Monday, Nov. 29, 2021 at 8 p.m., Squires Recital Salon

This is My Letter to the World: Songs and Piano Pieces of Robert Spillman

On this program, Virginia Tech faculty Ariana Wyatt (soprano) and Richard Masters (piano) will explore the music of Colorado-based composer Robert Spillman.

Spillman (b. 1936) was chair of the piano faculty and music director of the opera program at the University of Colorado at Boulder until his retirement in 2005. He worked throughout the United States as accompanist for artists such as Jan DeGaetani, Sylvia Rosenberg, Yehuda Hanani, Paul Sperry, and Lucy Shelton, and performed as a soloist with numerous orchestras. 

Although Spillman studied composition at Eastman as a student, his busy career as a pianist, conductor, and educator only allowed him to compose sporadically. Inspired by the works of his friend Lori Laitman, Spillman began to compose again in 2010 after a long silence, focusing on art songs. Since then, he has set texts by a wide variety of poets to music, from Jane Kenyon and Sara Teasdale to Raymond Carver and Walt Whitman.

This concert will feature two world premieres: "I'm Nobody! Seven Poems of Emily Dickinson" and three impromptus for solo piano, composed for the performers in 2020 during the pandemic. The Dickinson cycle will also feature cellist Benjamin Wyatt. Other pieces on the program include songs on texts by Jane Kenyon, Alice B. Persons, and Sara Teasdale. Masters's recording of the Kenyon, Persons, and Teasdale songs with soprano Emily Martin for the Albany label was selected by Chicago Tribune critic Howard Reich as one of the "Best Classical Recordings of 2020."

We are grateful to Main Street Inn and the Inn at Virginia Tech, the Hotel Sponsors for the Music on Mondays and Visiting Artist Series in the School of Performing Arts at Virginia Tech.

Main Street Inn gold crest logo on a burgundy background
Maroon and orange logo for the Inn at Virginia Tech; shoes image of a clock tower at the Inn