A Song by Mahler

Wednesday, May 15, 2024 - 7:30 PM
Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center

Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center

300 South Broad Street Learn More

$30.00$65.00 per ticket

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About This Performance

This concert is supported in part by Allen R. and Judy Brick Freedman

A love song by Gustav Mahler is at the center of this probing new work by eminent pianist and composer Marc Neikrug. Liebst du um Schönheit (“If You Love for the Sake of Beauty”), from Mahler’s Rückert Lieder, is “a key element to the drama,” Neikrug says, and, as it “embodies the message of love as an aspiration, a self-embodied posture, and a state of being,” it speaks to the emotional core of the work as well. A Song by Mahler centers on the changing realities of two characters: a concertizing singer who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s and her husband, who is also her accompanist. This work of music theater is “an attempt to address the specific emotional evolution of this couple, touching on their love and their particular relationship to music” Neikrug says. “It is not an attempt at documenting the myriad aspects of the disease.”

Jennifer Johnson Cano, mezzo-soprano; Ryan Bradford, baritone; David Shifrin, clarinet; FLUX Quartet

Neikrug: A Song by Mahler  Philadelphia Premiere

Running time: 1 hour and 20 minutes 

The Artist(s)

Jennifer Johnson Cano, mezzo-soprano
A naturally gifted singer known for her commanding stage presence and profound artistry, Jennifer Johnson Cano has garnered critical acclaim for committed performances of both new and standard repertoire. In response to her performance as Virginia Woolf in The Hours with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera News praised her “impressive tone and dead-on pitch throughout a wide range,… Read More
Ryan Bradford
Ryan Bradford, baritone
Young American baritone Ryan Bradford is quickly creating a name for himself with his "warm,  and sumptuous baritone." He recently made his Lincoln Center debut with Chamber Music Society Lincoln Center in the world premier chamber opera A Song by Mahler by Marc Neikrug. Other performances include the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and The Royal Conservatory in Toronto.… Read More
David Shifrin, clarinet
One of only two wind players to have been awarded the Avery Fisher Prize since the award's inception in 1974, David Shifrin is in constant demand as an orchestral soloist, recitalist and chamber music collaborator. He has appeared with many of the major orchestras in the United States and abroad, and has served as principal clarinetist with the Cleveland Orchestra,… Read More
FLUX Quartet
The FLUX Quartet"one of the most fearless and important new-music ensembles around" (San Francisco Chronicle), has performed to rave reviews in venues worldwide, including the Tate Modern with BBC Radio3, Park Avenue Armory, Kennedy Center, Mount Tremper Arts, EMPAC, Walker Art Center, Carnegie's Zankel Hall, as well as international festivals in Australia,… Read More


A Song by Mahler | Interview with Composer Marc Neikrug
Jennifer Johnson Cano | Candle on the Water
Pre-Concert Talk

Music Theater in the Recital Hall with Michael Bolton at 6:30pm, Comcast Circle
The art song recital has traditionally been a platform for singers to step away from the opera stage to present mini-dramas through the voice alone. Join presenter Michael Bolton as he prepares us for the extraordinary journey that is Marc Neikrug’s A Song by Mahler. He’ll explore how this music theater piece blurs the lines of art song and opera as he discusses Alzheimer’s and dementia in music and theater.

Post-Concert Talk

With composer Marc Neikrug, Dr. Jason Karlawish of the Penn Memory Center, and Concetta M. Tomaino, Executive Director/Co-Founder of the Institute for Music & Neurologic Function