This program celebrates the stunning range and variety of American concert music. In the centenary year of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, IRIS honors Bernstein, arguably our country’s greatest musician. Fancy Free turned the little-known composer into an overnight star and marked Bernstein’s first collaboration with choreographer Jerome Robbins. Samuel Barber represents the American neo-Romantic tradition with his exquisite, nostalgic masterpiece, Knoxville: Summer 1915, with text by Knoxville native James Agee. The child of Swedish immigrants, Howard Hanson was a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer. Hanson’s groundbreaking Second Symphony was commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky, the émigré conductor who made it his mission to nurture American composers. The program also includes an American song set that embodies the uniquely American blend of high and popular culture that blurs all boundaries between concert hall, Broadway theater and nightclub, featuring the sensational Julia Bullock.
Introducing Julia Bullock, making her IRIS debut. This singular talent was the recipient of the 2016 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, Lincoln Center’s 2015 Martin E. Segal Award and First Prize winner at the 2014 Naumburg International Vocal Competition. She’s been hailed as a “showstopper” by the San Francisco Chronicle and recognized as “impressive, fast-rising . . . poised for a significant career” by The New York Times.