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Deconstructing Kurt Weill: The American Songs - Ty Alan Emerson, director and arranger


Deconstructing Kurt Weill: The American Songs
Friday, May 2, 7:00pm
Saturday, May 3, 7:00pm
Levin Theatre
Cleveland Public Theatre

No composer wrote edgier, more haunting music for the theater than Kurt Weill, beginning with his trailblazing work in Berlin, The Threepenny Opera. But when Weill fled Nazi Germany and settled in New York City in the early 1930s, his American musicals such as Johnny Johnson, Street Scene and Lost in the Stars proved nearly as provocative, tackling the most serious of social and political issues. Hear Weill’s bracing songs – whose lyricists include Langston Hughes, Maxwell Anderson and Alan Jay Lerner – reinterpreted for a contemporary audience by some of Cleveland’s leading singers and instrumentalists.

Hosted by Heather Meeker
Music Arrangements and direction by Ty Alan Emerson
Featuring vocalists Fabio Polanco and Christine Fader, guitarist Jake Fader and an instrumental trio from NO EXIT New Music Ensemble.
Co-produced with Cleveland Public Theatre

Ty Alan Emerson
Louisville Courier-Journal music critic Andrew Adler wrote of Emerson's piano trio Dedications that it "possessed surprising emotional resonance and was quite expertly wrought." Cleveland radio personality and music critic Eric Kisch stated, "This is a young man with a great future ahead of him. I look forward to many musical experiences from his pen." Composer and president of the Manhattan School of Music, Robert Sirota, called Emerson's double concerto, 5 Pieces, "A true work of substance."He continued by saying, "It deserves many performances."

The music of Ty Alan Emerson has been heard across the U.S. and abroad. His work has been featured at several festivals including: The CMS/SCI Festival in San Antonio Texas, The Akron New Music Festival, The Huddersfield New Music Festival, the Resolution 2000 New Music Festival, and the Louisiana State University New Music Festival. In Cleveland, Emerson has been the featured composer on two of WCLV radio's programs, "Not the Dead White Male Composer's Hour," and "Musical Passions."

Emerson has received several commissions and composed works for: Gary Louie, Kirsten Taylor, Michaela Trnkova, The Cleveland Chamber Collective, The Malcolm Kerr Peace Choir and the Peabody Wind Ensemble conducted by Harlan Parker. His work has also received noteworthy performances from Mark Kay Fink, Nicholas Underhill, Janice Martin, the Peabody Percussion Ensemble and the Quorum New Music Ensemble. His latest commission, a new work for solo piano, comes from the Fortnightly Musical Club of Cleveland, Ohio.

Emerson has been the recipient of many awards including: The Randolph S. Rothschild Award, Frank D. Willis Memorial Prize, Southeastern Composers League Composer Award, as well as the prestigious ASCAP Morton Gould Award and the National Society of Arts and Letters Eleanor Searle McCullum Donor Award. In 2000 Emerson was named the New Hampshire Committee Fellow to the famed MacDowell Colony.

In addition to his formal composition training with Thomas Albert, Dinos Constantinides and Morris Moshe Cotel, Emerson has worked with such luminaries as John Corigliano, Samuel Adler and Chen Yi. He holds degrees from Shenandoah University, Louisiana State University and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Peabody Institute at The Johns Hopkins University.

At home in Cleveland, Emerson is a staunch advocate for new music. He has been an active member of the Cleveland Composers' Guild, serving two terms as president. During his tenure, the Guild experienced unprecedented growth, becoming the leading voice for new music in North East Ohio.

Emerson has served on the faculty at Shenandoah University and Cleveland State University. He has been a visiting composer at Bowling Green State University, Youngstown State University, University of Akron and the Interlochen Academy. Emerson has also been a visiting lecturer of American Music at the Peabody Institute and the Royal Academy of Music in London. His music is published by Ballerbach Music, HoneyRock Publishing and Chocurua Music. His Birch Whispers for flute and harp is available on a CD entitled "Telling Tales" featuring music by Cleveland Composers' Guild members, distributed by Capstone Records.