Art Songs of John Kander Heard in New Voices Collective Concert Sept. 29

News   Art Songs of John Kander Heard in New Voices Collective Concert Sept. 29 A little-known side of Broadway composer John Kander will be exposed in the opening concert of the New Voices Collective's second season celebrating American song.

Kander, who penned jazzy scores to Chicago, Cabaret, Zorba and the upcoming The Visit (all with lyricist Fred Ebb) has a trunk of art songs with texts from varied sources and writers. Some of them will be heard at the 8 PM Sept. 29 NVC concert at the 172-seat Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space in Manhattan.

Kander admits to being a huge fan of opera and classical music, but is known internationally for his show-tune vamps and hummable melodies to "New York, New York," "Razzle Dazzle," "All That Jazz" and more.

Kander found out about the collective's mission of art songs, theatre songs and pop songs though the group's associate producer Jen Bender, who was a music intern on The Visit.

New Voices artistic director Joel Fram told Playbill On Line the Sept. 29 concert will also feature songs by composer Jeff Blumenkrantz (Urban Cowboy), Joe Thalken (Harold and Maude, Was) and a fourth writer to be named.

Among the singers are Kate Baldwin, Judy Blazer and Rebecca Luker. The New Voices group, which debuted in January 2003, is expanding its mandate beyond just giving voice to pit musicians who are composers, Fram said.

While still focusing on the new or little-heard, the group will explore "American songs in whatever form that is."

Fram explained, "We present cabaret songs, American art songs and theatre songs and we present them equally. We don't distinguish among them. We want to look at all the different styles and invite healthy comparisons."

One aspect of each concert is showing off a little-heard side of a known composer — cabaret and theatre composer David Friedman's art songs were heard at NVC's April 21 show, for example. Kander is next.

New Voices Collective, run by artistic director Fram, producer Douglas Okerson and associate producer Bender, is in the process of incorporating toward not-for-profit status and has an agreement with Symphony Space to present four concerts in the coming year — September 2003, January 2004, April 2004 and July 2004.

Tickets for the second season opener Sept. 29 are $25 and are now on sale. The Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space is at 95th Street and Broadway. For information, call (212) 864-5400 or visit www.symphonyspace.org.

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In 2003-04, New Voices will also present classical concerts, a "first draft" new-musicals reading series and song-cycle concerts written for specific singers.