Harold Meltzer, visiting composer
Variations on a Summer Day
Page Stephens, mezzo soprano
Dan Welcher, director
Page Stephens is a mezzo soprano, voice teacher and arts administrator based in Austin, TX with a soft spot for new music. She is equally at home with newer works and standard repertoire, and has premiered new works by composers including Alex Heppelmann, Joshua Shank, Russell Podgorsek, Keenan Boswell and Steven Serpa. Composer Russell Podgorsek is currently crafting the lone singing role for Page in an interactive chamber opera, The Two of Swords, with text by award-winning author Kelly Luce, to be performed with invoke string quartet.
Recent musical and operatic roles include Yvonne in Sunday in the Park with George with Austin Shakespeare (2015), Cecilia March in Little Women with the Butler Opera Center (2017), and the Dating Coordinator in Speed Dating Tonight! with Alamo City Opera (2017). In addition to theatrical work, Page enjoys collaborating on recital and chamber music; highlights from the last few years include Aaron Jay Kernis’ Simple Songs with the UT Austin New Music Ensemble, Music for 18 Musicians for the Fast Forward Austin Festival, Drumming with both Sō Percussion and line upon line percussion, Mark Kilstofte's The White Album with both Copland House at Merestead, NY and the UT New Music Ensemble in Austin, and a myriad of art song with pianists Chien-Lin Lu, Kate Stubbs, Neilson Chen and Charlie Magnone.
In addition to performing, Ms. Stephens maintains a busy private studio of voice students. Her students have gone on to study voice or musical theater at Northwestern, Trinity, Ouachita Baptist, and Florida State Universities. Page is the Assistant Director of Operations at the Sarah & Ernest Butler School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin. She also serves as the current Vice Chair of the UT Staff Council. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Duke University where she studied with Verdi soprano Susan Dunn and her Master of Music from UT Austin. Prior to singing, Ms. Stephens studied dance for 15 years – she owes a great deal to those instructors for exposing her to a wealth of music.
Harold Meltzer is inspired by a wide variety of stimuli, from architectural spaces to postmodern fairy tales and messages inscribed in fortune cookies. In Fanfare Magazine, Robert Carl commented that he “seems to write pieces of scrupulous craft and exceptional freshness, which makes each seem like an important contribution.” The first recording devoted to his music, released in 2010 by Naxos on its American Classics label, was named one of the CDs of the year in The New York Times. A second recording, with the song cycle Variations on a Summer Day and a Piano Quartet, was just released on Open G Records; soon there will be two more on the Bridge Records and BMOP/Sound labels. Upcoming projects range from new songs for Abigail Fischer and the Brooklyn Art Song Society to a Piano Concerto for Sara Laimon and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project to a full-evening cantata for The Crossing and Orchestra 2001.
A Pulitzer Prize Finalist in 2009 for his sextet Brion, Meltzer has been awarded the Rome Prize, the Barlow Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and both the Arts and Letters Award in Music and the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Commissions in recent years have issued from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Fromm and Koussevitzky Music Foundations, New Music USA, Library of Congress, Boston Chamber Music Society, Concert Artists Guild, and the ASCAP Foundation for the New York Festival of Song. Founder and co-director for fifteen years of the new music ensemble Sequitur, Meltzer lives with his family in the East Village of Manhattan. He studied at Amherst College, the Yale School of Music, Columbia Law School, and King’s College, Cambridge, and has taught at Amherst and Vassar. In spare moments he coaches baseball, is learning to speak Mandarin and trying to build glass harmonicas.