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Music Department Concert to Showcase Vocal and Instrumental Faculty, Composer and Special Guests

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – (February 4, 2013) – Muhlenberg College’s music department will present a concert marking the 60th birthday of composer Dr. Douglas Ovens, long-time chair of the department, and featuring 10 members of the teaching faculty, student performers and an pianist Hanchien Lee, an honored guest.  The concert, titled Love Songs and Other Wonders, will he held on February 20, 2013 in Empie Theatre at 8:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.   For more information, call 484 664-3363.

The “love songs” portion of the evening will begin with Yours and Mine: Three Love Songs on Poems of Alice Fulton, featuring Megan Monaghan, soprano and Douglas Ovens, vibraphone.  Continuing this theme will be Three Love Songs on texts of Pablo Neruda, sung by Brian Chu, baritone, with Vincent Trovato, piano. 

Other vocal pieces to be performed are Two American Songs: Dance Russe and Smell! (poems by William Carlos Williams), sung by Steven Snow, tenor with Tony Simons, clarinet and bass clarinet, David Moulton, cello, and Michael Schnack, piano,  She Sings… (poems by e.e.cummings) sung by Lauren Madigan and Schwarzgeburt (Black Birth), sung by Brian Chu, Benjamin Doyle and Matthew Livigni supported  by a chamber ensemble comprised of James Thoma and Ryan Gross, percussion, Elaine Martin, flute, and Schnack and Simons.

The concert will close with Sonata (for Idil), performed by internationally known pianist, Hanchien Lee.   According to Ovens, “The piece was written for Idil Biret and given its premiere performance at Muhlenberg.  I am honored to have it performed by Dr. Lee, an artist we have presented in our Piano Series many times.”

Ovens started his compositional career writing many works for solo percussion and his solo CD Seven Improvisations (N/S R 1036), his fourth CD, was released in 2007.  In recent years he has composed for many dance companies as well as writing for orchestra.  His music has been performed by Lehigh Valley orchestras on many occasions including performances by the Allentown Symphony (Cello Concerto, 1996, Monocacy Music, 2003 and Endless Possibilities, 2011) and the Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra (1992, 2001).    He has composed music for many productions of the Muhlenberg Theater Department including, most recently, Orlando.   

The concert will feature works that have been presented in such far-flung places as Berlin, Hiroshima, Paris, Los Angeles, New York City, and in many festivals around the United States. Ovens will perform in June in New York City and Buenos Aires.