West Virginia University voice professor and soprano Hope Koehler, will present a faculty recital at the Creative Arts Center, Tuesday, Sept. 3. She is also celebrating the release of her new CD, titled “Lost Melodies,” featuring unpublished songs by American composer John Jacob Niles.
The program begins at 7:30 p.m. in Bloch Learning and Performance Hall (200A). Koehler will be joined by pianist James Douglass, head of collaborative piano at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Also featured on the recital is flutist Nina Assimakopoulos of the WVU School of Music faculty.
Koehler will be singing “Dich, theure Halle” from Richard Wagner’s “Tannhäuser,” as well as Robert Schumann’s “Frauenliebe und Leben,” and songs from André Caplet, John Jacob Niles, and Duke Ellington.
Koehler has emerged as the pre-eminent interpreter of the songs by American composer John Jacob Niles. She and Douglass often perform together and have recorded two CDs featuring the songs of Niles. The first CD, released in 2008, is titled “The Lass from the Low Countree.”
A native of Louisville, Ky., Niles was a powerful force in the American folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s and composed and arranged more than 1,000 songs, including “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair,” “I Wonder as I Wander,” and “Go ‘Way from my Window.”
“The songs on ‘Lost Melodies’ are either unpublished or out-of-print, so many people will never have heard them,” Koehler said. “They show a side of Niles we don’t often hear, many times reflecting his study of music in Lyon and Paris, France, and the influence of French composers, like Debussy and Ravel.”
Koehler, whose voice has been heralded as having “the richness of Marilyn Horne at the bottom and the clarion clarity of Leontyne Price at the top,” has appeared all over the United States, in Canada, Europe, Asia, and South America where she has been heard in recital, concert, and opera. Her other stage credits include operetta and musical theatre and she has performed as a soloist in oratorio and other choral orchestral works.
She is a regular performer and featured soloist with the American Spiritual Ensemble, a group that performs all over the world, and whose mission is to keep the American Negro Spiritual alive and vibrant.
Koehler serves on the voice faculty of the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, as well as the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts and the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria.
Both “The Lass from the Low Countree” and “Lost Melodies” are available on iTunes and Amazon.com.
CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts
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