Baritone Carl Ratner and pianist Raymond Harvey, conductor of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, will give the world premiere of American Pierrot: A Langston Hughes Songbook Thursday night in a free concert in the Dalton Center Recital Hall at Western Michigan University.
Mr. Ratner, a professor of voice at WMU, talks about collaborating with his longtime friend Robert G. Patterson, who composed the piece. He also describes the themes of passion, social justice, and love evoked in the song cycle.
According to Dr. Ratner, the piece requires no small amount of virtuosity from its pianist, and he describes the process of rehearsing the new work with Raymond Harvey. Thursday night’s concert also features another world premiere: Christopher Bigg’s Biodiversity, performed by the new music ensemble Birds on a Wire. Biggs, a professor of digital composition at WMU, includes both video and dance in the new composition, which is scored for percussion, flute, cello, piano, and computers.