YPC and the NYU Usingers perform Robert Kapilow’s Jabberwocky!

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The Young People’s Chorus of New York City and the NYU Usingers joined forces to perform the NY Premiere of Robert Kapilow’s Jabberwocky at the new Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, over two performances on Saturday, April 24, 2009.  It was a delight and special treat to work with Robert again.  He is definitely a perfectionist, but it is worth all the effort, because his music, his energy, his musical insight are all inspiring and thoughtful.

YPC has had a long relationship with Robert and the NYU Usingers starting joining us in the last few years as we premiere new works and sing some old ones too.  Each time we are able to sing a work written especially for the occation by Robert and we get to work with him which is the best part of the event.  From Toronto to Boston and of course NYC, here is what I remember:

2000 Polar Express in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2003 In Just Spring

2004 Translate

2005 In Just Spring

2006 Casey at the Bat

2007 ????

2008 Casey at the Bat

2009 Jabberwocky

I’m sure there are other years and several other works.  Do you remember any?

Here is a letter that Robert wrote to me just after our Jabberwocky performance this weekend:

Dear Francisco,

Somehow, though every project I have done with you turns out to be fantastic, I am always amazed each time at performance by how great, alive, responsive, and joyful your chorus is. I keep forgetting! I thought (as did everyone else at the concert) that they did a spectacular job on, what I finally admit, is very difficult music. They are such a delight to work with and, though I know I have said this many times, it is all because of you. If you could bottle up your enthusiasm, energy, and comittment to those kids and sell it, not only would you be able to afford a triplex apartment, but the music world would be in far better shape. I know that you prepared this in the middle of one of the most crazed times you have ever had–which is saying something given your normally crazed schedule–and I know what it took to get it done in the middle of all that. Watching you drill “gyre and gimble” 10 minutes before performance made me realize why I love collaborating with you. Your comittment to excellence is truly admirable, but it is the joyous spirit with which you acheive it that is what is amazing. Thank you for everything and please tell the chorus how spectacular they were. Get some rest. (Ha!) I look forward to Boston. 


All best,

Here are some thoughts from the YPC and Usingers during our rehearsal back stage.

Working with Robert Kapilow was a fantastic experience. He is incredibly animated and really puts life into the chorus, the orchestra, and the Jabberwocky story.

~Sarah, USingers

The Jabberwocky was one of my favorite childhood poems, and working with Robert Kapilow has truly brought it to life! Not only is the piece moving, but catchy as I find myself strolling down the street thinking, “Oh, what a frabjous day!”
~The other Sarah, Usingers

 This concert gives young children an opportunity to understand and appreciate a form of music generally reserved for adults. With the guidance of Robert Kapilow, the music of the YPC and NYU Usingers, and the orchestra, and the visual aid of the dancers, the Jabberwocky became something that even the youngest of children could become involved in.

~Susie, Usingers

It is my life’s ambition to spend a day alone with Robert Kapilow. He is the closest living equivalent to a teddy graham; he is small, adorable, and possibly cinammon flavored.

~James Nash, Young People’s Chorus

Things I have learned from participating in the Jabberwocky concert:

1)    The Popocateptl is definitely not in Canada.

2)    It is a fact: children officially love basses the most.

3)    It doesn’t matter if the kids dance well. All that matters is that the real dancers look good.

4)    Sometimes you don’t have to worry about hitting the right note, just make a bunch of “s” noises and Robert Kapilow, the world-renowned composer, will be more than satisfied.

5)    Nonsense can be perfectly sensible.

            –Kayla Santosuosso, New York University Singers

今天星期五,我们唱歌唱得非常好啊!在 Alice Tully Hall, 我们跟舞者还有音乐家还有Robert Kapilow 娱乐很多的小孩子!我们很高兴!



雖然Jabberwocky似乎把觀眾設定為兒童,但是這場表演,與Geographical Fuge與Scherzo結合,成功地讓成人也能享受這場聽覺與視覺饗宴。此表演之目的,因為這樣的組合與羅柏卡皮洛之執導,演變成一個全新的詮釋手法:透過,節奏與旋律讓人們覺得陌生的事物變得親切熟悉。

            —焦家鴻 Justin Chiao, New York University Singers

It’s been exhausting.  I had an essay draft due yesterday night at midnight, which got extended to 3:00PM today because of my choir obligations, which in the end didn’t really help because I didn’t actually have any time between midnight yesterday night and 3:00PM today.  Yet, I have developed a profound respect for Rob Kapilow.  To Rob: Great job with the composition and direction of Jabberwocky.  Best of luck in the future.

            -Richard Zhang, NYU University Singers

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Well, what is your memory of working with Robert Kapilow and the YPC?

Francisco J. Nunez