Friday, September 27, 2013

Singing With Haiti

I'm very excited to be taking part in a benefit concert next week at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral for a new charity, Sing With Haiti.

Sing With Haiti's mission is to raise funds and resources to support the ongoing work and rebuilding of Holy Trinity Music School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  The school, which was destroyed in the devastating 2010 earthquake, and provides roughly 1500 children each year with a formal music education.  To learn more - please watch the short video above.  The undaunted will and spirit of these young musicians and their dedicated teachers is inspiring, and it is a beautiful touchstone to remind us all about the importance of music in our lives.

If you're in the Bay Area next Wednesday evening, please join us for a beautiful night of music-making on Nob Hill.  It's quite the line-up of artists, including Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, Jake Heggie, among other beloved colleagues.  You can get tickets and find out more information here.  If you aren't around, please consider making a contribution to Sing With Haiti via their website - remember, every bit helps and no amount is too small to make a huge difference to these young people. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

2013 Collaborative Works Festival

This week has been amazing.

I meant to post about it towards the beginning of the week, before the festivities began, but blogging got lost in the shuffle as we got swamped in last minute details and preparations.  I'll post more next week, once the dust settles, but in the meantime, below is my Artistic Director's note for this year's program.  

For those of you in Chicago who were able to come and join us this week - THANK YOU for an incredible week and sharing in the beauty of this neglected and rich repertoire!

It is with great joy that I welcome you to Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago’s second annual Collaborative Works Festival. The Collaborative Works Festival represents the pinnacle of CAIC’s programs, furthering its mission to make Chicago a world home for art song and vocal chamber music. Last year CAIC proudly inaugurated this festival to rave reviews, and we are very happy to be back now for year number two.

We are excited to have expanded the Festival from two to three concerts, in addition to including our traditional master class. This additional concert inaugurates a new and important annual event in Chicago: the Collaborative Works Festival Solo Recital. In America, we find fewer and fewer venues with a commitment to the recital repertoire. Chicago, with its rich tradition of opera and choral music, is the ideal place to turn this trend around. Now, each year CAIC will ensure that Chicagoans are able to enjoy at least one major vocal recital, and we are pleased that trailblazing countertenor David Daniels will inaugurate this Festival tradition. Beyond redefining his voice category for the modern public, David is one of the greatest recitalists of our time. This will be his first recital appearance in Chicago in almost 15 years. We want to ensure that Chicago audiences have the opportunity to hear singing artists of this stature in recital on a regular basis.

This year’s Festival celebrates the centenary of the birth of composer Benjamin Britten. While Britten’s masterful compositions were vital to the development of classical music in the 20th century, his contributions range beyond his compositional output and discography. Part of what Britten saw was that, to push the boundaries of the art form, new venues and avenues would have to be explored, and it was in this spirit that he formed both the English Opera Group and the Aldeburgh Festival. CAIC was formed much in this same tradition – it was born out of our commitment to art song and vocal chamber music; the Collaborative Works Festival is one of the new platforms we have created to help this repertoire continue to flourish and grow. It seems fitting that we dedicate this second Collaborative Works Festival to Britten’s life and work.

I am quite proud of this year’s lineup of guest artists and am extraordinarily grateful to each of them for sharing their world-class artistry with Chicago. I would also like to express my gratitude to our presenting partners for the opening concert: The Poetry Foundation and The University of Chicago Presents. They have been invaluable, providing expertise, guidance, and resources. Most importantly, I would like to thank you, our audience of supporters, for showing your interest, dedication, and love for this incredibly rich art form.

I look forward to meeting you all at the upcoming concerts and having the opportunity to chat with you in depth about this beautiful music and these wonderful performers. In the meantime, enjoy the Festival!

Nicholas Phan
Artistic Director