A resurgence of the American art song is underway. New art song composers such as Adam Guettel, Michael John LaChiusa, and Georgia Stitt are writing engaging and challenging songs that are contributing to this resurgence of art song among college students. College and University musical theatre programs are training performers to be versatile and successful crossover artists. Cross-training in voice is training a performer to be capable of singing many different genres of music effectively and efficiently, which in turn creates a hybrid performer. Cross-training and hybridity can also be applied to musical styles. Hybrid songs that combine musical theatre elements and classical art song elements can be used as an educational tool and create awareness in musical theatre students about the American art song genre and its origins while fostering the need to learn about various styles of vocal repertoire.
American composers Leonard Bernstein and Ned Rorem influenced hybridity of classical and musical theatre genres by using their compositional knowledge of musicals and their classical studies to help create a new type of art song. In the past, academic institutions have been more accepting of composers whose careers began in classical music crossing between genres, rather than coming from a more popularized genre such as musical theatre into the classical world. Continued support in college vocal programs will only help the new hybrid form of American art song to thrive.
Trained as a classical pianist and having studied poetry and text setting, Georgia Stitt understands the song structure and poetry skills necessary to write a contemporary American art song. This document will examine several of Carol Kimball’s “Component of Style” elements, explore other American composers who have created a hybrid art song form and discuss the implementation of curriculum to create versatile singers. The study will focus on three of Georgia Stitt’s art songs that fit this hybrid style and conclude with a discussion about the future of hybridity in American art song.