Named 2007 Composer of the Year by Musical America and honored with a Grammy Award (Best Classical Contemporary Composition) for his ground-breaking setting of Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience (the album received a total of 4 Grammys), William Bolcom is a composer of cabaret songs, concertos, sonatas, operas, symphonies, and much more. He was awarded the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his 12 New Etudes for piano. Bolcom joined the faculty of the University of Michigan’s School of Music in 1973, was named the Ross Lee Finney Distinguished University Professor of Composition in 1994, and retired in 2008 after 35 years.
Born in Portland, Oregon, chanteuse Joan Morris attended Gonzaga University in Spokane prior to her scholarship studies at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. She continued speech and voice studies with Clifford Jackson and Frederica Schmitz-Svevo while appearing in off-Broadway and road productions and with harpist Jay Miller at the Cafe Carlyle, the Waldorf-Astoria’s Peacock Alley, and other Manhattan night spots. On their travels throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad, Joan Morris and William Bolcom frequently give master classes focusing on “classic American popular song.” Recent residencies have been at College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Northwestern University, Rice University (Houston, TX), SongFest (Los Angeles, CA), and the University of Wisconsin/Madison. Occasionally they can be heard underlying TV documentaries featuring the American Popular Song era.
With a voice the New York Times has called, “luminous” and “lustrous,” versatile soprano Amy Burton has sung with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, at the White House, and with major opera companies and orchestras throughout the US, Europe, UK, Japan and Israel, as well as on recital and cabaret stages from New York to Barcelona. A frequent interpreter of 20th and 21st-Century music, she has premiered pieces by John Musto, Paul Moravec, Lee Hoiby, John Harbison, Richard Festinger, and Richard Danielpour, to name a few. Also specializing in French vocal music of the 1920s and 30s, Ms. Burton has performed both mélodies and chansons populaires throughout the US and Europe, and recorded a critically acclaimed CD with conductor Yves Abel, Souvenir de Printemps.
A sought-after teacher, Ms. Burton is Professor of Voice at the Mannes College of Music and the CUNY Graduate Center Doctoral program, and is on the faculty of SongFest at Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles. She has taught French Vocal Literature at Manhattan School of Music, and maintains a private voice studio in New York City. She has given master classes and residencies throughout the United States and in Paris.
Baritone William Sharp has a reputation as a singer of artistry and versatility, garnering acclaim for his work in concert, recital, opera and recording. He performs actively, as he has for four decades. He has appeared with most major American symphony orchestras including those of New York, Chicago, Washington, Boston, Baltimore, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. He has created world premiere performances and recordings of works by composers such as Leonard Bernstein, John Harbison, John Musto, Jon Deak, Libby Larson, David Del Tredici, Lori Laitman, Steven Paulus, Scott Wheeler, and David Liptak. His performances and recordings of baroque and earlier music are equally acclaimed.
Sharp’s discography of several dozen discs encompasses music spanning 900 years, from the 12th century to today. His 1990 world premiere recording of Leonard Bernstein’s last major work, Arias and Barcarolles won a GRAMMY Award, and he was nominated for a 1989 GRAMMY for Best Classical Vocal Performance for his recording featuring the works of American composers such as Virgil Thomson, John Musto, and Lee Hoiby. He made his New York recital debut in 1983, Kennedy Center debut in 1984, and Carnegie Hall recital debut in 1989. He is winner of the Carnegie Hall International American Music Competition, the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, the Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Prize, and the Geneva International Competition.
Sharp has taught voice at the university level since 1977 and joined the Peabody Conservatory faculty in 2002. His students are performing throughout the world in concert and opera.