EASTMAN LECTURE CELEBRATES A CHAMPION OF AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC

July 11, 2000

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Eastman Office of Communications, 585-274-1050

ROCHESTER, NY – The late opera singer, recitalist, and folklorist Dorothea Dix Lawrence (1899-1979) will be the subject of an upcoming lecture at the Eastman School of Music titled "Musically Mapping America: The Career of Dorothea Dix Lawrence." The presentation is at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 3, in Howard Hanson Hall at the School, 26 Gibbs St. Admission is free and open to the public.

After a successful opera career in the 1930s and ’40s, Ms. Lawrence decided to focus exclusively on the American song repertoire, ultimately giving hundreds of lecture-recitals across the United States and Europe. At a time when few professional artists did so, she brought American music to the ears of Europeans. A champion and scholar of American folk music, she presented recitals in which she sang American Indian songs in their original language as well as art songs by established composers. In 1945, she produced a "Folklore Music Map of the United States" which was widely distributed in American schools, and later published her songs in the book Folklore Songs of the United States. She gave "Musically Mapping America" talks throughout the United States and Mexico until her retirement in 1970. Her papers now form the Dorothea Dix Lawrence Collection at the Library of Congress.

Ms. Lawrence’s son, Morgan Lawrence, who recently donated a collection of her papers and a copy of her book to Eastman’s Sibley Music Library, will lead the presentation. As a young boy, he traveled with his mother on tour. Now a travel industry executive, journalist-photographer, broadcaster-lecturer, and noted opera aficionado, he offers an eyewitness vantage point on her career.

"This will be a fascinating lecture by a very engaging speaker," said David Coppen, Eastman’s special collections librarian and archivist and organizer of this event. "It touches on American music, women in music, folklore, and music education."

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Note to editors: Photos of Dorothea Dix Lawrence are available upon request.