A Tribute & Fellowship in Memory of Lloyd Arriola (1972-2016)

Sunday, August 28th, 2016 at 8:00pm • Church of the Holy Apostles, Manhattan
Musical Tribute includes works by Beethoven, Pärt, Tower, Rush, and Lloyd Arriola

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Artists’ Opening Chords

My heart is broken over the sudden loss of our dear friend, Lloyd Arriola. It is music that brought Lloyd and I together, specifically making music with One World Symphony is how we became acquainted. Our first encounter led to a collaboration between myself, Lloyd and his dear friend Lawrence Rush as we recorded one of Lawrence’s songs. I arrived to the recording session feeling nervous about being in the studio with these two knowledgable and accomplished musicians. I was also nervous because making music with strangers is a lot like dating. You go in wondering and hoping there will be a connection. It was not long after arriving to the studio that my nerves began to fade. Lloyd made me laugh, and his laugh was infectious. He shared his knowledge freely and did not hold back in his expression of the music. He supported me through difficult passages and created an atmosphere of trust through his generosity. One learns a lot about a person when making music with them.

We are all better off having known Lloyd. He will be missed, but he is not gone. Lloyd remains in the hearts of all those that he touched.

– Soprano Sonya Headlam last performed in the critically acclaimed Operasode Breaking Bad — Ozymandias and Berlioz's Les Nuit d’Été.


There are moments when I find the beauty of nature so overwhelming that the joy I feel verges on pain. That’s why the poem Sure on this Shining Night by James Agee speaks to me. Though the meaning of this poem is subject to interpretation, the words Agee chooses —“kindness,” “healed,” “health,” “hearts all whole”— seem to wrap the listener in an embrace. It is little wonder that Samuel Barber’s spare and elegant setting of Agee’s poem has become one of the most frequently performed songs in the U.S. and Europe — or that he chose to reset it as a choral work 30 years after its initial warm reception. Barber famously told an anecdote about a phone operator who had a weakness for the song and asked him to sing the opening phrase to confirm his identity. As we gather in “high summer” to celebrate the life and spirit of Lloyd Paguia Arriola, this song reminds us of the hope for humanity that we find in nature. Like Agee, I weep for wonder.

– Tenor Alex Wang performed in Carmen and Creation vs. Evolution, a program that collaborated with the Harlem Children's Zone Promise Academy.


I have never collaborated with a pianist who could coax the sounds of an orchestra out of a piano with more grace and joy than Lloyd Paguia Arriola. I first met Lloyd when we worked together preparing three opera scenes for a performance in 2009. His exuberant musicality filled each rehearsal and our performances with an energy and life that was ecstatic and inherently operatic. Collaborating with Lloyd was a breeze and a joy. Some pianists have an innate ability to make it easier to sing when they are supporting you, and Lloyd was one of those rare artists. I am ever grateful to have had the opportunity to shine as an artist with Lloyd by my side. Collaborating with him made me a better singer, a more joyful artist, and a more connected musician. He will be missed.

– Soprano Courtenay Symonds performed the music of Björk in the critically acclaimed Ecstasy and Return of the Mad Women that benefitted The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.


I could talk about Lloyd’s brilliant musicianship. I could talk about his generosity to everyone around him. I could talk about his love for his family and friends. I could talk about his devotion to social justice throughout the world. I could talk about his superior intelligence. I could talk about all these things, and I would not be able to scratch the surface of Lloyd’s luminescence in the world. And yet the things I am missing about Lloyd are those less quantifiable qualities. I miss his smile; I miss the long conversations after making music together; I miss how brave he was, even though he didn’t always recognize his courage; I miss how deeply he felt; I miss just sitting with him; I miss how he made me feel like everything and anything was possible.

The night Lloyd died I was in Colorado with dear friends, looking forward to a few days of vacation and healing in the mountains and in the natural hot springs. My gut told me something was very wrong. As I tried from afar to check on him, call the police, communicate with those doing the same things in New York, I waited impatiently in a back yard, next to a thriving herb garden, in the home of kind people and musicians who believed in my musicianship when I did not (fitting since Lloyd did this for me, too, with a loud, loving, empathetic, and compassionate voice). I sat in their yard under a nearly full moon and waited. I talked to Lloyd as the clouds filtered across the moon, softening its light. I thanked him for being my friend. I sent all the love to him I could across the miles.

