Founder, Winifred Cecil
"Singer after singer had a thrilling basic instrument, but that was all. Missing almost entirely was the artistry so vital to meaningful performance."
These were the words of Winifred Cecil, the noted singer and teacher and founder of JOY IN SINGING, about the plight of many young singers. She was resolved to pass on to them the refinements of the art of song she learned from her mentors, Marcella Sembrich and Elena Gerhardt. The opportunity came in 1952 when, after one of her recitals, she was invited by Town Hall to preside over a series of master classes in which she would help gifted singers with interpretation, stage deportment and communication. For it is in these, she believed, that lies the "joy in singing."
This was the embryo.
Six years later, in 1958, JOY IN SINGING was born as an award program, and as a publicly supported organization. The winners of the annual awards received a prize recital, at first given in Town Hall. Then in 1969, Ms. Cecil was invited by the Library and Museum of the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center to move the master classes to that location, and the Award Recitals to Alice Tully Hall. Support for JOY IN SINGING was swift in coming; among the first to back the budding organization was Arturo Toscanini, who established a scholarship with his contribution.
Upon Winifred Cecil's death in 1984, so many singers appealed to the organization to keep the unique idea of Joy In Singing alive that the Board of Directors decided to continue the program. In 1986, American tenorPaul Sperry was invited to become Music Director. "Working with the talented young singers who participate in the classes is one of the highlights of my year. Within the master class format, I try to focus on keeping alive the ideals of the three artists who most influenced my own musical development: Pierre Bernac, Jennie Tourel and Paul Ulanowsky.”
SongSalon concerts, Song as a Second Language education program
In addition to its regular activities, Joy In Singing highlights significant milestones associated with the art song and its history. The 2013 Positively Poulenc! competition was held in May 2013. Created and produced byDALTON BALDWIN, and sponsored by Joy In Singing, this event showcased the unique and large body of vocal literature composed by Francis Poulenc, one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century.
The competition attracted a field of over 100 singers from around the globe. The preliminary rounds were held at Opera America. The , final round and concert were held at Bruno Walter Auditorium, due to the generosity of the Special Programs administrators.