bruce bailey

Bruce Bailey

An Urban Cantata for Soprano, Baritone and Piano Trio

Commissioned by Two Sides Sounding for the 2014 BEAT Festival

Lyrics: Daniel Neer

Music: Daniel Felsenfeld


Bruce Bailey was a housing advocate who tirelessly championed for tenant’s rights on New York’s Upper West Side during the gentrification and urban renewal facet of New York City’s infamous housing crisis in the 1970’s and 1980’s. His fearless and controversial pursuit of justice for the common man was rigorously resisted by NYC landlords, building owners and real estate moguls, and his powerful presence resonated in all areas of New York City government, from the police force and court system to the City Council and the office of Mayor Ed Koch. His shocking murder in 1989 went unsolved and remains a mystery to this day. Composer Daniel Felsenfeld’s new urban cantata is in homage to Bruce and the city he lived in, offered in vignettes by baritone Daniel Neer, who also provides lyrics to Felsenfeld’s music, and soprano Eleanor Taylor, both of whom portray myriad characters throughout the work. Original photography by Tish Webster (longtime friend, advocate of Bailey and staff photographer of the Columbia Tenants Union) is presented and re-imagined by director and media artist Ted Gorodetzky as visual media accompaniment. Special thanks to Nellie Hester Bailey for her unwavering support in the development of this project.



Performance History

September 16, 2014

World Premiere

Two Sides Sounding | BEAT Festival

Brooklyn Historical Society

Daniel Neer (baritone), Eleanor Taylor (soprano)

Mila Henry (piano), Lynn Bechtold (violin) and Jennifer DeVore (cello) of Zentripetal

Ted Gorodetzky (director and multimedia composition)


Video: The Shopkeeper’s Aria