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

A quick post-concert report as I bid farewell to this beautiful week. Overview: both shows went extremely well for the cast, who delivered the goods. The Sunday run took place in a black box theater that needed to be borrowed for the occasion due to renovations at Caramoor. Its dryness proved to be a challenge to be overcome. Yet the show went smoothly and faultlessly. The in-depth work we’d done on the songs gave the concert the kind of strength and subtlety I had hoped for.




 |  Steven Blier

I’m rarely cheerful the day before a show. I wish I had a bit of Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s infectious, nitrous oxide enthusiasm to lift everyone’s morale—especially mine. But I always feel as if I am being led in front of a firing squad, and I seem to give birth to concerts only after a lot of labor pains. Today’s pains weren’t only metaphorical. On the car trip from Manhattan to Katonah, there was a four-car traffic accident that could easily have turned into a five-car one, were it not for Michael Barrett’s quick reflexes and presence of mind.




 |  Steven Blier

My goals today were simple and clear: to get the second half of the show staged, and to see if I could persuade my hands to stop behaving like bouncers at a second-rate strip club. I took a little time by myself at the piano in the morning to deal with item number 2. I […]




 |  Steven Blier

Unlike most of the directors I’ve worked with in the recent past, Stephen has not had a lot of experience with the demands—and limitations—of the concert stage. Song repertoire is not his wheelhouse, and he has not worked much with classical singers. All of this turned out to be an advantage, not a deficit. It seemed to allow him to see everything with freshness and imagination.