No Song is Safe From Us

No Song Is Safe From Us - The NYFOS Blog
 |  Steven Blier

Before the concert:I’ve been abstracted and quietly jittery for a few days now—at least, when I am with my housemates making dinner or hanging out on the porch. It’s normal for me to feel the weight of the world on my shoulders before I play. Even this relatively informal, forgiving performance in Orient evokes feelings […]




 |  Steven Blier

We ran the program in order today, but I resolved not to gloss over anything with the cast. They are packing four weeks’ worth of study into six days, and I want to give them everything I possibly can without blowing their fuses. I’m also trying to hold onto their best work before they start […]




 |  Steven Blier

Wednesday’s rehearsal always has a special place in these one-week residencies. It’s the last time we still feel we’re free to play, discover, develop. I can bring up some of the bigger issues I want each singer to be thinking about, and they still have the brain-space to process what I am telling them. Wednesday […]




 |  Steven Blier

When you have a one-week rehearsal period for a complicated program, you have to work quickly. Of course I want to be a gentle, enlightening guru-figure for the four singers I’ve invited. I also want to get every song up and running ASAP. I am happy to say that a lot of our work is […]




 |  Steven Blier

This is the third time I am doing Ports of Call, a program that circumnavigates the globe using songs from eleven countries in nine languages. In every port you meet a traveler—be it a merchant, an exile, a lover, an ex-pat, or an opium addict. Since I am comfortable with all the music, it’s easy […]




 |  Steven Blier

It always seems like a miracle when the cast arrives in Orient for our annual NYFOS@North Fork project. They zoom in by bus, by car, by ferry, and suddenly my quiet, sedentary life becomes a densely packed rehearsal period. This morning I am preparing to go from “Sleep” mode to “Full Blast.” I’ve done this […]




 |  Steven Blier

Noël Coward said it best: Mr. Irving BerlinOften emphasizes sinIn a charming way. Mr. Coward we knowWrote a song or two to showSex was here to stay.Richard Rodgers it’s trueTook a more romantic viewOf this sly biological urge.But it really was ColeWho contrived to make the wholeThing merge. My respect for Cole Porter has only increased […]




 |  Steven Blier

It was crucial to include Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) in Manning the Canon. He was not only one of the twentieth century’s most significant musicians, but also one of the first out-gay composers in history. He lived with his longtime partner, the tenor Peter Pears, for whom he wrote most of his songs and many of […]




 |  Steven Blier

I am delving this week into the playlist of Manning the Canon: Songs of Gay Life. Much of the program focuses on scenes from contemporary life, but I also wanted to give some airplay to gay composers from the past. Many of them had to keep their same-sex affairs on the down-low, due to their […]




 |  Steven Blier

Having just finished the NYFOS season in New York with our Lorca program, tossed off a Gershwin concert for our gala a couple of weeks later, and presided over my twentieth-fifth anniversary concert at Wolf Trap with music ranging from German Lieder to Cuban rumba, I am now in the throes of preparing a revival of Manning the Canon: Songs of Gay Life.