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DISTINGUISHED FACULTY RECITAL: Ann Murray, mezzo-soprano & Graham Johnson, piano

  • The Colburn School, Thayer Hall 200 S Grand Ave Los Angeles, CA, 90012 United States (map)

SongFest 2015 proudly presents

Distinguished Faculty Recital

Ann Murray, mezzo-soprano
Graham Johnson, piano


Works by Henry Purcell, Johannes Brahms, Gabriel Fauré, Enrique Granados, and Benjamin Britten.


$20 General Admission (free for SongFest students and faculty with ID)


Ann Murray is one of the most distinguished singers of our time. In fact, if she were not an Irish citizen (born in Dublin) she would use the title Dame Ann Murray  like Dame Janet Baker, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith. Nevertheless, in awarding her DBE (Dame of the British Empire) our government has created Ann Murray an honorary dame. In the same way, my friend the great pianist Murray Perahia, resident in England, is an honorary British knight (KBE) choosing not to be known as "Sir Murray" because he is a citizen of the United States. It would be easy for either of these artists to obtain dual citizenship and use their titles on a daily basis. In both cases their choice not to do so indicates unswerving loyalty to their roots. After four decades of work with Ann Murray, I can attest that there is nothing like this honourable Dame. I have watched her progress from student singer, to aspiring opera singer and budding recitalist, to international opera star (seventeen consecutive seasons in Salzburg, Kammersängerin in Munich and recipient of the German Order of Merit), mistress of the song stage and a giver of master classes that are exciting as few others, interpretation and technique held in perfect balance. As a founder member of my Songmakers' Almanac from 1976, and later in countless solo and duet recitals (the latter with another Dame, the soprano Felicity Lott) it has been one of the most rewarding musical experiences of my life to work with this great artist. Our recital programme looks back on our many recitals and provides a sampling of repertoire we have long known and loved together. Purcell and Britten are two great composers in our mother tongue (although the in the land of Ann's birth, Gaelic is on an equal footing). Brahms and Fauré, both composers especially enamoured of the mezzo soprano voice, represent our twin debt to the Lieder and mélodie repertoires. Te Spanish songs remind me that it was my mentor, the great accompanist Gerald Moore, who told me of the wonderful young singer he had just heard competing in a song competition in Barcelona; on that occasion Ann worked with the great Conchita Badía on Granados. Te Irish songs that conclude the programme are part of a repertoire that is ofen done in in an exaggerated, unauthentic manner. With Ann Murray we have the real thing. However at home she feels throughout the world, being an Irish singer is at the very heart of her artistic life and achievement.

Graham Johnson