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,”