Song of the Day: April 28

Juilliard castIn anticipation of our final NYFOS After Hours of the season next week, “Harry, Hoagy, and Harold,” we’ve asked our performers, young talents from the Juilliard School, to curate this week’s Song of the Day. Come out to see them at 10pm on Monday, May 2nd at HENRY’s Restaurant! Today’s entry is from pianist Christopher Reynolds.


Gabriel Kahane – Bradbury (304 Broadway)

Gabriel Kahane is somewhat of an inspiration to me – here we have a genius from a more traditional musical family who has paved a way for himself in a manner that seems to defy any traditional route of either classical or popular music, yet has found massive success in both fields while bridging the gap between the two. He has even written for NYFOS if I am not mistaken. This song cycle/album entitled “The Ambassador” is one of my favorite works of the last century – each of the 10 songs are imagined perspectives from different buildings in Los Angeles, and contain a variety of poetic verse, epic-style narratives, or re-imaginings of traditional material, as is the case in this song. The Bradbury Building is most famously featured in one of my favorite films, Blade Runner. The climax of Blade Runner occurs when (SPOILER ALERT) Roy Batty, the “villain” of the film (as well as an android) delivers one of the most beautiful monologues in the history of western civilization to Harrison Ford’s character. Harrison Ford at this point is clinging to the edge of the building while Batty holds a dove. Neon light surrounds them, and as he concludes his speech “All those memories will be lost in time, like tears…in….rain,” he releases the dove. This song takes this monologue as well as the imagery and plot points of Blade Runner and constructs a static portrait, sensuous in quality, of Kahane’s experience of the film and the building. There is nothing better for a rainy day.

Song of the Day: April 18

San Francisco Opera Singer Headshots | Anna Wu PhotographyThis week, soprano María Valdés curates Song of the Day. She will perform with NYFOS next Tuesday, April 26th, in Compositora: Songs by Latin American Women, alongside baritone Efraín Solís. She is a recent alumna of the Adler Fellowship at San Francisco Opera where she sang and covered several roles. Her performance with NYFOS will mark her New York recital debut.


Letter to a Lover (Gabriel Kahane with Brooklyn Rider)

Today’s Song of the Day is brought to you by Gabriel Kahane, one of my favorite up-and-coming composers. His works have been lauded by the classical music scene as well as the pop world, having been performed at symphony halls and rock venues alike. His album The Ambassador , for instance, was acclaimed by Rolling Stone Magazine as “one of the year’s very best albums.”

He is joined by a group of similar prestige, Brooklyn Rider. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette describes them as “four classical musicians performing with the energy of young rock stars jamming on their guitars, a Beethoven-goes-indie foray into making classical music accessible but also celebrating why it was good in the first place.”

I think artists like these are essential to continuing the classical tradition. They offer a solution to our constant efforts to keep classical music welcoming to and relevant to new audiences.

I’ve chosen to share a piece from Gabriel Kahane’s LP, The Fiction Issue. It tells the story of a man (presumably) going to pick up his girlfriend from the airport. The text is forthright but still maintains poetic integrity with its vivid imagery. This quality is typical of Kahane. He talks about everyday experiences, whether mundane or extraordinary—something we can all relate to.

For more information about Gabriel Kahane, follow him on Tumblr or buy his music at

And visit Brooklyn Rider’s website at

Song of the Day: February 23

CaramoorThis week our curators of the Song of the Day blog are the Artistic Administration staff of the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (our next concert, “At Home,” which will take place both at Caramoor and at Merkin Hall, features Caramoor’s 2016 Schwab Vocal Rising Stars). Caramoor’s Managing Director, Paul Rosenblum, brings us this selection:

Craigslistlieder are an intriguing and very diverting excursion into the creative mind of Gabriel Kahane, an amazing, but very unassuming musician, performer and composer. “Neurotic and Lonely” is my favorite song from this work, except perhaps for all of the others. To my ear, Gabe’s influences, reflected in this one song, include Hindemith, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Debussy and Gershwin.

neurotic and lonely – 20
Reply to: Date: 2006-02-14, 9:45PM EST

average height, brown eyes (slightly disportionate), brown curly hair (jewfro), 20 y/o, slightly hunched, occasionally employed anthropologist, chainsmoking jew, currently living with parents, off from school to deal with emotional problems (medicated), seeks gorgeous artsy genius woman interested in philosophical discourse, making out, television, woody allen movies, thelonious monk, the nazis, chinese food, thomas pynchon, digestive disorders. must enjoy video games. must own a video game system. (my parents refuse to buy one for me) no ugg boots. no long island.


Song of the Day: December 10

5BMFThis week’s Song of the Day selections come from the founders of Five Boroughs Music Festival Jesse Blumberg and Donna Breitzer. NYFOS is partnering with 5BMF in January to bring our NYFOS@Juilliard program Harry, Hoagy, and Harold to Flushing Town Hall.  Welcome, Jesse & Donna!

If thinking about NYC Songs reminds us again of our very own Five Borough Songbook, does that make us narcissists??  Well, sorry… we’ll be taking our leave soon, but before we do…

As we said the other day, it’s almost impossible to choose from our 20 commissioned songs, but we thought we’d share this one for two reasons. First, we know that NYFOS audiences are already familiar with, and likely delighted by, the songwriting of Gabriel Kahane, and his uncanny knack for capturing the feel and mood of a place or city. This song, about his neighborhood in Brooklyn, is no exception.  Second, we wanted to give NYFOS fans a glimpse of the beautiful piano and stage at Flushing Town Hall, where (subtle hint alert!) we’ll be presenting Harry, Hoagy, & Harold on January 17th.

Here are pianist Jocelyn Dueck and mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert Levitt, performing at the Queens Premiere of our Five Borough Songbook, back in November 2011…

Coney Island Avenue
words by Gabriel Kahane 

The Chinese laundry, the Puerto Rican fruit stand,
the probably illegal, definitely sketchy,
Hasidic copy shop.  slash passport office.

The agro fortune teller: boy, lemme read your palm.
the ostensible leper, I know, it’s not funny.
Dunkin’ Donuts!  one of five within a six block jaunt,
six blocks that I often haunt.
Don’t tell me you don’t have a soft spot for their iced coffee.

Coney Island Avenue, trusted and dutiful thoroughfare,
busted and beautiful borough where I live.

The ornery rabbi.  Okay, he’s not a rabbi.
he makes copies of my keys.
at the hardware store that’s never open,
with the clerk who comes up to my knees.

the socialist coffeeshop.  with the nasty vegan cupcakes,
and the underwhelming cappuccino.

Coney Island Avenue, trusted and dutiful thoroughfare,
busted and beautiful borough where I live.

The field where the taxis go to sleep.
My love and I eat dinner on our lawn,
and watch the people pass as evening moves on,
they make their way to Coney Island Avenue,
trusted and dutiful thoroughfare,
busted and beautiful borough where I live.

In related news, there’s a rumor going around that there will be a “Five Borough Songbook, version 2.0” in 5BMF’s upcoming 10th Season.  We can neither confirm nor deny…