Timothy Stoddard tenor
Ellen Fast piano

Release Date: April 28, 2023
Catalog #: NV6502
Format: Digital
21st Century
Vocal Music

What do you get when you tailor both music and lyrics to a tenor of brilliant clarity? A profound, cerebral, sensuous and at times even mystical experience, as demonstrated by vocalist Timothy Stoddard on his riveting new album TAROT. Born out of a year-long, close-knit collaboration between Stoddard, pianist Ellen Fast, and a diverse assortment of composers and librettists, TAROT proves the Aristotelian assertion that the whole is even more than the sum of its parts.

These scintillating new vocal compositions all touch upon the vast mysteries of the great unknown wherever it overlaps with the human condition – be it in love, in death or in the occult. TAROT conjures an enchanting, dizzying, dreamlike universe – and Stoddard’s crystal-clear tenor is the effervescent guide.


Hear the full album on YouTube

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Mortally Wounded: I. The Guitar Michael Markowski Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 4:58
02 Mortally Wounded: II. On the Green Michael Markowski Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 2:50
03 Mortally Wounded: III. Orange Michael Markowski Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 3:06
04 Mortally Wounded: IV. The Silence Michael Markowski Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 1:49
05 Mortally Wounded: V. The Mountaintop Michael Markowski Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 2:48
06 Mortally Wounded: VI. A Star Michael Markowski Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 2:21
07 Mortally Wounded: VII. Trees Michael Markowski Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 4:26
08 Mortally Wounded: VIII. It’s True Michael Markowski Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 2:48
09 Romance Suite: I. Of Your Fair Courtesy Alaina Ferris Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 3:47
10 Romance Suite: II. Conductor Alaina Ferris Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 3:58
11 Romance Suite: III. Struisbaai Alaina Ferris Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 3:27
12 A Fire Within: I. He Once Michael Lanci Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 4:18
13 A Fire Within: II. Remade Michael Lanci Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 4:25
14 A Fire Within: III. Lucky Strike Michael Lanci Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 3:44
15 A Fire Within: IV. Red Sun Michael Lanci Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 4:14
16 Tarot: I. Wielding the Tarot Mary Prescott Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 1:53
17 Tarot: II. The High Priestess Mary Prescott Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 1:07
18 Tarot: III. The Lovers Mary Prescott Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 1:00
19 Tarot: IV. The Chariot Reversed Mary Prescott Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 0:28
20 Tarot: V. The Hermit Mary Prescott Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 1:05
21 Tarot: VI. The Wheel of Fortune Mary Prescott Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 0:56
22 Tarot: VII. The Hanged Man Mary Prescott Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 1:53
23 Tarot: VIII. Temperance Reversed Mary Prescott Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 2:00
24 Tarot: IX. The Devil Mary Prescott Timothy Stoddard, tenor; Ellen Fast, piano 3:01

Recorded August 16-18, 2022 at Audible Images Recording Studio in Pittsburgh PA
Producer Michael Markowski
Engineer Jay Dudt
Editing & Mixing Brian Losch

Mortally Wounded
Texts by Federico García Lorca, tr. Michael Markowski

Romance Suite
Texts by Alaina Ferris, Jenny Xie, Desiree C. Bailey

A Fire Within
Texts by Peter Mason, Amanda Hollander, Bea Goodwin

Texts by Amanda Hollander

This album would not have been possible without the support and generosity of:
The Heinz Endowments
Dr. Jedd Wolchok and Karen Popkin
Ronald Schaefer
The Lloyd F. Stamy Jr. Charitable Fund
Carole King and Chip Burke
The Pittsburgh Concert Society
Brian Worsdale
Dr. Paul Doerksen
James Adler
The American Opera Project

Executive Producer Bob Lord

A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Chris Robinson

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Brett Iannucci

Artist Information

Timothy Stoddard


Timothy Stoddard has been hailed by Opera News as “having a clear-voiced tenor.” A native of Idaho, he is an award-winning vocal musician and actor who focuses his time and interests in new music, works for the stage, and oratorio. His repertoire spans that of early music, chamber music, works of Broadway, traditional opera, and world premiere pieces, and he performs in the United States, as well as Europe and Asia.

