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Herschel Garfein

Herschel Garfein is a GRAMMY® award winning composer, writer and stage director. He is the composer/librettist of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, based on the play by Tom Stoppard. Garfein's recent work recent work includes three new songs for the 20th Anniversary AIDS Quilt Songbook premiered on World AIDS Day, 2012 at Cooper Union; a song-cycle The Divine Image, forthcoming on GPR Records; and the libretto for Sister Carrie, an opera based on the Dreiser novel, scheduled for a premiere by Florentine Opera, Milwaukee in 2015"He conceived, wrote and directed the theater piece My Coma Dreams, a collaboration with jazz composer-pianist Fred Hersch. My Coma Dreams played at the Miller Theater (NYC) in 2013 to rave reviews, having previously been seen in Montclair, Berlin, and San Francisco. As a librettist, Garfein was awarded the 2012 GRAMMY® award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for his "wildly operatic libretto" (-BBC Music Magazine) for Robert Aldridge's Elmer Gantry in a performance by Florentine Opera, Milwaukee. Released on Naxos, the disk won a second GRAMMY® for Best Engineered Classical Recording. Garfein first gained recognition for Mythologies, (lyrics and music) an evening-length dance triptych for The Mark Morris Dance Group, based on essays of Roland Barthes, which premiered at the BAM ‘Next Wave' Festival. Mr. Garfein collaborated with famed experimental theatre group Mabou Mines and noted mezzo Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.


Herschel is a great friend and colleague and we are forever in his debt for introducing us to the people at Naxos.


from Grammy Winner Elmer Gantry

"'Coma Dreams' is a work of dream art as elegant as Stravinsky’s “Petit Concert” and as memorable as “Yesterday.”

The New Republic

“Garfein has all the makings of a post-millennial Carlisle Floyd. His music and

themes are deeply American and rooted in the social mores of Gens X and Y.”

Time Out Magazine

Richard Dyer The Boston Globe

"Mr. Garfein, it turns out, is a triple-threat man. A strong composer, as we knew;

a strong librettist, with a knack for the poetry of plain English,

and a strong stage director." 


The Butterfly Song

Album Info

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