LISTEN LIVE ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2017, HERE.
A podcast of the interview will be available at this link.
This month’s radio show guest is Steven Blier, a pianist and go-to coach for some of the world’s most celebrated singers. Joining us also will be George Pollock, to tell us about his experiences riding in the cross-continental Race Across America this summer with Team FSHD Cycling.
Despite the toll FSHD has taken on his body, Steven Blier continues to enjoy a dynamic career as a musician, teacher, and writer. He is the Artistic Director of the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS), which he co-founded in 1988 with Michael Barrett. New York Magazine gave NYFOS its award for Best Classical Programming, while Opera News proclaimed Blier “the coolest dude in town.”
In an interview with the New York Times, Steven says “Muscular dystrophy is not something I would recommend. But it is an amazing teacher. It shows you what you are made of. To live your life in a wheelchair, you have to man-up. To go on stage takes some guts. But you find your confidence and you become your own advocate.”
Mr. Blier enjoys an eminent career as an accompanist and vocal coach. His recital partners have included Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Samuel Ramey, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Susan Graham, Jessye Norman, and José van Dam, in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to La Scala. He is also on the faculty of The Juilliard School and has been active in encouraging young recitalists at summer programs, including the Wolf Trap Opera Company, Santa Fe Opera, and the San Francisco Opera Center. Many of his former students, including Stephanie Blythe, Joseph Kaiser, Sasha Cooke, Paul Appleby, Dina Kuznetsova, Corinne Winters, and Kate Lindsey, have gone on to be valued recital colleagues and sought-after stars on the opera and concert stage.
In keeping the traditions of American music alive, he has brought back to the stage many of the rarely heard songs of George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Kurt Weill and Cole Porter. He has also played ragtime, blues and stride piano evenings with John Musto. At our own “Songs in the Key of Steven Blier” benefit concerts, he has had the audience grooving to Bruce Springsteen and the Beatles.
Mr. Blier’s extensive discography includes the premiere recording of Leonard Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles (Koch International), which won a Grammy Award. His latest CD, Canción amorosa, a disc of Spanish songs with soprano Corinne Winters on the GPR label, is scheduled for release in July of 2014. His writings on opera have been featured in Opera News and the Yale Review. A native New Yorker, he received a Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in English Literature at Yale University, where he studied piano with Alexander Farkas. He completed his musical studies in New York with Martin Isepp and Paul Jacobs.