Michael Markowski


Michael Markowski is fully qualified to watch movies and cartoons. In 2010, he graduated with a degree in ‘Film Practices’ from Arizona State University. While Markowski never studied music in college, he has studied privately with his mentors, Jon Gomez, Dr. Karl Schindler, and Michael Shapiro. He has received commissions from a number of organizations including CBDNA, The Consortium for the Advancement of Wind Band Literature, The Lesbian and Gay Band Association, the Durham Medical Orchestra, the Florida Music Educator’s Association, and has received performances from the United States Air Force bands, The Phoenix Symphony, the Arizona Musicfest Symphony Orchestra, and from hundreds of bands around the world.


Alaina Ferris


Alaina Ferris is an interdisciplinary composer, poet, and performer who specializes in choral works, opera, and contemporary theater. As an active pianist and Celtic harpist, her music is inspired by a love of Renaissance chorales and her former work as a music therapist. She is one half of the indie-folk duo, Physical Kids, alongside Matt Schlatter.

She is an awardee of the New Music USA 2022 Creator Development Fund; was summer 2022 artist resident at Cité International des Arts in Paris; a 2019-2021 Composer Fellow at The American Opera Project; a co-winner of the 2019/2020 Brooklyn Youth Chorus Composer Competition; and selected as a 2019 National Sawdust Summerlab Musician. Alaina’s work has been presented at HERE, SoHo Rep, Barnard College/Columbia University, Abrons Arts Center, The Connelly Theater, and St. Ann’s Warehouse.

She earned her B.A. in Music and Creative Writing from the University of Denver and her M.F.A. in Poetry from New York University, and now lives in Brooklyn.


Michael Lanci


Michael Lanci is a composer and performer currently residing in Saratoga Springs, New York. His music is viscerally engaging and stylistically diverse, drawing from a wide range of influences. Michael’s short comedic chamber opera Admissions, written in collaboration with librettist Kim Davies as part of the American Opera Initiative program with the Washington National Opera, was premiered in January 2020 at the Kennedy Center. He was a finalist for the 2018-19, Beth Morrison Projects Next Generation competition that included the commissioning and premiere of his first opera Crude Capital with libretto by Ajax Phillips. Michael recently concluded a fellowship with the Composers and Voice program hosted by The American Opera Projects based in Brooklyn, NY. Michael is also working on a variety of projects within the world of Folk, Folk Rock and Indie Rock.


Mary Prescott


Mary Prescott is a Thai-American interdisciplinary artist, composer and pianist who explores the foundations and facets of identity and social conditions through experiential performance. The Washington Post describes her work as “masterfully envisioned… a bright light cast forward.”

Prescott is an awardee of the McKnight Composer Fellowship, NPN Creation and Development Fund, New Music USA, Puffin Foundation, Opera America, and several regional arts councils. Her commissioners include American Composers Forum, Roulette, Living Arts, Public Functionary, White Snake Projects, and Metropolis Ensemble. She has held residencies with Roulette, Lanesboro Arts, Avaloch Farm, Hudson Hall, The League of Independent Theater, and Arts Letters and Numbers.


Ellen Fast


Pianist Ellen Fast is an active contributor to Pittsburgh’s music scene. She founded the Jade Piano Trio, which gave its debut performance in October 2018 as part of the Music in a Great Space series at Shadyside Presbyterian Church. She collaborates often with area vocalists and instrumentalists and has appeared with the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale, the Incidental Chamber Players, and OvreArts. She plays regularly for the Mt. Lebanon High School choirs and has served as rehearsal accompanist for Resonance Works | Pittsburgh.

Ellen also loves choral singing and is a member of several area choirs: the chamber choirs Pittsburgh Camerata and Voces Solis (which performed at the 2018 Eastern Division ACDA conference and also collaborated with the Chieftains); and the Chancel Choir at Shadyside Presbyterian Church. She was a member of the twelve-voice professional women’s ensemble Seraphic Singers and was a Core member and occasional accompanist for the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh.

Ellen received a master’s degree in collaborative piano performance from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she was a recipient of several scholarships. Her undergraduate degree is from Goshen College in northern Indiana, where she was a winner of the school’s annual Concerto-Aria Competition.

Ellen recently completed a diploma in Horticulture Technology and is now working at a garden center in Pittsburgh. She also proofread books for Harper Collins and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and music scores for A-R Editions. In her free time, she enjoys baking, doing the New York Times crossword puzzle, and gardening.

