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Notes from Composers

Dr. Sharon Shafer, following a performance of her song cycle, The Arts Speaks: Creative Conduit

I can't thank you enough for your wonderful performance today. You created exactly the effect that I have imagined. Your singing of "Love" gave me goose bumps, and "Roses" brought tears to my eyes. You have such a perfect understanding of the poetry and music and communicated that beautifully to the audience. I especially liked what you did with "Snow," "Mirror," and the fun you had with "Smartass." "Bell" and "Boogeyman" both had the edge and variety that I intended when composing them. I hope that you will have the opportunity to perform the songs again. If so, I will be there for sure.
Thank you, thank you for your artistry, musicianship, beautiful voice, and keyboard skills.

Joel Weiss, following the premiere of his song cycle, I Love Red Poppies

Liana commissioned me to write the song cycle, "I Love Red Poppies." She is a great champion of new music and gives each performance her entire soul - a lovely rarity. Ours was truly a collaboration. We worked extensively on the poetry, the music, and how to make these songs "sing" in her voice (which wasn't hard to do). She is a gifted artist and a great recitalist - the premiere was great. She made this commission a true highlight for me.

John B. Valerio, following the premiere of his song cycle, The Bells

Dear Liana, Thank you for your help with The Bells. The Bells is my first vocal solo piece and your suggestions helped me enormously in finalizing the composition. It was great to write the piece specifically for you and be able to take advantage of your wide range. Also, it was great to work with a singer who is not only knowledgeable of contemporary music but also adept at performing it. You sailed through the rather perilous third song with ease. I appreciate the time and effort you extended in this project. I learned much from our collaboration and I hope that I can write more songs for you in the near future.

Derek Healey, following the High Voice Premiere of his cycle, Five Edward Thomas Songs

I really enjoyed listening to the performance of the 'Five Edward Thomas Songs', as you know, yours was the first performance of the set in the High Voice version, and I was pleased with the result. Olive told me that you likened your voice to that of Victoria de los Angeles, a statement with which I heartily concur particularly in regard to the brightness of the sound. I was also impressed by the precision, accuracy and diction -- very important with such a beautiful text. Thank you for your performance.

Dr. Jason Lovelace, following performances of his song cycle, A Tale of Three Cyclones

Collaborating with Dr. Liana Valente was a delightful experience from start to finish. As an emerging composer, I particularly appreciated Dr. Valente's expertise as a seasoned performer; her insightful commentary and feedback was invaluable during the development of the song cycle. Throughout the process of writing, rehearsing, and performing the commission, Dr. Valente struck the perfect balance between tactful advice and encouraging me to express my compositional voice. Accompanying the premiere and two subsequent performances was equally enjoyable. Despite limited rehearsal time, Dr. Valente brought fresh energy, remarkable precision, and extraordinary musicianship to each venue, rendering an exquisite performance each time.

William Vollinger, following a performance of his song cycle, Acts of Kindness

Thank you for the CD you sent me of 'Acts of Kindness.' Some things I really appreciated about the recording:

  1. The accuracy of your performance. You obviously studied the score carefully and rehearsed it carefully. Thank you.
  2. Your lovely phrasing of each line.
  3. Your high notes. Wow!
  4. Your interpretation of the music and words, which brought these seven stories across which I was privileged to write the music for. To me that's that most important reason that they were written.
  5. The controlled energy in your performances of each song.

Christine Arens, following the premiere of her song cycle, Collage of Clicking Clichés

Thank you so much for commissioning me to write the song cycle "Collage of Clicking Clichés." I definitely count it as one of the "shining stars" of my creative output, as well as a valuable artistic experience. In our collaboration, I greatly appreciate your insight and wide range of musical expertise. It pleases me to have you bring to life the intention of the cycle's music and text. You work with me exhibiting great humor (the main intention!), patience, and deep understanding of the underlying complexities of the work. I do hope you will commission me again, and that you have enjoyed the process to this point as much as I have.

Kirk O'Riordan, following the Florida premiere of his song cycle, Bergstresser Songs

I did receive the recording and program - thank you! I have had a chance to listen to the recording a few times now, and I enjoyed your performance very much. I especially liked the clarity of your diction, and that the color and weight of your voice is very well-suited to the work. Of all the recordings I have, this one is the clearest with regard to hearing the vocal part, which from a composer point of view, was very informative.

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