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Blake Songs for Voice & Orchestra

  • Bellefield Hall, Pittsburgh, PA Pittsburgh, PA USA (map)
Roger Zahab conducts the University of Pittsburgh Symphony

Roger Zahab conducts the University of Pittsburgh Symphony

Tenor Robert Frankenberry joins the University of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra conducted by music director Roger Zahab in the world premiere of an orchestral arrangement of Blake Songs, a cycle originally composed for the Pittsburgh new music ensemble IonSound.

About Robert Frankenberry

Robert Frankenberry leads a multi‐faceted career as a vocalist, pianist, educator, actor, and conductor. His credits in musical direction cover the span of opera, including Sweeney Todd (Weathervane Theatre), The Tales of Hoffmann (D’Angelo Opera Theatre), Cosi fan Tutte (DaCorneto Opera), Monteverdi’s 8th Book of Madrigals (Opera Theater of Pittsburgh), Robert X. Rodriguez’ Frida (microscopic opera), and the staged premiere of Daron Hagen’s Vera of Las Vegas (Center for Contemporary Opera).  During the 2013-2014 season, he served as Associate Music director for Glass/Ginsberg’s Hydrogen Jukebox and Music Director for the premiere of Daron Hagen’s I Hear America Singing at Skylight Musical Theatre, and returned in the Spring of 2015 as Music Director/Alberich/Hunding/Mime/Hagen for the premiere of The Skylight Ring.  This past summer, he conducted the premiere of Gilda Lyons’ and Tammy Ryan’s opera, A New Kind of Fallout, based on the life and work of Rachel Carson, for Opera Theater of Pittsburgh’s SummerFest. Read more here>>.

About Roger Zahab

Roger Zahab instigates complex relations through his activities as composer, violinist, conductor, teacher and writer.

His work has been performed throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia by such soloists and ensembles as cellists David Russell and Lawrence Stomberg, violists David Cerutti and Hannah Levinson, violinists Wyatt True and Nathalie Shaw, flutists Elizabeth Brown, Lindsey Goodman, George Pope and Rachel Rudich, guitarists James Ferla, James Marron and John Muratore, pianists Robert Frankenberry, Bennett Lerner, and Eric Moe, percussionists Lisa Pegher, Joshua Quillen, William Sallak, David Skidmore and Dale Speicher, new music groups California EAR Unit, Flute Force, The Furious Band, IonSound Project and Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and orchestras such as The New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, Robert Black, conductor, and the Akron Symphony Orchestra, Christopher Wilkins, conductor. Read more here>>.

About Blake Songs

Hagen writes, "I had just finished making a new setting of William Blake’s poem An Infant’s Sorrow as a conduit for expressing the emotions inspired by the occasion of my elder son’s eighth birthday when Robert Frankenberry asked whether I might have some songs that his Pittsburgh ensemble the IonSound Project might be able to premiere. Immediately I thought that a set of Blake poems exploring a young man’s transit from the innocence of youth through young adulthood would be possible, since my thinking was running in that direction and, to be blunt, Blake’s poems tend to be blissfully short—something composers appreciate. The songs may be sung by either a man or a woman, but the narrative that I had in mind tracks a young man’s maturation." Learn more here>>.

About the Pitt Orchestra

The University of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is composed mostly of non-music majors who have a strong devotion to music. Our level of performance improves substantially every year and all skilled musicians from throughout the University (students, faculty and staff) are welcome as well as people from the general community. The orchestra is offered as a 1 credit course called University Orchestra - Music 0620. Rehearsals (and most concerts) are held in Bellefield Hall Auditorium on Wednesdays from 7:30 until around 9:50 pm. Additional rehearsals will be held on Monday nights as needed. In three or four concerts per semester we play a wide range of music from the Baroque period to the very latest music, and support the activities of other areas in the Pitt Music Department, especially new music composition/performance and (increasingly) interdisciplinary studies. Learn more here>>.