Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

May 15, 2019

PREVIEW: American Music Festival: Sing Out! New York
May 30-June 2, 2019
Tour: June 6-9, 2019
by Michael Moran

The Albany Symphony recently announced the 2019 American Music Festival, Sing Out! New York, a two-weekend national festival and regional tour of musical performances and new art happenings, in concert venues in Troy, New York, and in public parks throughout New York State’s Capital Region. Sing Out! New York runs from May 30 - June 2, in Troy, and concludes with a four-concert tour of the greater Capital Region, from, June 6 - 9.

David Alan Miller
Two milestone anniversaries frame the festival: the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. Sing Out! New York draws inspiration from both events, and celebrates New York’s leading role in championing equal rights. Curated by GRAMMY® Award-winning conductor and Albany Symphony Music Director, David Alan Miller, the festival will present 55 new or recent works by 38 American composers, including 27 world premiere performances.

The Festival’s programs include world premieres by numerous talented composers. Performers joining the Albany Symphony and Music Director Miller include the vocalists, solo musicians and small groups. 

According to Miller, “The Albany Symphony is committed to telling the stories of our time, place, and history through the creation of compelling new music and collaborations between composers and fellow artists. The fight for women’s equality in the 19th and early 20th century, and for LGBTQ rights beginning in 1969, are great New York stories. To tell them, we paired new works by emerging composers with established ones by composers who have told related New York stories, and have designed immersive events that celebrate the things that bring us together as New Yorkers and human beings.”

Sing Out! New York includes more than 22 concerts and related events. On Friday, May 31, the orchestra’s new music chamber orchestra, Dogs of Desire, will premiere five new works on subjects ranging from the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention to Frederick Douglass’ participation in the abolitionist and suffragist movements, from the aftermath of the Stonewall Rebellion to Alice Duer Miller’s Women are People and Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman” speech. On Saturday, June 1, the full orchestra will premiere a suffragist-inspired piece by composer/performer Tanner Porter, alongside Pop-Pourri, with soprano Hila Plitmann, David Del Tredici’s first work based on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and John Corigliano’s Piano Concerto, with pianist Phillip Fisher. Committed to giving new music life beyond the concert hall, the Albany Symphony will also record both Pop-Pourri and the Piano Concerto for commercial release.

Other festival highlights include: the powerful new documentary film, “Of Rage and Remembrance,” in which composer John Corigliano tells the story of his Symphony No. 1, commemorating the friends he lost to AIDS; Del Tredici’s Bullycide, performed by the Argus Quartet in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, one of the only fully integrated Tiffany interiors in the world; and a free family-friendly concert and suffragist- themed street fair in Monument Square on Sunday. On Saturday afternoon at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Miller and a 14-member chamber orchestra will premiere four newly commissioned melodramas. 

The following weekend, the Festival will break out of the concert hall with free outdoor concerts at Hudson Crossing Park in Schuylerville (June 6), Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady (June 7), Albany’s Jennings Landing (June 8), and Basilica Hudson in Hudson (June 9), NY. Executive Director Anna Kuwabara notes, “the program in each community includes Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, sing-alongs, and summertime favorites. The centerpiece of each is one of the newly commissioned works from the Dogs of Desire concerts earlier in the Festival. Along with great music, we look forward to bringing attention and business to each site with family activities, food trucks, fireworks, and other festivities.”  

For over 20 years, the American Music Festival has served as an incubator for new American music by showcasing the diverse voices of America’s living composers with several world premiere works and dozens of composers-in-residence programs.