From a new work by an internationally celebrated composer to new works written by Eastman School of Music students, numerous premieres will highlight the fourth annual Women in Music Festival. And using words, instruments ranging from a carillon to a marimba, and even dance, more than 70 artists will celebrate women’s achievements and contributions in all aspects of music.
This year’s Women in Music Festival at the Eastman School, scheduled for Monday, March 24, through Friday, March 28, includes five noontime concerts that are free and open to the public. Each performance features compositions written by women in a broad range of musical styles and will open with a local woman poet reading from her work.
“This festival provides an opportunity for musicians of the Eastman community to bring this amazing repertoire together under one roof (or two!) for an entire week,” says festival founding director Sylvie Beaudette, assistant professor of chamber music and accompanying at the Eastman School. “Not only does the festival celebrate women’s achievements in music, but it also showcases students, faculty, and guest artists, scholars and poets, bridging together the Eastman School with the River Campus and the Rochester community.” Beaudette is coordinating the festival with Eastman graduate student Tiffany Ng.
For the second year in a row, the Women in Music Festival will have a composer-in-residence. Nancy Van de Vate, known internationally for her orchestral, solo, and chamber music and most famous for her Pulitzer Prize-nominated operas All Quiet on the Western Front and Where the Cross is Made, will be in attendance for the premiere of her work “A Long Road Traveled: Suite for Viola and String Quartet.” The work was written for and will be performed by violist John Graham and The Ying Quartet at noon on the opening day of the festival. Van de Vate will also conduct a master class and coach opera workshops with Eastman students and will attend a lecture-recital based on All Quiet on the Western Front at the Memorial Art Gallery.
The March 25 noontime concert will feature the world premiere of “Hildegard’s iPod” by Eastman student Jung Sun Kang, commissioned to honor women full professors of the Eastman School and performed by violinist Lynn Blakeslee and harpist Kathleen Bride. The March 26 concert program includes Amanda Jacobs and Lindsay Warren Baker, who will perform selections from their musical production Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and Eastman faculty Tony Caramia, piano, and Karen Holvik, soprano, performing A Tribute to Marian McPartland.
Readings by poets Mary Jo Iuppa, Claudia Stanek, Patricia Roth Schwartz, Wynne McClure, and Karla Merrifield will open each noontime concert.
Other events during the festival include a performance of solo marimba music written by women composers; a lecture on “Women at the Piano: The Struggle for Acceptance;” a recital on the Hopeman Memorial Carillon located on the University of Rochester’s River Campus; concerts by the Eastman Women’s Chorus and the Eastman Community Music School; and a performance of improvisation and dance based on the “Declaration of Sentiments” produced by the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls. Most events are open to the public; a complete schedule and programs can be found online at https://www.esm.rochester.edu/wmf/ .
The Eastman School’s Women in Music Festival was launched in 2005 to highlight and celebrate women’s involvement in all aspects of music, including composition, performance, teaching, and scholarship.
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