ELIZABETHTOWN — Dr. Eileen Strempel (soprano) and Dr. Sylvie Beaudette (piano) offer the chance to hear E.E. Cummings’ poetry set to music at the Piano by Nature Series.
Saturday and Sunday, the duo will perform two sets of Cummings at the Hand House in Elizabethtown.
“One is by Christine Donkin,” said Beaudette, who is a professor of accompanying and chamber music at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. She also serves as director of Summer@Eastman and is artistic director of the Women in Music Festival.
“We have enough music to make a CD in the spring,” Beaudette said. “In the meanwhile, we like to perform.”
For this commission project, they decided to go with a dead poet. They did an earlier project based on the poems of Margaret Atwood.
“They (Cummings trustees) were happy we used the poems for other pieces of art. We knew that from numerous songs that have been written on E.E. Cummings’ poetry. It happened to be true. We asked for the rights, and they were very gracious and gave us permission,” Beaudette said.
The idea initiated with Strempel, a presidential scholar in the arts and assistant vice president for academic advancement at Syracuse University. Her accolades include first prize of the Loren Zachary Vocal Competition, the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, the Liderkranz as well as the Enrico Caruso Vocal Competition.
Strempel attended a
concert in Florida.
“She happened to hear a song from a young composer, Jocelyn Hagen from Minnesota,” Beaudette said. “Eileen and I have the same taste in music and text. She heard this, and she knew I would love it.”
The duo asked Libby Larsen and Regina Harris Baiocchi to compose songs.
“We also have a set by Hillary Tamm. We have one song by Judith Cloud,”
This weekend’s concert is a taste of Beaudette and Strempel’s forthcoming Cummings CD.
They will also perform a set of compositions by Clara Schumann, the wife of Robert Schumann.
“She was an amazing virtuoso of the piano in her time,” Beaudette said. “She also wrote tons of music for piano but also songs and some chamber music. We are going to perform four of her songs, and then we will be performing the ‘Cowboy Song’ by Libby Larsen.”
The concerts conclude with a set from Jerome Tern’s “Fiddler on the Roof.”
“We basically have something for everyone,” Beaudette said.
Email Robin Caudell:
IF YOU GO WHAT: Piano by Nature Series. WHO: Dr. Eileen Strempel (soprano) and Dr. Sylvie Beaudette (piano) WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m Sunday. Meet the Artists Reception follows each concert. WHERE: Hand House, Elizabethtown. TICKETS: $15 general admission. $5 students 15 and under. CONTACT: 962-2949. RELATED EVENT: At 2 p.m Saturday, Piano by Nature will host a Vocal Master Class at the Hand House. Strempel and Beaudette will give professional tips on vocal-related topics while working with area students of voice. The class is free and open to the public.