As part of a year-long celebration of the centennial of women’s suffrage in New York State, the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music and Susan B. Anthony Center are collaborating on “Women’s Voices,” a special concert featuring the premieres of composers Lori Laitman’s and Jennifer Mitchell’s new works, commissioned especially for the occasion. The celebration will also include a lecture by Laitman as part of her Eastman residency. Both events are open to the public.
The “Women’s Voices” concert, at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 5, in Eastman’s Kilbourn Hall, features the Eastman Women’s Chorus, Eastman students, and faculty members including pianists Tony Caramia and Sylvie Beaudette, mezzo soprano Kathryn Cowdrick, soprano Teresa Ringholtz, and violinist Rebeca Boyd. Texts and photographs from the suffragist era will alternate with the musical selections.
The program will showcase music by women composers, including the premiere of Are Women People?, a piece for vocal quartet and piano four-hands by New York state native Laitman. The new work is based on poetry by suffragist Alice Duer Miller, speeches given by Susan B. Anthony, and the text of the 19th Amendment. Jennifer Mitchell’s new work, The Red Silk Shawl, refers to Susan B. Anthony’s trademark garment that she wore at advocacy events.
As part of the celebration, Laitman will spend two days at Eastman coaching performers for the premiere and giving a lecture titled “The Scarlet Letter: From Page to Operatic Stage.” Speaking about The Scarlet Letter, her first full-length opera with librettist David Mason, Laitman will discuss the musical and social themes of the opera as well as the journey of bringing a work from page to operatic stage, culminating in the 2016 world premiere with Opera Colorado.
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Saturday, March 4
The Scarlet Letter: From Page to Operatic Stage
Howard Hanson Hall, Eastman School of Music Main Building, 26 Gibbs St.
Sunday, March 5
Women’s Voices: Celebrating 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage in New York State
Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St.
Admission: $10 general admission; available at the Eastman Theatre Box Office, 433 East Main St.; by phone at (585) 274-3000; or online at EastmanTheatre.org. Free admission with UR ID, but free tickets must be picked up in person at the Eastman Theatre Box Office, 433 East Main St., though free tickets can be reserved in advance by phone at (585) 274-3000.