Brian Losch


Brian Losch is a Grammy Award-winning recording engineer based in New York City. He has production credits which span multiple genres and include artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Gil Shaham, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Dawn Upshaw, and Renée Fleming. As an engineer, he is most known for recording orchestras, chamber, and jazz ensembles, however, he also provides recording and music mixing services for music, television, and film projects.

Brian has received Grammy Awards for his work on Winter Morning Walks (Best Engineered Album, Classical / Best Vocal Solo, Classical). His production credits include multiple Grammy Awardwinning albums: Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Shostakovich Under Stalin’s Shadow – Symphonies Nos. 5, 8, & 9 (Best Orchestral Performance), The Goat Rodeo Sessions (Best Folk Album and Best Engineered Album, Non Classical), and Steven Mackey’s Lonely Motel (Best Small Ensemble Performance).


Federico García Lorca


Born near Granada in Fuente Vaqueros, Spain, prominent 20th-century Spanish poet and dramatist Federico García Lorca studied law at at the University of Granada before relocating to Madrid in 1919 to focus on his writing. In Madrid he joined a group of artists that included Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel. The group came to be known as the “Generation of ’27.’” Surrealism would greatly influence his art. Lorca published numerous volumes of poetry beginning with Impresiones y paisajes (1918). His lyrical work often incorporates elements of Spanish folklore, Andalusian flamenco and Gypsy culture, and cante jondos, or deep songs, while exploring themes of romantic love and tragedy. He cofounded La Barraca, a traveling theater company that performed both Spanish classics and Lorca’s original plays. Despite the threat of a growing fascist movement in his country, Lorca refused to hide his political views, or his homosexuality, while continuing his ascent as a writer. In August 1936, at the onset of the Spanish Civil War, Lorca was arrested and executed by a firing squad a few days later.

Jenny Xie


Jenny Xie is the author of EYE LEVEL (Graywolf Press, 2018), a finalist for the National Book Award and the PEN Open Book Award, and the recipient of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets and the Holmes National Poetry Prize from Princeton University. Her chapbook, NOWHERE TO ARRIVE (Northwestern University Press, 2017) received the Drinking Gourd Prize. She has been supported by fellowships and grants from Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Kundiman, and New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2020, she was awarded the Vilcek Prize in Creative Promise. She has taught at Princeton and NYU, and is currently on faculty at Bard College.


Desiree C. Bailey


Desiree C. Bailey is a poet and writer from Trinidad and Tobago, and New York. She is the author of the poetry collection What Noise Against the Cane (Yale University Press, 2021), which won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. The collection was a finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the T.S. Eliot Prize, and was longlisted for both the Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature and the International Dylan Thomas Prize. Desiree is also the author of the short fiction chapbook In Dirt or Saltwater (O’clock Press, 2016), and has short fiction and poems published in Best American Poetry, Best New Poets, American Short Fiction, Callaloo, and the Academy of American Poets, among other journals. She is currently the inaugural Writer-inResidence at Clemson University in South Carolina.


Peter Mason


Peter Mason is a Bi+ poet and literary event, program, and development specialist from Rochester, NY currently living in the Twin Cities area. He obtained his BA from SUNY Fredonia where he organized the first and second annual Fredonia Poetry Festival, the first Fredonia Poetry Slam, as well as several other literary and community events. He earned his MFA at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, where he served as the Development Director and Assistant Poetry Editor of The Arkansas International (2018-2021) and Development Director for the Open Mouth Literary Center (2018-2021). Currently, he is the Assistant Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota.

His work has appeared or is forthcoming in AGNI, Ninth Letter, Muzzle Magazine, Booth, Vinyl, The Journal, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of the inaugural C.D. Wright/Academy of American Poets Prize, an Artists 360 Grant from the Mid America Arts Alliance, a Walton Fellowship in Poetry from the University of Arkansas, a 2021 finalist for the Colorado Prize for Poetry, a 2018 finalist for the Puerto del Sol Poetry Contest, and runner-up in Epiphany’s 2017 Spring Contest.

