Dr. Seuss' Gertrude McFuzz: Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano

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Please note: This is WCLV's first Skype interview.

The classic Dr. Seuss story of the girl-bird who learns to like herself just as she is, presented in a delightfully lively musical style combining jazz, pop, and classical influences. Teaching self-acceptance and how to overcome petty envies and jealousies, Kapilow’s fanciful score uses a variety of instrumental timbre to evoke the story’s images.

About Isabel Leonard
Highly acclaimed for her “passionate intensity and remarkable vocal beauty,” the Grammy Award winning Isabel Leonard continues to thrill audiences both in the opera house and on the concert stage. In repertoire that spans from Vivaldi to Mozart to Thomas Ades, she has graced the stages of the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Paris Opera, Salzburg Festival, Bavarian State Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Angelina in La Cenerentola, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Blanche de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites, the title roles in Griselda, La Périchole, and Der Rosenkavalier, as well as Sesto in both Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito and Handel’s Giulio Cesare.

She has appeared with some of the foremost conductors of her time: James Levine, Valery Gergiev, Charles Dutoit, Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Franz Welser-Möst, Edo de Waart, James Conlon, Andris Nelsons, and Harry Bicket with the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Vienna Philharmonic, among others.

Ms. Leonard is in constant demand as a recitalist and is on the Board of Trustees at Carnegie Hall. She is a recent Grammy Award winner for Thomas Ades’ The Tempest (Best Opera Recording) and the recipient of the 2013 Richard Tucker Award. She recently joined the supporters of the Prostate Cancer Foundation to lend her voice in honor of her father who died from the disease when she was in college.

About Rob Kapilow
For over 20 years, Rob Kapilow has brought the joy and wonder of classical music – and unraveled some of its mysteries – to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Characterized by his unique ability to create an “aha” moment for his audiences and collaborators, whatever their level of musical sophistication or naiveté, Kapilow’s work brings music into people’s lives: opening new ears to musical experiences and helping people to listen actively rather than just hear. As the Boston Globe said, “It’s a cheering thought that this kind of missionary enterprise did not pass from this earth with Leonard Bernstein. Rob Kapilow is awfully good at what he does. We need him.”

Kapilow’s range of activities is astonishingly broad, including his What Makes It Great?® presentations (now for over fifteen seasons in New York and Boston), his family compositions and Family Musik® events, his “Citypieces”, and residencies with institutions as diverse as the National Gallery of Canada and Stanford University. The reach of his interactive events and activities is wide, both geographically and culturally: from Native American tribal communities in Montana and inner-city high school students in Louisiana to audiences in Kyoto and Kuala Lumpur, and from tots barely out of diapers to musicologists in Ivy League programs, his audiences are diverse and unexpected, but invariably rapt and keen to come back for more.

A frequent guest speaker for museums, business groups, foundations, hospitals, law schools, math departments and conferences, Rob Kapilow is constantly finding connections and intersections between music and the outside world, making art essential to everyday life.

Kapilow’s popularity and appeal are reflected in notable invitations and achievements: he appeared on NBC’s Today Show in conversation with Katie Couric; he presented a special What Makes It Great?® event for broadcast on PBS’s Live From Lincoln Center; and he has written two highly popular books published by Wiley/Lincoln Center: All You Have To Do Is Listen which won the PSP Prose Award for Best Book in Music and the Performing Arts, and What Makes It Great? (2011), the first book of its kind to be especially designed for the iPad with embedded musical examples.

A documentary film, named Summer Sun, Winter Moon after Kapilow’s choral/symphonic work of the same name, which traces the process of that work’s composition from its conception through to its premiere, has been broadcast hundreds of times on Public Television since 2009.

Rob Kapilow dedicates his summer months to writing and composing new music, most recently a large-scale work commissioned by the Marin Symphony to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, which was premiered to great acclaim in May 2012.

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