The University of Maryland School of Music brings musician-poet, Sidney Clopton Lanier to life in a presentation that honors his creative legacy and artistic contribution to his adopted home, Baltimore, during the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era. Entitled Orpheus' Son - The Life of Sidney Lanier and His Music of Language, the program tells Lanier's poignant life story, interwoven with passages of period flute music, some composed by Lanier, and narrative readings of Lanier's poetic musical expression.

About Sidney Lanier: A native of Macon, Georgia, Lanier became an accomplished self-taught flute player at a young age. He fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War until he was captured and held in a Union prison in Point Lookout, MD, where he contracted tuberculosis.

Shortly after arriving in Baltimore in 1873, Lanier was appointed first flutist of the newly-founded Peabody Orchestra, receiving favorable notices by the Baltimore Sun. He was soon invited by Johns Hopkins University to lecture on his theories of poetry as a species of music.

Lanier succumbed to tuberculosis at age 39, but left a Baltimore legacy that includes a Hans Schuler sculpture near the Johns Hopkins University campus and his grave site in Green Mount Cemetery.

About Orpheus' Son: Sidney Lanier and His Music of Language: Lanier's experiments with musical sound in verse recently captured the attention of UMD School of Music faculty artist Gran Wilson, who was granted a UMD Creative and Performing Arts Award for arts research to delve more deeply into Lanier's music and art.

Wilson culminates his research with the performance of Orpheus' Son - The Life of Sidney Lanier and His Music of Language at the Clarice Smith Center. The performance features School of Music Masters and Doctoral students Katie Baughman, Amanda Tittle, Brian Wallin and Joe Regan, accompanied by flutist Paul Heins.

Wilson says, "Lanier's story is one of courage, and it all happened 50 miles from the University of Maryland. He struggled with criticism and his failure to be recognized initially by both academia and publishers, but his eventual artistic triumphs are a source of pride in our state's history."

Located on the University of Maryland campus and a part of the College of Arts and Humanities, the School of Music is a dynamic arts community committed to cultivating and transforming musical traditions and preparing students for meaningful engagement with their art, their culture and the world community. The School is an integral part of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, a premier arts presenting venue and creative laboratory for professional artists, teachers and students, serving the university and community. The School of Music, the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, and the staff and administration of the Center comprise the Center's creative community.

Pictured: Gran Wilson. Photo by Mike Ciesielski.

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