2010 Programs

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"''I told my Soul to sing':  Emily Dickinson and the American Art Song"

A lecture and concert with soprano Karen Smith Emerson and pianist Nicole Panizza
7 pm
At the Amherst Woman's Club, 35 Triangle Street, Amherst
Fee:  $10 adults, $7 seniors/students

On Wednesday, June 30, at 7 p.m., the Emily Dickinson Museum will present "’I told my Soul to Sing’: Emily Dickinson and the American Art Song," an evening of Dickinson’s poetry in music, with soprano Karen Smith Emerson and pianist Nicole Panizza. The lecture and recital will take place at the Amherst Woman’s Club at 35 Triangle Street; a reception will follow. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and students.

The program will highlight musical treatments of Dickinson’s work by focusing on eight Dickinson poems, including "Heart, we will forget Him," "I never saw a Moor," and "I taste a liquor never brewed." Each poem will be performed in at least two song settings by different composers. Featured composers include Ernst Bacon, Aaron Copland, John Duke, Arthur Farwell, and Lori Laitman. Ms. Panizza will introduce the program with an overview of Dickinson’s poetry as it has been set to music. Then Ms. Smith Emerson will join her to perform the works.

Nicole Panizza
Nicole Panizza

Nicole Panizza is a Doctor of Music candidate at the Royal College of Music, London. Her current research investigates, through both scholarly and practice-based methodology, American Art Song Settings of the poetry and letters of Emily Dickinson. She is currently in the United States on an International Fulbright Fellowship at Harvard University and the Manhattan School of Music. Ms. Panizza has written, "For Emily Dickinson, music was the ground and goal of lived experience. It is no surprise then that her poems have inspired numerous composers to create settings for her texts [shortly after their] initial publication [in the 1890s] right through to the present day."

Originally from Australia, Ms. Panizza is particularly excited to present a program of Dickinson-inspired works in the poet’s home town. Ms. Panizza studied at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide, and began her Doctorate of Music through the Royal College of Music, London, in 2005. She currently holds the position of Staff Coach/Accompanist at the Cork School of Music in Ireland and Vocal Coach, Faculty of Vocal Studies, at the Royal College of Music. She will be a guest panelist at the forthcoming Emily Dickinson International Society conference, Oxford University in August 2010.

Karen Smith Emerson
Karen Smith Emerson

Karen Smith Emerson is the Elsie Irwin Sweeney Professor of Music at Smith College. She is the winner of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artists Award (NATSAA), the Oratorio Society of NY Solo Competition, and the Musica Sacra Bach Competition. Ms. Emerson's extensive concert career has included performances as soloist with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Marlboro Festival, the Philadelphia and Rochester Bach festivals, the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, and with the New Jersey, Syracuse, and Springfield symphonies.

Especially versatile in opera, Ms. Emerson's roles have ranged from Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos), Adina (L'Elisir d'Amore) and Adele (Die Fledermaus), to Pamina (Die Zauberflote), with such companies as the Central City, Lake George, Opera Festival of New Jersey, Berkshire and Euguene operas. Emerson has produced two solo CDs, Songs of the Nightingale on the Centaur label and The Unquiet Heart: American Song Cycles on the Albany label.

For more information about the performance, please e-mail info@emilydickinsonmuseum.org or call 413-542-8429.