Free and fabulous concerts downtown

piano in a corner How often does a lauded summer program not only serve its participants, but provide a host of world-class concerts to the local community?  Well, in Los Angeles, it happens every year with SongFest, the song-focused seminar for emerging artists that boasts a world-class faculty roster and a home at Downtown LA’s Colburn School.

Here’s the part you might not know:  all of the concerts on SongFest’s busy schedule are free and open to the public.  It’s an incredible opportunity to enjoy rare LA appearances of stellar artists and moving interpretations of new and unusual song repertoire.

SongFest’s 19th Annual Song Festival starts on Thursday, June 5, with a recital by opera’s star soprano Katie Van Kooten and pianist Rosemary Hyler Ritter, who is also the festival president.  Ritter’s expertise and connections as a performer are one of the many things that make this program different, and SongFest has proven itself by attracting a seriously impressive faculty:  this year’s list includes composers William Bolcom, Jake Heggie, Jennifer Higdon, Libby Larsen and John Musto; singers Susanne Mentzer, Joan Morris, Lucy Shelton, and Sanford Sylvan; pianists Graham Johnson, the Met’s Craig Rutenberg, USC’s Alan Smith, and coaches include our own Listers Victoria Kirsch, pianist and Kathleen Roland, soprano, who will be focusing on Swedish repertoire.

Just a few faculty from SongFest 2014

Just a few of SongFest’s impressive faculty members:

L to R — Bolcom, Heggie, Higdon, Larsen, Musto, Mentzer, Morris

The festival runs through June 27, with evening and weekend concerts as well as weekday matinees — see the full schedule to pick a few.  The Colburn School is in the heart of the arts of Downtown LA, just down and across Grand from Disney Hall and the Music Center, and right next to MOCA.  Affordable parking is available in the structure next door, but even better — this the perfect time to Go Metro.  Just get there!

This post originally featured in Next 7 — Vocal events through 6/5/14

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