Recital offers rare chance to hear music composed and performed by women

Three student fellows from the Edwards Center for Inclusive Excellence (CIE) will break new ground April 9 when they perform the music of Amanda Harberg. Harberg is a living composer and a woman, and music by living women composers rarely makes it to the concert stage. 

Sunday’s 6 p.m. concert, “A Celebration of Living Composers,” was inspired by the CIE’s effort to learn about the works of lesser discussed composers. 

CIE music fellows Hailey Cornell (clarinet), Diamond Gaston (flute), and Rachel Huggins (marimba) are excited but nervous about the recital.    

“It was inspired out of our work of working with living composers,” Cornell said, “and sort of exploring why we don’t really hear about music being played by people who are living and who aren’t men.” 

She said they’ve discovered the work of composers like Amanda Harberg and Valerie Coleman. Huggins talked about her excitement for the upcoming tribute concert. She said it’s a rare opportunity that she gets to focus on musicians she and others can relate to. 

Even with the excitement, Gaston noted how nervous preparing for the recital makes her. Still, she said she looks forward to what the recital could bring. 

“Preparing for a recital is scary,” Gaston said, “but I think the feedback and the change that we’re about to create is exciting.” 

Diversity-focused events have been a focus of the CIE this year. The center’s theme, “Narratives of Democracy,” encourages conversations about diversity, its connection to democracy, and its meaning in the United States.  

Eric Shultz, an assistant professor of woodwinds in the Department of Music, said he plans to carry this event into the future.  

“We want to make this a sustainable project here, and these three student fellows have done such an amazing job of deeply focusing on the music of Amanda Harberg and Valerie Coleman,” Shultz said. “It’s not just for this year… this is a new commitment from us to do this every year.” 

The concert will be held in the Edwards Recital Hall at 6 p.m. Admission will be $10 with CCU discounts available.