Westminster Choir College Art Song Festival honors Lindsey Christiansen


Westminster Choir College will present its 2018 Art Song Festival, titled “Lovers, Devils, Wanderers: The Romantic Lied,” on Friday, February 16 and Saturday, February 17, in Bristol Chapel on the campus of Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, N.J.  Performances will be at 7:30 p.m., and they will be preceded by student research presentations at 6:45 p.m.

In recognition of her role in re-establishing and managing the festival, which is an important part of Westminster’s performance season and academic program, Westminster Choir College has renamed the festival the Lindsey Christiansen Art Song Festival in her memory. Professor of Voice at Westminster Choir College for 40 years, from 1977 to 2017, and chair of the Voice Department for 18 years,  Professor Christiansen died in 2017. She specialized in German lieder and was a life-long student and lover of the music of Franz Schubert. She was an exceptional voice teacher and a demanding professor of song literature classes, where she instilled in countless students a love for song.

Each festival performance will feature Professor J. J. Penna, piano, and Westminster Choir College students.   One of the most gifted collaborative pianists of his generation, Penna has performed in recital with notable singers such as Kathleen Battle, Harolyn Blackwell, and David Daniels. He has been heard at the Kennedy Center; Weill Hall, Zankel Hall and Merkin Recital Hall in NYC; 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.

Friday’s performances will focus on works by Brahms and Schumann, including his song cycle Frauenliebe und Leben in which a female speaker narrates her own story: falling in love, marriage, childbirth, and finally, the death of her partner.  At 6:45 p.m. student Eva Tamsky will present “The Influence of Yiddish Folksongs on the Art Songs of Two Jewish Composers" and Elizabeth Robbins will discuss Schumann's Frauenliebe und Leben

Saturday’s performances will focus on settings of the poet Heine.  At 6:45 p.m. student Dorothy Shrader will discuss influence of Clara Schumann, Ada, Countess of Lovelace, and Mary Shelley and student Micaela Bottari will lead a presentation about Schumann's Dichterliebe.

Admission for each recital is $15 for adults and $10 for students/seniors. Tickets are available online or by calling the box office at 609-921-2663 Westminster Choir College is located at 101 Walnut Lane in Princeton, N.J.