March 4, 2022, New York, NYNew York Festival of Song (NYFOS), led by Artistic Director Steven Blier, concludes its 2021-22 Mainstage Series with The Wider View: Songs by Black Composers on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 at 8:00pm at Merkin Hall, co-presented by Kaufman Music Center. The concert features mezzo-soprano Lucia Bradford, soprano Kearstin Piper Brown, and baritone Jorell Williams, together with pianists Nathaniel LaNasa and Steven Blier, in works by Black composers that include H. Leslie Adams, Margaret Bonds, Harry Burleigh, Adolphus C. Hailstork, Robert Owens, Hale Smith, and William Grant Still..

Concert Information
The Wider View: Songs by Black Composers
April 13, 2022 at 8:00pm
Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center
129 West 67th Street, New York, NY 10023
Ticket Link:

Lucia Bradford, mezzo-soprano
Kearstin Piper Brown, soprano
Jorell Williams, baritone
Nathaniel LaNasa, piano
Steven Blier, piano

Works by H. Leslie Adams, Margaret Bonds, Harry Burleigh, Adolphus C. Hailstork, Robert Owens, Hale Smith, and William Grant Still

All NYFOS programming is funded, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.

NYFOS Mainstage is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

About New York Festival of Song
Now in its 34th season, New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) is dedicated to creating intimate song concerts of great beauty and originality. Weaving music, poetry, history and humor into evenings of compelling theater, NYFOS fosters community among artists and audiences. Each program entertains and educates in equal measure.

Founded by pianists Michael Barrett and Steven Blier in 1988, NYFOS continues to produce its series of thematic song programs, drawing together rarely-heard songs of all kinds, overriding traditional distinctions between musical genres, exploring the character and language of other cultures, and the personal voices of song composers and lyricists.

Since its founding, NYFOS has particularly celebrated American song. Among the many highlights is the double bill of one-act comic operas, Bastianello and Lucrezia, by John Musto and William Bolcom, both with libretti by Mark Campbell, commissioned and premiered by NYFOS in 2008 and recorded on Bridge Records. In addition to Bastianello and Lucrezia and the 2008 Bridge Records release of Spanish Love Songs with Joseph Kaiser and the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, NYFOS has produced five recordings on the Koch label, including a Grammy Award-winning disc of Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles, and the Grammy-nominated recording of Ned Rorem’s Evidence of Things Not Seen (also a NYFOS commission) on New World Records. In 2014, Canción Amorosa, a CD of Spanish song—Basque, Catalan, Castilian, and Sephardic—was released on the GPR label, with soprano Corinne Winters accompanied by Steven Blier.

In November 2010, NYFOS debuted NYFOS Next, a mini-series for new songs, hosted by guest composers in intimate venues, including OPERA America’s National Opera Center, National Sawdust, the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, and now the Ann Goodman Recital Hall at Kaufman Music Center.

NYFOS is passionate about nurturing the artistry and careers of young singers, and has developed training residencies around the country, including with The Juilliard School’s Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts (now in its 16th year); Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (its 14th year in March 2022); San Francisco Opera Center (over 20 years as of February 2018); Glimmerglass Opera (2008–2010); and its newest project, NYFOS@North Fork in Orient, NY.

NYFOS’s concert series, touring programs, radio broadcasts, recordings, and educational activities continue to spark new interest in the creative possibilities of the song program, and have inspired the creation of thematic vocal series around the world.

About Steven Blier
Steven Blier is the Artistic Director of the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS), which he co-founded in 1988 with Michael Barrett. Since the Festival’s inception, he has programmed, performed, translated and annotated more than 140 vocal recitals with repertoire spanning the entire range of American song, art song from Schubert to Szymanowski, and popular song from early vaudeville to Lennon-McCartney. NYFOS has also made in-depth explorations of music from Spain, Latin America, Scandinavia and Russia. New York Magazine gave NYFOS its award for Best Classical Programming, while Opera News proclaimed Blier “the coolest dude in town” and in December 2014, Musical America included him as one of 30 top industry professionals in their feature article, “Profiles in Courage.”

