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Herb Scott poetry is inspiration for campus concert

Jan. 12, 2006

KALAMAZOO--A musical presentation inspired by a series of poems by Herbert Scott, the Gwen Frostic Professor of Creative Writing at Western Michigan University, will be presented on campus Wednesday, Jan. 18, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall.

"A Love Imagined" is an eight-song cycle, composed by Frank Stemper that uses poetry from Scott's new book, "Sleeping Woman," and is scored for tenor and piano. The performance will feature New York-based tenor Matthew Chellis and pianist Heidi Louise Williams, who heads the piano department in the School of Music at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

The performers will present part of the cycle at noon the same day for music majors in WMU's School of Music. The complete cycle will be presented that evening at 8:15 and is free and open to the public.

Scott, a long-time Kalamazoo resident and retired WMU English professor, is the founding editor of the literary press, New Issues Poetry & Prose. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, Scott is the author of such acclaimed books of poetry as "Disguises," "Groceries" and "Durations." His most recent book, "Sleeping Woman," was published by Carnegie Mellon University Press.

Critic Chase Twishell described Scott's passionate lyrics in that book as "language that's spare, modest, elegant in its phrasing."

Recognized as a tenor of remarkable versatility, Matthew Chellis has appeared to critical and popular acclaim throughout the United States, Europe, South America and Canada. Working successfully in opera, concert and theatrical performances, Chellis has been praised for showing a rare ability for dramatic characterization and theatricality.

American Pianist Heidi Louise Williams has appeared in solo and chamber music performances across the United States and in Europe. Her recent New York debut recital in Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall received high acclaim from critic Harris Goldsmith, who praised her playing for its "impeccable solistic authority, excellent pianistic equipment and a finely developed sense of interpretive style-dazzling performances."

Frank Stemper is also a faculty member at Southern Illinois University. His music has been performed in 16 different countries as well as at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Of his new work, composer Don Freund wrote: "A Love Imagined is a masterpiece, a tremendously ambitious, deep, moving, all-embracing experience. Definitely the work of an important artist at the peak of his powers and inspiration."

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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