SFSU Public Affairs Press Release
Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA--April 19, 1999--Several Emily Dickinson poems set to music by Gordon Getty are among the works being performed as San Francisco State University’s Department of Music presents "A Celebration of California Composers." The event takes place Friday, April 23 at 8 p.m., and will honor local composers Gordon Getty, Kirke Mechem and Joaquín Nin-Culmell through interpretations of their works by faculty and student artists from SFSU.
Those who attend the free event will be introduced or re-acquainted with compositions that are diverse in style, yet rooted in the Bay Area music scene.
The Dickinson selections are part of the 32-song cycle "The White Election," and will lead off the performance in SFSU’s Knuth Hall. Soprano Deborah Benedict-Jackson, a lecturer in music at the University, will perform nine of the pieces including "I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed" and both the major and minor settings of "I Sing to Use the Waiting."
"The White Election" is one of the most performed of Gordon Getty’s works which include the opera "Plump Jack," inspired by Shakespeare’s Falstaff and the cantata "Joan and the Bells," inspired by Joan of Arc. Getty’s "Homework Suite" also will be on the program, performed by pianist Patricia Taylor Lee, chair of the Music Department. Getty, a long-time resident of San Francisco, studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Kirke Mecham, considered the dean of American choral composers, is represented in the second section of the program with his work "To an Absent Love" and selections from "Suite, Opus 5." Pianist and Professor William Corbett-Jones will accompany soprano Sarah Ganz for the first piece and then will take center stage for his rendition of the first, fourth and fifth movements of "Suite, Opus 5." Mecham was composer-in-residence at the University of San Francisco for several years. His three-act opera, " Tartuffe," is one of the most popular ever written by an American and was premiered by the San Francisco Opera.
The final composer to be honored at Friday’s event is Joaquín Nin-Culmell. Deborah Benedict-Jackson will perform his "Chansons de La Barraca" which is comprised of settings of poems by the Spanish writers Garcia Lorca, Lope de Vega and Cervantes. Other Nin-Culmell works being performed include "Trois Hommages," "Deux Chansons Populaires Cubaines." SFSU’s renowned Alexander String Quartet will accompany soprano Sara Ganz in a rendition of "Dos Poemas de Jorge Manrique." Nin-Culmell’s music is conside red to have a distinct and romantic Spanish flair. He taught in UC Berkeley’s Music Dept. for many years and edited for publication some of the journals of his sister, the writer Anaïs Nin.
The San Francisco State University Chamber Choir, directed by Joshua Habermann, will cap the evening’s performance. Choir members will sing Nin-Culmell’s "Odo a la pulpa," Getty’s "Welsh Lullaby," and the Finale from Mechem’s "Singing is Such a Good Thing."
San Francisco State University is a highly diverse community of 27,000 students and 3,500 faculty and staff. It is one of the largest campuses in the nationally recognized 23-campus California State University system. Founded in 1899, the University is celebrating its 100th year of service to San Francisco, the Bay Area and beyond.
NOTE: For more information on the performance which is open to the public without charge, call 415/338-2467 or visit web site: www.sfsu.edu/~allarts
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