Email: pcmasonpoetry@gmail.com

Amanda Hollander


Amanda Hollander began her librettist career at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she was working as a university lecturer in the English Department after the filing of her doctorate in Victorian and children’s literature in 2015. Collaborating with composer Nicky Sohn, Hollander wrote a comic opera libretto adapting Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes. Her opera QUAKE with composer Kay Rhie will premiere through UCLA’s Department of Opera in Spring 2023. Hollander furthered her formal training as a Librettist Fellow through the American Opera Project’s Composer and the Voice Program for the 2019-2021 season.

In addition to her work in opera, Hollander also is a fiction writer and poet. She has published several short stories, one of which, “A Feast of Butterflies” was singled out as one of the notable speculative fiction stories of 2020 and was reprinted in the Year’s Best Fantasy and Science Fiction. She has been awarded grants and awards from UCLA, the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, SCBWI-LA, and the Highlights Foundation.


Bea Goodwin


Bea Goodwin is a librettist and operatic stage director creating feminist adaptations, ghost stories and lost historical fictions. Her work has been hailed as “relentlessly clever” and “masterfully spellbinding,” with premieres in traditional theatrical spaces such as BAM, La Mama Experimental Theatre, National Sawdust, as well as site specific immersive experiences at the International Museum of Surgical Science, the Mark Hotel penthouse suite and the historic Montauk Club. Bea is represented by Spotlight Artist Management and is a bi-coastal artist, living in Los Angeles with a warm futon in Bed-Stuy.



Art by María Gonzalez

The relationship between composer and singer can be an intimate one. The musical and life experiences they share seep into the work that is written for the singer and likewise into the singer’s performances. It is that intimate relationship that I hear when I listen to the four song cycles which make up this recording.

The seeds for three of these cycles—Romance Suite, A Fire Within and Tarot— were planted in the Composers & the Voice fellowship program at The American Opera Project. Over the course of a year I watched how composers Alaina Ferris, Michael Lanci and Mary Prescott drew out the specific colors of Stoddard’s voice, and librettist/poet Amanda Hollander embraced the way Stoddard worked with text. Each new piece written for Stoddard showed clear inspiration from what he had brought to each of the other composers’ music. Surprisingly deep collaborative relationships and bonds were forged— relationships that otherwise might take many years to build. The three expansive and wildly varied song cycles that you hear here are the true fruits of the seeds we planted in the Fall of 2019.

Stoddard’s connection to Michael Markowski predates all of these, primarily through familiarity with Michael’s large catalog of music for wind ensemble. The development of Mortally Wounded, Michael’s first work for classical voice, followed a similar process to the Composers & the Voice model, albeit through workshops over iPhone during the pandemic.

The rich, nuanced and probing performances captured in this recording from both Stoddard and pianist Ellen Fast are testaments to this intimate relationship between creators and interpreters. I have been fortunate to watch from the side as these relationships have grown, and am excited that it is shared here with you.

— Steven Osgood, Founder and Artistic Director, Composers & the Voice at The American Opera Project

Mortally Wounded is a collection of eight songs with text by Federico García Lorca, a prolific young Spanish poet tragically assassinated during the Spanish Civil War in 1936 at the age of 38. In this cycle, Lorca shares his deepest desires with us, often through haunting symbolic and surrealist Andalusian imagery. The music, too, seems like a dream: hazy, smoky air flavored with Spanish turns and mordents swirl into a cloud of nightclub cabaret songs. Our singer is accompanied at times by something reminiscent of flamenco guitar, which aggressively pounds and pierces through his vocals. Through it all, he both celebrates the thrill of new love and warns us of devastating heartbreak. But for Lorca, perhaps the inevitable pain and sadness is worth the price of admission in the end.

— Michael Markowski

The songs in this suite are three different expressions of love.

“Of Your Fair Courtesy” is love from the perspective of active commitment—a form of wedding vows. The title is from Shakespeare’s Pericles: I wrote the wordless music (accompanied by a dancing choir and softly lit lanterns) for a Barnard College student production of the play directed by Charise Greene. The song is sung by Good King Simonides during a soldier’s ball as he watches his daughter Thaisa dance and fall in love with Pericles. Later, I added the text for Timothy to sing.

