Juilliard Songfest Features Songs by Robert and Clara Schumann on December 5

Mike Lawson • News • November 20, 2019

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Juilliard Songfest will feature songs by Robert and Clara Schumann on Thursday, December 5, 2019, at 7:30pm in Alice Tully Hall.

The program is curated and performed by artistic director and pianist Brian Zeger with singers from the school’s Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts.
The concert features tenor Chance Jonas-O’Toole, baritone Kyle Miller, sopranos Jessica Niles and Libby Sokolowski, mezzo-soprano Erin Wagner, pianist Chris Reynolds, and pianist and curator Brian Zeger. Juilliard drama alumni Keshav Moodliar and Lauren Norvelle will read from the Schumanns’ letters and diaries between the songs.
Tickets at $10 are available at juilliard.edu/calendar.

About the program, Brian Zeger writes: “Robert and Clara Schumann shared a fertile personal and artistic collaboration throughout their lives together. They met through Clara’s father, the powerful and domineering Friedrich Wieck, who for a time was Robert’s piano teacher. Due to fierce opposition, they were able to marry only upon Clara’s 21st birthday in 1840. The frustration of their earlier forced separation and the revelation of their powerful love released a torrent of song composition in the 30-year-old Robert. Most of Schumann’s well-known songs are from 1840, an extraordinary creative outpouring for a composer whose work up to that point had been primarily piano music. The first half of our program reflects this joyous period of new love. Schumann’s later years were shadowed by increasing mental illness, which took a heavy toll on his marriage. Bearing a total of eight children, Clara heroically continued her performing career while championing Robert’s music. Schumann’s songs grew even deeper in their expression of extreme emotional states, encompassing vertiginous mood swings and hallucinatory visions.”

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