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A Contemporary Adaptation of America’s Musical Heritage: The American Folk Set by Steven Mark Kohn

Trey C Meyer, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Steven Mark Kohn’s American Folk Set is comprised of contemporary arrangements of fifteen historic American folk songs, conceived as art songs for the vocal recital stage. This collection serves as a prime opportunity for performers to discover the expressive potential of the Art Song Repertory through folk settings that exude drama. Drawing from his background and experience as a composer, Kohn’s settings combine musical elements from classical Art Song, musical theatre, popular, and folk music. His settings musically depict tales from the lives of those who originally conceived the folk songs. This performance guide offers insights into Kohn as a composer; the historical background and development of each selection; an examination of Kohn’s compositional traits as found in each song; Kohn’s preferences for performance practices; and a discussion of the artistic potential of this contribution to the Art Song repertory. With equal musical and theatrical integrity, Steven Mark Kohn’s contemporary arrangements of historic folk songs bring moments from America’s past to vivid life for performers and their audiences.

Subject Area

Music|Musical composition|Music history|Biographies|History

Recommended Citation

Meyer, Trey C, "A Contemporary Adaptation of America’s Musical Heritage: The American Folk Set by Steven Mark Kohn" (2021). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI28652002.