I heard the news we all dreaded. The house was mostly asleep. I took my soothing cup of tea to the front stoop of the house to sit and wonder what to do next. Lloyd’s parting gift was a glorious lightning storm in the distant mountains. As each burst flashed across the darkness, the layers of mountains flew into view: nuances of my love and care for Lloyd, the lasting brilliance of all the lives he touched. He seemed to be telling me he was okay, not sad, peaceful.

The beautiful natural world felt antithetical to the shocking and horrible news. For me, then, Barber’s setting James Agee’s poetry Sure on this Shining Night seems a most fitting tribute. Through my pain and disbelief, I do “weep for wonder” and I believe that “all is healed”. The sweeping, long lines of Barber’s music suggest eternity, felt in the ineffable depths of who were are. The beauty I found in that night, July 17, was full of High Summer and full of Lloyd – both held me and held the earth. I will forever be thankful for him in my life. He was music – filled with emotion, intellect, joy, and energy – always existing on a different plane, elevating and enveloping us all to greater love and purpose. Thank you, Lloyd.

– Soprano Lindsey Blackhurst performed in Return of the Mad Women that benefitted The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.


"Mir ist so wunderbar” is a selection from Fidelio, a German opera with spoken dialogue; it is Beethoven’s only opera. It was originally named Leonore, oder Der Triumph der ehelichen Liebe (Leonore, or The Triumph of Marital Love). The German libretto was adapted from the French text of Jean-Nichoas Bouilly and the work premiered in Vienna, 1805. The opera tells how Leonore, disguised as a prison guard named ‘Fidelio’, rescues her husband Florestan from death in a political prison. The opera’s themes reflect Beethoven's aesthetic and Bouilly’s political outlook and include personal sacrifice, heroism and eventual triumph. The quartet, “Mir ist so wunderbar” (A wondrous feeling fills me) is one of many notable moments in the opera and is known as the canon quartet because of its repetitive melodic pattern in each vocal line. The characters voice their differing perspectives of love and emphasize another of the opera’s major themes: unrequited love. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to have seen the opera twice — both memorable performances. The tenor Florestan’s dramatic solo scene that opens the second act is breathtaking. He is alone in the dungeon with little hope and sings that even though his life is now joyless, he can find solace because he has done his duty and he knows that what he did was right. What’s interesting to me is that Florestan’s morality and the opera’s themes are still relevant and impactful issues today — two plus centuries after being written. Who of us hasn’t experienced rejection, imprisonment (mental and/or physical), commitment and loyalty at a deeply personal level? These base emotional connections combined with Beethoven’s sublime musical writing make each selection from this opera a masterpiece. They are musical bits of heaven and surely what our friend Lloyd is experiencing.

–Tenor Michael Polscer performed in the critically acclaimed Operasode Hannibal and One World Symphony's very first concerts on October 20-21, 2001, where every dollar raised went towards benefitting the New York Uniformed Firefighters Association Widows' and Children's Fund.


I never previously had the opportunity to meet Lloyd Arriola, nor the opportunity to perform a piece by Arvo Pärt. Acquainting myself with both Lloyd's work as a musician and educator and Pärt’s work, Fratres (“Brothers”), I discovered some very apparent similarities. Watching Lloyd speak, he immediately comes across as someone who had a genuine passion for not just music, but also for the positive and meaningful relationship music can create with it's listeners. Fratres, from the first note, cultivates an insightful reflective atmosphere. Reading what those who knew Lloyd said of him it is clear that he approached music and life with a similar insight and reflection. The intense somber energy of Fratres can pull an audience in together, which seems like a fitting tribute for someone who sought to do the same.

– Guitarist Rob Adler recently performed in the critically acclaimed Operasodes Hannibal and Breaking Bad — Ozymandias.


The night before One World Symphony’s debut at New York City's The Town Hall, ten years ago I sat with Lloyd in a Brooklyn emergency room for several hours. Lloyd chattered nervously — yet pleasantly — with a smile on his face while clutching his broken finger. Lloyd was our featured soloist for Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. This was a momentous occasion for Sung Jin, myself, One World Symphony and Lloyd. We knew that we would be performing the next day for a sold-out audience of over 1,600 people. No pressure there. And here we sat wondering if it was still even a possibility for Lloyd to play.

