Leeds Lieder Festival 2013: The Composer’s Echo
Friday 11 October – Sunday 13 October 
The fifth biennial Leeds Lieder Festival (Friday 11 – Sunday 13 October 2013), ‘The Composer’s Echo’, celebrates the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten and the 50th anniversary of the death of Francis Poulenc. Leeds Lieder is proud to welcome the distinguished pianist, and one of the finest song accompanists of the day, Graham Johnson, as this year’s Artistic Director.
The 2013 Festival showcases an inspiring line up of young international and British artists, many of whom have not previously been heard in Leeds, including Canadian soprano Martha Guth; Bavarian soprano Christiane Karg; British baritone Benedict Nelson; South African baritone Njabulo Madlala and the South African pianist James Baillieu. Mezzo soprano Anna Huntley; baritone Marcus Farnsworth; soprano Bibi Heal; tenors Joshua Ellicott and Benjamin Hulett fly the British flag.
Jane Anthony, founder and Leeds Lieder Festival Director says: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Graham Johnson as our Artistic Director for the fifth Leeds Lieder Festival. A passionate advocate of art-song and renowned for his superb recital programmes, Graham is pre-eminent among the great song accompanists of our day, having worked with all the greatest singers. We are thrilled with the superb roster of international singers he has assembled that Leeds audiences would otherwise not have the chance to hear outside London. And as a friend of Benjamin Britten, Graham brings a very special understanding and insight to our festival theme.
“Leeds is the ideal city for a festival of this kind thanks to three excellent concert halls perfectly suited to song recitals which we can look forward to packing with a quality programme which generates that special buzz created by so much activity compressed
into one weekend.”
Graham Johnson, who earlier this year received the prestigious Wigmore Medal in recognition of his outstanding work for the song repertoire throughout many decades and to mark the publication of his monumental 3-volume encyclopaedia Franz Schubert: The Complete Songs, added: “Rather than focus exclusively on the music of Benjamin Britten, we have chosen to celebrate his radiance as composer, accompanist, conductor and festival director – hence the title for the weekend: The Composer’s Echo.  Britten and Poulenc referred to themselves as ‘Les frères d’outre Manche’ – brothers across the Channel, and the Festival’s recitals reflect this relationship by featuring songs by Britten’s teachers, pupils and friends, including Poulenc, and other composers with whom he was particularly associated, including Schubert and Schumann”
Leeds Lieder welcomes as Guest of Honour international mezzo soprano Ann Murray DBE, renowned for her superb interpretative and vocal skills as a recitalist and opera singer. As part of the Festival’s commitment to developing young artists, she will work in a public Masterclass with student singer and pianist duos nominated by the UK conservatoires; and she will share her insights into the world of art song at an In Conversation.

Leeds Lieder 2013 Festival Highlights:

▪ Eine Nacht in Venedig (A Night in Venice) – a Serenade to Serenissima
The opening concert celebrates the most seductively mysterious of cities in music from Monteverdi to Britten and Poulenc, performed by soprano Martha Guth, mezzo soprano Anna Huntley, tenor Benjamin Hulett, baritone Marcus Farnsworth with Graham Johnson piano.
Friday 11 October 2013, 8.15 – 10.15pm, The Venue, Leeds College of Music
▪ Composers + Poets Forum
A day- long forum which is the culmination of work initiated in June when a group of student composers from the Conservatoires’ Composers Forum met a group of poets in a creative venture to encourage the composition of new art song. They return to perform and discuss their new works. The Festival welcomes other aspiring poets and composers to take part in the discussions from the floor. The forum will be followed at 6.00pm by a Showcase performance of the unpredictable and fascinating new works produced, which may well point out new directions for art song.
Forum Saturday 12 October, 11.00 – 5.00pm, Recital Room 219, Leeds College of Music; Showcase  6.00 – 7.00pm, The Venue, Leeds College of Music
▪ In Conversation with Ann Murray DBE
Ann Murray DBE, one of the most cherished mezzo sopranos of her generation renowned for her wit and warmth, talks about her life in music – guaranteed to be a fascinating and entertaining afternoon.
Saturday 12 October, 2.30 – 3.30pm, Howard Assembly Room, Leeds Grand Theatre
▪ Celebrity Recital: Christiane Karg and Graham Johnson
The young Bavarian soprano Christiane Karg, named Young Performer of the Year in 2009 by Opernwelt magazine and awarded the prestigious Echo Klassik prize in 2010 for her first Lied CD,  is already a highly distinguished performer in great demand on both the concert platform and operatic stage throughout Europe. She makes her Leeds debut with Graham Johnson with a sumptuous programme of songs by Wolf, Falla, Ravel and Duparc.
