Baber Recital to Feature Previously Unperformed Pieces
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 19, 2013) — On Thursday, Feb. 21, the University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections will host the third lecture-recital in the Joseph Baber Recital Series featuring works by the composer that have rarely been performed. The Baber Recital Series recognizes Professor Joseph Baber’s 75th birthday, 40 years as professor of music and composer-in-residence in the UK School of Music, and the 2012 opening of the Joseph Baber Papers in UK Special Collections. The free public program, which includes a short recital accompanied by commentary from the composer, begins at 7 p.m. in the Niles Gallery of the Lucille C, Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center. A brief reception reception will follow.
The third program for this recital is “Uncollected Songs” performed by UK School of Music faculty members Elizabeth and Ben Arnold. This compilation of songs represents different stages of Baber's life. Each song reflects the enthusiasms of their moment. These songs were originally "stand-alone songs" which never found their way into a set. Finally, they were gathered arbitrarily into songbooks, loose collections of songs in no particular order, representing approximately four periods. Few of them have been previously performed in public.
For the Feb. 21 lecture-recital, Elizabeth and Ben Arnold have selected suitable songs from Baber's songbooks. Most of them have never before been performed in public.
Elizabeth Packard Arnold, assistant professor in voice at UK, is a versatile performer whose interests range from Baroque music to the Lieder of the 19th and 20th centuries. Ben Arnold, professor of musicology at UK, specializes in the music of Franz Liszt and in the topic of music and war. In addition to writing for and editing "The Liszt Companion," he is also author of "Music and War."
Born in 1937, Baber began composing music at an early age. He graduated from Michigan State University and the Eastman School of Music. Baber spent a number of years in Japan as principal violist with the Tokyo Philharmonic then returned to the U.S. to teach at Southern Illinois University and the Ford Foundation College Co-operative venture in Kansas. He is currently composer-in-residence at the UK School of Music in the UK College of Fine Arts.
Although he has written in all the major genres, Baber is perhaps best known for his collaborations with the novelist John Gardner on three operas, "Frankenstein," "Rumpelstiltskin" and "Samson and the Witch." In addition to operas and songs, Baber has a sizable body of orchestral music, including overtures, suites, two symphonies, several marches and two tone poems. He has also written works for solo instruments with orchestra, as well as keyboard, chamber and choral music. An award-winning member of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) since 1971, Baber has received a number of national prizes and commissions.
UK Special Collections is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, the Kentuckian, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press and the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center. The mission of Special Collections is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
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