Mr. Blier enjoys an eminent career as an accompanist and vocal coach. His recital partners have included Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Samuel Ramey, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Susan Graham, Jessye Norman, and José van Dam, in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to La Scala. He is also on the faculty of The Juilliard School and has been active in encouraging young recitalists at summer programs, including the Wolf Trap Opera Company, the Steans Institute at Ravinia, Santa Fe Opera, and the San Francisco Opera Center. Many of his former students, including Stephanie Blythe, Joseph Kaiser, Sasha Cooke, Paul Appleby, Dina Kuznetsova, Corinne Winters, Julia Bullock, and Kate Lindsey, have gone on to be valued recital colleagues and sought-after stars on the opera and concert stage. In keeping the traditions of American music alive, he has brought back to the stage many of the rarely heard songs of George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Kurt Weill and Cole Porter. He has also played ragtime, blues and stride piano evenings with John Musto. A champion of American art song, he has premiered works of John Corigliano, Paul Moravec, Ned Rorem, William Bolcom, Mark Adamo, John Musto, Richard Danielpour, Tobias Picker, Robert Beaser, Lowell Liebermann, Harold Meltzer, and Lee Hoiby, many of which were commissioned by NYFOS.

Mr. Blier’s extensive discography includes the premiere recording of Leonard Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles (Koch International), which won a Grammy Award; Spanish Love Songs (Bridge Records), recorded live at the Caramoor International Music Festival with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Joseph Kaiser, and Michael Barrett; the world premiere recording of Bastianello (John Musto) and Lucrezia (William Bolcom), a double bill of one-act comic operas set to librettos by Mark Campbell; and Quiet Please, an album of jazz standards with vocalist Darius de Haas. His latest release is Canción amorosa, a CD of Spanish songs with soprano Corinne Winters. His writings on opera have been featured in Opera News and the Yale Review. A native New Yorker, he received a Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in English Literature at Yale University, where he studied piano with Alexander Farkas. He completed his musical studies in New York with Martin Isepp and Paul Jacobs.

About Lucia Bradford
Mezzo-soprano Lucia Bradford is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. Ms. Bradford has performed a number of operatic roles including Carmen in Bizet’s La Tragedie de Carmen, Zita in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, La Principessa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, The Mother in Ravel’s L’Enfant des Sortileges, Mercedes in Bizet’s Carmen, Mrs. Quickly in Verdi’s Falstaff, The Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Gertrude in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet, Hippolyta in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Miss Todd in Menotti’s Old Maid and the Thief, the Duchess of Plaza Toro in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers, Azelia Dessalines in the historic return of William Grant Still’s opera Troubled Island with New York City Opera at the Schomburg Center, Maria in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and the Mother of Paul Dunbar in the premiere of The Mask in the Mirror by Richard Thompson.

Ms. Bradford has had the privilege of singing and touring in Russia with the Krasnoyarsk Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and the Radio Orpheus Symphony Orchestra in Siberia, Dubna and Moscow presented by Opera Noire of New York City. She has also toured in parts of Spain, the Caribbean and throughout the United States.

In addition to opera, she enjoys performing in concert and recital settings. Namely, performing works of Schubert, Rossini and Moses Hogan at the prestigious Kimmel Center in the Verizon Hall in Philadelphia with the renowned Maestro Christoph Eschenbach at the piano, the alto soloist in Undine Smith Moore’s The Scene for the Life of a Martyr in Minnesota, appearing with chamber orchestras including the Harlem Chamber Players performing for their annual Bach series and the St Luke’s orchestra. Ms. Bradford also enjoys singing new compositions. She appeared in New York City Opera’s VOX concert series performing a new work called Crescent City by Anne LeBaron as Marie Leveau also in Yoav Gal’s work called Mosheh as Miriam.

Ms. Bradford also enjoys singing other genres such as gospel and jazz. She is a member of Opera Noire of New York City and the American Spirituals Ensemble under the direction of Doctor Everett McCorvey.

About Kearstin Piper Brown
Kearstin Piper Brown, praised for her “thrilling singing” (Opera Now), and recognized as “a rising talent to watch” back in 2007 (The Cincinnati Enquirer) is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after lyric sopranos in the US.

