April 2016

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KWF Grants and Sponsorships at Work
The Kurt Weill Foundation Grant Program covers a lot of ground this month, lending support to the Philadelphia Orchestra’s performances of Symphony No. 2, University of Maryland’s production of Regina, the Jasper Quartet performing String Quartet no. 1, op. 8 in New York, and The Threepenny Opera at Pepperdine University. Pepperdine’s grant was supplemented with additional funding to engage Kurt Weill Mentor Angelina Réaux, who led a master class with the principals of the production and coached the all-student cast. The University of Minnesota, a recipient of sponsorship support from the KWF, wraps up its semester-long Weill celebration with four performances of Lady in the Dark, April 14-17. Read the highlights below and find the complete listings on our performance calendar.​​
Fourteen Singer-Actors Advance in the
​Lotte Lenya Competition

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Fourteen singer-actors have advanced to the Lotte Lenya Competition finals, which take place April 16, at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. They will compete for the top prize of $15,000, and additional prizes ranging from $3,500 to $10,000. This year’s finalists represent an especially accomplished group of performers, with contestants currently working on- and off-Broadway, in national touring companies, and in major regional theaters and opera companies in the US and Europe. Many are already well on their way to distinguished careers.

Curtis Bannister (30, Green Bay, WI)
Erika Cockerham (31, St. Louis, MO)
Talya Lieberman (31, Forest Hills, NY)
Reilly Nelson (26, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada)
Lindsay O’Neil (30, New York, NY)
Eric Michael Parker (24, Los Angeles, CA)
Tony Potts (23, Fargo, ND)
Tom Schimon (31, Vienna, Austria)
Jim Schubin (26, Plainsboro, NJ)
Briana Silvie (24, San Rafael, CA)
Bradley Smoak (31, Cary, NC)
Brian Vu (26, Los Angeles, CA)
Dennis Wees (21, Dallas, TX)
Kayla Wilkens (25, Salem, OR)

Returning to judge for the tenth time, international opera legend Teresa Stratas ​leads the all-star panel of judges. Joining her are Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization President and former American Theater Wing Chairman Theodore S. Chapin (also returning for his tenth time), and Broadway (and Audra McDonald's) music director, conductor and accompanist Andy Einhorn.

The finals consist of a daytime round from 11:00-4:00 and an evening concert at 8:00 PM, immediately followed by the presentation of awards. All events take place at Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, and are free and open to the public.

Symphony No. 2 at Philadelphia Orchestra

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Photo Credit: The Philadelphia Orchestra
Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads the Philadelphia Orchestra in three performances of Weill’s Symphony No. 2, April 8 through 10. Composed in 1933-34 on a commission from the Princesse de Polignac, Symphony No. 2 premiered with the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in October 1934 under the baton of Bruno Walter. Walter then gave the US premiere with the New York Philharmonic two months later. The initial reception was poor, but its popularity has increased in recent decades, and the symphony has now found its rightful place in the orchestral repertoire.

​Nézet-Séguin recorded the work with the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal in 2004, and now brings it to audiences in Philadelphia alongside two jazz-influenced contemporary works: Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand and Gershwin’s An American in Paris. This program provides an opportunity to hear the symphony in the context of the sounds of the era in which it was written, conducted by one of the leading proponents of the work.
Blitzstein's Regina​ at Maryland Opera Studio

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The University of Maryland Opera Studio presents Blitzstein’s Regina for four performances April 8 through 16. Leonard Bernstein, Blitzstein’s colleague and close friend, regarded Regina as Blitzstein’s first truly successful attempt to create a work that satisfied the demands of both opera and Broadway audiences, calling it “a kind of apex, a summation of what Blitzstein has been trying to do.” Maryland Opera Studio’s production also seeks to bridge the divide between opera and theater, and will bring together a cross-disciplinary team of students from the UMD School of Music and School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, including singers, jazz musicians and theatre design majors. As part of MOS’s “Opera Resonates!” series, the April 10 performance will be preceded by a discussion titled "Regina: Is It All Black and White?" exploring the opera’s treatment of racial and social issues still relevant today.
Upcoming Performances

​Symphony No. 2

Philadelphia OrchestraPhiladelphia
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor
8-10 April

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The Seven Deadly Sins
Emmanuel Music, Boston
Collaboration with Urbanity Dance.
Ryan Turner, conductor; Lynn Torgove, Anna I
9 April

String Quartet, op. 8, Weill Songs
Music Mondays, New York
The Jasper String Quartet; Ute Lemper, vocals
11 April

Lady in the Dark
University of Minnesota Opera Theatre, Minneapolis
David Walsh, director; Chad Hutchinson, conductor
14-17 April

2016 Lotte Lenya Competition
Finals and Evening Concert

Eastman School of Music, Kilbourn Hall, Rochester
16 April


The Seven Deadly Sins
National Symphony Orchestra, Washington DC
James Gaffigan, conductor; Storm Large, Anna I
28-30 April

KWF Performance Calendar