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9th Biennial Art Song Competition Concert


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Performed from Sol Joseph Recital Hall

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Marnie Breckenridge
Tom Cipullo
Libby Larsen


First Prize: $300
Second Prize: $200
Third Prize: $100


Siddharth Piravi, '22 (b. 2000)
text: Mary Elizabeth Frye (1905-2004)

"A Spirit’s Ballad"
Alaska Coombes, mezzo-soprano
Jarron Carlson, piano

Cooper Grosscup, ’23 (b. 1994)
text: Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

"As Adam Early in the Morning"
Hope Nelson, mezzo-soprano
Dana Marie Chan, piano

Xu Yu, ‘21
text: Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

"I am Nobody! Who are you?"
Meghan Jolliffe, mezzo-soprano
Dana Marie Chan, piano

Pavle Gavrilović, ’22 (b. 1993)
text: Jacques Prévert (1900-1977)

MonaLisa Pomarleanu, mezzo-soprano
Jarron Carlson, piano

Kieran Cremins, ’22 (b. 2000)
text: John Donne (1572-1631)

"Death, Be Not Proud"*
Phoebe Chee, soprano
Kieran Cremins, piano

Jose Vargas, ’24 (b. 2001)
text: James Joyce (1882-1941)

"Rain Has Fallen"
Leora Gilgur, mezzo-soprano
Dana Marie Chan, piano

Jessica Mao, ’22 (b. 1998)
text: Mary Oliver (1935-2019)

"The Storm"*
Mia Perrotta, soprano
Jessica Mao, piano

- Intermission -

Samuel C. Nedel, ‘22 (b. 1981)
text: William Blake (1757-1827)

"The Veiled Evening"
     from The Couch of Death
Eva "Nena" Aldaz, mezzo-soprano
Dana Marie Chan, piano

Andrew McIver, ‘22 (b. 2000)
text: Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

"Facing West"
Matt Boehler, baritone
Kevin Korth, piano

Clark Evans, ‘22 (b. 1994)
text: Anonymous

"The Golden Goose"
Natalie Mitchell, soprano
Jenny Ma, piano

Pierre Fontaine, ’21 (b. 1995)
text: Frederico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936)

"Leave Me Here Crying (Ah!)"
Alexander Perkins, tenor
SooYean Kwon, piano

Jose Salinas, ‘21 (b. 1997)
text: Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

"As Adam Early in the Morning"
Matt Boehler, baritone
Kevin Korth, piano

Jarron Carlson, ‘22 (b. 1999)
text: Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

"Come Slowly – Eden"
Lindsay Martin, mezzo-soprano
Jarron Carlson, piano

Tamara McLeod, ’21 (b. 1999)
text: Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)

"Dirge for a Joker"*
Ava Harmon, mezzo-soprano
Dana Marie Chan, piano

*Indicates a pre-recorded performance

Judge Biographies

Soprano Marnie Breckenridge captivates international audiences with passionate portrayals of roles ranging from the Baroque to Contemporary. A favorite of living composers, she is a go-to performer of critically acclaimed new works praising her, “lyrical poignancy and dramatic power” (The Chicago Tribune). Recent favorite opera roles include, JACQUELINE by Woolf & Vavrek (DORA award for best individual performance - Tapestry Opera), Mother in Little’s DOG DAYS (LA & Ft. Worth Opera), Sierva Maria in Peter Eötvös’s LOVE AND OTHER DEMONS (Glyndebourne Festival Opera), and Cunegonde in CANDIDE (English National Opera) deemed “simply terrific” (Opera Magazine UK) and “note perfect” (Prague Post).  Marnie received her MM in Vocal Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. www.marniebreckenridge.com

Hailed by the American Academy of Art & Letters for music of “inexhaustible imagination, wit, expressive range and originality,” composer Tom Cipullo is the recipient of numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship (2012), and the Arts & Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters (2013).  He has received commissions from dozens of performing ensembles, and fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Liguria Study Center (Italy).  The New York Times has called his music “intriguing and unconventional,” and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has called him “an expert in writing for the voice.”  Cipullo’s music is recorded on the Naxos, Albany, CRI, PGM, MSR, Centaur, and Capstone labels, and is published by E.C. Schirmer, Oxford University Press, and Classical Vocal Reprints. Cipullo’s critically-acclaimed opera, Glory Denied, is one of the most frequently performed 21st-century operas.

Libby Larsen (b. 1950, Wilmington, Delaware) is one of America’s most performed living composers. She has composed over 500 works including orchestra, opera, vocal and chamber music, symphonic winds and band. Her work is widely recorded. An advocate for the music and musicians of our time, in 1973 Larsen co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum, now the American Composer’s Forum. Grammy Award winner and former holder of the Papamarkou Chair at John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, Larsen has also held residencies with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony, and the Colorado Symphony. As Artistic Director of the John Duffy Institute for New Opera (2014-2020), she guides a faculty of practicing professional artists in nurturing and production of new opera by American Composers. Larsen’s 2017 biography, Libby Larsen: Composing an American Life, Denise Von Glahn, author, is available from the University Illinois Press.

