Many Songs in Tallahassee and Hattiesburg

I enjoyed two coaching sessions last week with Mary Mackenzie and Heidi Williams. These two ladies will be performing most of my voice and piano song output later this year, and then recording almost all of that material for an eventual CD release. On Friday, November 20, at Florida State University in Tallahassee, they will perform:

  • Three Sacred Songs (arrangements of old plainchant melodies)
  • Holy the Firm (a big cycle I wrote for Dawn Upshaw)
  • the individual songs Waltzing the Spheres and Shadow Memory (texts by Susan Scott Thompson and Susan Orlean, respectively)
  • an arrangement of How Can I Keep from Singin? (dating from some 20 years ago, it was written for an all-Primosch show at the Cleveland Museum of Art)

The performance will also be given at Southern Mississippi University in Hattiesburg on Tuesday, November 17. I’ll be there in Florida, and will give a talk at FSU, but will have to miss my Mississippi debut – I’ll be in NYC for the Juilliard performance of From a Book of Hours.

Both of these women are quite fantastic musicians. I’ve known Mary for some time, and she has done my work beautifully on several occasions, including a performance and recording of my piece for modern instruments, early instruments, and choir, Sacred Songs and Meditations (that recording has been in the can for a while, I imagine the release shouldn’t be too far off.) Heidi was new to me, and she is a real find, getting a beautiful piano sound, capable of subtle rhythmic nuance, ably partnering Mary. The rather virtuosic piano writing in Holy the Firm holds no terrors for her. Check out her very impressive disc Drive American, with music by John Adams, Joan Tower, Daniel Crozier, Chen Yi, Augusta Read Thomas, and William Bolcom.

The individual songs mentioned above are not (yet) handled by Theodore Presser, my usual publisher. Check out sample pages from these songs on the score excerpts page. There is a recording of Shadow Memory (Lisa Williamson, soprano and Rami Sarieddine, piano) on the “solo voice” audio excerpts page. A video of Kelly Ann Bixby, soprano, and Laura Ward, piano, doing Waltzing the Spheres is here. Send me an e-mail <jamesprimosch at gmail dot com> if you want purchase PDFs for any or all of these individual songs – click on the titles above to purchase the cycles.

Here is the inevitable post-coaching selfie. That’s Mary on the left, then Heidi in the middle.


Mary Mackenzie sings Sacred Songs

I just learned today that soprano Mary Mackenzie will be doing two of my Three Sacred Songs to open a concert by a new group called SongFusion. The musicians include Victoria Browers and Mary Mackenzie, soprano; Michael Kelly, baritone; Liza Stepanova and Kathleen Tagg, piano; with guests: John Romeri, flute; Michael Truesdell, percussion; and Kevork Mourad, visual artist. The concert will take place Monday, February 28th, 8:00pm at the Church of St Jean Baptiste, Lexington Ave at 76th Street in New York. Mary is a fantastic young singer who I first heard when she did the Three Sacreds at the Token Creek Festival a few summers ago. She has been very active doing new music in NYC, including a recent performance with the Da Capo Chamber Players.

With the news about Mary’s performance, I decided to add a page devoted to upcoming performances of my music, and accessible from the tab just below the header above. Here’s a post about my Four Sacred Songs, which incorporate chamber ensemble versions of the Three Sacred Songs.