Highly acclaimed soprano Wendy Rowe and award winning composer and pianist Neara Russell perform contemporary art songs ranging from humorous to heartbreaking. Listeners have called the pieces "beautifully evocative," "imaginative and adventurous" and "pure joy."
Their new CD "Food for the Gods" includes an 8-page booklet with the composer's statement and original lyrics.
"Food for the Gods ... and me":
Mother's Favorite Fruit
A Bittersweet Romance
Cake in Heaven
Me and Myself
What I Once Was
My Soldier Boy
"An American Day":
Wendy and Neara have been nominated for Best Classical Album in the 2007 Madison Area Music Awards with their new art song album "Food for the Gods".
Wendy Rowe bio
Soprano Wendy Rowe is well known to audiences for her expressive solo performances and operatic roles including Mimi in Puccini’s La Bohéme, Sonia in The Merry Widow, Abigail in The Crucible and Michaela in Carmen. She has performed with numerous regional ensembles and orchestras including the Milwaukee Symphony, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Nashville Symphony Orchestra and the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra.
Various composers have utilized Rowe’s extensive vocal skills and musical knowledge to develop and debut their works. Most recently, Rowe worked with young Wisconsin composer Neara Russell in developing a full program of contemporary art songs which the two of them have performed for receptive audiences.
Rowe obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in vocal performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she earned numerous awards and scholarships. Following graduation, she served on the faculty of Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa as a voice teacher, opera coach and recitalist.
Currently Rowe divides her time between performing onstage and teaching voice in her private studio in Madison, Wisconsin.
Neara Russell bio
Composer and pianist Neara Russell has received many awards for her solo performances in piano and voice and for her compositions. She began composing at an early age and exhibits remarkable sophistication and wit in her pieces.
A native of Spring Green, Wisconsin, Russell is one of five musicians selected from a pool of 3,700 applicants to be named a 2006 Presidential Scholar by Berklee College of Music in Boston—awarding her a full four-year scholarship. She is currently a freshman at Berklee studying composition and performance.
Previously she studied with composer Stephen Dembski and she was named an honoree of From the Top's Young Composer Project which paired her with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Corigliano for a mentoring session in his New York City studio.
From the Top is a National Public Radio program that features outstanding young musicians. In January 2006, From the Top invited Russell to perform one of her compositions at a taping before a live audience in Boston's Jordan Hall. Their programs are broadcast by over 250 stations and are heard by 750,000 listeners nationwide.
In 2006, she also released a full album of her art songs with soprano Wendy Rowe and premiered an octet with Berklee's Contemporary Chamber Music Ensemble. In 2007, she has already premiered two choral pieces commissioned by the Madison Youth Choirs and was a winner in Berklee's annual songwriting contest.