DAVID SHENTON composer
David Shenton is an English pianist, violinist, composer, and arranger, based in New York City. Shenton has collaborated with musicians in diverse genres, including Vanessa Williams, Tony Bennett, Sierra Boggess, Denyce Graves, Renée Fleming, Sherrill Milnes, Sir André Previn, Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz.
Composing since the age of nine, Shenton has written hundreds of works including sonatas, concerti, a symphony, an oratorio, string quartets, numerous songs, instrumental works, and operas. Currently, Shenton is composing Bellissima Opera’s Tales of Transcendence—a series of operas exploring our shared humanity. The first, On Call: COVID-19, honoring healthcare workers, will premiere online in April. Future Perfect, co-created with 1300 local students, will have its Chicago premiere in January 2022.
Shenton’s career includes conducting his orchestra/big band at Carnegie Hall in 2014; Jazz @ Lincoln Center Rose Theater as a jazz pianist in 2008; classical piano at Lincoln Center’s Rubenstein Atrium for the 200th anniversary Schumann and Chopin celebration, and as music director/arranger/pianist for the Center’s 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Shenton is a founding member of the acclaimed classical crossover group, Empire Trio.
A prolific arranger, Shenton has worked at Abbey Road and CTS Studios (London), on Hollywood movies, and Broadway shows. Shenton has co-created more than a dozen shows with lyricist Martin Charnin (Annie). He arranged and orchestrated for the long-running West End production of Howard Blake's The Snowman, for Charnin’s last musical, Robin Hood: the Untold Story, and for Opus X, with trumpeter Chris Botti. Shenton has composed numerous art songs and collaborated with Steyer on Six Songs for Soprano. He is a composer-in-residence at the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop. His recordings include several albums for major record labels, including the award-winning solo piano CD, Sunnyside Blues.
CHRISTINE STEYER librettist/ creator
As a performer, soprano Christine Steyer has distinguished herself as an artist of great versatility. In addition to being the recipient of national awards such as the 2020 Honored Artist of The American Prize for outstanding contributions to the arts, and the Johnny Mercer Award, Steyer has received acclaim for her portrayals of the title role in Madama Butterflyand Violetta in La Traviata. Since 2000, she has sung as a chorister and in several small roles in over 40 productions at Lyric Opera of Chicago.
A frequent recitalist, Steyer sang several concerts of Russian and American music with pianist Philip Morehead and concerts of Spanish music with guitarist Brandon Acker. In 2019 Steyer sang in France with The Chicago Paris Cabaret Connexion at the Montpellier Opera House, Paris' Salle Olympe de Gouges and the Lapin Agile. Last year, she sang at the Schubert Festival at Unity Temple, in Oak Park, where Steyer shared the stage with Lawrence Brownlee and members of the Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestras, and a recital at The 19th Century Club Music of Hope and Healing.
As a music advocate, Steyer has brought classical music to 23,000 youth in underserved areas with her organization, Bellissima Opera Outreach. She collaborates with other professional musicians to create new works on relevant, contemporary themes. She and composer Jean-Claude Orfali are writing a book of original cabaret songs. Steyer’s songbook, Six Songs for Soprano, was written with several musicians including David Shenton.
In 2014 Steyer, as librettist, and Shenton, as composer, began writing Bellissima Opera’s Tales of Transcendence: a series of new operas exploring our shared humanity. The first, On Call: COVID-19, honoring healthcare workers, will premiere online in April. Future Perfect, co-created with 1300 local students, will have its Chicago premiere in in January 2022.