Webinars hosted by Jeffrey Brillhart
Singing City is offering a series of in-depth interviews with choral conductors, composers, and other artists. After the interviews, participants will have an oppprtunity to ask questions. To learn more about each webinar, follow the links below.
Attendance for our 2020-2021 season events will be online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no cost to participate, but you will need to R.S.V.P. and prvoide your e-mail address. Ahead of each event, you will receive an email from Singing City with information on how to login to Zoom, an online meeting platform where we will host our webinars. All Zoom events will begin 10 minutes before the program starting time. We hope you will join us!
Sunday, November 22, 2 p.m.–Composing for Choirs
With Carol Barnett, Melissa Dunphy, Jay Fluellen and Kile Smith
Carol Barnett’s music has been called audacious and engaging. Her varied catalog includes works for solo voice, piano, chorus, diverse chamber ensembles, orchestra, and wind ensemble. She has received grants and fellowships from the Camargo Foundation, Cassis, France (1991), the Inter-University Research Committee on Cyprus (1999), the Jerome Foundation (2002), and the McKnight Foundation (2005). In 2003 she was awarded the Nancy Van de Vate International Prize for Opera for her chamber opera, Snow, and her music theater work Meeting at Seneca Falls was featured at the 2006 Diversity Festival in Red Wing, MN. The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass, commissioned in 2006 by VocalEssence and written with Marisha Chamberlain, had its Carnegie Hall debut in February 2013, and has become a favorite across the country. Recent works include My People Are Rising, for Elektra Women’s Choir; Longing for Home, a song cycle for Source Song Festival; and Will’s Ladies, a Shakespeare cycle for mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski and the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.
Barnett is a charter member of the American Composers Forum and a graduate of the University of Minnesota, where she studied composition with Dominick Argento and Paul Fetler. She was composer-in-residence with the Dale Warland Singers from 1992 to 2001, and a member of the adjunct faculty at Augsburg College from 2000 to 2015.
Further information is available at www.carolbarnett.net
Born to refugee parents and raised in Australia, Melissa Dunphy immigrated to the United States in 2003 and has since become an award-winning and acclaimed composer specializing in vocal, political, and theatrical music. She first came to national attention in 2009 when her large-scale choral work the Gonzales Cantata was featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, National Review, Comedy Central, and on Fox News and MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, where host Rachel Maddow described it as “the coolest thing you’ve ever seen on this show.” The Gonzales Cantata was subsequently staged as an opera by American Opera Theater and played a sold-out run in Baltimore, and has been performed in Chicago, Texas, and twice in the Pacific Northwest.
"I want my music to be relevant to the world around it and exist in that world. It is inspired by and explores
real-world issues of social justice and personal relationships."
Dr. Jay Fluellen is a Philadelphia-born musician known throughout the area as a composer, organist/choir director, jazz pianist, classical accompanist, theory professor, singer, and educator. Jay is currently the music director and classroom teacher at the Harambee Institute of Science and Technology, a Philadelphia-charter school located in Wynnefield. He directs two African percussion ensembles, two choirs, and an instrumental ensemble. He has also been designing an overall thematic based music curriculum for the school. Jay has completed his Doctorate in Music Composition at Temple University and is a very active composer. His piece entitled Rayuela for marimba orchestra was premiered in April of 1997 at Settlement Music School's 89th season gala celebration. In November 1997, his piece based on three African-American spirituals entitled "A Long Way From Home" was premiered. He composed it for Reginald Pindell, a world renowned baritone, and his own jazz trio, and it was also performed at Settlement' s Black History Month Recital in February, 1998. Jay has also composed numerous anthems for the senior choir at the historic St. Thomas African Episcopal Church where he is choir director and organist. He is a singer and co-director of the Fiskettes and Co. Ensemble A Capella Chamber Choir, a group dedicated to the performance and preservation of African-American spiritual and gospel musical traditions.
The music of Kile Smith (b. 1956) is hailed nationally and internationally by critics, performers, and audiences for its strong voice, sheer beauty, and “profoundly direct emotional appeal.” Gramophone hailed the “sparkling beauty” of his music, calling Vespers “spectacular.” The Philadelphia Inquirer called it “ecstatically beautiful,” American Record Guide, “a major new work,” Audiophile Audition, “easily one of the best releases of the year of any type… a crime to pass up,” and Fanfare, “a magnificent achievement.”
Other commissions include The Arc in the Sky, The Consolation of Apollo, The Waking Sun, Where Flames a Word, and others for The Crossing and Donald Nally, who have commissioned Kile more than any other composer, the concert-length Canticle for Craig Hella Johnson’s Vocal Arts Ensemble in Cincinnati, Agnus Dei for the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, the song cycles In This Blue Room for Lyric Fest and Plain Truths for the Newburyport Chamber Music Festival, Adieu, Adieu for Relâche, Red-tail and Hummingbird for Orchestra 2001 and Piffaro, the cello concerto And Seeing the Multitudes for Ovidiu Marinescu and the Helena Symphony, The Red Book of Montserrat for the Philadelphia Sinfonia, and The Nobility of Women for Mélomanie. He’s also completed commissions for organist Alan Morrison, the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, the Gaudete Brass, the Association of Anglican Musicians, the Episcopal Cathedral of Boston, Choral Arts Philadelphia, and many others. Five CDs of Kile’s music were released in 2018/19. Kile has hosted Fleisher Discoveries on radio and podcast since 2002, and is a contributor to the arts and culture magazine Broad Street Review.
Photo: Nasturtiums, Oceano, California, 1951; detail
Collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Hauslohner, 1976
Through Performance, Arts Education, and Fellowship, Singing City Choir is a force for social impact, bringing people together and lifting the human spirit through the artistry of choral music.
Singing City Choir
1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102