Eastman School of Music Celebrates Women’s History Month in Music

February 28, 2012

More Information:
For Media Only: Helene Snihur (585-274-1057, hsnihur@esm.rochester.edu)

Canadian pianist and composer Lorraine Desmarais, a versatile jazz musician who’s also performed with classical artists, headlines this year’s Women in Music Festival at the Eastman School of Music March 26 to 31.  As composer-in-residence, she will hold workshop and coaching sessions, attend recitals of her works, and rehearse and perform with the Eastman New Jazz Ensemble.

The roster of Festival performers features the early music ensemble Publick Musick; the horn and tuba duo TubaCOR; Music After 1900, an ensemble that designs each performance around a musical style and composer;  Eastman School faculty artists, students, and alumni; other area musicians; and local women poets, who will present readings of their own work. Events will be presented at several area venues, including the Eastman School, Nazareth College of Rochester, Hochstein School of Music and Dance, Church of the Blessed Sacrament, and First Universalist Church. All events are free and open to the public.

First held in 2005, Eastman’s Women in Music Festival is a celebration of women involved in all aspects of music, including composition, performance, teaching, scholarship, and administration.  “Our goal is to create a positive and inspiring event that focuses on the accomplishments of women in the entire field of music,” said festival founder and director Sylvie Beaudette, assistant professor of chamber music and accompanying. “Each year is different because of what the various artists bring to the festival; the wide range of musical styles ensures that there’s something for everyone!”

Desmarais, who’s been called a “power-packed dynamo” by Jazz Times magazine, has appeared in jazz festivals and with symphony orchestras in North America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Since winning First Prize at the Montréal International Jazz Festival in 1984, she has appeared with such jazz artists as Chick Corea, Marian McPartland, and Oliver Jones; Cuban musician and composer Paquito D’Rivera; classical violinist Angèle Dubeau; and artists in the popular music scene of Québec such as singer-songwriters Ariane Moffat and Jim Corcoran and rock singer Martin Deschamps. Other honors include First Prize at the Great Jazz Piano American Competition, the Oscar Peterson Award of the Montréal International Jazz Festival, the Artistic Creation Award of the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec, and the Ontario Arts Foundation Prize for Keyboard Artistry. Desmarais has recorded 10 CDs, two of which received Felix Awards from the ADISQ (the “Grammys” of  Québec).

In addition to her rehearsing and coaching activities at the Eastman School, Desmarais will participate in a round table discussion with composers Lisa Bielawa, Laura Karpman, and Hilary Tann at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, March 30, in Howard Hanson Hall, and will appear in concert with the New Jazz Ensemble, under director Dave Rivello, at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 31, in Kilbourn Hall.

Publick Musick will perform Vespers of the Blessed Virgin Mary,  written by 17th century composer Isabella Leonarda, at 7 p.m. Monday, March 26, at Blessed Sacrament Church in Rochester. TubaCOR, composed of hornist Lin Foulk and tubist Deanna Swoboda, will present works written by women composers ranging from 17th Century composer Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre to contemporary composers Elizabeth Raum and Ann Callaway. They’ll be joined pianist Helen Lukan  for the recital at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, in Eastman’s Hatch Recital Hall. “Music After 1900” will perform works by Hilary Tann, composer-in-residence for last year’s festival, at 7 p.m. Friday, March 29, in Ciminelli Formal Lounge in Eastman’s Student Living Center.

The festival also features five noontime concerts of works written by women composers in a broad range of musical styles, with local woman poets reading from their works. Scheduled to appear are poets Mary Lynn Broe, Ruth Kessler, Laura Klinkon, and Colleen Powderly.

Venues for the noontime concerts include the Eastman School’s Main Hall on March 26; Wilmot Hall at Nazareth College on March 27; Hochstein School of Music on March 28; First Universalist Church on March 29; and Sproull Atrium in Miller Center at the Eastman School on March 30.

A complete schedule can be found online at https://www.esm.rochester.edu/wmf/

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