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Words and Music: A Conversation about "Project Orfeo"

September 23rd, 2016
12:00 PM


Friday, September 23, 2016

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

LUNCH & DISCUSSION: Old Chemistry Building Room 116 *NOTE NEW LOCATION*

Lunch available beginning at 11:45 a.m.

Join us for a casual discussion with novelist Richard Powers, violist Jonathan Bagg, and composer Scott Lindroth about collaborations between musicians and writers, and these artists' experience working together on "Project Orfeo", a mixed-media concert that combines readings by Powers from his 2014 novel, Orfeo, with music composed by Lindroth and performed by musicians including Bagg, the Horszowski Piano Trio, clarinetist Benjamin Fingland, and flutist Laura Gilbert.

Read the Boston Globe's coverage of "Project Orfeo".

A performance of Project Orfeo will take place on Sunday, September 25, at 4 pm in Baldwin Auditorium. More information may be found here. Powers' visit and the performance of Project Orfeo are co-sponsored by Duke University's Department of Music and the Humanities Futures Initiative at the Franklin Humanities Institute. Development of the Orfeo Project was supported by Electric Earth Concerts in Peterborough, NH, Avaloch Farm Music Institute in Boscawen, NH, and the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts.

Richard Powers

Born in 1957 in Evanston, Illinois, Richard Powers lived in Bangkok, Thailand from age eleven to sixteen while his father taught there. Upon the family’s return to the United States he majored in physics at the University of Illinois, but later switched to English, in which he subsequently received his B.A. and M.A. degrees. Powers then moved to Boston where he worked as a computer programmer; after publishing his first novel, he lived in the Netherlands and spent a year at Cambridge before returning to teach at the University of Illinois. His eleven novels to date include The Gold Bug Variations, which uses the double-helix as a metaphor for two separate romances; Galatea 2.2, a meditation on artificial intelligence; and The Echo Maker, the story of a young Nebraska man suffering from capgras syndrome, which won the National Book Award in 2006. Powers has received both a MacArthur Fellowship and a Lannan Literary Award, and has taught Creative Writing at Stanford University.

Jonathan Bagg

Duke University

Jonathan Bagg is Professor of the Practice at Duke University, and violist of the Ciompi String Quartet. His career with the Ciompi includes hundreds of concerts across the U.S. and around the world, as well as many recordings. Currently co-artistic director of Electric Earth Concerts in New Hampshire, which he founded in 2012, Bagg also directed the Monadnock Music festival from 2007-2011. He runs the chamber music program and teaches viola at Duke, where he has been Chair in the Music Department and Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Solo recitals have brought him to many locations along the East Coast, including the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, and Boston’s Jordan Hall. Festival appearances include the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, the Eastern Music Festival, the Portland Chamber Music Festival, the Highlands, NC, Mohawk Trail, and Castle Hill festivals.

Bagg’s 2014 CD on Albany records, tiled “Elation” brings together several works he commissioned, including a sonata and trio by Duke colleague Stephen Jaffe and a trio by Scott Lindroth, also on the Duke faculty. His other solo CDs are on Centaur and contain music for viola and piano by Robert and Clara Schumann, and by the Viennese composer Robert Fuchs (1847-1927). Contemporary solo works by Arthur Levering, Malcolm Peyton, Robert Ward, and Donald Wheelock are on Bridge, Albany, Centaur and Gasparo Records. Before coming to Duke he performed with many of New Enlgand’s leading musical organizations, appearing often with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as associate principal of the Handel and Haydn Society, and as principal viola of the New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra. He graduated with honors from both Yale University (BA) and the New England Conservatory (MM), where he studied with Steven Ansell and Walter Trampler.


Scott Lindroth

Duke University

Scott Lindroth has been on the music faculty at Duke since 1990 and currently serves as vice provost for the arts. His music has been performed worldwide by major orchestras and chamber ensembles, including the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony, the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, the Marine Band, and dozens of soloists who teach and study at the finest conservatories in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Lindroth has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Revson Foundation, the Koussevitzky Foundation, the American Academy in Rome, the Howard Foundation, the Aaron Copland Foundation, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, among others. In 1984 he was privileged to be a resident composer with the New York Philharmonic, a relationship that culminated in the performance of his first orchestral work, A Fire's Bright Song, in 1987. Since then he has gone on to compose more music for orchestra, wind ensemble, string quartet, mixed chamber ensembles, voice, and electronic media. Lindroth has collaborated with visual artists, choreographers, and directors, and he continues to develop interactive audio installations that have been presented at Duke, the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science, the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois, and the SIGGRAPH Conference. At Duke, Lindroth teaches courses in music composition, theory, computer music and other music subjects.