Black Tea Music is excited to welcome three young artists to our Black Tea family: the rising-star composer Julia Adolphe, the intrepid and fiercely versatile soprano Lindsay Kesselman, and the multi-talented composer, vocalist, and podcaster, Dennis Tobenski.

Composer Julia Adolphe. Photo by Martin Chalifour.

Praised by Alex Ross and Anthony Tommasini for music “alive with invention“ with “colorful, mercurial orchestration”, Julia Adolphe joins the Black Tea Music roster after an impressive 2016-2017 season for composers at any age. In November 2016, the New York Philharmonic gave the world premiere of Adolphe’s viola concerto, Unearth, Release,  performed by the orchestra’s principal viola, Cynthia Phelps under the baton of Jaap van Zweden. The New York Times hailed Adolphe’s piece for its “bold” and “unconventional approach” that was “at once inviting and ominous.” Aside from her triumphant New York premiere, Adolphe has also received world premieres of her choral piece, Whispers of Jasmine in September 2016 (commissioned and premiered by The Golden Bridge Choir and music director Suzy Digby) , Shiver and Bloom (commissioned by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and conducted by Jeffrey Kahane), as well as her new orchestra piece, White Stone, commissioned by the Bravo! Vail Music Festival for the New York Philharmonic and conducted by Alan Gilbert this past July. Previously, Adolphe created the libretto and wrote the music for her chamber opera, SYLVIA, which was praised for being “a short, sharp, powerful opera…searingly vivid” (eMusic). Her awards include a 2017 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, a 2016 Lincoln Center Emerging Artists Award, a 2016 OPERA America Discovery Grant, and a 2015 Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Next up for Adolphe is the world premiere of Equinox, her new choral work with text by poet Elizabeth Alexander, with the Cincinnati May Festival Chorus and their music director, Robert Porco.


Soprano Lindsay Kesselman

Soprano Lindsay Kesselman. Photo by Bo Huang.

Lindsay Kesselman is fast becoming one of the most sought-after sopranos for contemporary composers as diverse as Louis Andriessen, John Corigliano, Philip Glass, Amy Beth Kirsten, and Dan Visconti. Recent highlights include originating the role of ‘the Boy’ with the Loss Angeles Philharmonic and The Netherlands Opera premieres in Louis Andriessen’s Theatre of the World in Spring 2016, a five-performance run this past March of Amy Beth Kirsten’s latest theatrical work, Quixote, at Montclair State University’s innovative series, Peak Performances, a new recording of John Mackey’s Songs from the End of the World (Blue Griffin Records) this past June, as well as the world premiere recording of the Andriessen opera on Nonesuch Records just at the end of this past September. Kesselman has cemented herself as one of the prominent interpreters of John Corigliano’s music today. She is singing Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan throughout this season. Earlier this month she sang the work at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and in April 2018 she will sing it again with the Charlotte Symphony. In addition, she will perform it with the dynamic young ensemble, Contemporaneous, at Brooklyn’s new music hotspot National Sawdust, as part of the 80th birthday celebration of the composer in February 2018. Kesselman will also perform Christopher Cerrone’s work, The Pieces that Fall to Earth, with Present Music in Milwaukee this November. Kesselman is also an avid chamber music performer; she is currently the resident soprano with the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, as well as part of her soprano, clarinet, and piano ensemble, Haven Trio.

Composer Dennis Tobenski. Photo by Caroline Petters.

A triple threat in the new music world, Dennis Tobenski is a composer, vocalist, and podcaster who has been praised by Anthony Tommasini as a composer with a “distinctive and engaging” voice and “a skillful and sensitive singer who shapes phrases and renders text with expert care”. His debut album in 2016 under the Perfect Enemy Label, And He’ll Be Mine: Love Songs by Gay American Composers is a collaboration with long-time performance partner, pianist Marc Peloquin, features vocal works by David Del Tredici, Chester Biscardi, Zachary Wadsworth, Darien Shulman, as well as his own works. He hosts two music business-centered podcasts aimed at helping composers and performers to learn more about the practical aspects of their careers: the Music Publishing Podcast, a weekly, hour-long conversation with other professionals in the field of concert music, and The Composer’s Guide to Doing Business, where he answers questions and discusses current issues within the new music community.  He is currently recording a second album with Peloquin featuring his recent works. The duo will be performing at the upcoming NYC songSLAM this November, presenting the world premiere of Tobenski’s new work, Oh Hell No. Listen to Tobenski’s featured works, Only Air, for voice and orchestra, here.