Pittsburgh Song Collaborative Commemorates Shakespeare Anniversary

The Mary Pappert School of Music ensemble the Pittsburgh Song Collaborative (PSC) will honor the 400th anniversary of the death of playwright and poet, William Shakespeare, at its upcoming performance Shakespeare in Song, Song in Shakepeare.

Using the genre of art song, the PSC will explore the role of music and song in Shakespeare's works through a wide variety of song settings of the playwright's words by composers. The lecture recital is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m. in the PNC Recital Hall.

Widely regarded as the English national poet and the greatest playwright of all time, Shakespeare is very popular in the repertoire of art song, according to Dr. Benjamin Binder, coordinator of and pianist for the PSC. "He is probably the most set poet of all English language poets," said Binder.

Joining Binder at the performance will be soprano Jennifer Aylmer and baritone Alexander Hurd. In addition, Dr. Joseph M. Ortiz, associate literature professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, will speak between the songs to set up and explain the lyrics and address different questions that relate to them. Ortiz is the author of Broken Harmony: Shakespeare and the Politics of Music.

Binder points out the importance of music in Shakespeare's works. "Shakespeare engaged his audiences not only with the beauty and power of his writing, but also with the very topical references that he would," said Binder. "The performance of song in Shakespeare was something that the audiences at that time would have been very familiar with-the music in his plays had made them much more appealing, down to earth, engaging and contemporary for his own audiences and probably was a big piece of what made them so popular in his own time."

The PSC's program includes settings of Shakespeare's lyrics from his own time up to the early 20th century, featuring composers such as Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Gerald Finzi, Franz Schubert, Hugo Wolf and Charles Ives, among others.

Admission to Shakespeare in Song, Song in Shakespeare is $10. For more information, call 412.396.6083.

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