Toscanini and Friends Art Songs Concert

Steven Marking with his striking stage presence, rich baritone voice, and impeccable diction captivated the Italians. --Corriere della Sera, Milano

The Story behind the Concert

Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957) was arguably the most renowned conductor of the 20th century. He began his musical career as a cellist and aspiring composer. Upon hearing the masterful music of Wagner, he decided to give up composing and devote his life to performing and conducting the works of other composers.

In 1993 Steven embarked on a concert tour of Italy with Walfredo Toscanini, Arturo’s grandson, and Walfredo’s wife Elaine, an accomplished accompanist. Arturo Toscanini is absolutely revered in Italy. For each concert Walfredo would speak of his grandfather and his strong working relationships with specific Italian composers. Elaine would then accompany Steven in songs written by those composers. He received many compliments from the Italians and they often assumed he was fluent in Italian.

The Recording

In the years after the tour Steven was doing a great deal of performing with pianist/conductor Ian Hobson. As they discussed his concert tour and of the songs of Arturo Toscanini and his Italian contemporaries, Ian became eager to see the songs, since he was unaware that Arturo Toscanini had composed music . Steve and Ian then recorded these beautiful songs in Foellinger Great Hall at the Krannert Center for the performing arts in Champagne Urbana, Illinois. The CD is a stunning combination of two extremely skilled musicians. Exquisitely crafted, it has  nuance, power, drama, poignancy and beauty.

 The Concert

In his concert performances of Toscanini and Friends, Steve often adds a few pieces by the British duo Flanders and Swann for a delightful contrast. He also performs art songs of other composers represented on the CD: Ottorino Reshighi, Giacomo Puccini, Amilcare Zanella, Giuseppe Verdi, Pietro Mascagni, Alfredo Catalani, Ildebrando Pizzetti, Francesco Ciléa, Francesco Paolo Tosti, Ruggiero Leoncavallo, and Ernesto de Curtis. Steven will be accompanied by renowned pianist, Donald Livingston. He often combines this repertoire with Ives, Hoiby and Flanders and Swann for a truly unique concert experience.

Deck the Halls!

Join Steve this December for Deck the Halls! concerts in the Twin Cities and La Crosse!