A Standing Witness
with Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano
and Music from Copland House
A Standing Witness is a monumental collaboration between Grammy Award-winning composer Richard Danielpour and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove.
“The fifteen-poem cycle begins, ‘Surely there must be something beautiful to smile on.’ In this survey of the last half-century’s events, this country doesn’t come off looking good: assassinations, racism, Nixon …, Vietnam, AIDS, abortion, the fallout from 9/11 …; one of the poem’s lines is ‘Believers slaughter their doubters,’” writes a reviewer for Musical America. “… The poet’s evocative words could survive without the music. But with Danielpour’s sturdy textures and respect — almost worship — of the words, Witness is a perfect fit.”
Hailed as “America’s favorite mezzo” (Gramophone) and “an artist to treasure” (The New York Times), Susan Graham rose to the highest echelon of international performers within just a few years of her professional debut. She has mastered an astonishing range of repertoire and genres along the way.
Music from Copland House is the resident ensemble at Aaron Copland’s National Historic Landmark home in New York. Uniting the past and the present, American and non-American, the ensemble journeys through 150 years of musical legacy to perform everything from nineteenth-century works to contemporary compositions. The ensemble includes flutist Carol Wincenc, clarinetist Benjamin Fingland, violinist Siwoo Kim, violist Melissa Reardon, cellist Alexis Pia Gerlach, and pianist Michael Boriskin.
The Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State co-commissioned A Standing Witness through its membership in the national consortium Music Accord.
After the performance, the artists will speak with interested audience members.
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Elinor C. Lewis
Pieter W. and Lida Ouwehand
A grant from the University Park Student Fee Board makes Penn State student prices possible.