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Works by women composers featured March 6

BOONE—The Hayes School of Music’s Faculty Recital Series presents the program “Listening to the Unheard: A Concert of Women Composers” on Tuesday, March 6, at 8 p.m. in Broyhill Music Center’s Rosen Concert Hall at Appalachian State University. Admission is free.

The program features the works of women composers written in the 19th to 21st centuries.

The evening begins with “Bright Brass” written in 1989 by Gwyneth Walker. A former faculty member of the Oberlin College Conservatory, Walker resigned from academic employment in 1982 in order to pursue a career as a full-time composer.

The work will be performed by trumpeters James Stokes Jr. and Brent Bingham, hornist Karen L. Robertson, trombonist Drew C. Leslie and tubist Christopher J. Blaha.

Composed for the Alaska Brass Quintet, “Bright Brass” emphasizes the lively and bright qualities of a brass quintet.

Mezzo-soprano Priscilla Porterfield will perform three works by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel. Porterfield will be accompanied by pianist Hiu-Wah Au.

Hensel’s works were often overshadowed by the works of her brother, composer Felix Mendelssohn. In spite of her talent as a pianist and composer, Hensel’s father believed that music should be Felix’s profession, and that it would be better for Fanny to pursue music as a hobby or “an ornament.” Fanny’s husband, however, supported her musical endeavors. She composed more than 450 pieces before her death in 1847.

Clarinetist Douglas Miller will perform “The Canary” by Tui St. George Tucker, who lived from 1924-2004. A former Blowing Rock resident, Tucker, was a well-known composer, conductor and recorder virtuoso. “The Canary” was originally written for small recorder or piccolo.

“Dumka for Violin, Viola and Piano” written in 1941 by Rebecca Clarke will be performed by violinist Nancy Bargerstock, violist Eric Koontz and pianist Bair Shagdaron. Clarke’s compositions spanned a range of 20th-century styles including Impressionism, post-Romantic and neo-Classical. A violist, Clarke wrote nearly 100 compositions, but only 20 were published in her lifetime.

Also on the program is “Wings,” written for solo clarinet by Joan Tower and performed by Andrea L. Cheeseman. The title refers to an image Tower had while writing the piece of a large bird creating elaborate patterns as it glided across the sky.

Tower is considered one of the most important American composers living today. Her career as a composer, performer, conductor, and educator has spanned more than 50 years. She is the Asher Edelman Professor of Music at Bard College, where she has taught since 1972.

Flutist Kay Borkowski and pianist Bair Shagdaron will perform “Legacy” written by Jennifer Higdon. The Pulitzer-prize winning composer had a late start in music, teaching herself to play flute at the age of 15. Her formal musical studies began at age 18. Higdon has become a major figure in contemporary classical music, completing between five and10 commissioned pieces a year ranging from orchestral to chamber and choral compositions. She holds the Milton L. Rock Chair in Composition Studies at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

The program concludes with “Ubi caritas” by Eleanor Daley and “Fruits of the Selfless Heart” by Elizabeth J. Atkinson and performed by the Appalachian Treble Choir.

Daley is director of music at Fairlawn Avenue United Church in Ontario. A prolific composer, she has more than 140 published choral compositions.  Her works are noted for their interweaving of text and music. “Ubi caritas” which translates to “Where There is Love,” is an a cappella piece written for a women’s chorus.

“Fruits of the Selfless Heart” is based on the words of Mother Theresa. Atkinson is the pianist/organist at Foundry United Methodist Church in Virginia Beach, Va.

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