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March 18, 2011

Celebrating the contributions, achievements of women in music

women playing cellos and piano
The Women in Music festival features collaborations with several local arts organizations and gives audiences opportunities to enjoy a variety of free events in different venues across the Rochester area.

From composer to performer to producer, the different roles women occupy in the music field will be celebrated during an annual festival at the Eastman School this month.

The 2011 Women in Music Festival includes a program of silent short films with live original music, a preview of a one-act musical by a local composing-playwriting team, premieres of new works, a “send-off” for a concert tour by Eastman musicians, and daily noontime concerts with poetry readings.

Running from Monday, March 21, through Friday, March 25, the festival features collaborations with several local arts organizations and gives audiences opportunities to enjoy a variety of free events in different venues across the Rochester area.

Hilary Tann

Hilary Tann, composer-in residence for this year’s festival, will speak as part of the University’s Neilly Lecture Series on March 22. She’ll also attend a concert of her works on the opening day of the festival. The all-Tann recital, on March 21 in Downtown United Presbyterian Church, includes the premiere of Exultet Terra with local choirs Madrigalia and Musica Spei and a double-reed quintet from Eastman’s oboe and bassoon studios. Another of her works, Shakkei, with assistant professor of saxophone Chien-Kwan Lin, will be performed in both the all-Tann recital and the “Women in Music Festival Tour” preview concert on March 24.

Tann’s works have been performed by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra. She has been commissioned to write concertos for violin, alto saxophone, and cello. Growing up in South Wales, the composer developed a love of nature, which has inspired all her music. Exultet Terra, for example, is subtitled Among Thy Trees and invites the audience to consider the beauty, peace, and joy of the pastoral world.

Tann, who is the John Howard Payne Professor of Music at Union College in Schenectady, will also hold a master class and coach students during her residency. Music for stage, film, and concert hall During the festival, audiences can get a look at Lily, A Musical Portrait, a new show by Amanda Jacobs and Lindsay Baker, the team behind Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, A Musical. In collaboration with the Empire State Lyric Theatre, a reading performance of Lily will be presented at the Memorial Art Gallery on March 23. The local duo’s current work is based on The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton’s 1905 novel examining the conflict between rigid social expectations and personal desire.

The Women in Music Festival Tour preview concert on March 24 at Nazareth College features Eastman students, faculty, and alumni in a program that they will “take on the road,” performing at City University of New York in New York City and at Union College in Schenectady on April 7.

A program of little-known short films from the 1920s and 1930s by Bauhaus master and avant-garde artist László Moholy-Nagy, with music composed and performed by Eastman School students, will be screened at the George Eastman House on March 25. The show was originally presented at the “Old Films and New Music” festival in Berlin on January 31; it drew a full house and received coverage in German media. The closing concert of the Women in Music Festival explores how themes of life, death, and renewal are presented in music and poetry. Performers include the University Symphony Orchestra and organist Timothy Tikker for the world premiere of Mausolée “á la goire de Marcel Dupré.” The work’s composer, Rolande Falcinelli, died in 2006 without ever hearing the piece performed.

As in previous years, the festival spotlights the writings of local women poets. This year’s featured poets, Linda Reinfeld, Elaine Heveron, Colette Noel, Louise Bennett, and Sally Bittner Bonn, will read from their works during the festival’s daily noontime concerts.

Details are available online at

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