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SONGFIRE Festival Ushers in a Thrilling Month of Music

04-25-2012 01:45 PM CET | Arts & Culture

Press release from: Vancouver International Song Institute

/ PR Agency: Laura Murray Public Relations
Songfire Festival

Songfire Festival

The Vancouver International Song Institute (VISI) presents the SONGFIRE Festival of Song - a thrilling month of compelling performances and lectures, probing dialogues, and thought-provoking workshops and masterclasses from June 3 to 24, 2012 at UBC and various Vancouver venues. The annual festival gathers local and international artists and scholars to celebrate and study the dynamic fusion of music and poetry that is Art Song.

“Song is one of the most fundamental forms of expression. It’s the way we share our life experiences across generations – from lullabies to love songs, in ritual and in celebration, across all cultures since forever – humanity sings its stories,” says Rena Sharon, Artistic Director of VISI. “SONGFIRE Festival of Song opens its doors to everyone throughout the month of June in celebration of Art Song. Art Song ignites words and hearts through the power of soaring voices and beautiful piano landscapes.”

The 2012 SONGFIRE Festival of Song celebrates and explores the intriguing art form through a wide range of concerts, workshops, film screenings, and discussion panels.

Highlight events include:

Playing with Fire (June 8, 8pm at The Orpheum Annex): Duos of singers and pianists perform an evening of world premieres created by composer and poet teams from SONGFIRE’s Art Song Lab.

Songs of Here & Now (June 9, 8pm at UBC’s Roy Barnett Recital Hall): A selection of works by BC composers, including Leslie Uyeda, Lloyd Burrit, Jean Coulthard, and more.

Close Encounters (June 10, 8pm at West Vancouver United Church): VISI heads to the North Shore for an intimate programme of vocal chamber and choral music. Featuring special guest performers EnChor, conducted by Diane Loomer.

Arts of Conscience Symposium & Film Series (June 11-16 at The VanCity Theatre): A week-long retreat features day-time workshops and sessions with community artist activists. Five evenings of lectures (at 5:30pm) will be presented by internationally renowned activists in arts for social change, followed by selected films featuring the power of arts in transforming communities. Session leaders include choreographer Judith Marcuse, Order of Canada Officer Max Wyman, Headlines Theatre Director David Diamond, and Music Therapy of Association of BC President Susan Summers.

Sir Thomas Allen in Concert (June 13, 8pm at UBC’s Chan Centre): Master of the Art Song genre and ‘Britain’s favourite baritone’ presents an immensely moving evening of Art Song fare, including much-loved English repertoire, works by Schubert and Beethoven, and a rare selection of Northumbrian folk arrangements. Joining Allen is pianist Joseph Middleton, hailed by The Times as, "the cream of the new generation". Tickets on sale now at

Harold Brown Tribute Concert (June 19, 8pm at Unitarian Church of Vancouver): VISI honours the spirit of one of Vancouver’s most beloved Art Song advocates with a moving evening of song. Featuring baritone Tyler Duncan and pianist Erika Switzer.

VISI at the Waterfront (June 24, 8pm at The Waterfront Theatre): Featuring the premiere of ‘Seaworthy,”- a new SONGFIRE Theatre work with songs from across two centuries, script by Brenda Sparks, directed by Dr. Gayle Shay, inspired by the mystery of the ghost ship ‘Mary Celeste’. Also on the program, a powerfully staged performance of Composer Thomas Pasatieri’s Monologue from ‘Lady Macbeth’.

2012 SONGFIRE Festival of Song tickets are on sale April 26 (with the exception of Sir Thomas Allen, which are on sale now) and range in price from FREE events to $40 (plus applicable taxes) at

Full details on all festival events can be found at

About Vancouver International Song Institute
VISI was ignited in 2006 as a renegade revolution to sustain Art Song for future generations. Through daring innovation partnered with artistic integrity, VISI has become the global nexus for groundbreaking interdisciplinary research, training, and multi-media creation. As one of the largest Art Song programs, students come from across North America and Europe for mentorship from great artists and scholars. Its new SONGFIRE Theatre is the first of its kind in the world, and 2012 launches Arts of Conscience, for studies in arts-based global service.

Each June VISI opens its doors to everyone who would like to experience Art Song, through an immense spectrum of fascinating lectures, masterclasses, workshops, and concerts.

VISI’s home at the UBC School of Music and its advocacy from the Faculty of Arts, the Office of the Vice President of Research, and the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies has generated links across UBC and affiliations with many prestigious universities and institutions around the world. VISI is artist-run and exists – against all odds - through the extraordinary efforts of many partners and volunteers.

Media Contact:
Laura Murray
Laura Murray Public Relations
205 - 2755 Maple St. Vancouver, BC V6J 5K1

Vancouver International Song Institute
P.O. Box 71015
Vancouver, BC V6N 4J9

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