VOCAL ARTISTRY ART SONG FESTIVAL
University of New Mexico | November 17-19, 2023
Blake Wilson received his MM and PhD in musicology from Indiana University. He is Professor Emeritus of Music at Dickinson College, and currently lives in Los Angeles CA. His is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the NEH, ACLS, Fulbright Program, Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies and the National Humanities Center. His research interests include the vernacular song cultures of Medieval and Renaissance Italy, Medici music patronage, the musical soundscapes of Italian cities, and the intersections of aural, visual, and literary cultures.His publications have appeared in books, editions, and journals, including the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the Journal of Musicology, Early Music History, and I TattiStudies.
He has published three books on the singing cultures of Renaissance Italy, most recently Singing to the Lyre in Renaissance Italy: Memory, Performance, and Oral Poetry (Cambridge, 2020). He is also a singer and choral conductor, having directed some 50 concerts throughout his career, including tours in Italy and several CD recordings.
"Singing to the Lyre" is a comprehensive study of the oral practice of creating and disseminating poetry in Renaissance Italy, where performers would sing and improvise verse while playing a stringed instrument. This practice was widespread among people from various backgrounds, and was based on the interaction between written words and oral memory, improvisation, and performance. It reflects the cultural values of the Renaissance, including the significance of vernacular poetry, the importance of rhetoric, the oral focus of humanist education, and the courtly culture of performance.
Lynn Helding Flora
Lynn Helding is Professor of Practice in Voice and Vocal Pedagogy at USC’s Thornton School of Music, the author of the book The Musician's Mind: Teaching, Learning & Performance in the Age of Brain Science, the chapter “Brain” in Scott McCoy’s Your Voice: An Inside View and currently serves as the editor-in-chief-elect of the Journal of Singing. A devoted teacher, she was recognized as a “legendary figure in the field of voice pedagogy” by the Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) Vocal Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah University, receiving their 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award. Her stage credits include leading roles with Harrisburg Opera, Nashville Opera and Ohio Light Opera, and solo recitals throughout the US, Italy, France, England, Germany, Spain, Australia and Iceland.
Christópheren (Chris) Nomura
Mr. Nomura is a highly accomplished performer in opera, musical theater, concerts, and recitals. He has worked with several renowned North American orchestras and conductors, and made his first musical theater debut in 2015-16 in the role of Tatsuo Kimura in "Allegiance" on Broadway. Mr. Nomura is also a specialist in Bach and early music, and has performed with several leading American chamber music festivals. He has a deep commitment to the art of recital and has given over 250 recitals worldwide. He has been Artist-In-Residence with San Francisco Performances for four seasons, and has recorded on several labels, including Sony and Telarc. He has received many awards and distinctions and currently teaches at Seton Hall University. Mr. Nomura now works extensively with students in non-classical genres including musical theater, jazz, gospel, and pop.
American pianist Kayo Iwama has concertized extensively with singers such as Stephanie Blythe, Kendra Colton, William Hite, Rufus Müller, Christòpheren Nomura, Lucy Shelton and Dawn Upshaw throughout North America, Europe and Japan, and has performed in many prestigous venues including the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Tokyo’s Yamaha Hall and the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. The Washington Post has called her a pianist “with unusual skill and sensitivty to the music and the singer” and the Boston Globe has praised her “virtuoso accompaniment…super-saturated with gorgeous colors”.
Miss Iwama is the associate director of the innovative Graduate Vocal Arts Program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, where she works alongside artistic director Stephanie Blythe. She has been a faculty member of Songfest, and for over two decades taught at the Tanglewood Music Center. At Tanglewood she also assisted Maestros James Levine, Seiji Ozawa and Robert Spano in major operatic and concert productions in addition to coordinating the vocal program. As a former Boston resident, Miss Iwama was on the faculties of the Hartt School of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music and Boston Conservatory.
Olga Perez Flora
Olga Perez Flora is a Cuban-American mezzo-soprano who has received praise for her voice and poise. She has performed with opera companies and symphonies both domestically and internationally and is best known for her portrayal of Carmen. She has also performed as a recitalist and recently created a Cuban Song Recital. She holds doctorate, master's, and bachelor's degrees in music and is currently an Assistant Professor of Voice, Artistic Co-Director of the Idyllwild Summer Arts Festival Choral Intensive, and Artistic Director of the Gobbi Villa summer young artist program. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the American Choral Directors Association.