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Loyola University New Orleans’ Festival of Contemporary Song kicks off this weekend with “Logan Skelton's Emily Dickinson Songs”

Loyola press release - September 14, 2016

Loyola breathes new life into classic American poetry with the Festival of Contemporary Song starting Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 with “Logan Skelton’s Emily Dickinson Songs: A Multimedia Concert.”

Loyola's Festival of Contemporary Song, held in the university’s Roussel Hall from Friday, Sept. 16 to Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, features the songs of guest pianist and composer Logan Skelton, as well as those of local artists. The festival, which is organized by Professor of Music William Horne, comes out of Loyola’s treasured Montage Fine and Performing Arts series.

“Stunning settings coupled with masterful music will transport audiences,” Horne said. “Those who love American poets, like Emily Dickinson, will remember this festival for as long as they live.”

The weekend will pay homage to classical poets like E.E. Cummings and Emily Dickinson, while also paying tribute to local flavor with songs by Logan Skelton based on texts by the great New Orleans playwright Tennessee Williams and Loyola’s award-winning writer John Biguenet.

Loyola alumnus Logan Skelton is a much sought-after pianist, teacher, and composer whose work has received international critical acclaim. Robert Hunter Distinguished Professor John Biguenet is chair of Loyola’s acclaimed English department, which prides itself on collaborative learning experiences and frequently partners on projects with faculty teaching theatre, music, film, and song.

“Skelton’s settings reflect the mischievousness, wit, longing, and pathos that lie at the heart of Tennessee Williams's brilliant and variegated poetry,” Horne said. “Skelton’s settings of Biguenet’s texts are new works based on Biguenet’s recent play, Broomstick.

A musician and scholar, Horne has composed in a wide variety of genres. Recent larger works include a Clarinet Concerto, a String Quartet, sonatas for Flute and Piano and for Violin and Piano, a Serenade for nine instruments, and a setting of the Te Deum written for the 100th anniversary of the founding of Loyola University.

A special pre-concert panel discussion will also take place as a part of the festival on Sunday, Sept. 18, discussing how poets and composers interact with language and meaning in texts. Biguenet, together with composers Logan Skelton and William Horne, will lead the discussion.

Performances for this year’s Festival of Contemporary Song will be presented in Roussel Hall, located in the Communications/Music Complex on the corner of St. Charles Ave. and Calhoun St., Loyola University New Orleans, 6363 St. Charles Ave. Concerts times are indicated below.

Admission is free and open to the public.

Sept. 16, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

“Logan Skelton’s Emily Dickinson Songs: A Multimedia Concert”

The music for this recital consists of two books of songs — An Intimate Nature (2005) and The Unknown Peninsula (2008) — composed by Logan Skelton and set to poetry by Emily Dickinson. The performance of the songs is combined with projected images timed to correlate with each moment in the texts. The recital seeks to bring the audience deep into the artistic world of Emily Dickinson.

Loyola alumnus Logan Skelton is a much sought-after pianist, teacher, and composer whose work has received international critical acclaim. As a performer, Skelton has performed widely in the United States, Europe, and Asia and has been featured on many public radio and television stations including NPR’s Audiophile Audition, Performance Today, All Things Considered, and Morning Edition, as well as on radio in China and national television in Romania.

Sept. 17, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

“English and American Songs Old and New: An Evening of World Premieres by Logan Skelton and William Horne”

The festival continues with a program featuring world premieres of vocal music by guest artist Logan Skelton and Loyola faculty composer William Horne, including songs to texts by 19th- and 20th-century English and American poets.

Sept. 18, 2016 at 2 p.m.

“Festival of Contemporary Song: Pre-Concert Discussion Moderated by John Biguenet”

A wide-ranging discussion of how poets and composers interact with language and meaning in texts.

Sept. 18, 2016 at 3 p.m.

“Loyola Voices: Songs by Dylan Tran, Logan Skelton, and Dominic Argento featuring texts by Dorothy Parker, E.E. Cummings, and New Orleans poets Tennessee Williams and John Biguenet

The festival concludes with a performance of songs by Dylan Tran, Logan Skelton, and Dominic Argento featuring texts by Dorothy Parker, E.E. Cummings, and New Orleans poets Tennessee Williams and John Biguenet.