We are excited to welcome American Composer Juliana Hall to Fall Island this year as our featured Guest Composer.
A Concert of Hall’s Music will be performed on Wednesday, May 23, 7:30PM in Sara M. Snell Music Theater. Tickets: $18/General Admission, $15/with SUNY ID. Click HERE to purchase tickets online from Community Performance Series or call 315/267-2277. Tickets are also available at the door.
American art song composer Juliana Hall (b. 1958) is a prolific and highly-regarded composer of vocal music, whose songs have been described as “brilliant” (Washington Post), “beguiling” (Times of London), and “the most genuinely moving music of the afternoon” (Boston Globe). The NATS Journal of Singing wrote that “Hall’s text setting is spot on and exquisite”, and Voix des Arts noted that Hall “perpetuates the American Art Song tradition of Beach, Barber, and Bolcom with music of ingenuity and integrity.”
Hall began formal studies in composition as a 26-year-old graduate
student majoring in piano performance at the Yale School of Music.
Despite studying composition only as an elective, her teachers – Martin
Bresnick, Leon Kirchner, and Frederic Rzewski – encouraged her to change careers after hearing the art songs she was composing, and in 1987 she received her Master’s degree in Composition.
Following Yale, Hall completed her formal studies with Dominick Argento in Minneapolis. While studying there, she received her first commission (from the Schubert Club of Saint Paul) for a song cycle for star soprano Dawn Upshaw; a second commission came a few years later for Metropolitan Opera baritone David Malis. More recent singers of note, for whom Hall has also composed song cycles, include renowned countertenor Brian Asawa, acclaimed mezzo soprano Stephanie Blythe, and Metropolitan Opera soprano Molly Fillmore. Hall also received SongFest’s 2017 Sorel Commission and was invited to be the 2018 Guest Composer at the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar.
In 1989 Hall was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition, and since that time her works have been heard in 29 countries on six continents, at venues including the 92nd Street Y, the Library of Congress, Théâtre du Châtelet, and Wigmore Hall, as well as the London Festival of American Music, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Ojai Festival, and Tanglewood Music Center. Her music has also been presented on the Joy in Singing’s “Edward T. Cone Composers Concert” at New York’s Lincoln Center and in a Holy Week meditation service at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Several art song organizations have presented concerts devoted to Hall’s music in recent years, including Sparks & Wiry Cries’ “Casement Fund Song Series” in New York City in 2016, the Contemporary Undercurrent of Song Project (CUSP) in Princeton in 2017, and in 2018, London’s “re-Sung” art song series. Among the many other groups programming Hall’s works are ÆPEX Contemporary Performance, Boston Art Song Society, Calliope’s Call, Cantabile Project, Capital Fringe, CHAI Collaborative Ensemble, Cincinnati Song Initiative, Denver Art Song Project, Ensemble for These Times, Fourth Coast Ensemble, Lynx Project, Northwest Art Song, One Ounce Opera, Project 142, Song in the City, Voices of Change, and Zenith Ensemble.
Hall’s songs have been broadcast over the BBC and NPR radio networks, as well as classical radio stations worldwide, including WQXR New York and WGBH Boston, and they have also been issued on the Albany and Vienna Modern Masters record labels. Her first solo CD – “Love’s Signature” – was released in 2017 on the MSR Classics label, featuring the renowned countertenor Darryl Taylor with Hall at the piano, and Grammy-winning soprano Susan Narucki performing with pianist Donald Berman. Gramophone Magazine wrote of the recording that “[Hall’s] sensitivity to words is on impressive display…these songs show Hall to be a composer who savours lyrical lines and harmonies peppered with gentle spices” and the NATS Journal of Singing remarked that “One comes away from this disc with a profound appreciation for the excellence and innovation of [Hall’s] music,” adding that her songs are “meticulously and sensitively crafted…music whose beauty could enhance the text at hand without drawing attention away from that text. This is masterful writing in every respect.”
Juliana Hall’s art songs are published by E. C. Schirmer and Boosey & Hawkes.