“I was very influenced by my father’s CD collection — the home music library — so my listening habits were embarrassingly 70s-centric. I was deep into Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, and Bruce Springsteen, primarily. The more time I spend with art song, the more I find that my criteria for a good song is the same across any genres, so I feel less guilty in taking pleasure in these great songwriters’ contributions to the art form as time goes on. …I am a first generation classical musician. Singer-songwriters are more my origins. I always loved singing, and I began performing in plays and musicals in high school. When I was cast as Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, at age 16, I started taking voice lessons. My teacher said: “I’ll teach you classical vocal technique, and you can apply it to any style you like”. He started me on some early Italian and Schubert songs, and I found myself being drawn into that world more strongly than anything else.” —Paul Appleby
Dear Theo, the title set, is based upon the letters of legendary artist Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo. So Free am I sets poetry by women from across millennia, expressing their longing to be free of the ages-old societal discrimination they have suffered. Ode to a Nightingale sets John Keats’ famous poem, with a separate song devoted to each stanza.
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