Alumna’s "Velvet Skirts, Glass Ceilings" Concert Celebrates Women Composers
Converse alumnae Teri Ann Johnson, soprano, and Julie Smith, piano, will give a concert featuring works by women composers from the 19th and 20th centuries on Saturday, February 19, at 7:30 pm in Daniel Recital Hall. “Velvet Skirts, Glass Ceilings” will open with an Italian romanza aria by Maria Malibran entitled Il Mattino, followed with works by Clara Schumann, Alma Mahler, Jane Vieu, Pauline Viardot, Nadia Boulanger, Katherine K. Davis, Mary Rodgers, Rebecca Clarke, Amy Beach, and Libby Larsen. The recital is open to the public, and admission is free.
According to Johnson, “Doing a recital of all women composers has been a goal of mine since my graduate recital at Converse back in 2001. The Libby Larsen set, Cowboy Songs, has become a signature set for me. I was lucky enough to be coached on the set in a master class with Ms. Larsen at Converse. I really enjoy performing them and the audience always seems to enjoy them as well.
Johnson selected a potpourri of women composers, combining familiar songs for the audience with those that are new and/or unknown by well-known female composers. “Some of my choices were also based on the women themselves,” she said. “I think Clara Schumann is a saint! She did all her composing and piano performing and teaching while raising eight children and dealing with Robert—no easy feat! Alma Mahler is just a fascinating personality and I try to channel a bit of her whenever I sing her pieces. The talented sister act of Maria Malibran and Pauline Viardot are daughters of the great singer and voice pedagogue Manuel Garcia. And I could not imagine doing a recital of female composers without including Amy Beach. She truly blazed a trail for American women composers. I have chosen one of her unknown songs called Forgotten. This is a haunting piece about lost love that is simple but poignant and still very much in the ‘Amy Beach’ style.
“It has been many years since I have had an opportunity to perform at Converse. I still have many friends there and, of course, my teacher Beverly Hay, whom I see about twice a year for voice tune-ups!”