Cornell University

Recital: “Story of the Wind” – Piano music by Emahoy and Chopin: CU Music

Friday, December 1, 2023 at 5:00pm

Barnes Hall, Auditorium
129 Ho Plaza Cornell University: Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

Recital: “Story of the Wind” – Piano music by Emahoy and Chopin

Music DMA candidate Thomas Feng performs well- and lesser-known works by Emahoy, interspersed with music by her admired Chopin, for which scores were found in Emahoy’s room following her passing this past spring. Following Ghanaian musicologist Kofi Agawu’s proposed analytical framework of “strategic sameness”, this program seeks to illuminate parallels between the two composers, challenging the conception of Emahoy’s music as exotically, incommensurably “Other”, while also destabilizing received understandings of Chopin’s music as canonically unmarked. An alternation of laments, reminiscences, mazurkas, and (especially) waltzes culminates in a performance of Emahoy’s sprawling, unrecorded “Grande Valzer Improvisata”, inspired by Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, and composed at the outset of the Ethiopian Revolution.

This event is part of a two-day symposium, titled Emahoy Tsege-Mariam Gebru at 100, celebrating the music and life of the legendary Ethiopian composer, pianist, and nun, Emahoy Tsege-Mariam Gebru. The events will include panel discussions about Emahoy’s life and archive, and presentations of Emahoy’s music (some never yet performed) in live concert performances, and from her personal recordings. All events will be free and open to the public, and hosted on Cornell’s campus.

This symposium is generously co-sponsored by the Cornell Music Department, Cornell Council for the Arts, the Institute for Comparative Modernities, Cornell Africana Studies and Research Center, the Institute for African Development, the Cornell Center for Historical Keyboards, Society for the Humanities, the Jian and Tran Family Charitable Fund, the Music Graduate Association, and Cornell Centers for Equity, Empowerment, and Belonging.



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