Stephanie Weiss, mezzo soprano, and Christina Wright-Ivanova, piano premiere two major Hagen song cycles, A Handful of Days on poetry by west coast poet Kim Addonizio, and Jaik's Songs, on poetry by east coast rocker and poet Jaik Miller. The performances follow the duo's recording sessions for an all-Hagen song CD featuring them.
About the Performers
Stephanie Weiss, mezzo-soprano, is an Assistant Professor of Voice at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts School of Music. She earned her Bachelor of Music from New England Conservatory (voice), Bachelor of Science from Tufts University (biology and drama), Master of Music from University of Missouri-Kansas City, Professional Studies Diploma from Mannes College of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts from University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Previously, she was Assistant Professor of Voice at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a Teaching Fellow with the Metropolitan Opera Education Department, and has served on the faculty of COSI (Centre for Opera Studies in Italy) in Sulmona, Italy. Since 2010, she has been on the voice faculty at AIMS in Graz. For more information, click here.
Christinia Wright-Ivanova, hailed by critics as “a brilliant collaborative pianist" (Wiener Zeitung, Vienna) and “an ideal partner" (Huffington Post), is currently Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Dr. Wright-Ivanova has significant experience as both a vocal and instrumental collaborative artist. She is on faculty as a vocal coach at Dolora Zajick’s Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, and has previously worked at the Boston University School of Music and the BU Tanglewood Institute Opera Intensive (BUTI), American Institute for Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, and at the Franco-American Vocal Academy (FAVA) in Salzburg. As an art song pianist, she has collaborated frequently with singers from the Metropolitan Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Greek National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Calgary Opera, and the Boston Lyric Opera. She has presented art song master classes in China, the USA and Italy. She has been the official pianist for the Metropolitan Opera Auditions and the NATS Auditions, and has frequently served as an adjudicator for piano and chamber music competitions. She has attended the Schubert-Institut in Baden-bei-Wien on a full scholarship from the Johann Strauss Foundation, and is a Britten-Pears Scholar (UK) and a Crear Fellow (Scotland) under the mentorship of Malcolm Martineau. As an opera pianist, she has worked with Boston Opera Collaborative, Commonwealth Lyric Theater in Boston, Handel & Haydn Society, and Pacific Opera Victoria. She is currently the head Opera Coach for the University of Nevada Las Vegas Opera Theatre. For more information, click here.
About the Poets
Kim Addonizio is the author of six poetry collections, two novels, two story collections, and two books on writing poetry, The Poet’s Companion (with Dorianne Laux) and Ordinary Genius. She has received fellowships from the NEA and Guggenheim Foundation, two Pushcart Prizes, and was a National Book Award Finalist for her collection Tell Me. Her latest books are Mortal Trash: Poems (W.W. Norton) and a memoir-in-essays, Bukowski in a Sundress (Penguin). She recently collaborated on a chapbook, The Night Could Go in Either Direction (Slapering Hol Press) with poet Brittany Perham. Addonizio also has two word/music CDs: Swearing, Smoking, Drinking, & Kissing (with Susan Browne) and My Black Angel, a companion to My Black Angel: Blues Poems & Portraits, featuring woodcuts by Charles D. Jones. She teaches and performs internationally. For more information, visit her website here.
Jaik Miller ( February 2, 1970 – February 24, 2012) Over two decades, the singer, songwriter, and poet collaborated with a wide variety of master artists including Patti Smith, Warren Haynes, John Popper, and Suzanne Vega. Several of his own projects achieved cult status, including Xanax 25, Jerk, TRUStY, Jaik Miller Band, and Dennis Black, Instant Classic! Miller's alter ego of 2010 . Shortly before his passing in 2012, the haunting melody The Event was released from his final project with urban country supergroup The New Years. For more information, click here.
About the Cycles
Jaik's Songs collects eight of Jaik's poems. They move from the hurlyburly of daily life through memories both pleasant and stark, to a final rueful consolation. Commissioned by the Jaik Miller Foundation, dedicated to encouraging work inspired by Jaik's music and poetry, the cycle alludes to fragments of melody from a number of Jaik's own songs (and songs that he alludes to in his poetry by John Lennon and others) while exploring the complex psychological and emotional makeup of the poet. To learn more about the cycle, click here. To read the lyrics, click here.
Composed in 1987-1989 at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, San Francisco, and in New York City, A Handful of Days limns the full course of a brief liaison. Addonizio's characteristically frank, sensually compelling poetry is paired with sophisticated, heartfelt music ranging from the expressionistic to the neo-romantic.
The cycle, dedicated to the poet, was first completed in 1988, then revised in 1989 and orchestrated for soprano and orchestra. After submitting it to several conductors, Hagen withdrew the cycle for further revisions. Hagen then folded the voice part into the orchestra and turned the cycle into a suite for orchestra (now withdrawn) called Beauty and Desire. At that point, in fall 1989, the sketches of the voice and piano version were thought lost along with a number of other manuscripts, during a move from Greenwich Village to the Upper West Side. All that survived was a single print of the orchestral score.
Hagen's assistant discovered the original sketches, along with the original letter of permission from the poet to to set the poems to music, in fall 2015 when E.C. Schirmer returned to Hagen a number of Hagen's manuscripts that had been found in storage at their facility in Boston when the company was sold to the Canticle Publishing Group. After singing and playing through the cycle, Hagen lightly revised the manuscript, engraved it, and presented it to University of Nevada Las Vegas faculty artists Stephanie Weiss and Christina Wright-Ivanova, who will premiere it on 25 January 2017. To learn more about the cycle, click here.