Saratoga Springs, NY (July 12, 2001) — Harkening back to The Yaddo Festivals of American Music of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, the 2001 Yaddo Summer Benefit will be a musical tribute to three of Yaddo's most celebrated composers - Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, and Ned Rorem. It will take place 8 p.m. Monday, July 23, in the Music Room of the Yaddo Mansion in Saratoga Springs.
Composer, conductor, writer, and teacher Leonard Bernstein is considered one of 20th century America's most important musical figures. He was a guest artist at Yaddo in 1952. Mr. Bernstein and Mr. Copland met in 1937 - when Mr. Copland was already an established composer and Mr. Bernstein was in his junior year at Harvard - and a long, complex, and fruitful association developed between the two men. Mr. Copland was extremely helpful in getting Mr. Bernstein started in his conducting studies and was an enthusiastic supporter of Bernstein the conductor. Mr. Bernstein championed Mr. Copland's music throughout his entire career, and his performances of Mr. Copland's music remain unsurpassed. His musical style, while very much his own, was clearly influenced by the recognizably American style of Mr. Copland's music.
For many, Aaron Copland's name is synonymous with American music. His pioneering achievement was to create concert music that is recognizably and characteristically American, yet identifiable as his alone. A guest artist at Yaddo in 1930 and 1932, he organized the first two of the nine Yaddo Festivals of American Music held on the Yaddo grounds and broadcast nationally on radio. Mr. Copland's first major piano piece, Piano Variations, was written in part at Yaddo and was premiered by the composer himself at one of the Yaddo festivals. His Pulitzer Prize-winning orchestral suite Appalachian Springs is a beloved staple of orchestras worldwide.
Richard Danielpour, one of the most acclaimed composers of his generation and a frequent Yaddo guest artist, put together this year's musical tribute featuring pianists Michael Barrett and Michael Boriskin and soprano Lauren Flanigan.
Mr. Barrett has distinguished himself as a conductor with major orchestras here and abroad. A protégé of Leonard Bernstein, he was the renowned composer's assistant conductor
from 1985 to 1990 and currently serves as music advisor to the Bernstein estate. He is co-founder of the critically acclaimed New York Festival of Song, where he shares Artistic Director duties, and he serves as Music Director of the Moab Music Festival in Utah. Mr. Barrett's 1999 premiere recording of Ned Rorem's full-length song cycle Evidence of Things Not Seen was nominated for a Grammy.
Considered one of the most versatile and imaginative American pianists of his generation, Michael Boriskin has performed in more than 30 countries and throughout the United States. A prolific recording artist, he has a wide-ranging discography that includes music by a number of Yaddo composers. Mr. Boriskin currently is Head of Piano Studies at the University of Bridgeport and Artistic Director of The Copland House, a creative center for American music at Aaron Copland's longtime home in Cortlandt, New York.
The New York Times once compared commanding soprano Lauren Flanigan to Maria Callas and New York Newsday called the San Francisco native "an adrenaline diva." The multitalented artist first gained worldwide attention and critical acclaim during the Metropolitan Opera's 1992-93 season by substituting for Aprile Millo in Verdi's I Lombardi with no stage rehearsal and opposite Luciano Pavorotti. Newsday said of her, "Anyone who shares a stage with Flanigan runs the risk of seeming insubstantial."
Mr. Danielpour's recordings include the Grammy-nominated Concerto for Orchestra (coupled with Anima Mundi) recorded by the Pittsburgh Symphony and David Zinman, and the Grammy Award-winning recording of the Cello Concerto, recorded by Yo-Yo Ma and the Philadelphia Orchestra with Mr. Zinman. His Concerto for Violin and Orchestra: A Fool's Paradise premiered last season at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center as part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Yaddo. Mr. Danielpour as been a Yaddo guest artist many times.
The annual benefit raises funds for Yaddo's resident artist program, which provides uninterrupted time, good working conditions, and a supportive environment for artists to pursue their work. More than 5,500 creative artists have worked at Yaddo since it was founded in 1900 by Spencer and Katrina Trask. A reception on the Mansion terrace follows the performance. This year's event is being organized by a Benefit Committee chaired by Beverley Mastrianni and Anne Palamountain. Charles V. Wait, President of Adirondack Trust Company, is Chairman of the Corporate Committee.
Tickets for the 2001 Yaddo Summer Benefit are $125 for Patrons or $175 for Special Patrons. For information, call 518/584-0746.