No Song is Safe From Us

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

I was out of sorts today. I had to get up uncharacteristically early (5:30 AM), and after a productive morning I got snagged by an infuriating series of delays that made me twenty minutes late for rehearsal. It seems to be my special gift to squander a luxury of time and end up in the […]




 |  Steven Blier

We had visitors today, two people I was especially looking forward to meeting. César Parreño’s parents flew in from Ecuador to visit their son and hear next Wednesday’s concert. I am always excited to meet my students’ families, but this was something special. You see, César is the first person from Ecuador ever to attend […]




 |  Steven Blier

One picture, worth 1000 words: Santiago Pizarro showing Leonardo Granados some cool Peruvian rhythms. First on drums, then at the piano, grooving to a sexy, exotic beat.  It was a side of Santiago I had never seen, though I suspected it was there. The two of them had quite an amazing little jam session. Santiago […]




 |  Steven Blier

I don’t know how Adam Cates and Mary Birnbaum do it. They are able to sustain positive energy hour after hour as we slam this show together. Today we had an ambitious agenda, and when I heard them say “We’ll stage the four operetta numbers in two hours,” I raised an eyebrow. And no, we […]




 |  Steven Blier

We had our first day of rehearsal today for this year’s NYFOS@Juilliard show, Cubans in Paris. It’s a tricky process: more than half of my cast is also rehearsing The Mother of Us All by Virgil Thomson, scheduled for performances at the Metropolitan Museum in early February. I cannot imagine what it feels like to […]




 |  Steven Blier

I seem to have spent the week writing about bel canto singing without posting a single aria from the bel canto era. Let’s rectify that with this beauty I found online: the young Renata Scotto singing the Mad Scene from “Lucia di Lammermoor.” It was filmed in Tokyo with what look like the Metropolitan Opera […]




 |  Steven Blier

I’ve been ruminating about bel canto all week—not just the sometimes thrilling, sometimes mediocre Donizetti operas the term usually implies, but the larger meaning of “beautiful singing.” Maria Callas and Ella Fitzgerald are bel canto singers in their very different ways. So is Tony Bennett, with his expansive delivery of the melody, his connection to […]




 |  Steven Blier

I’ve been thinking about bel canto the past few days. Usually the term refers to a fertile era in Italian opera at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Composers like Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini used long-lined melody and bravura passagework to tell their high-flown, romantic love stories. Many of these operas end with the exquisite […]




 |  Steven Blier

My friend Becca Jo’s challenge to stop telling her what performances I didn’t like, and instead show her what I did like, has stayed with me. Ever since our conversation last Friday I’ve been pondering: where does my own heart lie? What is my musical home base? I’ve played everything from blues to Berlioz, Sondheim […]




 |  Steven Blier

This week I find myself floating around in what feels like a weightless state, after four months of unremitting pressure. Almost all of the NYFOS subscription concerts fell into the autumn season, along with the preparations for the Juilliard concert in January. We were not able to do our annual Christmas show, A Goyishe Christmas, due […]