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April 13, 2021

Trailblazing musicians: Honoring women composers

Michigan State University College of Music artists will showcase women musicians who broke barriers in the world of music through a live broadcast event that wraps the 11th season of the Joanne and Bill Church West Circle Series. “Trailblazers: Celebrating Women in Music” premieres at 7:30 p.m., Monday, April 19 on the MSU College of Music Livestream Channel. The broadcast will include new recordings captured at MSU’s Fairchild Theatre. 

The concert theme, “Trailblazers,” signifies the courage of women musicians to push forward despite their artistry being ignored or downplayed. Featured works will highlight the contributions and influence women have had in a variety of musical genres and styles. The event weaves together compositions by Amy Beach, Florence Price, Lena McLin, Ann Ronell, Mary Lou Williams and Keiko Abe.  

MSU artists performing works, as well as providing historical perspective and personal stories, includes Deborah Moriarty, piano; Yvonne Lam, violin; Gwendolyn Dease, percussion; Zhi-hua Tang, piano; baritone Mark Rucker with Sadie Rucker, piano; and the MSU Professors of Jazz: Rodney Whitaker, bass; Etienne Charles, trumpet; Xavier Davis, piano; Michael Dease, trombone; Randy Gelispie, drums; Randy Napoleon, guitar; and Diego Rivera, tenor saxophone. 

While COVID-19 has restricted live-audience performances this season, the College of Music is providing concertgoers the chance to experience performances through its Livestream and YouTube channels. Online options include recordings of new performances from beloved series and ensembles, and rebroadcasts of live concerts from previous years. Viewers can also experience online discussions and lectures by visiting artists and scholars. All events are free and open to the public.  

The entire West Circle Series is sponsored by Joanne and Bill Church who are joined by concert sponsor Myrene "Beki" Hardenbergh. For information, as well as a list of online events, visit the College of Music website, or call the box office at (517) 353-5340. 

Patrons and donors who have enjoyed the talents of faculty, students and visiting artists are encouraged to show their support of music during this challenging time. Please consider donating what you would have spent for season tickets or to attend a concert. Visit MSU’s secure, online giving site to make your gift.

For more information about donating or sponsoring events, email or call the College of Music Advancement Office at 517-353-9872.

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