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Press Release

Eric Sloss

For immediate release:
October 12, 2004

Carnegie Mellon Student and Recent Alumna Selected by Marvin Hamlisch To Perform in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's Pops Series

PITTSBURGH—During a master class last January, music legend Marvin Hamlisch hand-picked Carnegie Mellon students Graham Fenton and Nicole Kaplan to perform in this fall's Pittsburgh Pops series, "Barbra Streisand Songbook." Fenton and Kaplan will pay tribute to Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond by performing "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" in four concerts October 14-17. Fenton will also help promote the Pops series with an appearance on the KDKA-TV morning show Pittsburgh Today Live at 9 a.m. Wednesday, October 13.

The Pittsburgh Symphony is hosting "Carnegie Mellon Night at the Pops" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 14, with a special $19 ticket price for Carnegie Mellon students, faculty and staff, which includes a post-concert dessert reception in the Dorothy Porter Simmons Regency Room.

"I'm always looking to share the stage with local talent," said Hamlisch. "I was so pleased to hear Graham and Nicole do such a lovely rendition of 'You Don't Bring Me Flowers.'"

On January 23, 2004, Hamlisch held a master class for a small group of Carnegie Mellon drama and music students, including Fenton and Kaplan. Each student performed two songs for Hamlisch and a public audience, and then received a critique. While others were performing, students had the chance to rehearse with their critiques in mind, before performing their songs one more time. Hamlisch was so impressed with Fenton's and Kaplan's performances that he invited them to sing in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's 2004 Pittsburgh Pops series.

"This is a dream come true," said Kaplan. "I have been going to the Pops' concerts for years as an adoring fan of Marvin Hamlisch as well as the performers and repertoire that he chooses. I still cannot believe that I have been given the opportunity to perform with someone as amazing as Mr. Hamlisch, and there is nothing more incredible than hearing the PSO playing for you while you're singing. It's hard not to stop, turn around and just listen to them."

Hamlisch is the Principal Pops Conductor with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. He also holds the Henry and Elsie Hillman Endowed Chair at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. As a composer, Hamlisch has won three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, one Tony and three Golden Globe awards in addition to a Pulitzer Prize for "A Chorus Line." Among the Broadway shows Hamlisch has composed are "They're Playing Our Song," "The Goodbye Girl," "Sweet Smell of Success" and "Imaginary Friends." He is also the composer of more than 40 motion picture scores.

Fenton is a senior vocal performance major in Carnegie Mellon's School of Music. Originally from Millville, N.J., Fenton has performed throughout the Pittsburgh region while at Carnegie Mellon. He has performed in numerous productions at Carnegie Mellon including "Mahagonny," "Merrily We Roll Along," "Yeomen of the Guard" and "I Want to Grow Old With You." Fenton is also the winner of the 2004 Presser Scholarship, a Carnegie Mellon Archer Award and the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Competition.

Kaplan is a Pittsburgh native who graduated with a B.F.A. in vocal performance from Carnegie Mellon's School of Music in May 2004. She has been a soloist in such impressive choral works as "Carmina Burana" and "The Messiah." While at Carnegie Mellon, Kaplan also performed in "Merrily We Roll Along," "Smile" and "Into the Woods," among others. She has recently relocated to Los Angeles, where she is now pursuing a career in show business.

Coincidentally, Fenton and Kaplan have found harmony together as a couple. "We've been performing together for four years now, and there is no one I would rather share the stage with, so putting this duet together was really easy and very natural, even though it's about a relationship in serious trouble," Fenton said. "I guess the only challenge is having to act like I'm upset with her!" Fenton and Kaplan have performed together as Romeo and Juliet during the Pittsburgh Symphony's Schooltime Concert Series.

Performances will be in Heinz Hall at 7:30 p.m. October 14; 8 p.m. October 15-16; and 2:30 p.m. October 17. Tickets for the Pittsburgh Pops' "Barbra Streisand Songbook" can be purchased at the Pittsburgh Symphony Heinz Hall Box Office between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., online at or by calling 412-392-4900.

For more information about Carnegie Mellon University's College of Fine Arts, visit or contact Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765 or


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