• History

  • LIEDER ALIVE! is the only organization of its kind in America so thoroughly devoted to the performance, training, and appreciation of German Lieder. Founded in 2007, LIEDER ALIVE! is dedicated to the presentation of outstanding master artists and exceptional singers and instrumentalists who share our unwavering commitment to keeping Lieder where it belongs—alive!

    The organization began with a single program, the Vocal Master Workshop series, which has since 2008 included public master classes presented by baritone Thomas Hampson, mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, soprano June Anderson, and baritone Håkan Hagegård. Our training programs currently include The Lieder Institut, directed by our Master Coach, John Parr of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and ongoing coachings and consultations by founder Maxine Bernstein. LIEDER ALIVE! also presents Bringing Lieder to Life, a monthly series of classes in collaboration with renowned pianist Peter Grünberg. This gives an ideal opportunity for experienced and novice singers alike to deepen their love of Lieder.

    Our main public program is the annual Liederabend Series, which is now in its sixth season and, more than any other program, has put LIEDER ALIVE! on the cultural map in San Francisco. The 2016/17 season will close on July 9 with a performance of Franz Schubert’s Schwanengesang by bass Anthony Reed and pianist John Parr. The 2017/18 season will open in September with a performance by Kindra Scharich and the Alexander String Quartet of Zakarias Grafilo’s transcriptions of three Mahler song cycles. The upcoming season will also include our second biennial Neue und Alte Liederfest, curated by Kurt Erickson, our Composer-in-Residence, and featuring Mr. Erickson’s own compositions along with World Premieres of commissioned works by two outstanding women composers—Veronica Krausas and Luna Pearl Woolf—performed by soprano Heidi Moss Erickson, Ms. Scharich, bass Kirk Eichelberger, and pianist Ronny Michael Greenberg. Mr. Erickson has been composing new works for the Liederabend Series since 2013, as well as overseeing the Neue Lieder Commissioning Program. Works commissioned by LIEDER ALIVE! are being compiled into the Neue Lieder Songbook, for online publication by Swirly Music.

    Over the years, LIEDER ALIVE! has developed numerous important partnerships in the community. In January 2013, the organization served as a co-sponsor for the Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Seminar and Festival, an intensive training program for young professional chamber musicians that was directed by the Alexander String Quartet and presented under the auspices of San Francisco State University’s Morrison Chamber Music Center. The Alexander String Quartet, itself, has become an important partner for LIEDER ALIVE!; we are currently engaged in a performance and recording project that is focused on commissioned arrangements for mezzo-soprano and string quartet of the great orchestral Lieder of Wagner, Strauss, and Mahler by Zakarias Grafilo. LIEDER ALIVE! collaborates from time to time with the Goethe Institut on programming and has developed an important connection with the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in San Francisco through the presentation of concerts at the German Consul-General’s Residence. We also partner with Merola Opera Program on the promotion and presentation of recitals, and with online music publisher Swirly Music on the publication of The Neue Lieder Songbook, Volumes 1 and 2.

    LIEDER ALIVE! is fiscally-sponsored by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and receives annual funding from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. Other current funders include the Ross McKee Foundation and the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music Musical Grant Program; past support has been awarded by the Pro Suecia Foundation and the Zellerbach Family Foundation, and countless individual donors.