Happy New Year!
It looks like I haven’t written for a couple of years! There’s a New Year’s Resolution—I will be better in 2020.
The fall of 2019 was full of happy collaborations—our production company Shot in the Dark premiered its second show ever—Drytown: A living room vaudeville. Nathan and I were joined with our Lyric Theatre colleagues Michael Tilley and Sarah Wigley in making a show about making a show. The hilarious Susan Werner wrote us some songs for it, memorably “Hey! You look tired”– a song about beloved guests who have overstayed their welcome. We’ve used it at home a few times since, as needed.
Lyric Theatre @ Illinois continues to thrive and grow, with five new productions a year and a new fund: the Krannert Center/Lyric Theatre Student Excellence Fund. We will launch that on January 30th at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts with an encore performance of Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World.
In December, I had the privilege of helping lead a workshop of Paola Prestini’s new opera Sensorium Ex, in collaboration with Brenda Shaughnessy and Beth Morrison Projects. Tackling disability, motherhood, and artificial intelligence all at once, this piece challenges our emotional, social, and intellectual selves. It’s wonderful to live in a community where we have such expertise spread out among us.
Off for a quick visit to New York to visit the Prototype Festival, where Nathan is performing in Ricky Ian Gordon’s setting of Ellen West. And back to Illinois for rehearsals of Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret and classes at the Krannert Center.
Happy New Year everyone! May it be a wonderful adventure.
Nathan and Julie Gunn at Wigmore Hall
"If there’s such a thing as a perfect programme of listening for a Sunday evening – music that’s comforting, mostly undemanding, with a hefty dollop of nostalgia thrown in – the husband-and-wife-team of Nathan and Julie Gunn delivered it in spades. Their Wigmore Hall concert carried the atmosphere of an old-time broadcast from Radio City Music Hall, or, perhaps even the intimacy of an after-dinner parlour performance from the turn of the 20th century, and, notwithstanding the fact that much of the (all-American) music was from later decades, a Stephen Foster song – or even a recitation of some Emily Dickinson – would not have seemed out of place."
Rape of Lucretia Review
[...] the music direction by Julie Jordan Gunn, conducting, from the piano, an ensemble of 12 instrumentalists, gave admirable and firm support to the student singers.
News and Press
Lyric Theatre brings The Rape of Lucretia into the #MeToo Era
A collaboration between Lyric Theatre co-director Julie Gunn (conductor and pianist) and Kirsten Pullen, head of the Illinois Department of Theatre (director), The Rape of Lucretia brings an innovative retelling of a sadly still-relevant story powered by Benjamin Britten’s 20th century score.
Our Evening on Broadway!
On October 6th, Nathan and I sent the Krannert Center its 50th Birthday present: a concert celebrating everything about the University of Illinois that we have been so lucky to be a part of as students, faculty, and performers.
Alongside current students, alumni, faculty, emerging artists and seasoned professionals, we shared some Broadway heritage, from Street Scene and Carousel to Fun Home and Parade. We did this not just for the beautiful music, but to showcase some of the incredible talent of the new generation of young musicians.
This premiere project is available in varied forms to young artist programs all over the country. If you want to share in this celebration, we’d love to hear from you.
More information may be found at:
Nathan and Julie Gunn to teach at Arts Camp 2017
Interlochen Center for the Arts is pleased to announce the return of noted opera professionals Nathan and Julie Gunn for a weeklong residency during Arts Camp 2017.
Baritone Nathan Gunn with pianist Julie Gunn Deliver Casual Afternoon of Song
Singing at perhaps at a lower tempo than heard by previous singers, the rich support at the piano by Julie Gunn lended to the luxuriant delivery by her husband.
Baritone Nathan Gunn concludes a successful ‘Great Artists’ season
Julie Gunn (both are professors of music at the University of Illinois) no doubt has an unusual degree of rapport with this particular performer, but she's an extraordinary accompanist by any measure. Their by-play was a part of the fun.
Formidable team at the Kimbell Art Museum
Julie Gunn, though, is an exemplary collaborative pianist seemingly equally at ease in all the genres the duo performed in Thursday’s recital. The pair’s onstage banter was both charming and informative, especially when discussing the two less-well-known composers on the first, more “serious” half of the program. These are the American Ben Moore, who will himself be at the Modern Museum of Art in Fort Worth on February 13, in a performance and discussion of his works, and the English Roger Quilter, who was most active in the 1910s and 1920s. Julie Gunn remarked that to them, these composers are musical descendants of Schumann. Indeed, neither reflects the tonalities we’ve come to think of as “new” music.
The 2017-18 season promises to be an exciting one! Nathan and I will be celebrating American Songs at the DeBartolo Center (get ready to sing along!) and touring our cabaret to Nashville, Thomasville, Kalamazoo, Palm Desert, and Beverly Hills.
We’ll be in DC and LA to celebrate the Krannert Center with alumni and friends, and proud to produce four Lyric Theatre @ Illinois shows: [title of show], Hansel and Gretel, Don Giovanni (Nathan’s directorial debut!) and She Loves Me. We’ll keep you posted about masterclasses and other gatherings along the way.