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Release: Aug. 31, 2001

Guest artists at UI will present lecture/recital of songs about the American West Sept. 9

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Soprano Anne Foradori and pianist Valerie Cisler will present "Prairie Voices: Extraordinary Lives of Women in the West in Songs by Libby Larsen," a lecture/recital with slides shown in a Power Point computer presentation, at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9, in Clapp Recital Hall on the University of Iowa campus.

"Prairie Voices," a guest presentation at the UI School of Music, will be free and open to the public.

The program will include three cycles of art songs by American composer Libby Larsen: "Cowboy Songs," three playful vignettes of cowboys and outlaws; "Songs from Letters: Calamity Jane to her Daughter Janey 1880-1902," a monodrama in five songs with text from a diary of letters Martha Jane Canary ("Calamity Jane") wrote to her daughter but never posted; and "Margaret Songs," a character sketch in three songs portraying Margaret Elliott from Willa Cather's short story "Eric Hermannson's Soul."

Foradori and Cisler have written of their unusual program, "These compositions form the heart of a lecture-recital in which we perform and discuss the cycles from a variety of perspectives: the original texts of Cather, Calamity Jane, Belle Starr and others; the descriptive and programmatic compositional style of Libby Larsen, including her use of rhythm, melody, and harmonic color for word painting, dramatic underscoring and economic, yet effective setting of vernacular text; and the significance of these songs within the wider scope of current trends of the American art song.

"In addition, we discuss the lives of women living on the Great Plains at the end of the 19th century through these texts -- the poignant, earthy, wistful, bitter, and hopeful words that color the lives of fictional and historical persona."

Foradori and Cisler have presented the same program for the national convention of Music Teachers National Association, and they continue to present it throughout Nebraska as well.

Anne Foradori has appeared in recital, concert and opera in the Midwest, performing with the Lyric Opera Cleveland, Dreisbach Baroque Ensemble and Cleveland Orchestra, making numerous concert appearances in works by Bach, Handel, Mozart and Haydn.

In 1999 she premiered a commissioned work for the Oklahoma Music Teachers' Association and performed for the North American Saxophone Alliance. She presented a scholarly paper at the Feminist Theory and Music Conference in London in 1999 and at several professional meetings. She has performed lecture-recitals on musical settings of Emily Dickinson and Sara Teasdale and conducted an Artist-in-Schools residency through the Ohio Arts Council.

Foradori has published in scholarly publications and is a frequent clinician and adjudicator at musical competitions. In 2000 she joined the roster of the Nebraska Arts Council's Touring Artist Program. She holds a doctorate in vocal performance from the Ohio State University, where she was awarded the A. Peter Constanza Distinguished Dissertation and DMA Document Award. A member of the faculty at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Foradori has also served on the faculties of Indiana State University, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Ohio State University.

Cisler is an active performer, author, clinician and adjudicator. A champion of contemporary American music, she has premiered many works at state, regional and national conferences. She has performed for the Festival of Women Composers-International; state music teachers' conventions in Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Tennessee; at Texas Tech University, Northwestern University; University of North Texas; and for the Living Arts Series-OK Arts Council.

In 2000, she was named to the roster of the Nebraska Arts Council's Touring Artist Program. Cisler co-authored the Composition Book series for Alfred Publishing as part of Alfred's Basic Piano Library. Since 1996, she has served as an Alfred Piano Clinician, giving workshops throughout the United States and Canada.

She has written articles for numerous professional publications and has spoken at convention workshops and panels. In 1993, she received a doctorate in piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma. Cisler is currently on the faculty of the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where she t teaches piano, class piano, and directs the graduate and undergraduate piano pedagogy programs.

A native of Wilmington, Del., Larsen was surrounded during her childhood by what she herself calls an eclectic range of music: Broadway musicals, stride boogie piano, choral music and ballet. She studied composition at the University of Minnesota, where in 1973 she co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum, a composers' advocacy group.

Larsen's commitment to the wider issue of music in society has led her to activity on a national level: she serves on the boards of the American Symphony Orchestra League and Meet the Composer, and on the Camargo Foundation of Music Panel. She has been on the Music Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts, Vice President of the American Music Center and a director of the College Music Society.

Larsen has received numerous awards. She was given a 1994 Grammy as producer for the CD "The Art of Arleen Auger," an acclaimed recording that features Larsen's "Sonnets from the Portuguese." Her opera, "Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus" was selected as one of the eight best classical musical events of 1990 by USA Today.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <deborah-thumma@uiowa.edu>.