In February 2022, she will resume performances in the lead role of Esther in Ricky Ian Gordon’s new opera Intimate Apparel with Lincoln Center Theater. Subsequently, she will sing Musetta with New Orleans Opera, Robert Nathaniel Dett’s The Ordering of Moses with Rochester Oratorio Society as well as the world premiere of Southern Crossings by the Syrian-Polish composer Zaid Jabli at the Gerald Lynch Theater in New York City.

Performances in 2021 included Bess with New Orleans Opera, recitals with Finger Lakes Opera as well as Anthony Knight’s No Cowards In Our Band and Margaret Bonds’ The Ballad of the Brown King, both with Syracuse Opera. She also made her debuts with Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2020, Ms. Brown previewed Esther in Intimate Apparel with Lincoln Center Theater, as part of the joint LCT and Metropolitan Opera’s New Works Program. In previous seasons, Ms. Brown made her successful debut as Clara in Jake Heggie’s It’s A Wonderful Life with San Francisco Opera, where she also covered Dame Shirley in John Adam’s Girls of the Golden West.

Further highlights were Euridice in Orfeo ed Euridice and Pamina with Opera Williamsburg, Glenn McClures Adirondack Folk Opera Promised Land, Bess and Sarah (Ragtime), both with Utah Festival Opera, Epiphany Proudfoot in the world premiere of Falling Angel by Marc Scearce with the Center for Contemporary Opera, Sacerdotessa in Aida with Atlanta Symphony under Robert Spano, Violetta with Lyric Opera Utah, Musetta with Dayton Opera, Micaëla with Arbor Opera Theater, Clara in Porgy and Bess at the Teatro di San Carlo in Napoli (Italy), Euridice in Gluck’s Orpheus with Opera Memphis and Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia with Cincinnati Opera, where she also portrayed the role of Mrs. McDowell in the world premiere of Rise for Freedom: John P. Parker Story by composer Adolphus Hailstork and Masha in Richard Wargo’s comic one-act opera The Music Shop.

Ms. Brown has performed her signature role Bess with numerous companies such as Utah Festival Opera, Opera Kazan, Skylight Music Theatre, Dayton Opera, Virginia Opera, and the Belarusian Philharmonic Orchestra Minsk. In addition, the European Porgy and Bess tour of the New York Harlem Productions brought her Bess to such prestigious venues as the Staatsoper Hamburg, the Semperoper Dresden, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, and the Komische Oper Berlin. Another important touring production of the Gershwin classic was with Cape Town Opera, where she premiered the role in 2009 and subsequently went on tour to the Edinburgh Festival, the Royal Festival Hall London, and the Israeli Opera.

The versatile soprano has also sung Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with San José Chamber Orchestra, Arias, an interdisciplinary show at the Lyric Theater Rochester, Emancipation Oratorio with the Rochester Oratorio Society as well as gala concerts with Opéra Louisiane, Cincinnati Opera, and Opera Ebony. She performed with the American Spiritual Ensemble at Jazz at Lincoln Center and toured with the 3 Mo’ Divas (sister group of the 3 Mo’ Tenors).

Ms. Brown holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Literature from Northwestern University School of Music. She was a Young Artist at the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Italy, the Opera Colorado, and the Utah Festival Opera, as well as Artist-in-Residents with Dayton Opera, Opera Memphis, and Cincinnati Opera.

About Nathaniel LaNasa
Pianist Nathaniel LaNasa discovers fresh possibilities of sonority and gesture in music — especially in music being written NOW. He has premiered works for quarter-tone pianos by Dimitri Tymoczko at Princeton, made first recordings of chamber works by Tobias Picker for Tzadik, and workshopped Hannah Lash’s most recent opera at Columbia’s Miller Theater. Works written for him include Tyler Harrison’s piano concerto, a protest song by Shawn Jaeger, and Molly Joyce’s YouSaidHeSaidSheSaid for voice and singing keyboardist. A consummate collaborator, he has been praised for his “stormy lyricism” (The New York Times), his “poise and elegance” and “deft sense of precision” (Feast of Music).

