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Composer Jake Heggie Featured in Annual 'Music of the 21st Century' Series, February 15-19

January 30, 2006

Jake Heggie.jpgJanuary 30, 2006, Greencastle, Ind. - Jake Heggie, composer of the controversial 2000 opera Dead Man Walking and a leading American composer of art songs, will be featured in this year’s edition of DePauw’s annual contemporary music series, "Music of the 21st Century." The series will begin on Wednesday, February 15 in the DePauw Performing Arts Center, running through Sunday, February 19. Among the highlights are two concerts, several master classes and coachings with DePauw students, a convocation by Heggie as well as a symposium entitled "The Intersection of Music and Poetry." All of the events are free and open to the public.

"This annual event continues to bring cutting-edge composers to the DePauw campus," says Cleveland Johnson, interim dean of the DePauw University School of Music. "It provides for unique interactions between composer, performer, and audience and serves as an ideal way to explore and engage the music of our time."

Born in Florida and raised in Ohio, Jake Heggie studied composition with Ernst Bacon in the San Francisco Bay Area before attending college at UCLA, where he studied piano with the late Johana Harris and composition with Paul DesMarais, Roger Bourland, Paul Reale, and the late David Raksin. The composer's songs, which number nearly 200, have been championed by some of the world's best-known singers, including Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Frederica von Stade, Audra McDonald, Joyce DiDonato, JoyceHeggie Faces of Love.jpg Castle and Bryn Terfel. Heggie’s lyric yet complex works have produced comparisons with Samuel Barber and are evident on the acclaimed 1999 RCA Red Seal release The Faces of Love, on which the composer provides piano accompaniment.

A broad range of Heggie’ s vocal and instrumental works will be performed by DePauw’s distinguished faculty and talented students at a chamber music concert on Thursday, February 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Thompson Recital Hall, as well as at a closing concert on Sunday, February 19 at 3 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium. Of special interest to singers and lovers of art songs will be two master classes on Heggie’s songs, to be held in the Thompson Recital Hall on Friday, February 17 from 7 to 10 p.m., and on Saturday, February 18 from 10 a.m. to noon. He will also deliver a convocation on Thursday, February 16, at 1 p.m. in Thompson Recital Hall.

Mr. Heggie is perhaps best known for his opera Dead Man Walking, which is based on the prize-winning book by Sister Helen Prejean, who visited DePauw in 1997 as an Ubben lecturer. The book inspired the film, which earned Susan Sarandon an Academy Award in 1995 for her portrayal of Sister Prejean. The opera was written while Heggie served as the San Francisco Opera's first composer-in-residence. It received its premiere in 2000, earning extraordinary international acclaim and has since been performed at the Opera Pacific, Cincinnati Opera, New York City Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, State Opera of South Australia and Pittsburgh Opera. Deborah Stein of the New England Conservatory will deliver a keynote address on the work during the series’ symposium at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Center for Contemporary Media's Watson Forum. There is also a scheduled showing of the award-winning PBS documentary And Then One Night: The Making of Dead Man Walking on Tuesday, February 15 in Watson Forum at 7:30 p.m.

The 2006 edition of Music of the 21st Century is supported by a gift from Robert and Margaret Schmidt, both members of the DePauw Class of 1969. Presently in its fourth year, past featured composers have included such notable artists as Tania Leon (2003), George Crumb (2004), and Augusta Read Thomas (2005). For more information, visit the series’ Web site or contact Professor Amy Lynn Barber at (765) 658-6638.

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