“Conductor” is love from the angle of loss—a drifting, unmoored longing within a slow melancholy. The text is written by poet Jenny Xie, whom I met at the NYU Creative Writing Program. “Conductor” appeared as a poem in a zuihitsu portfolio for the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, with lines featured in the poem “Umbrian Paces.” While setting the text, I was reading Jenny’s book Eye Level in which the speaker is constantly traveling. I chose to approach the song with a French and pastoral mindset— there is a lot of Debussian inspiration (including nods to Debussy’s “Menuet” from Petite Suite). Imagine a spurned lover standing in a walnut orchard in Normandy during a lightning storm.

“Struisbaai” (pronounced “strays-bye”) speaks to new love, or potential energy. The title is the name of a town in South Africa and is the song’s landscape. Poet Desiree C. Bailey, whom I met at the Norman Mailer Writers Workshop, wrote these lyrics to conclude the Romance Suite using themes from the first two poems. While composing this, I was reading Desiree’s book of poems What Noise Against the Cane and was inspired by its use of polyphony. This led me to steel pan drumming polyrhythms found in Desiree’s birthplace of Trinidad and Tobago. I wanted the polyrhythms to serve as an extended metaphor for the push and pull in romance. The piece opens with a two-against-three polyrhythm played by the pianist’s two separate hands. This rhythm then merges into the left hand as new rhythms are introduced in the right hand. Like in romance, there are independent voices, but the interplay between the voices creates a third voice in the space between—the relationship. The timing in the song is meant to feel like a fluctuating tide, swaying and swelling both in tempo and dynamics—seductive, magical, epic, and never settling too long in one place.

— Alaina Ferris

“He Once” is poet Peter Mason’s retelling of a story his close friend’s father shared when he was called to fight a fire burning down a local bar in Fredonia NY. The story speaks of the trauma he experienced and how that event has haunted him. The music mirrors the way one’s mind can unpredictably move between the past and present. This idea is represented through a collection of recurring melodic phrases and rhythmic gestures that continuously reappear in different musical atmospheres or mental landscapes.

“Remade” is an attempt to understand the perspective of someone who has been adopted and their consequent questions regarding their biological and familial identity. The music and text explore the desire to know one’s roots while simultaneously questioning the worth of disrupting the world and identity that has been built and grown into. This idea of uncertainty and how one’s conscience can be pulled in multiple mental and emotional directions largely informed the musical structure of “Remade.” The unfolding of this song is never truly complete; it is constantly in flux, shifting between which inner voice to listen to or believe.

“Lucky Strike” is a love song and an homage to a smoking writer as seen through the attentive eyes of the singer. We watch a tale of fantasy unfold: a yearning for that flame, for those lips. This song explores the idea of how certain smells and images can trigger memory and potent emotional reactions. The first musical ideas are reminiscent of the chansons sung in French parlors during the time of Debussy and Fauré. It was an unexpected stylistic choice, but the imagery and subject matter conjured in the poem felt like the perfect fit.

“Red Sun” wrestles with the grandeur of our beloved planet and how we can destroy it. This poem was written as the 2020 Bobcat Fires loomed in the mountains above poet Bea Goodwin’s California home. The feelings of anticipation, anxiety, and fear that gripped Bea as the forest fire inched closer to her doorstep inspired the underlying musical atmosphere. Dread, trepidation, and panic are represented in the pulsating of a single note throughout the entire song. This repeated quarter note becomes the axis in which the song creates, releases, and resolves tension, imitating the idea that some things are inevitable and nature will continue—with or without us.

— Michael Lanci

Inspired by the deck itself, Tarot reflects the way we read into our cards. Brief glimpses of our lives emerge from a reading that can veer between promise and warning. Here, the reader wielding the deck offers dazzling glints of the mysteries in the cards, and what each may portend.

— Amanda Hollander

Tarot is a song deck of brief musical moments that can be shuffled in any order—to offer unique divinations for each iteration and interpretation. The challenge here was to make every “card” distinct from another with a brevity of text and material—songs that would fully steep the listener in a very specific world, but only for an instant before the next would be drawn. Yet, I hoped that each song would also spark familiarity that could help orient the ear through the mystery and magic of the reading. The rich succinctness of Amanda’s text helped that process flow, and by the time I finished composing the set, I was a bit sad and felt I could have easily added another ten or twenty cards to the deck!

— Mary Prescott


Timothy Stoddard, tenor | Wheel of Fortune & The Hermit

Orange performed by Timothy Stoddard and Ellen Fast