Recital responds to tragedies of Sept. 11 with music

Rachel Hoerman

On Sunday, Sept. 30, a performance that has become a memorial, a partnership, and a tribute to contemporary musicians of Europe and the Americas will take the stage with “Fuego en la Sangre/ Fire in the Blood: Contemporary Songs of the Americas and Europe.” Combining the talents of Professor Patrice Michaels (soprano), guest artist Ana Cervantes (pianist), and Professor Janet Anthony (cello), “Fire in the Blood,” is a faculty recital that signifies much more.
This performance will seek to showcase the influences of contemporary American and European artists with a unique program of influential works from around the hemisphere. The program is the result of a collaboration between Micheals and Cervantes, and reflects their tastes, personal preferences, and professional respect for each other. Adds Micheals, “We both bring a varied background to our repertoire, which is a variety of personal choices we made together.”
Whereas Cervantes’ chosen pieces are works by contemporary female Mexican composers, Micheals relied on a list of her own influential favorites in selecting the works she will be performing. Says Micheals, “We are performing a piece by Luciano Berio, who was one of the most influential composers of the twentieth century, which is called `Cuatro Canzoni Popolari.’ There is also music by New York composer John Musto, a Lebanese trained in France.” Musto’s music is a mixture of contemporary classical music and jazz which Micheals describes as “.some of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever sung.”
Works by Lee Hoiby, a Wisconsin composer, and Robert Carl, who will be on the Lawrence campus as a guest speaker and to conduct workshops this month, are also included in the program.
For Micheals, the concert is a prelude to her work and performances in the International Festival of Contemporary Music in Havana, Cuba, which she has been attending for the past three years. The festival is also where Micheals first met Cervantes. Comments Micheals, “I met Ana in Havana and was impressed by her artistic vision and skill, and it was there we discussed working together. This concert is our first project as a duo.”
At the beginning of the concert the two will also be performing an improvisation session which Micheals describes as “a risk for both of us as it’s not what we are publicly recognized for. We were actually doubtful [about performing the improvisation] until the events of Sept. 11 made it more concrete than ever before.”
Last, but certainly not least, “Fire in the Blood” is a performance in response to the tragedies of Sept. 11. This performance draws its inspiration not only from the variety found in its program, but also from a quote by Leonard Bernstein, which has become the theme of the concert and a constructive reply to one of the blackest days in American history. It reads: “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, and more devotedly than ever before.