Deborah Sternberg will become your new favorite songbird after spending time with this album. Andrew Earle Simpson’s imaginative, dexterous Birds of Love and Prey provides an extraordinary role for Sternberg’s powerful, elegant voice. Don’t miss the cadenzas here- they’re an intellectual and aural treat. Eric Kitchen’s Olney Avian Verse of William Cowper is a more traditional work, marrying bright chordal harmonies of the early 20th Century with transcribed bird song as the melodic impetus. Gabriel Thibaudeau’s Cycle Avicellus is rich and lush, wrapping the listener in the warmth of contemporary consonance. -Stephanie Boyd, American Record Guide
Eric Kitchen’s The Olney Avian Verse of William Cowper: The piano accompaniment is active and full, and the vocal line shows more imagination, with greater variety of pitch and of lyricism, seldom relying on bird sounds. The music encompasses a range of moods, from ruminative to cheerful. It is a charming, sometimes lovely song cycle, well sung by Sternberg and beautifully played by Mark Vogel. -James H. North, © 2020 September Fanfare Read complete review
Listening to the Kitchen first, Deborah Sternberg’s singing is fresh, clear and with a first-rate control of musical line. The voice itself is extremely attractive, making the whole experience a pleasant one. … The piano parts, on the whole, are demanding without allowing the player to show much individuality. They are dispatched with all necessary skill by both pianists. -William Hedley, © 2020 MusicWeb International Read complete review
From composer Christopher J. Hoh:
"I've listened to Birds of Love and Prey three or four times now. Congratulations: it's outstanding!
The pieces are wonderful. Andrew's cycle is a delightful and varied surprise. The Eric Kitchen work is so lyrical and satisfying in the way it's put together. Gabriel Thibaudeau's approach is lush and rich in harmony, an amazing end to the program. You have done vocal arts a great service by bringing them to life and recording them for posterity.
And your singing-- impeccable, expressive, compelling! Such a beautiful silvery tone throughout, then colored as suits the text, which is always clear. A great range of style-- from lyrical to spunky and always with panache. It's one thing to sing expertly; it's another to put the music across vividly. You succeed even when I can't see you, "only" hear you. Brava! Your piano collaborators match your artistry and the recorded sound is ideal, perfectly present but with warm, natural room ambiance.
This recording was certainly worth waiting for. Thanks for bringing me solace and joy!"
Update: January, 2020
Naxos announces the Release Date of my CD: February 21!
Update: May 27, 2019
It is with a full heart that I may at long last report to you the updated status of my CD project, Birds of Love and Prey, with music written by Andrew Earle Simpson, Eric Kitchen, and
Gabriel Thibaudeau. (To recap: the project features three song cycles for soprano and piano. Eric and Gabriel's pieces were recorded in several sessions with accompanist Mark Vogel, and I sang Andrew's piece with Andrew himself at the piano. All three pieces were recorded in the beautiful space of Spencerville Seventh Day Adventist Church in Maryland.)
AND NOW for the long awaited update:
I have signed a contract with NAXOS RECORDS, the internationally celebrated classical music label with its own streaming classical library, to release my album!!!
[UPDATE: The CD is set to release in February, 2020.]
I am so delighted to be able to share this fabulous news with you. Thank you for your continued support, and for maintaining your faith in me and my work!
I am so excited to be working on my very first full-length album, produced with help from backers of a successful kickstarter campaign!
Please note: The kickstarter campaign is over, but we are still accepting backers! Please email me directly at [email protected] to add your support.
Click here for a preview: The Faithful Bird, from Eric Kitchen's The Olney Avian Verse
With a background in composition, I have long enjoyed contemporary music in the choral and solo realms. As a choral enthusiast, I have been fortunate to perform many world premieres- by composers such as Andrew E. Simpson, Maurice Saylor, Don McCullough, Lori Laitman, and Lera Auerbach, to name a few.
My recording project will introduce yet-unheard works of contemporary classical composers - I am honored that this music is being written for ME. Eric's piece is our inspiration!
I have been fortunate to work with these amazing composers in the recent past, and they have each pledged to join my project! With Nature as their theme, I can only imagine what beauty they will create.
Eric Kitchen lives in the beautiful area of Cumberland, Maryland. His song cycle, The Olney Avian Verse, was written for his daughter, and was inspired by nature's livliness. Eric writes beautiful lines that poignantly speak to the poetry by William Cowper. His music clearly conveys the sweet, funny, and thoughtful stories of the birds featured throughout the piece.
Maurice Saylor is a composer with special affinities for vocal, chamber, and silent film music. His tuneful and quirky scores often showcase an interest in unusual combinations of instruments and blur the boundaries of style and genre. His melodic lines thrill me, and his harmonies fascinate me! http://mauricesaylor.net/
Andrew E. Simpson, professor, prolific pianist, and active composer of folk music, oratorio, silent film scores, and opera such as the recently-performed The Outcasts of Poker Flat, has joined my project! See more info about this versatile composer here
Gabriel Thibaudeau is considered one of the world's leading silent film accompanists. He composes, tours, and performs throughout the world! In addition to film scores, he writes orchestral and vocal music. I was so fortunate to sing his score to the Hunchback of Notre Dame (himself at the theatre organ!) at the American Film Institute (Washington, D.C., 2013) and beyond thrilled that he has joined me in this endeavor! http://www.gabrielthibaudeau.com/
The Olney Avian Verse, my inspiration song cycle by Eric Kitchen, continues to amaze. The music so clearly conveys the sweet, funny, thoughtful, and poignant stories of the birds featured throughout the piece.
Andrew E. Simpson has completed his 9-movement song cycle Birds of Love and Prey, crafting each movement to carefully complement the poetry he has chosen. The texts are culled from Aristophanes to Tennyson, from Keats to Jules Barbier.
Gabriel Thibaudeau has written a luscious four-movement piece called Cycle Avicellus. The piece, written for me and dedicated to Gabriel's dear friend, the late violinist Ugo Mantiglia, is crafted of entrancing music, with French poetry written by the intriguing Canadian poet Mykalle Bielinski.
Three recording sessions were held in the beautiful Spencerville Unitarian Church of Silver Spring, Maryland. Each session focused on one of the three works that will be presented on the CD.
MY RECORDING TEAM
Mark Vogel, pianist
Andrew E. Simpson, pianist
Ed Kelly, engineer
Amy Horn Kelly, editor
Gisèle Becker, producer
Bonnie Kunkel, vocal advisor
THE RECITAL- a successful premiere!
In May, 2014, I presented a full-length recital to premiere the music of The Avian Project, on the recital stage of The Lyceum: Alexandria's History Museum, VA
We enjoyed a springtime evening of song in a lovely space, and enjoyed a post-concert chat with the artists and composers!
Deborah Sternberg, soprano
Mark Vogel, piano
Eric Kitchen: The Olney Avian Verse of William Cowper
Maurice Saylor: Thoughts in a Garden
Andrew E. Simpson: Songs of Love and Prey
Gabriel Thibaudeau: Cycle Avicellus
We had over 50 distinguished guests, and three of our esteemed composers, join us for this exhilarating evening. It was fascinating to hear each composer speak about their creative process. I loved seeing their faces at this premiere performance of my interpretation of their works!
I am absolutely thrilled at the comments our patrons shared, on behalf of myself and my composers. Comments from attendees included this from Norman Scribner: "Deborah Sternberg's recital featuring "The Avian Project" was a joy from beginning to end. With her luminous and beautiful natural voice combined with immaculate musicianship, Ms. Sternberg regaled us with optimum performances of these outstanding songs by American composers. Here is a stunning young vocal artist to watch out for!"