Department of Music Assistant Professor of Voice Dr. Theodore Sipes and guest pianist/collaborator Erica Sipes present the world premier of New York composer Manly Romero's "Three Songs for a Wedding," an art song cycle based on an English translation of Pablo Neruda's "Three Poems for a Wedding."

The Faculty Artist Recital will be performed on Sunday, Dec. 7 at 3 p.m. in the Squires Recital Salon on the university’s main campus in Blacksburg.

The recital will also include Francis Poulenc’s Le Travail du Peintre, with slides of works by the various painters included in the cycle, excerpts from Robert Schumann’s “Liederkreis,” “Opus 24,” Gerald Finzi’s “Earth and Air and Rain,” and three arie antiche. All foreign language selections will be presented with supertitles, provided by Paul Zweifle, professor emeritus at Virginia Tech.

Over the past several months Romero and Theodore Sipes have been discussing potential texts for a song cycle to be premiered sometime during the 2008-09 concert season. The lyricism of Pablo Neruda poetry translates to English well, and these poems thus make wonderful fodder for art song composition.

The Sipes’ and Romero are now looking forward to the final preparation of these pieces for their premier in Blacksburg. The images of Neruda’s “Three Poems for a Wedding,” the multifaceted and fresh setting of those poems by award-winning composer Romero, and the Sipes’ imaginative performance promise to make this premier an event not to be missed.

Expenses related to the Blacksburg premier of “Three Songs for a Wedding,” as well as the New York City premier of the same songs in April 2009, are being covered in part by a faculty research grant from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

Composer Manly Romero’s works focus on the expression of his personal history, shaped with seductive exteriors that draw listeners into dialogue regarding spirituality and self- knowledge. Reflecting an interest in his paternal Latino roots, Romero’s recent works, including the aforementioned Neruda songs, draw idioms from Latin American popular and folk music.

Romero has been honored with awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and multiple grants from Meet the Composer and the American Music Center as well as a commission from the American Composers Orchestra for Blanco, Azul, and Rojo that was premiered at Carnegie Hall. Scenes from his opera “Dreaming of Wonderland” (based on the stories of Lewis Carroll) were presented as part of New York City Opera’s Showcasing American Composers series. Romero studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the University of Michigan.

The Sipes’ have been performing together for over a decade. They hold advanced degrees in music performance from the University of Michigan and the Eastman School of Music respectively, and have performed together and separately in New York, San Francisco, Europe, Michigan, Idaho, Washington, and Virginia.

Tickets are $5 for general admission and $3 for students and seniors and will be available at the door one hour prior to performance time.

The Squires Recital Salon is in the Squires Student Center located on College Avenue adjacent to downtown Blacksburg. Convenient, free parking is available in nearby Squires and Shultz Dining Hall parking lots.

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