Maybe you have heard all the buzz of late about Walt Whitman? He turns 200 this May, and it's our turn to celebrate – as he himself did once, more than a century and a half ago...
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death...
The smoke of my own breath,
Echoes, ripples, buzz’d whispers, love-root, silk-thread, crotch and vine,
My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the passing of blood and air through my lungs,
The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore and dark-color’d sea-rocks, and of hay in the barn,
The sound of the belch’d words of my voice loos’d to the eddies of the wind,
A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms,
The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag,
The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hill-sides,
The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun.
Whitman, Song of Myself, 1855
I sincerely hope this makes you pick up a book of Whitman poems! You'll breathe afresh and remember again all there is to celebrate in life.
This, precisely, is the inspiration for
Carol of Words – Walt Whitman in Song presented by Lyric Fest next weekend, April 6th and 7th, in Philadelphia and Haverford, and April 9 in NYC. In short, we have planned a big musical party of Whitman. You must come! (There will be cake.) You can catch
one of the concerts, but think about making them both - each program is utterly unique. Read below about what to expect.
'Til then, may you have a moment or two to enjoy the poet who beckoned to you before you were even born.
It is I you hold, and who holds you;
I spring from the pages into your arms...
Yours, always, with a song,
Suzanne and Laura
CAROL OF WORDS - Walt Whitman in Song
Lyric Fest presents a three-concert Walt Whitman happening in two cities in honor of the poet's bicentennial.
Twelve new vocal chamber works commissioned and premiered alongside extant song settings,
biographical narration and readings from Whitman's poetry, prose and letters.
Saturday, April 6th, 2019 at 4:00 PM at the Academy of Vocal Arts
3:30 – Pre-concert Composer Talk
Sunday, April 7th, 2019 at 3:00 PM at Haverford College, Roberts Hall
2:30 – Pre-concert Composer Talk
Tuesday, April 9th, 2019 at 7:00 PM in NYC
All new works presented at The Phoenix Concerts, Inc.
Saint Matthew & Saint Timothy / 26 W 84th / New York, NY
Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 7pm
CAROL OF WORDS – Part I
Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 4PM at The Academy of Vocal Arts
This program is presented in AVA's Helen Corning Warden Theater (this time we perform on the stage) with poems recited by Jim Bergwall, and with narration on the poet's life by Whitman expert Greg Trupiano.
And of course, the main attraction will be many varied song settings of Walt Whitman, some heard for the very first time.
World premieres of LF newly commissioned works:
Also featuring songs by George Crumb
, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Ernst Bacon, Paul Hindemith, Kurt Weill, and Lee Hoiby.
, baritone, and
, baritone. With Laura Ward, piano, Min-Young Kim, violin,Tim Ressler, double bass
CAROL OF WORDS – Part II
Sunday, April 7, 2019 at 3PM at Haverford College, Roberts Hall
This program is presented at Haverford College's Marshall Auditorium, in Robert's Hall. You will hear poems recited by Jim Bergwall, narration on the poet's life by Whitman expert Greg Trupiano, and various song settings of Walt Whitman, and the world premieres of newly commissioned songs by LF:
Lincoln's Death - Broadway N.Y. in the forenoon, the news is received
, mezzo soprano,
With Laura Ward, piano, Min-Young Kim, Violin, Tim Ressler, Double Bass, Doris Hall-Gulati, Clarinet
Other works featured on this concert are by Daron Aric Hagen, Ned Rorem, Elinor Remick Warren, Ernst Bacon, Charles Ives, Kurt Weill
Details on the concert season, featured artists, and more may be found at