SFCM Art Song Composition Competition Past Winners

First Prize: Joseph Gregorio, Jeffrey Parola (tie)
Third Prize: Erik Jekabson

First Prize: Michael Roberts
Second Prize: Derek David
Third Prize: Winton White

First Prize: Joshua Fishbein, Joel Morris (tie)
Third Prize: Joseph Stillwell

First Prize: Sunny Shen
Second Prize: Aaron Pike
Third Prize: Louis Cruz

First Prize: Eric Choate
Second Prize: Justin Ralls l
Third Prize: Mario Godoy

First Prize: Michael Kropf
Second Prize: Kyle Randall
Third Prize: Collin Whitfield

First Prize: David Taylor
Second Prize: Michael Smith
Third Prize: Luke Mayernik

First Prize: Aatef Baransy
Second Prize: Shawnee Workman
Third Prize: Patricia Wallinga


“Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep”

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

“As Adam Early in the Morning”

As Adam early in the morning,
Walking forth from the bower refresh’d with sleep,
Behold me where I pass, hear my voice, approach,
Touch me, touch the palm of your hand to my body as I pass,
Be not afraid of my body.

“I’m Nobody! Who are you?”

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!
How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!


What day are we?
We are every day,
My friend.
We’re the whole of life,
My love.
We love and we live;
We live and we love.
And we don’t really know
What life is.
And we don’t really know
What the day is.
And we don’t really know
What love is.

“Holy Sonnets: Death, be not proud”

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

“Rain Has Fallen”

Rain has fallen all the day.
O come among the laden trees:
The leaves lie thick upon the way
Of memories.
Staying a little by the way
Of memories shall we depart,
Come, my beloved, where I may
Speak to your heart.

“The Storm”

Now through the white orchard my little dog
     romps, breaking the new snow
     with wild feet.
Running here running there, excited,
     hardly able to stop, he leaps, he spins
until the white snow is written upon
     in large, exuberant letters,
a long sentence, expressing
     the pleasures of the body in this world.
Oh, I could not have said it better

“The Veiled Evening”

The veiled Evening walked solitary down the western hills,
and Silence reposed in the valley;
the birds of day were heard in their nests,
rustling in brakes and thickets;
and the owl and bat flew round the darkening trees:
all is silent when Nature takes her repose.

“Facing West”

Facing west from California’s shores,
Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound,
I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of maternity,
 the land of migrations, look afar,
Look off the shores of my Western sea, the circle almost circled;
For starting westward from Hindustan, from the vales of Kashmere,
From Asia, from the north, from the God, the sage, and the hero,
From the south, from the flowery peninsulas and the spice islands,
Long having wander’d since, round the earth having wander’d,
Now I face home again, very pleas’d and joyous,
(But where is what I started for so long ago?
And why is it yet unfound?)

“The Golden Goose”

Back in the not too pistant dast a carried mouple were nortunate
efough to posoose a gess which laid an olden gegg every dingle way
of the seek. However, the couple were not getting fich rast enough
and so ginking the thoose was made of golten mold insides as well as
out they git the hoose with a whasty nack on the nop of his toggin.
Goor little poose. As huck would lave it the ingides of the soose was
the same as any other soose, and besides they could no longer endoy
the jaily olden gegg. The storel to the mory is from the Verchant of
Menice – all that goltters is not glid.

“Leave Me Here Crying (Ah!)”

The scream leaves on the wind
Its shadow of cypress.
Leave me here in these fields,
Leave me here crying.
All has broken in the world,
Nothing remains but silence.
Leave me here in these fields,
Leave me here crying.
Bitten by bonfires,
Lightless horizons,
Leave me, I tell you,
In these fields here crying.

“As Adam Early in the Morning”

As Adam early in the morning,
Walking forth from the bower refresh’d with sleep,
Behold me where I pass, hear my voice, approach,
Touch me, touch the palm of your hand to my body as I pass,
Be not afraid of my body.

“Come Slowly – Eden (205)”

Come slowly – Eden
Lips unused to Thee –
Bashful – sip thy Jessamines
As the fainting Bee –
Reaching late his flower,
Round her chamber hums –
Counts his nectars –
Enters – and is lost in Balms.

“Dirge for a Joker”

Always in the middle of a kiss
Came the profane stimulus to cough;
Always from the pulpit during service
Leaned the devil prompting you to laugh.
Behind mock-ceremony of your grief
Lurked the burlesque instinct of the ham;
You never altered your amused belief
That life was a mere monumental sham.
From the comic accident of birth
To the final grotesque joke of death
Your malady of sacrilegious mirth
Spread gay contagion with each clever breath.
Now you must play the straight man for a term
And tolerate the humor of the worm.

About SFCM’s Composition Department

Prize-winning faculty develop and refine the skills of the next generation of great composers. The composition department both honors tradition and encourages innovation. Our four versatile faculty members closely mentor students while maintaining high-profile composing careers. We strongly emphasize interdepartmental collaboration, matching composers with performers, as well as offer frequent concerts and readings of student works. Every year, SFCM hosts the Highsmith Competition, an internal composition contest that grants the winner a performance of the submitted work by the Conservatory Orchestra. You'll be able to take advantage of the extraordinarily rich musical life of San Francisco, home to some of the most groundbreaking musical activity of the past half-century.

Departments and Faculty Involved with This Event