‘Composers in Skirts’ showcases gifted women | TheUnion.com

‘Composers in Skirts’ showcases gifted women

“Composers in Skirts,” a mix of theater and music, will demonstrate that not only Bach, Hayden, Mozart, etc. (all males), have made great music, but that women, too, have created masterpieces.

Intertwining the excitement of theater with the passion of music, this production introduces the music of six gifted women from the 18th to the 20th century. The journey begins in the 18th century with Marianna von Martinez and travels through the years to end in the 20th century with Ruth Crawford Seeger. “Composers in Skirts” is filled with the melodies and voices of women who pursued their passion for art while at the same time struggling to maintain their social and personal lives. Also included are composers Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Wieck Schumann, Cecíle Chaminade and Amy Beach.

Concert pianist Dr. Linda Smith has developed a passion for uncovering and highlighting female composers of the past, which led her to develop this show. She commissioned Portland theater veteran Kate Hawkes to help write the script. The pair then contracted with actress Patricia Blem to help define the characters that both Smith and Blem portray – Blem through words, Smith through music.

Blem has worked as an actress and director in the Pacific Northwest for more than 25 years. She has worked with Portland’s Artists Repertory Theatre and Triangle Theater companies and co-wrote and produced “After the Light Goes,” a play on the life and art of Georgia O’Keeffe.

“Blem is superb,” says Bob Hicks of The Oregonian, ” … she can make her simple character extremely funny without ever making fun of her. Patricia Blem’s performance is an appealing blend of sensibility, strength, bashfulness, and humor.”

Smith’s dazzling technique comes from years of work and study with such names as Bela Siki and Donna Turner Smit, and from participating in master classes with such notables as Ruth Laredo and Gyorgy Sandor. She earned her doctor of musical arts from the University of Washington.

What: “Composers in Skirts”

When: Saturday, 8 p.m, and Sunday, 2 p.m.

Where: The Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main St., Grass Valley

Admission: $15. Music Today, (800) 594-8499; Yabobo in Nevada City; BriarPatch Community Market and The Book Seller in Grass Valley; Cherry Records in Auburn.

Information: 271-7000; http://www.thecenterforthearts.org

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