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Claudia Stevens presents one-woman musical drama

Oct. 25, 2006

KALAMAZOO--An innovative musical drama tied to the holocaust will take the stage early next month when an accomplished professor of piano visits Western Michigan University.

"An Evening with Madame F" is a musical drama developed by Dr. Claudia Stevens, professor of piano at the College of William and Mary, for her one-woman performance as pianist, singer and actor. It will be staged at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall.

Adopting the persona of an elderly concentration camp survivor who performed as a musician at Auschwitz, Stevens uses music actually played and sung by women in the camp, as well as survivor accounts, to portray the struggle and moral confusion experienced by camp inmates who survived through performance for their captors.

The daughter of holocaust survivors, she also meditates on the issue of treating the holocaust as the subject for artistic expression. Her visit is sponsored by the Shirley and Michael K. Bach Endowment for the WMU Center for the Study of Ethics in Society, the Winnie Veenstra Endowment for Lectures on Peace, the School of Music, Women's Studies Program and the departments of Comparative Religion, Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology.

Stevens earned her bachelor's degree at Vassar, a master's in musicology from the University of California at Berkeley and a doctoral degree in musical arts from Boston University. She has been a professor of piano at the College of William and Mary since 1977. She has also held academic, conducting and performing arts positions at Williams College and the University of Richmond. As a pianist and composer, she has performed at Carnegie Recital Hall, was the featured artist on several "Performance Today" broadcasts on NPR, and has recorded for and published compositions in Perspectives of New Music. "An Evening with Madame F" has been presented in more than 100 communities, as well as colleges and universities across the country.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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