which To Dwell, multiple performances of a staged Pierrot Lunaire in collaboration with eighth blackbird (most recently at the Ojai Festival, and in Austin Texas) and, in celebration of the work’s centenary, concert versions with 10 different ensembles worldwide. Shelton also coordinated two intense 8-day residencies at the University of Oregon (Eugene) and Southern Illinois University (Carbondale), where she coached composers and singers in “The Art of Unaccompanied Song”.

Over the years Shelton has participated in various composers’ birthday and memorial celebrations as follows: Elliott Carter’s 100th in Turin, Italy and New York; Oliver Knussen's 50th in London; Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' 70th in Turin, Italy; James Primosch's 50th in Philadelphia; both George Perle's and Milton Babbitt's 90th in Princeton and New York, followed in a few years by their memorials. In May 2013 Shelton sang Elliott Carter’s “What Are Years” for his memorial tribute concert held at Juilliard.

Shelton’s extensive discography is on the Deutsche Grammophon, Koch International, Nonesuch, NMC, Bridge, Albany and Innova labels and includes works by Carter, Knussen, Stravinsky, Messiaen, Wuorinen, Del Tredici, Adolphe, Rands, Ginastera, Kim, Le Baron, Baley, Ung and Schwantner.

A native of California, Shelton’s primary mentor was mezzo-soprano Jan De Gaetani. Ms. Shelton taught at the Third Street Settlement School in Manhattan, Eastman School, New England Conservatory, Cleveland Institute and the Britten-Pears School. She joined the resident artist faculty of the Tanglewood Music Center in 1996 and in the fall of 2007 she was appointed to the Manhattan School of Music’s Contemporary Performance Faculty. Shelton teaches privately in her New York City studio.

In recognition of her contribution to the field of contemporary music, Shelton has received Honorary Doctorate Degrees from both Pomona College (2003) and the Boston Conservatory (2013).