poster for Songs and Sounds for Silver


The University at Albany’s Department of Music and Theatre is pleased to present Songs and Sounds for Silver, a music/spoken word program, on Friday, October 5, 2018 at 3pm to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the University’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS).  Department faculty, along with guests from other CAS Departments and the Renaissance Center, will perform.

About the program
Highlighted on the program is the premiere of a new work performed by the Capital Trio written by composer Max Lifchitz and inspired by poetry penned by Leonard Slade just for the occasion.  According to Lifchitz, the work “Songs of Ourselves” consists of five contrasting, self-contained but interrelated movements. It does not attempt to mimic or represent every detail of the poetry. “My hope is that the musical interpretations will both complement and provide an extra dimension to the written word,” explains Lifchitz.

Pianist Cumming will be joined by actor Kim Stauffer for a performance of Satie’s Sports et Divertissements (Sports and Pastimes).   These short musical vignettes depicting various sports and leisure activities are performed on piano with narration and projected art.

Also on the program is a Dvořák work which will be performed by John Cimino and Duncan Cumming. Biblical Songs is a cycle of ten songs (five of which will be performed) for vocalist with piano accompaniment written to the words of David’s Book of Psalms. The cycle is not only considered the culmination of Dvorak’s song oeuvre, but also one of the most important opuses in the genre itself. It is a work of great spiritual depth, in which the composer speaks to God of his anxieties, trust and joy.

Vocalist Kyra Gaunt will sing The Silver Aria, an aria for soprano from the English opera “The Ballad of Baby Doe”by Douglas Stuart Moore. The opera is Moore's most famous and one of the few American operas to be in the standard repertory

In advance of the October 17-21 Department of Music and Theatre production run of Godspell, a selection from this 1970s musical will also be on the program.

About the artists
Active as pianist and composer, Lifchitz has appeared as soloist with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Clifton Park Chamber Orchestra, México’s National Symphony Orchestra and Neuchatel Orchestra in Switzerland.  A graduate of The Juilliard School and Harvard University, Lifchitz’s concert appearances throughout Latin America have been underwritten by the Fund for US Artists at International Festivals.  Lifchitz has been on the UAlbany faculty since 1986.

The Capital Trio began as the Cecilia Piano Trio in 1997. They have been chamber ensemble in residence at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center since 2008.  Pianist Duncan Cumming, violinist Hilary Cumming and cellist Şölen Dikener have performed together throughout the United States and in Europe.  Their recording A Book of Hours, music of William Matthews, was released on Albany Records in 2010 (TROY 1239), and their second recording for Albany Records, music of David Walther, came out in 2013 (TROY 1428). 

Leonard A. Slade Jr. is a professor of Africana Studies and adjunct professor of English at the University at Albany.  He has published 23 books, including 18 books of poetry. Slade received the Editor’s Choice Award for six of his poems which were published in the Today’s Best Poets Anthology in 2013.

Duncan J. Cumming has performed concertos, recitals and chamber music concerts in Boston, New York, Princeton, Washington DC, Chicago, St. Paul, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Canada, Scotland, England, France, Denmark, Czech Republic, Russia, and Malawi among other places.  Cumming is now in his thirteenth year on the faculty of the Department of Music and Theatre.

Kim Stauffer is a professional actor, director, educator and member of Actors’ Equity Association who has a special interest in social justice and applied theatre.  Her theatre, film and television credits include performances regionally and in New York City. Stauffer is a lecturer in the Department of Music and Theatre.

John Cimino is president and CEO of Creative Leaps International, The Learning Arts, Icarus Musicworks and Associated Solo Artists.  He serves as a consultant and advisor to universities engaged in interdisciplinary reorganization with a primary focus on creativity, leadership and arts-mediated approaches to pedagogy.  His work with UAlbany includes the Creative Fellows program and the anticipated inception of the Renaissance Center.

Trained in classical music for 12 years with chops in jazz scat and improvisation as well as R&B songwriting, Kyra Gaunt writes poetry and performs her own original songs. Her self-produced album titled Be the True Revolution, named after a Nikki Giovanni poem, is available on iTunes and CDBaby. Gaunt has just begun her second year as a faculty member of the Department of Music and Theatre.

Admission to the performance is free. For further information, contact the Box Office at (518) 442-3997