Nordic Vocal Literature
Colin was recently selected as an American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF) Fellow for 2023-24. He will be using the Grant to collaborate with contemporary Icelandic composers for both performing new works and building a historical record of contemporary vocal literature, in addition to preparing and performing a new edition of Jórunn Viðar’s final song "Gátur fyrir konunga."
Regularly requested for consultation to aid repertoire selections, Dr. Colin Levin frequently works with University professors, students at the Doctoral, Masters, and Undergraduate level, as well as Young Artists programs. Colin is a Nordic Song specialist, with an extensive background in the repertoire and lyric diction of Icelandic art song, especially promoting the works of Jórunn Viðar (1918-2017). He additional specializes in Repertoire Diversification, with significant experience in programming queer, female, and BIPOC composers, in the anticipation of this being the industry standard. In July 2023 he will be a featured clinician at the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Workshop in San Diego presenting both on the “Foundational Nordic Vocal Literature Repertory” and “An Introduction to the Repertory and IPA of Iceland.”
Nordic art music presentations include those given for the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study Conference in both Puerto Rico and Austin, TX, the Centre for Scandinavian Studies Copenhagen-Lund-Hankuk (CSS) in Lund, Sweden, Listaháskóli Íslands/Iceland University of the Arts in Reyjavik, Iceland, the Sam Houston State University Art Song Festival, Longy School of Music of Bard College, alma mater University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign, and University of Wisconsin: Oshkosh. He additionally recorded for both WNYC in New York City, as well as National Public Radio, discussing the music of Richard Wagner on a segment entitled "The Sexual Mystery" in the internationally broadcast weeklong show, The Tristan Mysteries. He is currently writing the complete phonetic transcriptions of the songs of Jórunn Viðar.
Colin currently serves as Associate Professor of Music and is the principal professor for Vocal Literature at Long Island University: Brooklyn, and was on the Music History Faculty at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute from 2013-2022 as the Music History Program Coordinator. He is a board member for the website SongHelix, as the editor for Nordic art song. Colin Levin holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Musicology from the Oberlin Conservatory, a Master of Music Degree in Vocal Literature from the University of Illinois: Champaign-Urbana, and a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from Rutgers University where his doctoral dissertation "The Value of Icelandic Art Song within the Context of Higher Education" earned him the Irene Alm Memorial Prize for Excellence in Performance and Scholarly Research. He began researching Nordic Song post a winter term in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2007, with specific focus on Icelandic song following an artist-in-residence position at the Landakotsskóli in Reykjavík, Iceland during the Spring of 2017. He additionally studied the Icelandic language at Háskólasetur Vestfjarða/University Centre of the Westfjords in Ísafjörður, Iceland during the summer of 2022, and will be returning in the summer of 2023.
Below is a list of the different courses, coachings, and consultations that Colin offers, as well as their description. To inquire about any of the following, please email Colin directly.
Colin teaches semi-annual Zoom Vocal Literature courses on Nordic Repertoire. In the summer of 2020 he taught a seven-week course, A History of Scandinavian Vocal Literature focusing on Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish repertoire, and in early 2021 taught the subsequent course Songs of Denmark and the Nordic Isles focusing on Danish and Icelandic art song. Courses include a survey of the art songs of the major Nordic composers, as well as the poets that influenced them. Each class consists of history lectures, an introduction to the IPA of the languages, and frequent in-class performances. Each individual is assigned at least two songs to perform during the course, with optional reading and listening assignments to enhance the learning experience. Leading experts in the field of Nordic Vocal Literature frequently join as guest lecturers, with recent guests including Anna Hersey and Cayla Rosché.
In the Spring of 2021 Colin will be offering two courses:
1. An introduction to Norwegian and Finnish Vocal Literature and Phonetics
2. Advanced Topics in Nordic Vocal Literature: The foundational Female Composers of Scandinavia and the Nordic Isles
* Dates and Prices to be posted in March 2021
Nordic Language Coaching,
Repertoire, & IPA Transcriptions
Colin coaches repertoire in Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish, as well as offers consultation on Nordic Opera arias, Oratorio selections, and art songs. All coachings include IPA transcripts (excluding Finnish translation) created for the repertoire that the client is preparing.
Colin additionally writes IPA transcriptions for all of the aforementioned languages. Please allow one week for each transcription. Priority transcription delivery is priced accordingly.
Colin is available for consultation in the implementation of repertoire diversification within University departments, or for the individual. Repertoire lists with specific repertoire goals built per client or Department.
There are currently few resources for English speakers to access information online about much of the Nordic Art Song repertory*, with especially minimal information on Icelandic Art Song. I am collaborating with databases such as SongHelix in the hope of giving a larger audience the tools to explore this wonderful literature. I am currently developing a database for this literature, and am hopeful that it will be finished in 2021. Stay tuned!
* Swedish Song has a comprehensive database that can be explored at https://www.swedishmusicalheritage.com.
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