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Senior music major Kimia Arsani
Senior music major Kimia Arsani plays the tanbour, a guitar-like instrument from her native Iran.

Concerts celebrate Women's History Month

Department of Music events highlight women performers, composers, faculty

For Women’s History Month, the University of Delaware Department of Music is presenting several concerts in March marking the influence of female performers, composers and faculty members, as well as highlighting the next generation of women musicians.

Women in Music

8 p.m., March 10, Gore Recital Hall

Senior music major and cellist Kimia Arsani has a deep understanding of why women in music are celebrated. Born in Iran, her first musical instrument was the tanbour, a guitar-like instrument. Arsani learned from her mother, who played only at home because women in Iran were not permitted to perform publicly. Even after she started learning the cello in middle school, Arsani continued to study tanbour. There were no teachers in the United States, so she practiced on her own and had occasional lessons with masters traveling here from Iran.

Kimia Arsani
With no teachers in the United States, Arsani studied the tanbour on her own with occasional lessons from masters traveling here from Iran.

A few years ago, when a classmate had the idea of creating a student-led concert presenting music written by women, Arsani suggested including genres and instruments that have been traditionally restricted to women, and she played her tanbour at the first Women in Music concert last spring.

Sponsored by the UD Student Chapter of the College Music Society (CMS), Women in Music is unique in the Department of Music in that it is a collaboration between student and faculty performers that is almost entirely student-led. Students solicited faculty performances and made the decision to include one of UD’s acapella groups, The YChromes, in this year’s concert.

CMS Faculty adviser Maria Purciello, assistant professor of music history and literature, said she is thrilled at how this concert blends different elements of music. She explains that by including established and emerging composers, world music and traditionally classical pieces, as well as more contemporary work, “students start thinking more broadly about how we define what music is.” It helps break down barriers between what is considered culturally highbrow and lowbrow. Faculty and students have been very receptive. “It’s nice to be in a department where this is so encouraged,” Arsani says. “It’s been a really good learning experience, too.”

Tiger Lily Music

8 pm., March 12, Gore Recital Hall

Tiger Lily Music is a concert series that presents one collaborative faculty concert each semester highlighting works by traditionally underrepresented composers, including women, African-American and Latino musicians. Spearheaded by Eileen Grycky, associate professor of flute, the series is now in its third year. A member of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and the orchestra of the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Grycky has experienced firsthand that most classical music concerts still present music written predominantly by white men. It takes some effort to discover work written by women—but not much. “The work is out there,” she says. “I find more and more lists of women composers all the time.”

The March 12 concert includes works by UD’s own Jennifer Margaret Barker, Tout Entière for baritone and piano and The Enchanted Glen for clarinet and piano; Convergence for viola and piano by Philadelphia’s Andrea Clearfield; and Imitació del Foc (Imitation of Fire) for tenor and piano by Catalan composer Elisenda Fabregas.

In addition to Grycky, faculty performers include Sheila Browne, viola; Christine Delbeau, piano; Isai Munoz, tenor; Christopher Nichols, clarinet; Julie Nishimura, piano; and Christiaan Taggart, guitar.

Also in March

Symphony Orchestra with Concerto Competition Winners, 8 p.m., Friday, March 16, Mitchell Hall

Appearing in the annual Concerto Competition Concert is a highly coveted award for student musicians at UD and provides the prestigious opportunity to solo with the Symphony Orchestra under the direction of James Allen Anderson. The 2018 soloists are Rebecca Silverstein, piccolo, performing Vivaldi’s Piccolo Concerto in C RV 443; Emily Smith, trombone, performing Reich’s Trombone Concerto No. 2; and Cherry Tomatsu, violin, performing Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen Op. 20.

Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band, 8 p.m., Saturday, March 17, Mitchell Hall

This combined performance by the UD Symphonic Band and UD Wind Ensemble is led by Lauren Reynolds and Heidi Sarver. It features an array of terrific wind repertoire full of excitement and beauty, including a new work called Honeycomb in which audience members stream audio tracks from their cell phones in simultaneous synchronization with the acoustic performance of the live ensemble.

Jazz Ensembles I and II with guest conductor Maria Schneider, 8 p.m., Wednesday, March 21, Loudis Recital Hall

Grammy Award-winning Maria Schneider is arguably the country’s most prominent female jazz musician. All About Jazz writes, “…there is nobody more capable of harnessing emotions in music and projecting and preserving the beauty and power of the natural world in sound than Maria Schneider.”

She has performed worldwide with her 18-member Maria Schneider Orchestra, and she herself has received numerous commissions and guest-conducting invites, working with over 85 groups from more than 30 countries.

In a rare occurrence for UD ensembles, the final rehearsals with Jazz Ensembles and Ms. Schneider will be open to the public, inviting the community to witness her in action on Wednesday, March 21: from 12:20-1:10 p.m. with Jazz Ensemble I and from 2:30-3:20 p.m. with Jazz Ensemble II, both in the Loudis Recital Hall.

For performance details and ticket information, visit www.music.udel.edu.

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