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RICKY IAN GORDON

COMPOSER

BIOGRAPHY

Long Island native Ricky Ian Gordon studied piano, composition, and acting at Carnegie Mellon University before settling in New York City, where he quickly emerged as a leading writer of vocal music that spans art song, opera, and musical theater. Mr. Gordon’s songs have been performed and recorded by such internationally renowned singers as Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Nathan Gunn, Judy Collins, Kelli O’Hara, Audra McDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Nicole Cabell, the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Frederica von Stade, Nadine Sierra, Andrea Marcovicci, Harolyn Blackwell, and Betty Buckley, among many others.


Of Mr. Gordon’s oeuvre, Stephen Holden, wrote in The New York Times, “If the music of Ricky Ian Gordon had to be defined by a single quality, it would be the bursting effervescence in fusing songs that blithely blur the lines between art song and the high-end Broadway music of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim…It’s caviar for a world gorging on pizza.” [read more...]

CRITICAL ACCLAIM


"... Gordon clearly has an original attitude...” – Gramophone 


Bright-Eyed Joy – “Ricky Ian Gordon is one of the New York­based composers who seem to be creating a new genre‚ halfway between American art song and show tunes. The booklet that comes with this CD‚ although it prints the texts of the songs and has an affectionate note about the composer from producer Tommy Krasker‚ gives no information about the singers. Dawn Upshaw and Audra McDonald are both well known for their ability to encompass musical theatre and concert­platform styles‚ but it’s a surprise to find the composer Adam Guettel as a vocalist here. Gordon’s music has echoes of Sondheim‚ Copland and a generous dash of the blues. The emphasis is on a slightly jokey‚ half­sad‚ half­happy mood. His settings here focus on poetry by Langston Hughes‚ Edna St Vincent Millay and Dorothy Parker. Hughes’ Poor Girl’s Ruination is paired with The Dream Keeper to make a pointed scena that Audra McDonald sings with expressive melancholy. The male voices‚ Guettel‚ Darius de Haas and Chris Pedro Trakas all veer towards crooning‚ whereas Theresa McCarthy has a pure soprano that is well displayed in Afternoon on a Hill. There are a couple of duets‚ Love Song for Lucinda‚ with a nice ragtime influence‚ and Resumé/Wail/Frustration‚ three typically cynical Dorothy Parker verses‚ sung by Judy Blazer and Trakas‚ which is the most overtly Broadway selection‚ whereas Song for a Dark Girl comes nearest to opera. This‚ like Dream Variations and Daybreak in Alabama‚ comes from Audra McDonald’s recital Way Back to Paradise (Nonesuch‚ 7/99). New Moon and Joy are vocal quartets to verses by Hughes that have that quality of spare emotion that made him one of the most admired poets of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s. The mood expressed in them is mostly optimistic‚ as Joy‚ the song from which theCD gets its title‚ implies. Gordon clearly has an original attitude‚ and the accompaniments, both piano solo and instrumental‚ are full of attractive detail.”

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“Gordon’s music palpably burns with sorrow and frustration...” – Journal of Singing


Souvenir – “The first song we hear from Ricky Ian Gordon is “Souvenir,” an exquisite setting of a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Gordon’s poetic first love. Every bit as poignant is “The Good Death,” an excerpt from the theatrical song cycle Rappahannock County, in which a seriously ill Civil War soldier laments the likelihood that his will not be a heroic death on the battlefield, but rather a pointless death in a hospital bed due to typhus. Gordon’s music palpably burns with sorrow and frustration, and Powell’s performance of it is nothing less than searing. The same can be said for “Father’s Song,” from a largely autobiographical musical titled Sycamore Trees. In this heartbreaking song, a father mourns the death of one of his daughters from a drug overdose. Gordon takes us on a nearly unbearable journey into the most acute kind of sorrow and regret, but it is Powell’s openhearted singing that makes such a journey possible.”

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"...He illustrates with skill, grace and flair...." – The New York Times


The Grapes of Wrath – "Mr. Gordon’s music is received from elsewhere: from the simple singing of American balladry, the wide-open-spaces style of American symphonists, and the bounce of the Broadway and Hollywood musical. There are tinges of dissonance to accompany the opera’s uglier moments, but this music’s main intent is to oblige. If Alban Berg or Messiaen had been painters, they would be regarded as artists. Mr. Gordon is more an illustrator. He illustrates with skill, grace and flair. Mr. Korie’s literate, often clever libretto is a big help. Together the two men gently push the narrative from episode to episode."

REPRESENTATIVES

Aaron Sanko

CEO & Partner


Shawn Marie Jeffery

Agent | Classical & Creatives


Lisa Bremer 

Operations & Finance Manager

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