Wadsworth's arrangement of "If I Only Had a Brain" by Harold Arlen
performed at Staunton Music Festival
August 14, 2017
Trinity Episcopal Church, Staunton, VA
Graham Garlington, voice
Zachary Wadsworth, piano
Video by Stewart Searle
About the Music
Born and raised in New York, Harold Arlen (1905-1986) worked in Vaudeville and Broadway, and throughout the 1930s he honed his craft by writing shows for Harlem’s Cotton Club. Gradually his career shifted toward the West Coast, where he spent increasing time writing for Hollywood films. Already quietly successful, his real breakthrough came in 1938 when MGM contracted him to write songs for a new project, The Wizard of Oz. Arlen’s most notable songs from that film include “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “If I Only Had a Brain” heard in this performance by vocalist Graham Garlington.
Graham Garlington graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in May of 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, Theatre, and Film. An aspiring experimental musical theatre composer and performer, Graham continues working on his musical, Elsewhere which has a reading, followed by a workshop production mounted at Sarah Lawrence. With a background in jazz, blues, and classical repertoires, he hopes to form a band as well as continue performing and working with the Staunton Music Festival. His rendition of Harold Arlen's "If I Only Had a Brain" was an audience favorite at the 2017 Festival, and he subsequently performed songs by Henry Mancini and Cole Porter as well as a new theater piece by Wadsworth.
Zachary Wadsworth is a composer of “fresh, deeply felt and strikingly original” music (Washington Post), with regular performances and premieres around the world. Previously he has held a residency at the Metropolitan Opera, and his music has been performed at Westminster Abbey in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II. Other honors include awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, ASCAP, and the American Composers Forum. Wadsworth’s music is published by Novello and Schirmer, and his work has been heard on NPR and the BBC. Wadsworth earned degrees from Eastman, Yale, and Cornell, and he is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at Williams College in Massachusetts.
Wadsworth has also explored composition involving electronics, as in this new work for solo oboe and tape. The texts draw upon letters written by American poet Alan Seeger during The First World War, and the solo oboe is performed by Roger Roe.
Zachary Wadsworth first appeared at Staunton Music Festival as an "Emerging Composer" in 2011. Since then he has written over a dozen commissioned works for the festival and has appeared as pianist and tenor each season. Wadsworth brings originality and true poetry to all that he creates.
Written for and dedicated to contralto Sara Couden, these four quixotic songs were premiered in 2014 by Couden and Wadsworth. The texts by Hilaire Belloc become a springboard for Wadsworth's delightful musical whimsy.
While teaching at Williams College in western Massachusetts, Zachary Wadsworth sends a short postcard from his home in Troy, NY. A familiar face at SMF concerts since his debut in 2011, Zach talks about his rewarding experiences teaching and living near Williams College.
“What are the laws that govern music?” With this question, composer-in-residence Zachary Wadsworth began the process that led to Four Laws for Two Percussionists, given its world premiere performance in this 2015 video. Performed by I-Jen Fang and Brian Smith.
Inspired by the theatrical setting of Blackfriars Playhouse, Wadsworth composed The Doctor for two principal voices and instrumental trio. A modern-day medical farce, The Doctor was an audience favorite at its premiere captured in this video.
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