Earlier in the evening, during the dress rehearsal with orchestra Lloyd played Gershwin with such fervor. He channeled every fiber in his being to having the best dress rehearsal he could have. His injury was a result of the passion with which he played.

I’m not going to lie, Sung Jin and I were more than a little worried. Sung Jin agonized if he should be calling the cover soloist for Gershwin. But Lloyd remained optimistic. As I sat with Lloyd, I was struck and moved by — not only his positive attitude in the face of such adverse conditions — but also his determination. For him, not playing was not an option. It was so important to him that he put his mind over the matter-at-hand and challenged himself to play with that broken finger.

And he did. He poured his soul into his performance the next day with One World Symphony. With the final chord the audience fervently roared, rising to their feet in a thunderous ovation. Lloyd beamed, waving his hands and his broken finger. Reflecting now as I write this, I am still in awe that he did it. So few people really have that determination. Most people are too eager to make excuses and reasons NOT to face the challenges that life throws at them. I will never forget that evening in the ER with Lloyd. Talking of nothing... TV... movies... food... anything to keep his mind off of his poor throbbing finger. It seems so senseless that the world should lose one such as Lloyd – with his passionate zeal and determination.

– One World Symphony founder, vocalist, and stage director Adrienne Metzinger participated in the critically acclaimed productions in Great Atomic Desire (vocal soloist) The Cunning Little Vixen (stage director) that benefitted The Humane Society of New York.


Joan Tower (b. 1938 New Rochelle, NY) wrote Throbbing Still for John Browning by Franklin and Marshall College’s commission in 2000. Browning premiered it together with and following Vast Antique Cubes at The Ann and Richard Barshinger Center for Musical Arts in Hensel Hall at Franklin & Marshall College on September 16 of that year. These pieces are often separated on programs only by a hyphen and provide an effective contrast: Vast Antique Cubes has a resistant, more heavily moving feel in its slow ascent while Throbbing Still occupies a thoroughly rhythmical beat. The pair is part of a set called “No Longer Very Clear,” which is also the name of John Ashbery's poem whose lines form the titles for all the four movements. Tower describes in a program note that the long-lasting influence of Stravinsky and Latin Inca music from her childhood in South America came to life again in Throbbing Still. I find the piece very fitting for One World Symphony's tribute to New York-based pianist Lloyd Arriola, who was a most versatile musician, groundbreaking Filipino artist and enthusiastic proponent of new music. As the vigorous memory of his being still strongly throbs within us, I hope his soul finds a peaceful resting place.

– Pianist and baritone Markus Kaitila recently performed in the critically-acclaimed Operasode Hannibal.


Our lives intersected in many ways, but, unfortunately, Lloyd and I didn’t get to work together often. Despite that, I will never forget the time we worked on scenes from The Rake’s Progress. He was the first opera coach I worked with in NYC who encouraged my natural instincts and really got me to trust what I could offer as a musician. With his incredible skill, vast knowledge, and Juilliard PhD, Lloyd could have so easily been the kind of musician who put himself first and built up his own ego, but that’s not what he did and I saw it time and time again with singer after singer. He recognized the music that was in each of us and validated it with his words and with his own music making. When we finished the scenes program, Lloyd gave me a little thank you card and inside were just a few more words of encouragement. As simple as they were, the words meant so much to me and eternally endeared Lloyd to my heart. He will be sorely missed.

– Soprano Sara Paar last performed in the critically acclaimed production of The Cunning Little Vixen as the Fox that benefitted The Humane Society of NY and Sung Jin Hong’s world premiere monodrama Edge, based on Sylvia Plath’s final poem.


Samuel Barber actually excerpted the text for Sure on this Shining Night from James Agee’s “Description of Elysium,” which was published in his sole volume of poetry, Permit Me Voyage. Agee’s poem is full of effective imagery and alliteration; however, Barber’s deceptively simple setting with its plaintive, yearning lyricism evokes a more transcendent confluence of mystery, childlike faith, wonder, joy, loss, lonesomeness, and ultimately (in its resolution) rest and peace. The canonical imitation reminds us that, in traversing life’s shifting waves, we are not alone. Rather, the melancholy melody and well-placed inverted chords leave us longing for something more: A wholeness? Something larger than ourselves? For reunion with those we have lost along the way? Note that the lines “All is healed, all is health“ stray farthest from the tonal center of the piece; true healing, health, and wholeness can only be found in an Elysium, a plane of existence separate from our own. I have no doubt that my dear friend Lloyd Arriola is there, shining brightly among the stars and casting a long yet comforting shadow. I weep not only for his passing but also in grateful wonder that I was privileged to have such a kind and generous traveling companion for the past 14 years.

