FOV 2019 "Service to the Community and Support to the Festival” Awardees
This year at Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice we have selected five people to receive our “Service to the Community and Support to the Festival” Award. This award goes to people who have gone above and beyond in their lives, serving their communities, the greater voice and music community, and FOV. Some volunteer their time and skills, others have created amazing experiences, and all show absolute dedication to making the world around them shine a little bit brighter.
We are pleased to announce the 2019 Award-winners: Michael Lang (musical concert promoter, producer and artistic manager), Peter Schickele (composer, musician, author, satirist), Beth Greenberg (stage director), Elizabeth Futral (soprano), and Steven White (orchestra conductor).
Elizabeth Futral is a world-renowned American soprano with a wide repertoire. She has performed around the world in both original and established operas and has released several recordings since her entry into the opera world nearly three decades ago.
We are proud to call this world-class woman our friend. By appearing on our first festival in 2010 for Voices of Distinction, Ms. Futral set the standard for the sound of every Festival to come. This year she will be recognized for her role in advancing our mission-to showcase the best of the human voice, in an effort to heal the world around us.
Steven White is one of North America’s premiere conductors of both symphonic and operatic repertoire. He has conducted many orchestras around the world and is a sought after expert in classical and romantic operatic repertoire.
This year we will recognize our beloved Maestro White for encouraging us to dream big. Operas are incredible undertakings for any music festival, demanding a tremendous amount of dedication, time, and expertise. A conductor is always required, but it is rare to meet an individual who is so giving of his knowledge, both on and offstage. We are so grateful that our earliest and most ambitious ventures were helmed by Maestro White's sure musical hand. He made his FOV debut with Voices of Distinction and Falstaff in 2010, and conducted FOV Mainstage productions of Don Giovanni 2011, Madama Butterfly 2012, and Rigoletto 2013.
Beth Greenberg is renowned for her work with the New York City Opera. For the Lincoln Center company she directed original mainstage productions as well as many revivals of classics. She directed the site-specific production of Il Tabarro which received international acclaim. Greenberg has collaborated with many composers to create original productions.
A director breathes the life into the story of an opera, and we are so grateful that one of our longest and most fruitful artistic relationships has been with Beth Greenberg. Over the years, she has turned our barren stage into narrow alleyways, powerful thunderstorms, and airy parlors. From the most lauded star to the youngest artist, she treats everyone with dignity and respect, always with an eye towards growth. We have been so blessed that her giving nature and boundless imagination are written into our Festival story. She made her FOV debut with Don Giovanni 2011 and directed the mainstage productions of Madama Butterfly 2012, Rigoletto 2013, Il barbiere di Siviglia 2014, The Medium 2015, Otello 2016, and La Cambiale di Matrimonio 2018. She has also been the FOV Young Artist Program Director for 2017 and 2018.
Peter Schickele is internationally recognized as one of the most versatile artists in the field of music. His works, now well in excess of 100 for symphony orchestras, choral groups, chamber ensembles, voice, movies and television, have made him a master composer of American music.
FOV has selected Schickele because of his deep history of incredibly talented work in the world of music in addition to his long-standing support of the Festival and nearby community in which he resides. On the third night of our Festival, we honor Schickele, a proud Hudson Valley resident who sparked our commitment to new works. We had the distinct honor of showcasing his Piano Concerto and Choral work The Twelve Months in 2012, and the success of that concert has encouraged us to offer world premieres and workshops of three operas, six plays, and one song cycle over the past decade. We thank him for encouraging our curiosity - as well as our sense of humor.
Michael Lang is best known for co-founding the original Woodstock 1969, and has since gone on to act as consultant to the Rolling Stones, established Just Sunshine Records and the Michael Lang Organization, and produced and managed many music stars and festivals.
FOV has selected Lang because of his prolific history in the music industry as well as his dedication to the Town of Woodstock and the greater Ulster County community. 2019 is not just an important year for us, but also an important year for music. We could not miss an opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, and in turn our friend, mentor, and Hudson Valley resident Michael Lang.
Although Mr. Lang served as the concert promoter and co-founder of Woodstock 1969, for us, his impact reaches far beyond a single moment in time. Woodstock heralded the concept of the Hudson Valley Summer Music Festival, igniting the cultural and economic vitality of our region, and altering its history for the better. Today, hundreds of summer festivals showcasing classical music, jazz, rock, folk music, world music and more pepper Upstate New York. People from all over the world flock to the Hudson Valley every summer, and we are proud to welcome them with a legacy of peace, love, and music.
We are deeply grateful and in awe of all that these stars have done for the great communities in which they live as well as the bottomless support that they have shown for the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice. They have each devoted their lives to furthering the performance art world and bettering the places they live, work, and play. THANK YOU to each awardee, from the bottom of our hearts.