Art Song Platform Sparks & Wiry Cries to Present NYC songSLAM Festival

By Chris Ruel

New York-based global art song platform Sparks & Wiry Cries will present its flagship NYC songSLAM Festival with twelve days of song in a virtual event beginning on Jan. 11 at 5:00 p.m. EST.

The 2021 songSLAM runs through Jan. 22 and will showcase 14 emerging composer and performer teams presenting new art song competitions. After each performance, the audience can vote via text-to-vote for as little as $1 per vote. The top three teams to generate the most funds will win cash prizes. The composer for the team earning the most votes will receive mentorship from Tom Cipullo.

A panel of judges including mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, bass-baritone Eric Owens, composer Reinaldo Moya, and Sparks’ Co-Artistic Directors Erika Switzer and Martha Guth will choose their favorite composer from the pool of submissions and commission an additional 15-minute work for voice and piano to be premiered during the 2022 songSLAM festival

After the twelve-day songSLAM concludes, Sparks & Wiry Cries will share the second program of the festival, two world-premiere performances of compositions that focus on stories representing the unique human experience in 2020. The premieres will be for free to view worldwide. Accompanying PDFs of each score will also be available for purchase.

Sparks & Wiry Cries will produce a virtual songSLAM in conjunction with Cincinnati Song Initiative on January 9, 2021.

The 2021 NYC songSLAM Teams are:

“Greenport, Long Island: A Socially Distanced Diva” 
April Martin, soprano
Evan Fein composer/piano/poet

Ashley Becker, soprano
Keith Chambers, piano
Frances Pollack, composer
Text by: Lucille Clifton

CodyRay Caho, baritone
Michael Lewis, piano/composer
Dicky Dutton, poet

“Mary’s Song”
Temple Hammen, soprano
Jake Landau, piano/composer
Text by: Marion Angus

“Temporary Insanity”
Jennifer Beattie, mezzo-soprano/poet
Adam Marks, piano
John Irabagon, composer

“Why, what is Tybalt?”
Angela Yam, soprano
Nathan Halbur, piano/composer
Text by: William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet Act II, scene IV

Stefanie Izzo, mezzo soprano
Rachel DeVore Fogarty, piano/composer
Text by: Amy Lowell

“Sin título”
Anna Tonna, mezzo-soprano
Alexa Babakhanian, piano/composer
Text by: Juan Ramón Jiménez

“[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in)]”
Rebecca Dias Pacella, soprano
Tyler Weakland, piano/composer
Text by: e.e. cummings

“Sarah’s Lament”
Jessica Laddin, soprano
Sungmin Kim, piano
Sally Lamb McCune, composer
Text by: Rachel Lampert

“Do You See the Flag?”
Gregory Feldmann, baritone
Nathaniel LaNasa, piano
Curtis J. Stewart, composer
Text by: Francis Scott Key and Curtis J. Stewart

“Say Not, Sweet Anne”
Casey Halloran, singer/composer
Jason Steiner, piano
Text by: George Gordon Byron

“The Morning After the Storm”
Helen Zhibing Huang, soprano
Ben Yee-Paulson, piano/composer
Text by: William Wordsworth

Marissa Plati, soprano
Muse Ye, piano
Francis Snyder, composer
Text by: Carl Sandberg