Guitar Plus: David Leisner and Michael Kelly

The extraordinarily versatile guitarist/composer with the expressive, dynamic vocalist in Leisner’s arrangement of Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin

“Mr. Kelly has a beautiful baritone … the phrasing was faultless, and the word coloring went beyond any we have heard before. And what of the guitar arrangement? It was accomplished by Mr. Leisner himself and struck us as a masterpiece in its own right.” – Voce de meche review of Die Schöne Müllerin

Friday, November 11, 2016, at 7:30 PM

Symphony Space
Leonard Nimoy Thalia
2537 Broadway at 95th Street
New York

Tickets: $30 / $25 for students, seniors, and NYCCGS members. Join now.

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SCHUBERT Die Schöne Müllerin (arr. D. Leisner)

David Leisner is an extraordinarily versatile musician with a multi-faceted career as an electrifying performing artist, a distinguished composer, and a master teacher. “Among the finest guitarists of all time,” according to American Record Guide, Leisner is a featured recording artist for the Azica label, with nine highly acclaimed recordings. Other recordings are on the Naxos, Telarc and Koch labels, with a concert DVD published by Mel Bay. Mr. Leisner’s recent seasons have taken him throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Asia, Australasia, and Europe. Celebrated for expanding the guitar repertoire, he has premiered works by many important composers, including David Del Tredici, Virgil Thomson, Ned Rorem, Philip Glass, Richard Rodney Bennett, Peter Sculthorpe, and Osvaldo Golijov. He was also a pioneer in the rediscovery of 19th-century guitar composers Johann Kaspar Mertz and Wenzeslaus Matiegka. A frequent visitor to important chamber music festivals, he is also the Artistic Director of Guitar Plus, an innovative series in New York devoted to chamber music with the guitar. His own compositions, noted for their emotional and dramatic power, are performed, recorded, and published worldwide. A distinguished teacher as well, Leisner is currently co-chair of the guitar department at the Manhattan School of Music.

Praised as “expressive and dynamic” and “vocally splendid,” American baritone Michael Kelly continues to distinguish himself as a consummate artist, sought-after for his riveting interpretations of recital, concert, and operatic repertoire. A versatile and innovative vocalist, he has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Cathedral Choral Society, Mostly Mozart Festival, Opernhaus Zurich, Chicago Opera Theater, Gotham Chamber Opera, Mark Morris Dance Group, Ars Lyrica, and Mercury Orchestra. His repertoire ranges from the baroque to modern, leading him to collaborate with some of today’s most exciting composers, many of whose work he has premiered, including Tom Cipullo, David Del Tredici, Mohammed Fairouz, Ricky Ian Gordon, Libby Larsen, Lowell Lieberman, Ben Moore, Reinaldo Moya, John Musto, and David Sisco. He made his European debut with Opernhaus Zürich in Handel’s Rinaldo with William Christie, and has performed in opera, chamber and symphonic works under the batons of such conductors as Herbert Blomstedt, Michael Christie, Andreas Delfs, Jane Glover, Benton Hess, James Levine, Anne Manson, Nicholas McGegan, Steven Osgood, Leonard Slatkin, and Stephen Stubbs. He has collaborated in recital with celebrated pianists Martin Katz, Kathleen Kelly, Malcolm Martineau, Spencer Myer, Jonathan Ware, and Brian Zeger.

Mr. Kelly has won prizes in several prominent competitions, including first prizes in 2013’s Poulenc Competition and 2011’s Joy in Singing. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and Juilliard, and was a member of the Opernstudio at Opernhaus Zurich. Michael is also the co-founder of SongFusion, a song recital series based in Manhattan.

Photo: Dorothy Shi