Strempel-Beaudette duo premier musical settings of Margaret Atwood poetry March 25 at SU
Strempel-Beaudette duo premier musical settings of Margaret Atwood poetry March 25 at SUMarch 07, 2007Jaime Winne Alvarezjlwinne@syr.edu
On March 25, the Strempel-Beaudette duo of soprano and Syracuse University faculty member Eileen Strempel (right) and pianist and University of Rochester faculty member Sylvie Beaudette will perform “(In)Habitation: Musical Settings of Margaret Atwood Poetry by American Women Composers,” the latest installment of settings of the renowned author’s poetry. The Syracuse premiere of the project is sponsored by the Society for New Music and SU’s College of Arts and Sciences and College of Visual and Performing Arts.
The performance will take place in the Rose and Jules R. Setnor Auditorium, Crouse College, at 5 p.m. Tickets — available at the door — are $15 for adults and $12 for senior citizens and non-SU students. SU students will be admitted free with valid SU I.D. Free parking is available in the Quad 1 lot.
After Atwood’s inspiring visit to SU in 2004 as Distinguished Watson Professor of the Humanities, the Strempel-Beaudette duo commissioned various women composers to set Atwood’s poetry to music. The project is a varied collection of songs composed by six composers expressly for the duo. It includes works by major composers Libby Larsen and Tania Leon; voice and piano composers Lori Laitman and Elisenda Fabregas; and emerging composers Judith Cloud and Amanda Harberg. All are American women with different backgrounds and heritages, who write in varied styles. Leon will be in attendance at the March 25 concert at SU.
The songs are settings of Atwood’s poetry selected from four collections: “Morning in the Burned House,” “Selected Poems,” “Circe/Mud Poems” and “Selected Poems II: Poems Selected and New.” The project invites listeners to explore various interpretations on the poems, which are sometimes set by two different composers.
“Concert performances of this project have not primarily been attended by longstanding fans of classical music, but rather by concertgoers appreciative of Atwood’s work and intrigued by the concept of musical settings of her poetry,” says Strempel. “This interdisciplinary approach highlights the power of Atwood’s poetry — lesser known than her novels — and promotes living, American women composers.”
The commissions were financially supported by the Society for New Music, SU’s College of Arts and Sciences and College of Visual and Performing Arts, the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music and its Hanson Fund, the Rochester-based Commission Project. Sections of the project debuted in summer 2006 at The Chautauqua Institute. The capstone is Atwood’s March 26 visit to Rochester for the entire song cycle’s world premiere at 8 p.m., at the Rochester Institute of Technology. During the event, Atwood will engage in conversation with Leon about the creative process that went into the project.
Subsequent performances of the song cycle will take place on March 28 in Rochester, as part of the Eastman School’s Women in Music Festival, and on May 17 in New York City, as part of the St. Bartholomew’s Church Concert Series. A companion CD, on the Centaur label, will be recorded in June 2007 at Patrych Sound Studios in New York City.
With a deep interest in the songs of women composers, the Strempel-Beaudette duo has been performing together since 1998. In 2000, the duo released its first CD, “With All My Soul” (Orchard). Strempel and Beaudette’s latest disc, “love lies bleeding: songs by Libby Larsen” (Centaur), has received critical acclaim in numerous publications, including American Record Guide. The duo also appears on the recently released companion CD to the “Historical Anthology of Music by Women” (Indiana University Press) and on Nicholas Ascioti’s debut, “Creations Voices” (Albany).
Winner of numerous competitions, Strempel debuted with the New York Philharmonic on the orchestra’s Chamber Music Series; with the Bolshoi Opera as Violetta in La Traviata; and in Avery Fisher Hall as the soprano soloist in the Bach B minor Mass. She is a noted scholar whose articles and reviews can be found in The Classical Singer, The Journal of Singing, The Journal of the International Association for Women in Music and American Music Teacher. She is currently assistant professor of fine arts in The College of Arts and Sciences and assistant to the dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at SU.
Born in Quebec, pianist Beaudette has a diversified career as a collaborative artist, vocal and instrumental coach, soloist and teacher. As a member of the Athena Trio, Beaudette recorded “Fabulous Femmes” (Centaur), a CD of music by women composers. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, she has given guest lectures on French melody in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. She is currently assistant professor of chamber music and accompanying at the Eastman School, where she serves as artistic director for the Women in Music Festival.
For more information, contact Strempel at email@example.com or 443-5036.