A new partnership: The Eva & Marc Stern Songfest – LA Opera Fellowship Program

(Los Angeles) March 14, 2018 – LA Opera and SongFest have announced a new partnership to launch The Eva & Marc Stern SongFest–LA Opera Fellowship Program. Now in its 23rd season, SongFest is a training program and festival for singers and pianists that focuses on song and recital repertory, held at The Colburn School. SongFest and Colburn are thrilled to join forces with LA Opera and with Plácido Domingo, the company’s Eli and Edythe Broad General Director, in fostering community among young singers, established artists and audiences by sharing resources and collaborating on new creative projects while invigorating the increasingly vibrant arts scene in Los Angeles.

The SongFest 2018 festival will take place from May 12 through June 3, during which the participants will engage in classes, discussions and performances. In the following week (June 4–10), the new initiative will provide a few emerging singers with the additional opportunity to study and coach with distinguished LA Opera artists and coaches. They will participate in rehearsals and masterclasses with today’s leaders in opera and the stage. These singers will have the opportunity to synthesize the expertise in art song they will have gained at SongFest and apply it to their work on the opera stage, deepening the bonds between these two art forms. Tuition and housing will be provided for all three weeks of SongFest and the additional week at LA Opera. These fellows will have the unique privilege of access to the world-class training and facilities offered by both institutions.

“When I first met with Christopher Koelsch [LA Opera's Sebastian Paul and Marybelle Musco President and CEO] about this exciting collaboration, it became clear that SongFest and LA Opera are a natural fit for a joint effort,” says Rosemary Ritter, Founder and Artistic Director of SongFest. “For the past 22 years, SongFest has been driven by engaging some of the most inspiring teachers and artists and inviting them into a positive environment where they dialogue daily with the singers and pianists. It doesn’t matter if the material is art song or opera; in the end, it is at the core about communication and using our tools as artists to communicate with audiences in a real way. My hope is that artists from other disciplines—such as stage actors, poets and others—will be brought in to share their process. Singing is about words and communication. The Stern Fellowship Program will bring that philosophy to the next level, and LA Opera is the perfect partner with whom to make that possible.”

About Marc and Eva Stern
For many years, Mr. and Mrs. Stern have been involved in nearly every aspect of LA Opera, most recently establishing The Eva and Marc Stern Principal Artists Fund, which supports two exemplary artists on the LA Opera stage each season. Over the years, they have championed more than 15 ambitious projects including the Ring cycle and DVD releases of La Traviata and Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. Chairman of the board since 2002, Mr. Stern has been the driving force in bringing so many of the world’s most influential artists to Los Angeles, including Renée Fleming in A Streetcar Named Desire. In recognition of their extraordinary longtime involvement and support of LA Opera and The Music Center, the Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion was named in their honor in 2010.

The Sterns have also been important supporters of SongFest since 2005. They created the Stern Fellowship Program in 2008, providing exceptional singers and pianists full fellowships to attend the program each year. Many past participants are now performing on major opera stages worldwide. For a listing of Stern Fellows, please visit SongFest.us/professional-fellowships. The 2017 Stern Fellows were recently presented in recital for OPERA America's Emerging Artist Series at the National Opera Center in New York.

Marc Stern is chairman of The TCW Group, Inc. a Los Angeles-based asset management firm. He was elected to LA Opera’s board of directors in 1992. Eva Stern is a clinical social worker and philanthropist, with a special interest in supporting Southern California youth through the combination of education and the arts.

About SongFest
Led by Founder and Artistic Director Rosemary Ritter, SongFest has become a national leader in fostering emerging vocal talent. The festival attracts a roster of internationally distinguished faculty as well as students from the nation’s top music conservatories. SongFest has enjoyed a rich history of collaboration with institutions such as the Colburn School, the Hampsong Foundation, Grand Performances, LA Opera's Recovered Voices initiative, and the Los Angeles Public Library in conjunction with LA Opera. SongFest’s commissioning program, developed and funded in partnership with the Sorel Organization, has celebrated and supported contemporary American art song by commissioning works from such distinguished composers as William Bolcom, Tom Cipullo, Gabriela Lena Frank, John Harbison, Jennifer Higdon, Libby Larsen, Anne LaBaron and Shulamit Ran. To learn more, visit SongFest.us.

About LA Opera
In just over three decades of existence, LA Opera has become one of America’s most exciting and ambitious opera companies. Under the leadership of Plácido Domingo (Eli and Edythe Broad General Director), James Conlon (Richard Seaver Music Director) and Christopher Koelsch (Sebastian Paul and Marybello Musco President and CEO), the company is dedicated to staging imaginative new productions, world premiere commissions and inventive productions of the classics that preserve the foundational works while making them feel fresh and compelling.

In addition to its mainstage performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the company explores unusual repertoire each season through the LA Opera Off Grand initiative, performed in a variety of venues throughout Los Angeles. The company also presents a robust variety of educational programming and innovative community engagement offerings, experienced by more than 135,000 people each season. To learn more, please visit LAOpera.org.

LA Opera is a non-profit organization dedicated
to serving the greater Los Angeles community.

Yamaha is the Official Piano of LA Opera.

LA Opera Media Contact:
Vanessa Flores
Director of Communications