Honors student produces an evening of music by women composers
Honors student produces an evening of music by women composersFebruary 13, 2008Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
A student in the Renee Crown University Honors Program at Syracuse University will present “Tradition and Innovation: The Music of Women Composers” at 8 p.m. March 1 in the Rose and Jules R. Setnor Auditorium. The concert will feature works created by women from the early 18th century to contemporary artists Libby Larsen and Evelyn Glennie. It will include performances by the New York State Baroque and celebrated soprano Eileen Strempel, as well as a number of student musicians.
The concert is free and open to the public. Paid parking is available in the Irving Garage or the University Avenue Garage.
Almost two years in the making, the concert is the culmination of Shannon Kane’s Honors Capstone project. To produce the concert, Kane, a senior music education major in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), did extensive research on each of the featured composers and their music, secured copies of the selections that will be performed, and gathered an eclectic group of musicians to perform the works.
A grant from the Renee Crown University Honors Program, which is administered by SU’s College of Arts and Sciences, enabled Kane to include the New York State Baroque in the concert. The group will perform a work by French composer Elisabeth Claude Jacquet de la Guerre (1664-1729), who performed and composed in the court of King Louis XIV. The New York State Early Music Association sponsors the New York State Baroque, the only period-instrument orchestra based outside a large urban area.
Strempel will perform a work from “The Wreckers” by Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944), accompanied by pianist Sylvie Beaudette from the Eastman School of Music.
The recipient of numerous awards, Strempel has performed all over the world, including Casa Giuseppe Verdi in Milan, as well as in the historical opera house of Imola, Italy. She is also an assistant professor of fine arts in The College of Arts and Sciences.
Other works to be performed include “Lord, Make Me an Instrument” by Libby Larsen (1950), which will be sung by soprano Jessica Barbour; “String Quartet, Op. 89” by Amy Beach (1867-1944), which will be presented by Emily Tan, Anna Santy and Alyssa DiRienzo, all seniors in the VPA and Gina Gilbert, a VPA graduate student; and “Flores del Desierto: Albarda” by Pamela Decker (1955), which will be presented by organist Abel Searor, a VPA senior. Kane will present a flute solo, “Nocturne” by Lili Boulanger (1893-1918). The concert will also include three piano solos and pieces by other student vocalists.
In addition to planning and arranging the concert, Kane has written a 50-page paper about the lives of the 12 composers who are included in the concert. Kane spent most of the summer between her sophomore and junior years in SU’s E.S. Bird Library researching the women’s history and their music.
“It is highly unusual for honors students to do both a thesis paper and a creative work of this magnitude for their capstone project,” says Amanda Winkler, assistant professor of fine arts and Kane’s honors advisor. Her project is probably the most ambitious capstone project I’ve ever advised. But it’s been smooth sailing. She has always been on top of everything. I’m very proud of her.”
Kane is spending the spring semester as a student band teacher in Westhill High School. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in conducting. Her interest in women composers evolved from her involvement with Sigma Alpha Iota, a women’s music fraternity; from an honors course she took in the Women’s Studies Program in The College of Arts and Sciences; and from courses she took with Winkler, whose expertise is in music and gender.
“This project is a lot of work,” Kane admits, “but it’s worth it. The Honors Program gave me the support I needed to independently pursue my interests. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do a project this huge and do a really good job. I have learned so much, and yes, I would do it again.”