(Princeton, N.J., Feb. 27, 2014) The 2014 Westminster Choir College Art Song Festival will continue with an evening of songs by Westminster Choir College composers on Tuesday, March 11, at 8 p.m. in The Playhouse on the campus of Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, N.J. Dr. Christian Carey will present a pre-performance lecture at 7:15 p.m. Admission is free.
The program will feature Westminster Choir College students, accompanied by J. J. Penna, performing new American music by Westminster Choir College composers Benjamin C.S. Boyle, Christian Carey, Ian Good, R. Douglas Helvering, Marshall Onofrio, Joel Phillips and Stefan Young. Admission is free.
One of the most gifted collaborative pianists of his generation, J. J. Penna has performed in recital with such notable singers as Kathleen Battle, Harolyn Blackwell, Measha Brueggergosman, William Burden, David Daniels, Elem Eley, Faith Esham, Denyce Graves, Kevin McMillan, Florence Quivar, Sharon Sweet, Chris Pedro Trakas, Indra Thomas, and Ying Huang. Mr. Penna has been heard at Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Weill Hall, Zankel Hall and Merkin Recital Hall in New York City, the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, Wigmore Hall in London, as well as on concert tours throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, the Far East, South America, and the former Soviet Union. Devoted to the performance and study of new music, he has premiered song cycles by William Bolcom, Ricky Ian Gordon, Richard Hundley and Lowell Liebermann.
Mr. Penna has performed and held fellowships at prestigious festivals such as Tanglewood Music Center, Chautauqua Institution, Banff Center for the Arts, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Music Academy of the West, and San Francisco Opera Center’s Merola Program, where he received the Otto Guth Award. He has participated in numerous master classes, including those of Marilyn Home, Barbara Bonney, Regine Crespin, and Giorgio Tozzi, and holds a doctoral degree from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Martin Katz.
J. J. Penna devotes much of his time to the teaching of art song literature, having taught at Westminster Choir College since 1996. He was formerly on the faculties of the Yale University School of Music, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and the Bowdoin Chamber Music Festival, where he coordinated the Vocal Arts Program for three summers. He was a staff member of the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute for Young Artists for a number of years, and since 2006, he serves on the coaching faculty of The Juilliard School.
Christian B. Carey is a composer, performer, writer, and musicologist specializing in music theory, Post-1945 and American music. He is assistant professor of Music at Westminster Choir College and serves on the Board of Directors of League of Composers/ISCM. He received a Ph.D. in Music from Rutgers University and degrees in Composition from Boston University and Voice Performance from The Juilliard School.
The American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), New York New Music Ensemble, Atlantic Chamber Orchestra, Cassatt String Quartet, Locrian Chamber Players, Righteous Girls, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, loadbang and many others have performed his compositions at venues such as Joe’s Pub, June in Buffalo, Music X, the Aspen Music Festival, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Riverside Church, Serial Underground at Cornelia Street Cafe, Grace Church in Newark, Trinity Wall Street Church and Princeton Chapel.