Exploring intersections of storytelling, speech, and movement, Nate frequently partners with vocalist Lucy Dhegrae. The duo is committed to building a new repertoire that challenges conventions of the voice and piano partnership. They have performed in the crypt of NYC’s Church of the Intercession, at LA ArtShare, and on the Resonant Bodies Festival at Roulette (Brooklyn). Nate also performs regularly with baritone Gregory Feldmann. Together, they took First Prize in the 2019 Joy in Singing International Art Song Competition and made their Weill Hall debut in February 2020. “The magic,” Nate says, “lies in expanding the spaces of our shared inspiration. For me, it’s all about and dancing with the tension and flow of musical dialogue.”

In demand as an opera and vocal coach, Nate accompanied the first performance of William Antoniou’s opera about Alan Turing, Anathema. A staff pianist at the Juilliard School, he plays for a wide range of the voice department’s activities, from the mainstage opera rehearsals to classes in the Artist Diploma of Opera Studies program.

NYC credits include Alice Tully Hall, MoMA, and (le) Poisson Rouge. A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and Juilliard, Nate was awarded fellowships at Tanglewood, Music Academy of the West, and Stephanie Blythe’s Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar. This summer he joined the coaching staff at Berlin Opera Academy.

About Jorell Williams
Jorell Williams has been hailed by Opera News as having “a solid vocal core and easy, natural production” and The New York Times for being “magnificent” and “rich toned”, as well as having “perfect” comedic timing. An American operatic baritone with a wide variety of experience from standard repertoire to premiere pieces, he begins the 2021-2022 season with the world premiere of A More Perfect Union with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, Händel’s Messiah with the Newfoundland Symphony, followed by the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon and Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel in a co-production of The Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center Theater. He will also make his company debut in L’elisir d’amore with Dayton Opera, and will be featured in concert with the Caramoor International Music Festival, Seattle Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Finger Lakes Opera, Kentucky Opera, Lyric Opera of the North, and Brooklyn Art Song Society. [Last season, he was scheduled to make company debuts with Pacific Opera Victoria in Carmen, and the Cincinnati May Festival in John Adams’ I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky. Canceled performances due to Covid-19 will be rescheduled and announced at a later date.]

Jorell is widely recognized for his concert work, having performed as soloist with the Omaha Symphony, South Dakota Symphony, Orchestra of St. Lukes, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Philharmonic of Southern New Jersey, Juneau Symphony, Eugene Symphony, Geneseo Symphony, The Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra, Caelis Academy Ensemble, Essential Voices USA, The Little Orchestra Society, Hudson Chorale, National Chorale, and the Harlem Chamber Players.

His career has brought him on concert tour with the Mark Morris Dance Company, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Chorale Le Chateau, American Modern Ensemble, Essential Voices USA, and the Brooklyn Art Song Society. His versatility has allowed him to work alongside some of today’s most versatile artists, including Wynton Marsalis, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Damien Sneed, Jon Batiste, David Lang, and most recently, Jennifer Higdon – for her 2017 Grammy nominated World Premiere Opera Cold Mountain with the Santa Fe Opera. He is a winner of numerous competitions and awards: most notably the 2018 Rochester Classical Idol XII Prize and Audience Choice Award, The American Traditions Competition, The Jensen Foundation, Gerda Lissner International Competition, Schuyler Foundation for Career Bridges, The Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation, The Lys Symonette Award from the Lotte Lenya Competition, The American Prize, Serge Koussevitzky Foundation, David Adams Art Song Competition, Harlem Opera Theater Competition, Civic Morning Musicals Foundation, Harlem Opera Competition, National Association of Negro Musicians, and the Liberace Foundation.

An Alumnus of the Composers and the Voice Program at The American Opera Project, Caramoor International Music Festival’s Bel Canto Program, Ravinia Steans Music Institute, Westchester Vocal Institute, and Songfest at Colburn in Los Angeles, Jorell has trained with the Santa Fe Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera North, and holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music. He is an advocate for artist rights and is a newly appointed artistic council advisor for On-Site Opera and the new music board for the Brooklyn Art Song Society, using his experience to consult with arts organizations on their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives.