Should you find yourself in the vicinity of Potsdam, NY on Tuesday night of this week, I highly recommend to you a concert of four recent works by Crane composer David Heinick, which will be performed by members of the Crane School of Music faculty, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater on the SUNY Potsdam campus. Alas, I don’t know Professor Heinick or his music (although I’d like to) but I do know the librettist of one of the three world premieres on the program.
“Chiaroscuro,” a setting of four poems from il Dilemma of Orfeo, by poet/artist/classical scholar/master chef/carpenter and barn raiser Walter Nobile, will be performed by soprano Jill Pearon and mezzo-soprano Lorraine Yaros Sullivan, with Heinick at the piano. Walter (and his wife Marilyn) are among my oldest and dearest friends.
Walter was born to Italian parents in Tripoli, Libya and studied the classics in Libya and Italy. After two years in Madrid, he moved to the United States, where he taught Italian language and literature at the Universities of California (Berkeley), Oregon, and Chicago. Since 2004 he has divided his time between Cecina, Italy, and Potsdam. He is currently working on a new translation of Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” seeking to preserve in English the musicality of the original. I might add that he has almost totally rebuilt his house in Potsdam over the past few years and spent the past summer resurrecting an old barn that most people would have regarded as a “goner” with the help of a couple of Amish lads. Not bad for a man who is pushing the Big 8-0.
Dr. Heinick joined the faculty of the Crane School of Music in 1989. Previously, he taught at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the Catholic University of America and is the composer of over fifty works for a variety of instrumental and vocal media, ranging from unaccompanied flute to chorus and symphony orchestra. His music is published by SeeSaw Music, Dorn Publications, Nichols Music, and Kendor Music; it has been performed throughout the United States, and broadcast on National Public Radio and the CBC.