Monday, Oct. 11, 2021 at 8 p.m., Squires Recital Salon

Featuring Ensemble Slancio
John Irrera, violin
Annie Stevens, percussion
Brian Thorsett, tenor
Alan Weinstein, 'cello
with guest Edgar Girtain, IV, pianist, featuring the premiere of "Zondek Songs."

Welsh-born composer, Hilary Tann, lives in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York where she is the John Howard Payne Professor of Music Emerita at Union College, Schenectady.

Her compositions have been widely performed and recorded by ensembles such as the European Women’s Orchestra, Tenebrae, Lontano, Marsyas Trio, Thai Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Praised for its lyricism (“beautiful, lyrical work” – Classical Music Web) and formal balance (“In the formal balance of this music, there is great beauty …” – Welsh Music), her music is influenced by a strong identification with the natural world. She is a published haiku poet and a deep interest in the traditional music of Japan has led to private study of the shakuhachi and guest visits to Japan, Korea, and China.

A recent review of her string quartet, And The Snow Did Lie, states “Tann’s music is shimmering and weightless, effective and moving … it reinforces the grounded spiritual ecstasy that is Tann’s distinctive musical outlook” (J. Dalton, Albany Times Union, 5/24/20). 

The second half of the program will premiere "Zondek Songs" by composer Edgar Girtain. These three songs are the fruit of a humble artistic collaboration between seven artists separated by decades, continents, and language, united by simple artistic goodwill. Based on poems drawn from Veronica Zondek's book Entre Lagartas, illustrated by Gabriella Villegas and translated into English for this occasion by Katherine Silver, creative impulse for the work was given by Virginia Tech vocal faculty member Brian Thorsett, who first found the composer's work on, a free international library of user-uploaded music scores.

Beronica Zondek, wearing a black top, and leaning her head on one hand
Veronica Zondek
A black and white engraving by artist Gabriela Villegas
"La Summersión" by Gabriela Villegas

Girtain (b. 1988) is originally from the United States. His formal training began at Ithaca college and continued later at Rutgers University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a master’s degree in Composition and Music Theory. Between 2012 and 2016 he struggled as a freelance musician around New York, teaching part time in public schools and working as a substitute organist. In 2017 he relocated to Puerto Montt, Chile to teach at the private K-12 “American School.” Since 2019 he has been pursuing a PhD with David Felder at SUNY Buffalo while simultaneously directing the art department of the Universidad Austral de Chile’s Puerto Montt Campus. 

We are grateful to the Inn at Virginia Tech, the hotel sponsor for Hilary Tann and Edgar Girtain.

Maroon and orange logo for the Inn at Virginia Tech; shoes image of a clock tower at the Inn