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2008 Events

Tekla Babyak (piano)
Concert and Commentary on
Programme Music

3pm Sunday January 27, 2007
Center for the Arts
Homer, NY


There will be a piano concert of classical music at 3:00pm on Sunday January 27, 2008 at the Center for the Arts in Homer, NY. Tekla Babyak, a graduate student in musicology at Cornell University, will present a concert and commentary on programme music. There is no admission fee. The event is supported by a grant from the New York State Music Fund established by the New York State Attorney General at the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

Humans have an intuitive response to sounds in their environment. For example, a low-pitched, loud sound can represent danger, while a high-pitched, quiet sound probably does not. It is physically impossible for a mouse to roar like a lion! Over the centuries, composers have made use of these intuitive and instinctive responses, the common rhythms of walking or running, the sounds and rhythms of animals as well as other natural phenomenon. Imitating these sounds and rhythms, they sometimes created compositions that tell a story or describe actual physical objects, called programme music.

Babyak will perform a number of these compositions, such as "The Swan" (by Camille Saint-Saens, 1835-1921), "Gardens in the Rain" (by Claude Debussy, 1862-1918), "The Alarm Clock" by Francois Couperin (1668-1733), "The Juggler" by Ernst Toch (1887-1964), "The Cat and the Mouse" by Aaron Copland (1900-1990) and a number of other works.

Last fall, Tekla Babyak presented "A Tour through the History of Classical Music" at the Center for the Arts. She has also been a participant in the Classical Music Festival series, both at the Blue Frog Coffeehouse and in the Courthouse Park. As a student of musicology, she brings more to a performance than the polished execution of notes at the keyboard. Listeners will also get a sense of the stylistic, artistic and cultural context of the music.

Babyak is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in musicology at Cornell University, which awarded her a Master's Degree in January 2007. She received a 2003 Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies, and is a recipient of the Jacob Javits Fellowship for 2004-2008. Her research focuses on musical aesthetics, specifically representation of music in philosophy and literature. During the Fall 2007 semester, she taught a Freshman Writing Seminar at Cornell, "Representing the Other: Exoticism in Western Music", which explored the ways in which Orientalist music represents racial and geographical difference.

Babyak is currently working on her Ph.D. dissertation that focuses on gender and sexuality in Nietzsche's musical aesthetics. She identifies characters, scenes and musical features that may have motivated some of Nietzsche’s generalized observations about Wagnerian opera. It is a great asset to the community to have an individual with such a wide range of interests, both in the understanding of the nature of music and its relation to other disciplines.

For further information on this event, check the classical event calendar at Classical.CortlandMusic.Org or call John Sikora at (607) 758-3670.

This concert is organized by Cortland Music and supported by:

The New York State Music Fund,
established by the New York State Attorney General at
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.