CELEBRATING COMPOSITIONS FOR VOICE
October 21, 2017: American Composers Alliance
by Jean Ballard Terepka 

IN TWO CONCERTS ON OCTOBER 21, 2017
at New York City's acoustically welcoming Scorca Hall at the National Opera Center, the works of thirteen composers, all members of the American Composers Alliance, were presented by more than fifteen accomplished and gifted singers and instrumentalists; the two concerts featured four world premieres and five New York premieres. The works varied considerably in theme and style—and were carefully described in superbly detailed and informative program notes

In the afternoon concert there were six short pieces, varying in length from five to ten minutes. Inevitably, the concert had a somewhat scattered feel to it.

Each piece was performed by different singers and instrumentalists. Each was written by a different composer, exploring radically different texts and stories. The difficult result was that each work could only be an introduction - a sample, a taste or, at best, an affirmation - of the overall work of each composer; furthermore, unless a listener was familiar with any given composer's oeuvre to date, there was no way to know whether a new work was a departure from past patterns, a development of them, or something entirely new. In spite of these drawbacks, the afternoon was a happy one: the music was, by turns, interesting, exciting, witty, and majestic, and the audience - consisting largely of fellow musicians, composers and enthusiastic friends of friends - responded positively.

The evening concert had greater coherence: it was a recital of seven works Jeremy Huw Williams and pianist Paula Fan, both secure, accomplished and gifted artists, Although Williams and Fan presented works by seven different composers, the coherence of Williams' and Fan's partnership gave this concert a self-contained shape and sensibility.

In spite of the differences between the two concerts, however, the goal of the performances - to reveal unifying artistic characteristics among composers even within their great variety - was effectively realized.

The world premieres were strong.

Jody Rochmaker's Flutesongs, presented by Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek (soprano) and Laura Falzon (flute), based on texts by Amy Lowell and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, was an elegant work: poetic themes of imagination and dreaming were developed into musical examinations of transfor­mation. Rochmaker's writing is both traditionally disciplined and unexpectedly inventive; lyricism and breathy explosions alternate as voice and flute imitate each other. Rockmaker lets music emerge from the texts, "blurring to unexpected chords" (Lowell) and the singer's and flutist's seemingly effortlessly produced trills and loops reflect divine dreaminess.

A particularly substantive work, Elizabeth R. Austin's A Woman's Love and Life, was fascinating as both an examination of an inherited nineteenth century literary tradition and a thoroughly contemporary reflection on women's life passages. Offering her own translation of texts by Adalbert von Chamisso {1781-1838), Austin expands on musical insights of Robert Schumann, who set the same poems to music, and adds additional darker, more radical—and arguably more feminist — presentations of women's responses to questions of agency and inevitability in their own lives. Austin herself played the piano in this performance; Lydia McClain, whose full and flexible soprano voice proved a particularly good match for the material, sang. Though created as a mini song cycle that descended quite naturally from the nineteenth century lieder tradition, Austin's writing has a distinctively cinematic style, a combination of accessibility and swift movement from one mood to another, that makes her music distinctly and recognizably her own. The last 'song' of the piece, "Dream of days gone by," was especially marvelous, making expansiveness and poignancy close companions.

Elizabeth R. Austin

Art After Dark: Fire & Ice

Thursday, February 1, 2018, 5 pm – 8 pm Visit the museum after hours for music, free snacks, cash bar, tours, a film, an art activity, and much more!

February’s event features an ice sculpture and a fire eating demonstration, trivia, and dance performances by The Dance Collective. 

College students receive free admission with a valid ID!

Five choreographers paired with five musicians: Lydia McClain, soprano, will perform Elizabeth R. Austin’s Three Sandburg Songs, composer at the piano. 




Tickets are $10/$5 members and are available for purchase at the door.
Learn more about visiting the museum or get more information about parking.
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art · 600 Main Street · Hartford, CT 06103 · 860.278.2670


2017



































October 21, 2017, 4 p.m.

On Saturday, October 21, 2017 at 4 p.m., The American Composers Alliance concert of vocal music will include Elizabeth R. Austin’s Frauenliebe und -leben (A Woman’s Love and Life), sung in English by Lydia McClain, soprano, and with the composer at the piano. This concert is at The National Opera Center, 330 7th Avenue, New York (Scorca Hall). Dr. Austin has incorporated some of the same poems (and structure) of Schumann’s famous setting but has embellished her song cycle with other poems reflective of a woman’s stages of life.
Suggested donation $15 per person, Seating on a first come-first served basis. Reservations can be made by e-mailing info@composers.com.​


April 5, 2017, 7 p.m.

Elizabeth R. Austin's Litauische Lieder (Lithuanian Lieder) for baritone & piano will be performed at Die Akademie der Künste Berlin. The occasion is the Centennial celebration of the poet, Johannes Bobrowski, who was born in East Prussia. Performers are Wolfram Tessmer, baritone and Frank Gutschmidt, pianist.


2013

On the occasion of her 75th birthday, Elizabeth’s music has been recognized through a story in the current issue of the Journal of the International Alliance of Women in Music (Fall, 2013).

The article by Deborah Hayes, a distinguished musicologist and professor emerita at The University of Colorado at Boulder, is a discussion and analysis of her opera, “I’m one and double too”.

Jeffrey James, an art consultant, describes this magazine: “The Journal of the IAWM is published twice a year and is read world-wide. It includes articles about women musicians, both contemporary and historic, interviews, reports on major conferences, congresses, and festivals, information on current research, IAWM news and members’ news, and reviews of books, concerts, CDs, and scores.”

Germany: Renate Kaschmieder, mezzo-soprano, and Florian Kaplick, piano,have presented Frauenliebe und -leben, both the Austin and the Schumann versions, in an original dramatization/collage. On September 7 and 8, this duo performed the music in Bremen. On October 19, two days after Ingeborg Bachmann's 40th anniversary of death, the performance of the music and its relation to Bachmann's Malina was also discussed in a lecture by Sigrid Nieberle in Nurnberg.

Elizabeth R. Austin's Rose Sonata for piano and reciter will be featured in: 
Kathleen Dale, Piano Recital
Sunday, June 16 at 2 pm;
admission is free, with optional donation for additional library books on women composers
Wisconsin Conservatory of Music
1584 N. Prospect Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53202 (414) 276-5760

May 26, Circling for ‘cello & piano: Connecticut Composers Inc. Concert; 016 Ensemble of Hartford at The Hartt School of Music

​Erica Maas, soprano, recent graduate of The Hartt School of Music (Hartford) has sung Three Sandburg Songs for soprano & piano on several concerts in the Hartford area:
April 14, at The Hartt School (her Senior Recital)
March 7, 2013 at The Musical Club of Hartford
March 2, 2013 through the Women Composers Festival of Hartford
February 16, B-A-C-Homage for viola & piano, performed by Laura Krentzman and Erberk Eryilmaz; at The Society of Composers National Conference, Columbus, Ohio
September 8, 2012 at Christ Church Cathedral (through Hartt)

2012

Sunday, May 27:
at The Hartt School, Hartford, CT
Elizabeth's "B-A-C-Homage" for viola and piano was premiered by the Hartford-based new music ensemble 016 as part of a concert of chamber music by Connecticut Composers, Inc. Laura Krentzmann was the violist, Anastasia Seifetnova, the pianist.

Sunday, May 13:
Elizabeth's "Mass of Thanksgiving" ('We Gather Together') for SATB chorus, organ, and optional instruments, was performed in a Mother's Day/Women's Mass at St. John's Episcopal Church in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY, Cryder Banks, Organist.

Calendar of Events - Page One

2018