One of LIEDER ALIVE!’s most vital programs is our annual Liederabend Series (“Evenings of Song”), which was inaugurated in 2011 to increase audience awareness and appreciation of this wonderful musical genre. Liederabend recitals are presented in the intimate setting of the Salle Music Salon in San Francisco, and feature performances by some of the most outstanding professional musicians in the Bay Area and beyond.
LIEDER ALIVE!’s newest program, developed with pianist Peter Grünberg and SongStage, was inaugurated in Fall 2013. The series is presented in Grünberg’s contemporary Hayes Valley loft, and includes repertoire of a thematic nature, performed by some familiar and some new singers to our organization, such as the gifted Canadian tenor and former Adler Fellow Thomas Glenn, who inaugurated the program, with a talk and recital including works by Bach, Mendelssohn, and Korngold.
Since its inception, LIEDER ALIVE! has developed numerous important partnerships in the community. In January 2013, the organization was a co-sponsor of the Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Seminar and Festival, an intensive training program for young professional chamber musicians directed by the Alexander String Quartet, under the auspices of San Francisco State University’s Morrison Chamber Music Center. We also have a burgeoning partnership with the Goethe Institut, co-presenting lecture/performances – such as the “Wagner and Buddhism” program offered on our Liederabend Series last spring, and film screenings in their downtown venue featuring some of the great Lieder artists of history. In addition, LIEDER ALIVE! has developed an important relationship with the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in San Francisco, with the presentation of a concert program at the German Residence this past spring by mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich, violist Paul Yarbrough (of the Alexander String Quartet), and pianist Roger Woodward.
In May 2011, soprano Heidi Melton and pianist John Parr—former head of music staff at the San Francisco Opera, currently serving as casting director and assistant to the music director at Badisches Staatstheater, Karlsruhe, Germany—celebrated Wagner’s birthday with a rare benefit performance of the composer’s transcendent Wesendonck-Lieder at a private home in San Francisco. On the heels of her glorious first Sieglinde in Wagner’s Die Walküre at San Francisco Opera. Heidi said a few words about LIEDER ALIVE!—underlining the importance of operatic voices having the opportunity to sing Lieder.
A brunch performance (“Liedernachmittag!”) titled “Ladies Who Strauss” opened LIEDER ALIVE!’s 2011/12 season at the Salle Music Salon in San Francisco; this informal concert featured mezzo Kindra Scharich, sopranos Heidi Moss Erickson and Marcelle Dronkers, and pianist Bryan Baker.
In 2012, LIEDER ALIVE! inaugurated its annual Liederabend Series—literally, “Evenings of Song”—at the Salle Music Salon. The 2012 series opened in March with a performance by the outstanding Australian mezzo-soprano Katharine Tier, with pianist John Parr; the 2012 series continued in April and May with recitals by Bay Area-based mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich and New York-based bass Kirk Eichelberger. The 2013 season included a performance by soprano Heidi Moss Erickson with pianist Steven Bailey of songs by Schubert and Strauss, along with the premiere of two songs by Bay Area composer Kurt Erickson written especially for Ms. Erickson. The second concert took place on April 27, the bicentennial of Richard Wagner’s birth, and to mark the occasion, LIEDER ALIVE! partnered with the Goethe Institut on a program entitled “Wagner and Buddhism,” featuring a talk by professor Michael von Brück of the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität in Munich, along with a performance by mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich and pianist Bryan Baker of the Wesendonck-Lieder, songs that Wagner wrote as studies for Tristan und Isolde, which is considered by many to be the first great artwork of Western Buddhism; pianist George Fee also performed on the program. In May, the Liederabend series continued with a recital by bass Kirk Eichelberger with pianist Simona Snikivskaya featuring Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer), along with selections by Brahms. The closing concert in the 2013 series, held in June, explored repertoire for mezzo-soprano and viola repertoire, with performances by mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich, violist Paul Yarbrough (of the award-winning Alexander String Quartet), and pianist John Parr. See the 2014 schedule of Liederabend concerts.