New York Festival of Song Set to Celebrate ‘Gay Life’

By David Salazar

The New York Festival of Song will present “Manning the Canon: Songs of Gay Life” on June 25, 2019 at the LGBT Community Center.

The performance will feature music by such composers as Berg, Bernstein, Blitzstein, Bolcom, Britten, Coleman, de Blasio, De Falla, Griffes, Porter, Poulenc, Saint-Saëns, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, and Wallowitch as performed by tenor Daniel McGrew, Scott Murphree, Efraín Solís, Matt Boehler, pianist Steven Blier.

“This program, which is very dear to me, explores two centuries of gay composers and gay-themed songs, and presents a wide variety of characters: experienced guys on the prowl for a good time; sensitive men grappling with their sexuality; hyper-males and drag queens; ecstatic lovers and those just awakening to their erotic nature,” noted New York Festival of Song Artistic Director Blier. “The composers come from seven countries and span 190 years, but they have one thing in common: they are all masters of words and music, and present a vital and engaging portrait of our gay heritage.

“The joys of gay brotherhood, the lacerating wit of our most brilliant writers, the subtle signals we’ve created to locate one another, and the crises we’ve faced and survived: these are the subjects of ‘Manning the Canon.’”

Among the pieces are “Polo” by De Falla, “You’re on Top” by Cole Porter, “ “Si vous n’avez rien à me dire” by Saint-Saëns, “At the Ball” by Tchaikovsky, “Bruce” by Wallowitch, “Is it Dirty” by Berg, and “Der Gondelfahrer” by Schubert, among many others.