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Andrew Lippa’s ’I Am Harvey Milk’ Wins at IMAs

Tuesday Jun 10, 2014
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The original cast recording of Andrew Lippa’s "I Am Harvey Milk" was just named by Music Resource Group (MRG) as the winner of Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording in The 13th Independent Music Awards (The IMAs), the influential awards program for independent music and fans. Representing the broad spectrum of today’s global independent music scene, the nominees in over 80 Album, Song, Music Video and Design categories were culled from thousands of submissions from North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Australia, Greenland and Europe.

"Harvey Milk’s life continues to touch and inspire people around the world, and having the chance to tell his story through music has been one of the great honors of my career," said Mr. Lippa. "Having the work embraced by the independent music community in this way is gratifying beyond words."

With music and words by Tony® and Grammy Award nominee Andrew Lippa (Big Fish, The Addams Family, The Wild Party), "I Am Harvey Milk" features Lippa as Harvey Milk, Tony® Award-winner Laura Benanti (Gypsy, NBC’s "Go On") as the Soprano Soloist and Noah Marlowe (Mary Poppins, Fun Home) as young Harvey, along with the 300 men of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. Recorded live during the world premiere at Nourse Theatre in San Francisco, the recording was released by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, and was mixed and mastered by multi-Grammy award-winner, Leslie Ann Jones at Skywalker Ranch. The album is available for purchase in stores, through SFGMC.org, and for digital download via iTunes.

As previously announced, Andrew Lippa will perform the role of Harvey Milk with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA) as part of GMCLA’s 35th Anniversary Concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20, 2014. "I Am Harvey Milk" will have its New York premiere on Monday, October 6 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall with Mr. Lippa as Harvey Milk, Tony® and Emmy Award winner Kristin Chenoweth as the Soprano soloist, and will feature the Orchestra of St Luke’s and introduce the 12o member All Star Broadway Men’s Chorus.

Known for championing original work by artists who follow their own muse, The IMAs provides Winners with performance, promotion and distribution opportunities that will place them in front of music supervisors, talent buyers, record label executives, and most importantly, fans worldwide.

"While the number of outlets that promote independent artists and new music continues to grow, audiences for these new media entities don’t have the influence of mainstream outlets," said Martin Folkman, Executive Director of The Independent Music Awards. "The program’s goal is to gain exposure for extraordinary self-released and independent label artists and their recent recordings."

The 13th IMA Judging panel featured exceptional recording artists including: Ann Wilson & Nancy Wilson of Heart, Chiddy Bang, Suzanne Vega, G. Love, Sharon Jones, Laurie Anderson, Jim Lauderdale, Krewella, Shelby Lynne, Joshua Redman, Lunice, Chris Wood & Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers, Hudson Mohawke, Raul Midon, Melissa Auf der Maur, Aoife O’Donovan, Judy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Meshell Ndegeocello, Arturo Sandoval, Band Of Skulls, Adam Agee, Dennis Diken, Nathan Currin, Lindz West of LZ7, Ben Bruce of Asking Alexandria and Jonathan Steingard of Hawk Nelson.

The world premiere of the choral work, "I Am Harvey Milk," concluded the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus’ 35th anniversary season at the Harvey Milk 2013 concert. The recording is the culmination of SFGMC’s 35-year history, which began at the candlelight vigil for slain Supervisor Harvey Milk.

"I Am Harvey Milk" weaves the story of Harvey Milk’s life -- from boyhood to his rise as the first openly gay man to hold public office in California to his assassination. Part choral work, part theater piece, "I Am Harvey Milk" is an emotional celebration of an American icon.

"I Am Harvey Milk" is conducted by Dr. Timothy Seelig, orchestrated by August Eriksmoen, and features the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus accompanied by Carl Pantle on piano and members of the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony. "I Am Harvey Milk" at Nourse Theatre was produced by Bruce Cohen, in association with Robb Nanus and Jessica Leventhal, directed by Noah Himmelstein, and Video and Projection Design by Andrew Lazarow.

"I Am Harvey Milk" was commissioned by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, along with Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus, Denver Gay Men’s Chorus, Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus, and Heartland Men’s Chorus. Following its World Premiere in San Francisco, the piece has been made available for choruses to perform from coast-to-coast. The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles will present the oratorio on July 19 and 20, 2014 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall as part of its 35th anniversary season. Additional performances are being planned from across the country.

Andrew Lippa originated the role of Harvey Milk in June, 2013 for the piece’s world premiere with the San Francisco Gay Mens’ Chorus and Tony-winner Laura Benanti. He will reprise the role this July at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles with over 500 men from choruses around the country. He wrote the Drama Desk Award-nominated music and lyrics for the musical "Big Fish" which recently played Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre. "Life of the Party," an evening celebrating his words and music, premieres at London’s award-winning Menier Chocolate Factory this summer, with Mr. Lippa leading the cast. He wrote the Tony® Award-nominated music and lyrics for the Broadway musical "The Addams Family."

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