Benefit concert at St. Philip's features music of Aaron Copland | Arts & Culture
A special benefit concert entitled "Letter from Home: Aaron Copland's America" will be held on Thursday, April 4, at St. Philip's In The Hills Episcopal Church, Tucson, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Church.
A gala reception at 6:15 p.m. in the Murphey Gallery will precede the concert. Concert receptions at St. Philip's have earned a reputation for being beautiful and offering a wide variety of tasty foods and enjoyable company. Wines will also be served. A silent auction of paintings by two contemporary artists will also be part of the reception. The concert is offered in memory of William Carter Cutlip, a well-loved St. Philip's parishioner, and proceeds will benefit the programs for children and youth at St. Philip's.
The multi-media concert, written and conceived by Dr. Kevin Justus, will feature works by Aaron Copland from the period 1939-1954, including "Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson," compositions for organ, and excerpts from film scores, performed by talented local musicians and actors, including Mary Paul, Larry Alexander, Benjamin Nisbet, Woosug Kang, David Alexander Johnston, and Elizabeth Young. In addition, former Tucson favorite mezzo-soprano Korby Myrick and her pianist husband Richard Hereld will return to Tucson for the concert. The Zephyrus Wind Quintet and the Bella Carità Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Thomas Cockrell will also be featured.
Aaron Copland was a man who was quintessentially American, always believing in the ideals and possibilities of this “grand democratic experiment” on the North American continent. Copland himself represented the best principles of 20th-century America, coming from an immigrant and Jewish family, who then rose to the pinnacles of artistic and pedagogical success, in the process giving America its particular musical voice. Throughout his life, even when the realities of the world were their most harsh, particularly World War II and its aftermath, Copland was always an idealist.
Beginning in the 1960s — the period when Copland began to focus more on teaching and conducting than on composing — he was given the honorary title of the Dean of American composers. This prestigious accolade was awarded because he was instrumental in giving American music of the 20th century the respect and credibility long sought after. To the bemused Copland this exalted title came relatively late in his career, after years of determination, experimentation, and just plain hard work. He is, of course, best known for the works he wrote in the 1930s and '40s, including the ballets "Appalachian Spring," "Billy the Kid," "Rodeo," and the now ubiquitous "Fanfare for the Common Man." The open, slowly changing harmonies of many of his works evoke the vast American landscape and pioneer spirit, yet simultaneously create a profound poignancy and emotional intimacy. The multi-media concert Letter from Home represents the period in Aaron Copland’s career from 1939 to 1954, using works that are not frequently heard, such as the Emily Dickinson songs or his works for organ, excerpts from his film scores, and music he wrote for the radio. It was this artistic moment when one could argue that Copland was at his creative peak and he was developing what would be that unique American sound. One can assume that Copland would be "pleased as punch” that his music is being performed to memorialize a man who was also characteristically American, but also to benefit young people and music, for Copland believed that the ideals of America and the importance of art and music should always be encouraged in the young.
Tickets for the concert are available for a donation of $25. A $50 donation for the pre-concert reception includes preferred seating for the concert. Tickets are available at St. Philip's on Sunday morning. Tickets may also be purchased for $2 more on the St. Philip's web site: www.stphilipstucson.org. Bids may also be offered on the six paintings by going online. Proceeds from the concert will benefit St. Philip's programs for children and youth.
St. Philip’s is located at 4440 N. Campbell Avenue at River Road. Ample parking is available in the north parking lot or under our new solar parking structure on the east side. The office phone number is 299-6421.