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Alumni Gazette

A Musical Dream Team
newsDUO: Fleming (left) and Puts premiere his song cycle this fall. (Photo: Timothy White/Decca (Fleming); David White (Puts))

Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Kevin Puts ’94E, ’99E (DMA), Grammy Award–winning soprano Renée Fleming ’83E (MM), and the Eastman Philharmonia are teaming up for a performance of Puts’s song cycle Letters from Georgia.

Fleming and the Philharmonia will premiere the song cycle on Saturday, November 12, at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre as part of the Eastman Presents series of performances. They will perform the piece again the following Monday at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Letters from Georgia, which Puts composed specifically for the Philharmonia and for Fleming, is inspired by letters written by artist Georgia O’Keeffe to her eventual husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz, as well as to suffragist Anita Pollitzer.

The commissioning of Puts was cosponsored by Joseph and Bette Hirsch ’64 and the Eastman-affiliated Howard Hanson Institute for American Music. Hanson, director of the Eastman School from 1924 to 1964, founded the Eastman Philharmonia in 1958.

A Partner in Health

Kesha Calicutt ’01 was a panelist at the 2016 Partnership for a Healthier America summit held last May in Washington, D.C. As part of a panel titled “Living with Obesity,” she spoke about maintaining health and fitness following her 2010 bariatric surgery. A teacher in the Dallas, Texas, school district, Calicutt maintains a separate career as coleader of a patient support group and as a blogger on weight loss, health, and fitness at

Calicutt was also an invited guest at a White House briefing and reception held in conjunction with the summit.

Partnership for a Healthier America is an independent nonprofit organization formed in 2010 as a counterpart to First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, and designed to bring leaders in the public, private, and nonprofit sector together to help reduce childhood obesity.

Moving On Up

John Palattella ’92 (PhD), longtime literary editor of the Nation magazine, will begin a new role as editor-at-large of the magazine this September. Palattella has previously been an editor at Lingua Franca and the Columbia Journalism Review, and written for a variety of publications, including the London Review of Books, Book Forum, the Boston Review, and the Guardian. In 2010, Palattella delivered a talk on literary culture in the digital age at Rochester as part of the Neilly Series Lectures.