Staged reading to focus on life of composer Johannes Brahms
The Mary Morgan Moore department of Music will host a staged reading of “My Music, My Love,” a one-act play by Ellen Walker Rienstra in collaboration with Eduard Schmieder, Oct. 21-22, 2016.
The play explores the lives and music of Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) and his great love, Clara Schumann, and implicitly, the Romantic Era in which they lived. David Hooker will read the part of Brahms, while Schmieder will perform violin selections as Brahms’ contemporary and friend, violinist Joseph Joachim. Miriam Leskis is the accompanist for the performance. Keith Cockrell will direct the staged reading.
Showtimes are 7:30 p.m., Oct. 21, and 2 p.m., Oct. 22, in the Rothwell Recital Hall on the campus of Lamar University.
Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for faculty/students/staff with Lamar University ID.
In the play, Brahms, alone, ill, in the twilight of his life, is confronting his ghosts — and the warring fragments of his own personality. He ruminates on his long life and the changes in his world and in music. As he reminisces, a violinist and a pianist play melodies from his works and those of various composers. He is never sure if they are real.
As he relives the past, notably his experiences with Clara Schumann, his muse and romantic ideal, he begins to reconcile his fears and to accept the rightful place of profound feeling in himself and his music. As his life ebbs, he feels himself to be whole at last.
Eduard Schmieder is distinguished professor of violin at Temple University in Philadelphia. A renowned violinist, teacher and conductor, he formerly taught at Lamar University, Rice University, Southern Methodist University and the University of Southern California. Since 2004, he has been a member of the faculty at the Mozarteum Summer Academie Salzburg. He founded and currently conducts the iPalpiti Orchestral Ensemble of International Laureates.
David Hooker is an associate professor at Lamar Institute of Technology, where he has taught English composition, humanities and literature for 22 years. He has acted and sung in plays, musicals, and operas for more than 50 years, including semi-professional, college and community theater, from Shakespeare to Chekov and Gilbert and Sullivan.
Miriam Leskis is a chamber pianist who has performed in chamber music and art song festivals in Europe, North America and Israel. She received her master’s degree in piano accompaniment at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with high distinction and a Concert Recital Diploma. She currently maintains a private studio in New York City and works as a freelance collaborative pianist.
Keith Cockrell is the longtime director of theater at Lamar State College-Port Arthur. He has been involved with Golden Triangle theater for almost half a century, with breaks to attend the University of Alabama and Louisiana State University, where he earned his doctorate in theater. His awards include the Kennedy Center Award for Excellence in Playwriting.
Ellen Walker Rienstra is a musician, writer and historian. She is the author of several books, including, “A Pride of Kin,” “Giant Under the Hill” and “The Long Shadow,” and is a former member of the Symphony of Southeast Texas.
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