World Premieres & Commissions

In partnership with the Sorel Organization, SongFest has made a substantial contribution to the art song repertoire through its commissioning program that has produced new works for voice and piano by such distinguished composers as William Bolcom, Tom Cipullo, Gabriela Lena Frank, John Harbison, Jennifer Higdon, Libby Larsen and Ben Moore.  Below are listed the works given their world premiere at SongFest in reverse chronological order from 2015 to our founding in 1996. All works were commissioned by SongFest unless otherwise noted. Links to performances are included where possible.


Love's Call
by Shulamit Ran
English lyrics by Charles Kondek adapted from the Song of Songs
Premiered on June 17, 2016 in Thayer Hall, the Colburn School, Los Angeles
Alize Rozsnyai, soprano • Dimitri Dover, piano

Shadow Memory
by James Primosch with text by Susan Orlean
Underwritten by SongFest and dedicated to Marcia Brown
Premiered on June 3, 2015 in Thayer Hall, The Colburn School, Los Angeles by Lisa Williamson, soprano and Rami Sarieddine, piano.

Radiant Depth Unfolded
by Anne LeBaron with text by Rumi
Underwritten by the Sorel Organization
Premiered on June 21, 2015 in Zipper Hall, The Colburn School, Los Angeles by Melanie Henley Heyn, soprano; Jesse Malgieri, baritone; and Gloria Kim, piano.

Love Sweet
by Jennifer Higdon with text by Amy Lowell
Underwritten by the Sorel Organization
Premiered on June 18, 2014 in Thayer Hall, The Colburn School, Los Angeles by Yungee Rhie, soprano; Itamar Zorman, violin; Peter Myers, cello; and Liza Stepanova, piano.

John and Abigail
by Ben Moore with text by John and Abigail Adams
Underwritten by SongFest and dedicated to Marcia Brown
Premiered on June 28, 2013 in Thayer Hall, The Colburn School, Los Angeles by Devony Smith, soprano; Mario Diaz-Moresco baritone, and Bridget Hough, piano.

Honey (from the Kitchen Songbook) 
by Gabriela Lena Frank with text by Nilo Cruz
Underwritten by the Sorel Organization
Premiered on July 19, 2013 in Zipper Hall, The Colburn School, Los Angeles by Jessica Rivera, soprano; Kelley O’Connor, mezzo- soprano; and Raquel Gorgojo, piano.

Gettysburg: July 1, 1863
by William Bolcom with text by Jane Kenyon
Underwritten by the Sorel Organization
Premiered on June 20, 2012 in Zipper Hall, The Colburn School, Los Angeles by Nathan Wyatt, baritone and Lucas Wong, piano.

Three Love Songs
by Libby Larsen with text by Pablo Neruda
Underwritten by the Sorel Organization
Dedicated to Marcia Brown and Janet Loranger
Premiered on June 19, 2011 in Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University by David McFerrin, baritone and Liza Stepanova, piano.

  1. Before Loving You
  2. How Many Roads
  3. Two Happy Lovers 

Donal Oge
by Libby Larsen  text : Anonymous
Underwritten by Sorel Organization
Premiered on June 19, 2011 in Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University by Anne Jennifer Nash, soprano and Justin Snyder, piano.

Stone Soup
by Libby Larsen with text by Marcia Brown
Gift from Libby Larsen
Dedicated to Marcia Brown and Janet Loranger
Premiered on June 19, 2011 in Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University by Victoria Browers, Hannah Goldshlack, Marie Marquis, sopranos; Leroy Davis, narrator; and Brent Funderburk, piano.

Dear Theo (from the letters of Vincent van Gogh) 
by Ben Moore with text by Vincent Van Gogh
Premiered on June 11, 2010 in Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University by Matthew Morris, baritone; Joe Lodato, baritone; and Kathleen Tagg, piano.

The Act
by Lori Laitman with text by H.L. Hix
Commissioned by SongFest and New Triad for Collaborative Arts
Underwritten by the Sorel Organization
Premiered on June 19, 2010 in Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University by Andrea Leyton-Mange, soprano; Blaise Pascal, tenor; and Andrew T. Rosenblum, piano.

Vocalism II by John Harbison performed by soprano Mary Mackenzie and pianist Rosemary Ritter.

Insomnia
by Tom Cipullo text by Various
 Co-commissioned by SongFest and I Cantori
Underwritten by SongFest and I Cantori
Dedicated to SongFest and Rosemary Hyler Ritter
Premiered on June 25, 2009 in Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University by Elizabeth Bell, Angela Dinkleman, Sarah Parnicky, sopranos; Christin Marie Hill, Jennifer Beattie, mezzo- sopranos; Marcio de Oliveira, Javier Bernardo, tenors; David Krohn, Michael Anthony McGee, baritones; and Jui-Ling Hsu, Seunghah Seo, Liza Stepanova, piano.

