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New York composer Ricky Ian Gordon
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brings his songs to Ann Arbor.
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Special to the Jewish News
Itallie; Autumn Valentine, a two-charac-
ter operetta using the works of poet
and writer Dorothy Parker; and What
the Living Do, a staged song cycle with
poetry by Marie Howe.
Gordon's music has been performed
by Renee Fleming, Audra McDonald,
Dawn Upshaw, Rodney Gilfry, Kurt
011mann and many other stellar singers
in concert halls around the world.
Vocalists appearing with Gordon at
Kerrytown, besides mezzo-soprano
Bloom and baritone Tipton, include
Ricky Ian Gordon never
has been to Michigan, but
he's about to visit and per-
form — by way of Italy.
It's a story that has some twists and
turns, but it also has a happy ending
for Ann Arbor singers and audiences.
When Gordon was in Europe last
summer, he met Paul Tipton, a
master's degree vocal student at
the University of Michigan.
Tipton later performed in
Jackson, Mich., with Wendy
Bloom, an Ann Arbor-based con-
cert singer, voice teacher, show
planner and intense Gordon fan.
When Bloom learned that
Tipton knew Gordon, she asked if
Tipton could encourage the com-
poser to appear in Michigan.
Tipton suggested she just extend
the invitation over the phone.
One call resulted in "An
Evening With Songwriter Ricky
Ian Gordon," which will fill Ann
Arbor's Kerrytown Concert House
with music Friday and Saturday,
Feb. 6-7. The 8 p.m. shows, spot-
lighting 10 vocalists presenting
Gordon's songs with the composer
at the piano, will be part of the
venue's CabaretFest 2004.
Gordon, composer in residence Ricky Ian Gordon: "The show will be a cele-
for three years with Chicago Lyric bration of poetry, theater and music."
Opera, also will conduct some
master classes at the university.
"I'm coming to an unknown place
mezzo-sopranos Leah Dexter and
with unknown people to make things
Deanna Relyea, soprano Karen Roberts
happen," says Gordon, 47, whose New and tenor Jason Wilhoite. There also will
York-based career spans classical and
be university musical theater students
musical theater styles. "The show will
Emily Albrink, Meghan Randolph,
be a celebration of poetry, theater and
Kevin Hale and Mark Whitten.
music. I've found it stimulating and
"I will create a program around the
exciting to see the effects of working
people performing and use a broad
outside of the fishbowl of Manhattan."
group of songs," Gordon says about the
Gordon, who has been referred to as
Ann Arbor presentation. "There will be
one of the "young Turks" of New
duos, trios and quartets, and we will
Yorks musical theater scene, will put
feel like we're creating a theater piece.
together the program after he meets
"I will include selections from Bright
with performers. He has a varied reper- EyedJoy (Nonesuch), a recent CD with
toire from which to make selections.
only my songs. I've done a group of
As examples, he has written The
concerts, including one at New York's
Tibetan Book of the Deach an opera
Lincoln Center, based on the CD."
with libretto by Jean Claude Van
Gordon, who grew up on Long