Pittsburgh Song Collaborative, Original Works of Poetry and Schubert’s ‘Winterreise’

The Pittsburgh Song Collaborative (PSC), an ensemble in residence at Duquesne University's Mary Pappert School of Music, is adding a fresh and local twist to its two-part performance of Franz Schubert's song cycle Winterreise (Winter's Journey).

The PSC, which regularly partners with artists in other media to present concerts in the classical art song genre, recruited Pittsburgh poets to each write four poems responding to four songs assigned to them from Winterreise, which they will read during the free performances of A Stranger I Arrived, A Stranger I Departed: Winter's Journey in Poetry and Song.

Part one of A Stranger I Arrived, A Stranger I Departed will be performed on Tuesday, March 13, from 8 to 10 p.m. at the City of Asylum hall at Alphabet City, while the second part will be held on Thursday, March 29, at 8 p.m. at Brillobox. At each event, three of the poets will read their new works, one by one, after which the corresponding song from Winterreise will then be performed by Dr. Benjamin Binder on piano and baritone Daniel Teadt. Both performances are free and open to the public.

"Winterreise is among the most famous of classic song cycles as well as a central work of the art song canon," said Binder, PSC artistic director and chair of musicianship at Duquesne's School of Music. "It's a series of 24 musical settings of poems by Wilhelm Müller that tells the story of a young man who falls in love with a young woman, but is forced to leave town in exile. Feeling spurned in love, he leaves the town in wintertime and goes into the wilderness."

Local poets Lori Jakiela, Sheila Carter-Jones and Adriana E. Ramirez will read poems responding to the first 12 songs at the Alphabet City performance. Sheila Squillante, Jen Ashburn and Don Wentworth will share their poetry reflecting songs 12-24 of Winterreise at Brillobox.

"Winterreise is one of the forerunners of expressionism in the ways that it gets deep into the psyche of the main character's tortured soul. It's very contemporary in its themes of alienation and exile," explained Binder. "That's what made me reach out to poets to collaborate because I feel that this story and the kinds of vignettes during the journey of this character-they all speak to our current cultural moment in startling and moving ways."

In addition, the PSC will co-present the closing concert of the Mary Pappert School of Music's Schubert on the Bluff series on Sunday, April 15. The concert, titled Winter Journey, will be the culmination of the PSC's A Stranger I Arrived, A Stranger I Departed.

For more information, contact 412.396.6083.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

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