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Penn State College Of Arts And Architecture To Present Works By Composer Sarah Hutchings

"Unprecedented: Original Compositions Written by Women for Women" is set for April 9th.

Penn State College Of Arts And Architecture To Present Works By Composer Sarah Hutchings

Soprano Dr. Rachel Copeland and the Penn State School of Music, under the College of Arts and Architecture, will present several world premieres this weekend as the culmination of a residency with composer Sarah Hutchings.

The concert, entitled "Unprecedented: Original Compositions written by and for women," will see the fulfillment of a project that seeks to give a new perspective on themes encountered in art song.

Copeland will premiere a new song cycle for soprano and piano, Cobalt, Jade, Amethyst composed by Hutchings, with poetry written by 19th century English poet Sarah Williams. Published compilations of Williams's poetry describe these texts as "...written from a woman's heart." Hutchings describes the themes in the cycle as being "intimate and personal, with love, pain, overcoming darkness and even dragons."

Copeland will also premiere a larger work for soprano and string quartet, simply called "d'Arc" after the legendary Joan of Arc. The work uses the medieval writings of Christine de Pisan, a contemporary of Joan of Arc. Her writings are considered some of the earliest examples of feminist literature. Hutchings says of "d'Arc," "This piece was written in early 2020 when the pandemic forced us into our homes and made us confront our stances on many issues. For the female-identifying, this was just the start of a rollercoaster of reforms and forcibly assumed roles. It was not a comfortable feeling delving deep into the stresses of these historic women and often having them paralleled in my own time." There are themes of admonishment for complacency, messages of hope, and calls for battle with each song in the set.

Hutchings credits Copeland for her vision and tenacity in taking on these new works. "She is the perfect voice to give these songs life. A true performer doesn't just sing the song. They unpack it and understand it so they can communicate to the audience."

Pianists Blair Salter and Ann Deighton will perform with Copeland as well as Allison Smith and Ian Duh, violin, Kate Brown, viola, and Ambrynn Bowmann, cello.

The concert will take place on Penn State University's campus on April 9, 2022 at 4:00 pm in the Recital hall, Allen Road, University Park PA 16802.
Admission is free to the general public. Penn State University invites attendees to review necessary health and safety protocol information before attending events on campus.

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