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Emory presents first-ever Faculty Composers Concert

Music at Emory presents the Faculty Composers Concert, featuring works by Richard Prior and John Anthony Lennon, on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 8 p.m. in Emerson Concert Hall of the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. The concert is free and open to the public.

This concert marks the first time at Emory University that the award-winning talent of its faculty will be put on full display in a concert solely dedicated to faculty composition.

The performance will feature of some of their most celebrated pieces: Prior’s "intimations of immortality," "icarus" and String Quartet No. 2 "TRIPTYCH," as well as Lennon’s "Death Angel," "Poems from the Singing Wall" and "Red Scimitar." 

Lennon’s 2014 composition "Poems from the Singing Wall" consists of five songs inspired by the poetry and voice of Swiss artist Jeanine Osborne. The texts were selected from a collection of poems she composed after creating drawings at Baie-Saint-Paul in Quebec. The collection’s theme is the Singing Wall, the point of passage between Earth and heaven.

Prior also finds inspiration in literature for "intimations of mortality" (2009), which takes its lead from Dante, Shakespeare and Dylan Thomas, and explores philosophical and creative concepts drawn from "Inferno," "Hamlet" and “Do not go gentle into that good night.” The three movements of the piece serve as short, exploratory musical essays.

Guest musicians include the Vega String Quartet; Abigail Santos Villalobos, soprano; Jonathan Keeble, flute; Jeffrey Brooks, clarinet; Julie Coucheron, piano; Elizabeth Pridgen, piano; and Michael Kurth, double bass, among others.

An acclaimed conductor and composer, Prior holds the Edward Goodwin Scruggs Chair at Emory. As director of orchestral studies, he conducts the Emory University Symphony Orchestra and the Emory Youth Symphony Orchestra. Prior’s compositions have been performed widely in Europe and North America. Atlanta premieres have included two quartets with the Vega String Quartet, "The Darkening Land" with clarinet virtuoso Richard Stoltzman, and the Pulitzer-nominated choral-orchestral work "Stabat Mater."

Lennon has been commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Theatre Chamber Players, the Library of Congress, the Kronos Quartet, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players and the National Endowment for the Arts Orchestral Consortium. In addition to the Rome Prize, Guggenheim, Friedheim, and Charles Ives Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Lennon has been the recipient of numerous other honors and prizes. He is currently professor of composition and theory at Emory.

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