Saturday 12 October, 8.15 – 10.15pm, The Venue, Leeds College of Music
▪ Young Artists Recitals
Anna Huntley mezzo soprano James Baillieu piano
In memory of Noelle Barker OBE
Stockton upon Tees born mezzo soprano Anna Huntley and South African born pianist James Baillieu celebrate Britten and his influences in a programme including some best-loved Lieder by Schubert and Mahler and English songs by Quilter, Frank Bridge and Britten himself.  The immortal Joyce Grenfell and Flanders and Swann add a flash of wit to the proceedings! The concert also features the world première of Alec Roth’s Four Garden Songs with texts by the American Pulitzer prize-winning poet of the imagist school, Amy Lowell, the first of two Leeds Lieder commissions for this Festival.
Saturday 12 October, 11.00am – 12.00 noon, The Venue, Leeds College of Music
Martha Guth soprano and Graham Johnson piano
Mignon and her Sisters and On This Fairest Isle
Canadian soprano Martha Guth and Graham Johnson perform songs inspired by Goethe’s frail, enigmatic heroine, Mignon, followed by a celebration of Britain in some of Britten’s arrangements of songs by Purcell and his own settings of W H Auden’s On This Island.
Saturday 12 October, 4.15 – 5.15pm, Howard Assembly Room, Leeds Grand Theatre
▪ Masterclass: Ann Murray DBE
During a long and distinguished career Ann Murray DBE, has established herself as one of the greatest mezzo sopranos of our day, equally at home and greatly in demand as both a recitalist and opera singer. She shares her love of singing and gift for communication in a public Masterclass with student singers and pianists from the UK conservatoires.
Sunday 13 October, 10.00am – 12.30pm, Clothworkers’ Hall, University of Leeds
▪ World Song Concert: Njabulo Madlala baritone and William Vann piano
First prize Winner of the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Award in 2008, Njabulo Madlala, baritone and pianist William Vann continue the Festival’s commitment to feature the song of other cultures with a programme of unique and beautiful South African Xhosa folk songs. (The concert is preceded by an interactive workshop at 1.00pm – learn how to click-sing!).
Sunday 13 October, 2.00 – 2.45pm, Recital Room, Leeds College of Music
▪ Made in Yorkshire
A celebration of home-grown talent from four fine artists with Yorkshire roots: Bibi Heal soprano, Joshua Ellicott tenor, Colin Honour clarinet and Anthony Kraus piano which features Schubert’s joyous The Shepherd on the Rock, Vaughan Williams’s evocative Songs of Travel and some favourite songs by Quilter, all rounded off with a sophisticated dash of Gershwin and Cole Porter.
Sunday 13 October, 3.00 – 4.00pm, The Venue, Leeds College of Music
▪ Closing Recital: Benedict Nelson and Graham Johnson
Benedict Nelson’s recital with Graham Johnson will include settings of poems with a North-orientated theme by British and German poets entitled Schubert Looking North; songs by Duparc and Poulenc; and the world première of the second of two works commissioned by Leeds Lieder for the Festival, My Heart Laid Bare by Judith Bingham.
Sunday 13 October, 6.00pm The Venue, Leeds College of Music
▪ 2013 Festival Commissions: New Music from Judith Bingham and Alec Roth
Leeds Lieder is committed to keeping the art-song repertoire fresh by commissioning at least two new works for voice and piano for each festival.  2013 sees commissions from two contrasting composers, both with Yorkshire connections. Judith Bingham has elected to set texts from Baudelaire’s Journaux intimes for her new work My Heart Laid Bare (Mon coeur mis à nu), which Stéphane Degout and Graham Johnson will perform on Sunday 13 October. Alec Roth’s Four Garden Poems sets poems by the American poet Amy Lowell (1874-1925) which mezzo soprano Anna Huntley and pianist James Baillieu will perform on Saturday 12 October.
▪ Leeds Lieder Festival Fringe
A series of free, drop-in informal poetry readings, pre-concert talks, mini-lectures about selected songs and a performance by the reserve duos for the Festival Masterclass, designed to make the weekend even more enjoyable for audiences.
For further information & images please contact:
Shona Galletly PR on behalf of Leeds Lieder
E: shona@shonagalletlypr.co.uk
M: 07813 796733