The premiere of
Gregg’s children’s opera, Rip Van Winkle, took
place at the Central Park East Elementary School in collaboration
with their choir (Barry Solowey, director) and GSS. This was a
commission from NYSCA’s Arts in Education program.
Listen to: Excerpt from Rip Van Winkle
Stephen Paparo, baritone
Deborah Cunningham, piano
Silvio Piovesan, whose uncle had commissioned Stravinsky in the late
1950s, wanted to tour Les Noces. It was a great
collaboration between GSS, the Strasbourg Percussion Ensemble, GSS
Soloists and four former GSS pianists who had all received Fulbright
scholarships and were living in Europe. In the fall, GSS recorded
Les Noces and other Russian works with Robert Craft in a new
Stravinsky CD series for MusicMasters. In November in LA, GSS honored Leonard Stein's retirement from the Schoenberg Institute, UCLA, and then sang a concert in the living room of the Schoenberg house surrounded by the master's furniture and paintings!
GSS repeated the
Stravinsky tour of Italy with the same forces, this time with a
concert in Rome and three in beautiful springtime Sicily. Just as
in 1984 in Hawaii, the volcano (Etna) was active!
GSS took on a new
role as opera chorus in a concert version of Stravinsky’s The
Rake’s Progress at Alice Tully Hall. This was
subsequently recorded for the Stravinsky series on MusicMasters. Backstage at a tour concert in Florence Alabama, we met the last surviving original owner of a Frank Lloyd Wright "Usonian" house. Ms. Rosenberg invited us over the next morning for a tour and we sang a song for her in the living room some of us had seen in books by FLW for decades!
The highlight of
this year was the concert for Chorus America’s National
Convention in NYC on June 2nd. It was memorable not only
because of the very special audience, but also because six master
composers — Milton Babbitt, Jack Beeson, Lukas Foss, Morton
Gould, Hale Smith and Louise Talma — all honored GSS with a
personal appearance at a pre-concert panel on, naturally, writing
choral music. (Louise had the last word. When asked why she wrote
choral music, she said “Why, because the voice is the first
and most beautiful instrument.”)
GSS was invited to
the St. Petersburg (Russia) “International Spring Festival”
to perform four concerts of contemporary American and Russian music.
The fall saw a new recording of contemporary Mexican choral music
released and our gala 40th Anniversary Concert with 50
East Coast alumni joining the current GSS.
GSS began the year
with a repeat of the 40th Anniversary Concert on the West
Coast where GSS began — a gala evening for Monday Evening
Concerts. From LA we flew to Mexico City to perform three concerts
plus a composers workshop. Back to LA we started a four week, 17
concert cross-country tour, finishing in NYC.
GSS was invited to
participate in a choral festival in Legnano, Italy where we were the
featured chorus. We gave eight concerts in nine days in several
halls in this beautiful town just north of Milano. 1997 also marked
the 25th anniversaries of the Singers’ New York
Concert Series and the Adirondack Festival of American Music.
season climaxed with the Bosler Memorial Vespers in May when we
presented three masterpieces of Gustav Holst which utilized the
largest orchestra ever for the Bosler service. Together with Saint
Peter’s Choir, GSS sang the magnificent Hymn to Jesus.
A personal highlight for Gregg and Roz occurred in August when they
sold Penthouse West, their NYC apartment of 28 years, and moved to a
lovely house in Yonkers with, finally, enough room for GSS’
earlier, GSS had toured the state of West Virginia performing at
various colleges and universities. Under the West Virginia Arts
Consortium, they once again toured the state. The highlight of each
concert was the pairing of GSS and the local university choir in
Gregg’s lush setting for two choirs of West Virginia,
Alice McClain’s poem extolling the beauty of this state.