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April 5, 2005

Tui St. George Tucker “Requiem” Premieres April 30

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Tui St. George Tucker from a 1956 photo taken at Camp Catawba.
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Tui St. George Tucker

BOONE – A requiem composed by the late Tui St. George Tucker will be premiered April 30 at the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in Rosen Concert Hall at the School of Music.

Admission is free, but contributions to the Tui St. George Tucker Scholarship Fund at Appalachian will be welcomed. The new scholarship fund in her honor will aid composition students in the Hayes School of Music.

Tui St. George Tucker was a well-known composer and recorder virtuoso. Although New York City was her winter home, she was music director of Camp Catawba in Blowing Rock during the summers from 1947 to 1970. She made Blowing Rock her permanent home after 1985. She died in April 2004.

The requiem was composed over a 50-year period. St. George Tucker had started work on the requiem in the late 1940s, following the death of her mother.

While living in Blowing Rock, St. George Tucker was befriended by Douglas Miller, a member of Appalachian’s Hayes School of Music. Miller saw the piece stacked in a corner of her cabin and persuaded St. George Tucker to let him prepare the composition for performance.

Miller worked with St. George Tucker for three years prior to her death preparing the piece for performance. Although she did not live to hear the finished work, as each section was completed Miller would “play” it for her using a computer software program that played the arrangement.

Tui St. George Tucker was famous for writing in a nonstandard microtonal scale that used quarter tones, but her requiem is a tonal work modeled after Faure’s “Requiem,” Miller said.

The requiem will be performed by an 80-voice chorus and full orchestra. Several guest musicians, including Camp Catawba alumni organist Paul Jordan of Connecticut and pianist Samual Bartos of New York, will play keyboard works. In celebration of Tui St. George Tucker and Camp Catawba, a special exhibit will be shown in the Broyhill Music Center lobby and many Camp Catawba alumni are expected to attend.

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