February 2017



Justin Hopkins as Stephen Kumalo and Lauren Michelle as Irina in Lost in the Stars at Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
​Photo credit: Reed Hutchinson.
“Lift Every Voice” Festival at
​Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Triumphs!

LACO, CAP UCLA, and SITI Company’s Lost in the Stars elicits unanimous praise from critics and audiences alike:

“’Lost in the Stars’ fit the mood of its time, and though rarely revived, it fits the mood of our own....Now, will anyone step up to pick up a project that offers an example of how to illuminate issues that sting like today's headlines, and for which so much went into for only two performances?" Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times

“[T]he bones of the work — its story, subject and songs — stand the test of time…” Catherine Womack, Los Angeles Times

“Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson’s ‘Lost in the Stars,’ based on Alan Paton’s great anti-apartheid novel, ‘Cry, the Beloved Country,’ speaks to issues of racism in South Africa but travels across time and space, landing, like a gift, to audiences now.” Jane Rosenberg, International Review of Music

Past Lenya Competition winners Justin Hopkins and Lauren Michelle shine:

“Justin Hopkins [as Stephen Kumalo] was seemingly too young for a cleric whose authority comes from the wisdom of age. But it is hardly a disadvantage to hear a beautifully focused bass baritone equally effective in pop, opera and spoken. A commanding presence onstage, Hopkins put the crisis of faith at an age where it, in fact, matters most.” Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times

“As the heartbroken and pregnant lover of the condemned Absalom, [Lauren Michelle] poignantly portrayed the all too common victim of an indifferent society, making us feel the depth of her sorrow in the songs ‘Trouble Man’ and the gorgeous ‘Stay Well.’” Jane Rosenberg, International Review of Music

Judges for the 20th Annual Lotte Lenya Competition Announced!


Judges l to r: Judy Blazer, Ted Sperling, Rob Berman, Anne Bogart, Shuler Hensley.
The preliminary round of the 20th annual Lotte Lenya Competition is underway, and this year’s competition is already breaking records. The KWF received over 260 audition videos from singers from fourteen countries on five continents, its widest reach ever.

To keep pace with this banner year, an all-star panel of judges will preside over semifinals and finals. Semifinalists will have the opportunity to audition for and be coached by stage, opera, and concert performer Judy Blazer and Tony Award-winning conductor, director, orchestrator, and Artistic Director of MasterVoices Ted Sperling. In April, renowned stage director Anne Bogart and Tony Award-winning actor and singer Shuler Hensley both join the finals judges’ panel for the first time. Broadway music director, conductor, and orchestrator Rob Berman returns to judge the competition for the sixth time.

Finals take place 22 April 2017 at the Eastman School of Music, in Rochester, NY. Read the complete press release. This year’s semifinalists will be announced in a few short weeks. Be sure to check back at www.kwf.org/llc for updates!


2017 Sponsorships & Grants
The Kurt Weill Foundation has awarded funding to 22 performing arts institutions in its 2017 sponsorship and grant cycle. The KWF Grant and Sponsorship Programs support performances of and projects relating to the music and legacies of Kurt Weill, Lotte Lenya, and Marc Blitzstein. This year’s recipients represent a diverse range of ensembles and institutions offering a wide variety of stage and concert works by both Weill and Blitzstein.


The Kurt Weill Foundation is proud to support two festivals through its Sponsorship program. Brevard Music Center has announced a Weill “Festival within a Festival” as part of its summer 2017 season. Programming will include a fully staged production of Street SceneThe Seven Deadly Sins in concert, a new suite of dances from The Firebrand of Florence, and additional chamber concerts, lectures, readings, and community events. Keith Lockhart, a longtime advocate of Weill's music, celebrates his tenth year with the Festival and will conduct two all-Weill concerts. Additional events and guest artists will be announced.

