Projects



The Lola Williams Recording Project

A gifted composer whose work deserves wider attention, Lola Williams (1913-2013), found inspiration in the texts of William Shakespeare and created a large body of art songs set to his words. Living in the south through much of the 20th century, during a time when women were not encouraged to pursue musical composition, Lola Williams was a serious Shakespearean scholar as well as music educator, but it was not until her retirement that she was able to dedicate herself to writing and composition. The selection of works featured on this seminal recording includes texts from A Midsummer Night’s DreamLove’s Labor’s LostThe TempestTwelfth Night, and Hamlet, as well as Sonnet 116. A rarity is a setting of Shakespeare’s only surviving allegorical poem, The Phoenix and the Turtle. Writing exclusively for women’s voices - solos, duets, and trios - Williams’ compositions are lyrical and tonally lush, reminiscent of the florid perfume of Frederick Delius and the folk elements of Gustav Mahler.

 

The recording features opera singer Sarah Moulton Faux, praised by Opera News for her “full, silvery soprano,” who discovered this extraordinary body of work and conceived of the recording project. She is joined by pianist and conductor, Ted Taylor, a “sophisticated and unusually sensitive accompanist” (New York Times) who has appeared with such luminaries as Sylvia McNair, Christine Schaefer, Ben Heppner and Kathleen Battle, along with guest performances by mezzo-sopranos Heather Johnson and Laura Krumm, and countertenor Nicholas Tamagna.


Produced by 5-time Grammy winner for Producer of the Year Judith Sherman, the project is guided by composer Laura Kaminsky (As One), and was recorded at the Recital Hall at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College/SUNY, where Kaminsky is head of the composition department.