– Soprano and pianist Beverly Love last performed as Alceste in the critically acclaimed all-Gluck program and in Peer Gynt in a concert that benefitted Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.


In 2009, I was commissioned by Marble Collegiate Church to compose a work for voice and piano to be part of its World AIDS Day service, which they hold every year. I was a bit flummoxed as to where to search for a text, but after some digging around on the internet, I found Altar, this beautiful, sad, hair-raising and haunting poem by Kwame Dawes, an incredible poet who was born in Ghana, raised in Jamaica, taught at the University of South Carolina and currently teaches at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. This text challenged me to depart from my usual post-romantic leanings and enter a new world. After the performance, I wanted to record the piece in the studio. I knew I wanted my dear friend, Lloyd Arriola, to play, but was unclear as to who I wanted to sing. Clarity came quite suddenly and ecstatically once I heard Sonya Headlam, with her rich, beautiful voice, perform the Berlioz, Les Nuits d’Été with One World Symphony. I was thrilled she said “yes” and am equally thrilled to hear her perform the piece live for the first time during this tribute. Sadly, Lloyd won’t be at the piano this time. I will miss my friend, one of my closest for the last 20 years. In addition to spending lot of time together at concerts, movies and restaurants, we collaborated on many, many projects. He music directed a musical of mine and recorded many of my pieces and songs. He commissioned a piano work from me that he played at Carnegie Hall. He’s responsible for my singing again after some years of vocal trouble, as he recommended the teacher who would help me gain my voice again. I am sad he won't be around to see the world premier of my Pride & Prejudice-the Musical in England this Fall. He had played and recorded many of the songs from it. He’s been such an important part of my life for so many years, and I know that life will be different now without him here. I am truly glad that we can celebrate him tonight and am grateful to Maestro Hong for including Altar on tonight's program.

– Composer, tenor, and stage director Lawrence Rush was a member of the stage directing staff of One World Symphony's acclaimed and uncut productions: Peter Grimes and Ariadne auf Naxos.


Out of the depths, known in the Latin as “de profundis” is one of the most popular and frequently adapted psalms found in the Hebrew Bible. The Psalm begins with a personal prayer of supplication imploring the creator to deliver the psalmist from the jaws of death and despair into the arms of the one who defines ultimate existence and righteousness. The Psalmist then brings focus to the shared and equal experience of Humanity itself with all of its imperfections and failings, hoping in faith that abiding by the laws set forth by its creator will ensure a world not consumed by destruction, but delivered by providence. Armenian-American composer Alan Hohavness was one of the most prolific composers that lived in the twentieth century, and throughout his 60-year compositional career was responsible for over 500 works including symphonies, operas, songs, chamber music, and sacred works. This work perfectly captures both the somber and ever-present knowledge of a world in pain in fear of oppression, brokenness, and death to the vibrant hope, faith, and joy of deliverance that both the individual and the rest of humanity is promised. As we mourn the loved ones lost to us, we human beings can be thankful that the ability to create beauty through art to counteract the imperfect with the wonder of our creative expression gives hope of a better future in this world or the next, while reminding us of the power of remembrance.

– Tenor Raymon Geis performed in the sold-out Operasode New Girls as Rodolfo.


We had the good fortune to have Lloyd play at our last two Christmas parties. While the carol-singing portion has always been a highlight, without question it was Lloyd who put the last two parties WAY over the top. He could play anything, with or without the music, he could transpose up or down without batting an eye, he was a virtuoso. But more than anything else, it was his incredibly infectious and generous spirit that “made” the party. As we gathered ’round the piano and sang our hearts out, we were all blessed by the joy and exuberance he shared with us. A very special man. We miss him. We will not forget him.

– Bassoonist Timothy Emerson has performed in Mahler 3, where every dollar raised went towards benefitting the American Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief Fund and the sold-out Mahler 5 that benefitted the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York.

Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.
Holy Apostles Church
296 Ninth Avenue at West 28th Street


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