News Column

Art songs pay tribute to German music

April 27, 2014

By Kathaleen Roberts, Albuquerque Journal, N.M.

April 27--The classical version of "American Idol" will open on Friday, May 2 at Albuquerque Academy.

The Vocal Artistry Art Song Festival will feature 111 singers from across the state ranging from 12-year-olds to adults in a celebration of German music. Free public concerts will continue on Saturday at Albuquerque Academy, with a final recital on Sunday at the First Methodist Church.

"An art song is basically a poem set to music," festival founder/coordinator Jacqueline Zander-Wall said. "Each song is its own empire. Each song tells a story with its own language, its own color. It (requires) the singer to use their imagination as well as the audience. And it's short -- two minutes. It's like a miniature play."

The festival will bring Boston baritone David Kravitz and mezzo-soprano Deborah Domanski, who has sung at the Santa Fe Opera. Pianist Herta Werner will both accompany them and lecture on German romantic music. The three will perform with conductor Daniel Cummings at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 4 at First United Methodist Church.

This marks the festival's fifth year. In 2008 it opened with 52 singers and 12 awards. Today it boasts 23 awards with $7,000 in prize money, master classes and open auditions.

It all began when a donor approached Zander-Wall asking her if any of the city's arts organizations needed money. She said she didn't know any that couldn't use additional funding. The donor provided the seed money for a vocal competition.

"When I was a student, I knew the struggle American (voice) students go through in trying to get through school," Zander-Wall said.

At many vocal competitions, singers have to provide their own piano accompanist, she said.

"If you win, you get less than it cost to enter the competition."

Zander-Wall wants to educate both students and the community about the beauty of art songs.

If you go

WHAT: Vocal Artistry Art Song Festival

WHEN and WHERE: 7 p.m. Friday, May 2, in the Simms Auditorium, Albuquerque Academy, 6400 Wyoming NE; 7 p.m. Saturday, May 3, awards concert, Simms Auditorium, Albuquerque Academy; 1 p.m.May 4 "Auf Wiedersehen Recital" with Deborah Domanski, David Kravitz, Herta Werner and Daniel Cummings, First Methodist Church, 314 Lead SW. For a complete schedule, visit

HOW MUCH: Free. Visit


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Source: Albuquerque Journal (NM)