New Concert Series Highlights Modern Art Song

Series Performers:

10/22 Laura Wayte

11/26 Rebecca Sacks

1/28 Tess Altiveros

2/25 Brendan Tuohy

3/25 Janene Nelson

4/22 Sarah Mattox

and Tangletown Trio

Press Coverage: 

The Eugene Review , Feb. 23, 2017
KLCC Interview, March 23, 2017
Eugene Weekly, March 24, 2017

Artists Hope to Connect to

Today’s Audience in Comfortable, Community Space

EUGENE, Ore. –– Esteemed Eugene soprano Laura Wayte has founded Songs@Tsuami, a monthly recital series held at south Eugene’s iconic Tsunami Bookstore. The first concert is scheduled for 5pm on October 22nd. The new concert series will take place each fourth Saturday and run through June, with the intention of introducing a broader audience to art song recitals while moving away from the stereotypes that surround the way traditional classical recitals are presented.   

Art song, originating in Europe and sung in European languages, is an acoustic art form in which poetry is set to music by composers to deepen the interpretation of the poems. The performers are classically trained singers and pianists, with other instruments added in as desired. Famous art song composers include Aaron Copland, Benjamin Britten, Johannes Brahms and Claude Debussy.

Each performance in the series will highlight different artists, surrounded by Tsunami’s shelves of books, sharing songs that resonate with them. Art song doesn’t have one set style: instead, it reflects the moment and cultures in which it develops. Laura Wayte created the Songs@Tsunami series to showcase that we can enjoy both old and new works with modern ears and find nuances of meaning and agency that applies directly to today’s world. She strongly believes that human beings can understand our society and its problems by viewing them with perspective and care. Laura hopes to widen the audience for art song by removing perceived barriers and presenting it in new formats.

“Art plays a vital role in society by expressing complex, deep issues. Art song, with its rich, beautiful and coded access to emotion and thoughts, is one whose place and usefulness is undervalued. In our busy lives, it gives us an opportunity for contemplation, perspective, emotion and beauty,” said Laura Wayte, founder of Searching Through Sound and the creator of Songs@Tsunami. “Because the full nature of art song requires engaged contemplation rather than listening as background music, it can pull us out of the daily grind. I want to present it as an opportunity to consider the challenges of our modern world through a lens of language, foreign language, history, and emotion, while listening to beautiful sounds.”

Laura will be the featured vocalist at the October 22nd concert, with long-time partner Nathalie Fortin on the  piano. Fortin and Wayte seek out new works by living composers, providing a connection between composers and audiences. They will perform poetry by Denise Levertov, William Stafford, Arne Garbourg, Charles Grandmougin and Patricia Burns. The program consists of music by:

  • Tom Sears of Eugene, former music director of Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene

  • Jason Heald of  Roseburg, long-time Director of Music at Umpqua Community College

  • Nicole Portley of Portland, composer and fisheries biologist

  • Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) of  Norway

  • Gabriel Faure (1845-1924) of France

For more information please contact Allison Burk, at 541-510-7363 or by email @aburk.pr@gmail.com.

About Laura Wayte

Laura Decher Wayte grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, earned a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Vermont, and an M.M. in Voice from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she was awarded Outstanding Achievement in Opera Performance. For 20 years, Laura has been performing traditional and contemporary opera, orchestral pieces, choral and chamber music.  Her singing has been consistently praised for its lyrical expression and rich tonal qualities, and her ability to connect with and move her audiences at the highest caliber. Opera News wrote of her recent Eugene Opera performance of The Governess in Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw:"Laura Wayte... her lines lingering in the memory... has the ability to draw listeners to her rather than push to reach them." Laura particularly enjoys performing contemporary classical music from across cultures: American, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Catalan, Danish and Norwegian – In all these languages and cultures she searches for music that moves her and always offers a program to make the audience feel as if they were embarking on a journey.