This month, the Kurt Weill Fest Dessau celebrates its 25th year in conjunction with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, under the motto "Luther, Weill and Mendelssohn." This year's programming highlights the work of social transformation carried out by Martin Luther and 18th century philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, and embodied in Weill's music. The festival opens 24 February with Die sieben Todsünden featuring Angelika Kirchschlager as Anna I, and the MDR Sinfonieorchester conducted by Kristjan Järvi. Oper Halle’s production of Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny arrives in Dessau 26 February. Festival favorites Ute Gfrerer, Ensemble Modern, and James Holmes return for the Gala Concert on 4 March. Järvi leads the MDR in a performance of Die Verheißung, featuring past Lenya competition winners, 5 March. Additional highlights include two new suites: selections from Der Kuhhandel, devised and conducted by James Holmes, and Chansons des Quais/Songs of the Quays from Marie Galante, performed by Gfrerer, Ensemble Modern, and conducted by HK Gruber. The festival runs through 12 March.

In fulfillment of the KWF’s mission to nurture the creation of new musical theater, a new sponsorship has been established in support of American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program, an incubator for new operas. This sponsorship complements the KWF’s ongoing support of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s annual National Music Theatre Conference, renewed this year for a fourth cycle. The Foundation also renewed its sponsorship of a Kurt Weill/Lotte Lenya Young Artist at the Glimmerglass Festival, and initiated a new young artist sponsorship with the College Light Opera Company.

Grant Recipients

Grants were awarded for performances of a variety of works from Weill’s oeuvre, including Lost in the StarsJohnny JohnsonDie sieben Todsünden, and Symphony No. 2. From the Blitzstein catalogue, Opera Saratoga received a grant for its upcoming fully staged production of The Cradle Will Rock, featuring Blitzstein’s rarely heard original orchestration.

Professional Performance
Cantata Singers, for a concert of Weill’s vocal works
Chicago Folks Operetta, Johnny Johnson
Collectio Musicorum, Frauentanz
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Lost in the Stars
Musiques Interdites, Die sieben Todsünden
Opera Saratoga, The Cradle Will Rock (Blitzstein)
Pittsburgh Symphony, Symphony No. 2
Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Violin Concerto
Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Die sieben Todsünden

College/University Performance
Biola University, Street Scene
Bowling Green State University, Street Scene
DePauw University, Street Scene
Royal Academy of Music, Die Dreigroschenoper
Sydney Conservatorium of Music, The Seven Deadly Sins
UCLA, Scholarly symposium on Weill, Joachim Prinz, and Martin Luther King, Jr., as part of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra "Lift Every Voice" festival

Research & Travel
Naomi Graber
Performance Highlights
This month offers back-to-back productions of Street Scene, at DePauw University in Greencastle, IN, 9–12 February, and Biola University, La Mirada, CA, 10–19 February. DePauw’s production caps a year-long campus-wide festival, “Cultural Connections: Weill and Brecht.” Read more about DePauw's activities on our Current News page.

The US sees two performances of Symphony No. 2 this month: At the Fort Wayne Philharmonic 11 February, Andrew Constantine conducting, and the Pittsburgh Symphony 24 and 25 February, under conductor Lahav Shani. 

To see the complete list of upcoming performances, visit the performance calendar.
Upcoming Performances

Street Scene
DePauw Opera, Greencastle, IN 
Joachim Schamberger, director; Orcenith Smith, conductor
12 February

Street Scene
Biola University, La Mirada, CA
19 February

Symphony No. 2
Fort Wayne Philharmonic: Chamber Orchestra 
Andrew Constantine, conductor
11 February

Berlin to Broadway
The York Theatre, New York City 
Pamela Hunt, director
19 February

Symphony No. 2
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra 
Lahav Shani, conductor
26 February

Die sieben Todsünden​
Kurt Weill Fest Dessau, Germany 
MDR Symphony Orchestra; Kristjan Järvi, conductor; Angelika Kirchschlager, Anna I
24 February

Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny
Kurt Weill Fest Dessau, Germany 
Oper Halle, Michael von zur Mühlen, director; Christopher Sprenger, conductor
28 February

KWF Performance Calendar