Pulitzer Prize winning poet and novelist Margaret Widdemer's early feminist poems dealing with sexual abuse, war, and human rights are still compellingly relevant today. Composer Juliana Hall was commissioned to set the poems to music by the Seattle Art Song Society; they premiered in March 2019 on a program celebrating womxn's voices. "When commissioning Hall, SASS wasn't content to just have the premiere in Seattle...in this time of #MeToo and women's rights being front and center in culture, Hall's song cycle--with its powerful settings of American poet Margaret Widdemer's social justice texts--had the possibility to bring an important message to people beyond Seattle. His idea developed into a 'women's march' across the country...a project to have Hall's new songs performed in all 50 states after the premiere, bringing Hall's settings and Widdemer's poems to all of the US! To that end, Armbrust has enlisted more than 170 mezzo-sopranos from all 50 states (and many foreign countries as well), each of whom will get an early look at the score with the option to participate in the project. Singers will participate in Beyond the Guarded Gate, by agreeing to perform the song cycle on a recital between March 2019 and December 2019 following the official SASS world premiere. E. C. Schirmer is providing each singer and pianist taking part in Beyond the Guarded Gate with a complimentary digital copy of the work for use in the performance."
Mezzo Soprano Monica Szabo-Nyeste and pianist Eva Mengelkoch have been musical partners for more than a decade. Their collaboration has led to critically acclaimed performances in Central America (Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama) and Europe (Hungary and Rumania), and the United States. Their most recent collaborative project includes performances of Juliana Hall’s song cycle “Beyond the Guarded Gate” and lieder and song selection by Fanny Hensel, Clara Schumann, and other women composers.
Praised for her "superior vocal and interpretive gifts" (CVNC), Monica Szabó-Nyeste (Mezzo Soprano) has appeared most recently in recital on the Fourth Friday Concert Series at Ruggero Piano, on the Classical Concert Series at the Halle Cultural Arts Center and as Mrs. Noye in a special production of Benjamin Britten's Noye's Fludde with the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle and Kidznotes.
Her portrayal of Ines in Verdi's Il Trovatore with Washington's Summer Opera Theatre Company was described as “bright and ebullient” by The Washington Post. As a winner of the Young American Artist of the City Choir of Washington competition, she performed with The City Choir, singing the Second Soprano and Alto solos in J.S. Bach's Magnificat as well as the Second Soprano solo in the Washington D.C. premiere of Luciano Berio's Magnificat.
An avid art song performer, Ms. Szabó-Nyeste has sung on recitals in Central America, Europe, as well as in various venues in the Baltimore-Washington area, including the Terrace Theater in the JFK Center for the Performing Arts in DC. She was awarded the prestigious Fulbright scholarship to study Hungarian Art Song at the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest. A native of Baltimore, Ms. Szabó-Nyeste holds a BM degree from Towson University and a MM and DMA from The Catholic University of America. She served on the faculty of Fayetteville Technical Community College and resides in Durham, NC.
A performer on modern piano and fortepiano, Eva Mengelkoch’s artistry has been described as “formidable on both instruments, technically brilliant and poetically distinctive.” (Early Music America). Eva Mengelkoch has concertized in chamber music ensembles, as a solo recitalist and accompanist in North America, Central America, India, and throughout Western and Central Europe. She has appeared in concert venues including Saint-Martin-in-the-Fields in London, Mendelssohn-Haus in Leipzig, Tata-Theatre in Bombay, Liszt-Academy in Budapest, Chicago’s Cultural Center, Bayreuth’s Summer Piano Festival at Steingräber Hall, and Teatro Nacional in Managua. Her recordings have been released under the Centaur and Beoton labels and the Naxos Music Library and continue to be broadcast on public radio stations in the US, Canada, and Europe. Eva Mengelkoch spent her most recent sabbatical year in Berlin researching the Lieder of Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy. Her research was supported by a grant of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz. A recording of the Lieder, and a critical performance edition are currently in preparation.
Eva Mengelkoch studied at the Folkwang University of the Arts with Michael Roll, and received her Master’s and Doctorate degrees at Indiana University as a student of Schnabel-pupil Leonard Hokanson [piano] and Elisabeth Wright (fortepiano). She is a piano professor at Towson University in Baltimore. Prior to her appointment at Towson University, Dr. Mengelkoch taught piano at Indiana University and served as a staff accompanist at DePauw University.
$20 advance /$23 door /$10 full time student with ID