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Youth Movements Festival: Music for the Child in All of Us

November 12, 2008

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UAlbany's Duncan Cumming at the piano

UAlbany's Duncan Cumming at the piano. (Photo Lincoln Benedict)

UAlbany Assistant Professor of Music Duncan Cumming had an idea: create a concert just for children. His concept has grown into the Youth Movements Festival, presented by the Department of Music Nov. 13-16 at the Performing Arts Center.

"Many companies do this, but unfortunately most seem to think that Mozart is better experienced when this music is transcribed for electronic sounds and kazoo, or occasionally xylophone and toy trumpet," Cumming said. The festival challenges that notion offering more traditional music to accompany the reading of original children's stories.

Violinist Hilary Cumming and mezzo-soprano Frances Pallozzi Wittmann will help the pianist kick off the series of four child-centered concerts Nov. 13 at 7 p.m., performing Reflections of Childhood.

The following evening, soprano Amanda Boyd will perform songs about Mothers and Children with Michael Clement at the piano.

Frances Pallozzi Wittmann

Mezzo-soprano Frances Pallozzi Wittmann

Two original children's stories written by Duncan Cumming will be highlighted in A Musical Carousel Nov. 15 at 3 p.m. The first is From Bangor to Bangkok, in which his children and some of their cousins from Bangor, Maine, visit their other cousins in Thailand. The second is From Haverhill to the Highlands, in which his children go to Scotland with their grandfather. A third, a musical score to the 1930 childhood classic The Country Bunny, will be heard sometime in 2009.

The grand finale will be on Nov. 16 at 3 p.m., with French Four Hand Music, inspired by children's themes. This event will feature more than 80 pianists from the Capital Region ages 5-75. Performers will include UAlbany faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Ticket information is available on all four concerts from the Performing Arts Center.

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