  1. You’ll Never Sleep Tonight (Cornelius Eady) – Quartet
  2. Insomnia (Dana Gioia) – Baritone Solo
  3. Storm (Lisel Mueller) – Quartet
  4. Prayer (Anonymous) - Soprano and Tenor Duet 
  5. from The Eve of St. Agnes (John Keats) – Soprano Solo
  6. Snoring (Juliet Wilson) – Quartet
  7. Music (Howard Moss) – Mezzo and Baritone Duet
  8. For the Bed at Kelmscott (William Morris) – Mezzo Solo
  9. Insomnia Reprise – Quartet
  10. A Clear Midnight (Walt Whitman) – Tenor Solo 

Vocalism I (Grand Aria) 
by John Harbison with text by Walt Whitman
Gift from John Harbison
Dedicated to Marc and Eva Stern
Premiered on June 21, 2007 in Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University by Sarah Davis, soprano and Susan Gaeddert, piano. 

Vocalism II
by John Harbison with text by Walt Whitman
Gift from John Harbison
Dedicated to Marc and Eva Stern
Premiered on June 5, 2005 in Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University by Amanda Gosier, soprano and Rosemary Hyler, piano.

Therefore We Do Not Lose Heart (2003)
by Angel Lam with text from II Corinthians 4:16-18
Premiered on June 14, 2004 in Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University

Song About Law and Light (1996)
by Anna Weesner with text from Psalm 119: 73-77
Commissioned by Dawn Upshaw
Selected movements premiered on June 14, 2004 in Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University by Ji-Young Yang, soprano and Kate Stevens, piano.

While millions join the theme...(2004)
by Erica Muhl with texts from Children’s Letters to God
Premiered on June 14, 2004 in Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University by Khori Dastoor, soprano and Serena Chin, piano.

Forever is Composed of Nows (2004)
by Sally Lamb with text by Emily Dickinson
Premiered on June 14, 2004 in Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University by Ji-Young Yang, soprano and Kate Stevens, piano.

The Artist
by Anna Weesner with text by William Carlos Williams
Underwritten by and dedicated to Marcia Brown
Premiered on June 14, 2004 in Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University by Sang-Yun Yoon, baritone and Kate Stevens, piano.

Autumn
by Dorothy Chang with text by Rainier Maria Rilke
Dedicated to Marcia Brown
Premiered on June 14, 2004 in Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University by Carola Emrich-Fisher, soprano and Hisako Hiratsuka, piano.

Songs of Separation (2002)
by Antonio Carlos Defeo text by various
Premiered on June 16, 2004 in Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University by Teresa D'Amico, soprano; Margaret O'Connell, mezzo- soprano; and Tamara Cashour, piano.

  1. When we two parted (Lord Gordon Byron)
  2. By this he knew she wept with waking eyes (George Meredith)
  3. Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part (Michael Drayton) 

Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth (2004)
by Julia Carey with text by William Shakespeare
Premiered June 2004 in Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University

Turning to him, who meets me with desire
by Mark Carlson with text from Song of Songs
Premiered on June 20, 2004 in Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University by Khori Dastoor, soprano; and Monica Swope, piano.

Burning (2004)
by Dorothy Chang with text by William Carlos Williams
Dedicated to Marcia Brown
Premiered on June 16, 2004 in Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University by Carola Emrich-Fisher, mezzo-soprano; and Hisako Hiratsuka, piano.

  1. Full Moon
  2. The Counter
  3. An Address 

Arise, My Love
by Richard Hundley with text from Book of Proverbs
Underwritten by SongFest
Dedicated to SongFest and Rosemary Hyler
Premiered on November 2, 2002 in Zipper Hall, The Colburn School by Frances Young, soprano; Janice Felty, mezzo; and Rosemary Hyler, piano.

Spring is purple jewelry
by James Aikman
Commissioned by G. Schirmer - 1995 Young Americans' Art Song Competition
Premiered on July 16, 1996 in Schoenberg Hall, UCLA

If you were coming in the Fall
by Jake Heggie with text by Emily Dickinson
Commissioned by G. Schirmer - 1995 Young Americans' Art Song Competition
Premiered on July 16, 1996 in Schoenberg Hall, UCLA

Canción Tonta
by Jonathan Kulp
Commissioned by G. Schirmer - 1995 Young Americans' Art Song Competition
Premiered on July 16, 1996 in Schoenberg Hall, UCLA

Bedtime
by James Primosch with text by Denise Levertov
Commissioned by G. Schirmer - 1995 Young Americans' Art Song Competition
Premiered on July 16, 1996 in Schoenberg Hall, UCLA

Poem
by Paul Siskind
Commissioned by G. Schirmer - 1995 Young Americans' Art Song Competition
Premiered on July 16, 1996 in Schoenberg Hall, UCLA

Alter? When the hills do
by Anna Weesner with text by Emily Dickinson
Commissioned by G. Schirmer - 1995 Young Americans' Art Song Competition
Premiered on July 16, 1996 in Schoenberg Hall, UCLA

The Rear Guard
by Jeffrey Wood with text by Siegfried Sassoon
Commissioned by G. Schirmer - 1995 Young Americans' Art Song Competition
Premiered on July 16, 1996 in Schoenberg Hall, UCLA