Music, School of


First Advisor

William Shomos

Second Advisor

Pamela Starr

Third Advisor

Donna Harler-Smith

Date of this Version

Summer 7-22-2021


A DOCTORAL DOCUMENT Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Musical Arts, Major: Music (Vocal Performance), Under the Supervision of Professor William H Shomos. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2021

Copyright © 2021 Trey C. Meyer


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.

Advisor: William H Shomos

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