“Songs and Meanings,” an opportunity to dig more deeply into a composer’s work, will be held at the University of St. Thomas on Monday, April 23.
The concert and discussion begin at 8 p.m. in Brady Educational Center auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.
This year, “Songs and Meanings” features the world premiere of “Meister Eckhart Songs,” by Nora Stanton Gibson, director of the St. Thomas Conservatory of Music, featuring Dr. Alan Bryan, baritone, and Dr. Marianne Fleming Bryan, piano.
Gibson composed the 15-song cycle, commissioned by the university, over the past two years. It is based in the texts of 12th-century mystic Johannes Eckhart, a Dominican theologian and writer who has been called the greatest German speculative mystic. In the transcripts of his sermons in German and Latin, he charted the course of union between the individual soul and God, earning much respect among scholars for his originality of work but condemnation as a heretic by the archbishop of Cologne and Pope John XXII.
“Meister Eckhart’s writings are so interesting to me as a woman,” composer Gibson said. “One of his concepts was that because we are created in God’s image, God is within us, making is co-creators. One of the songs is titled, ‘We Are All Meant to Be Mothers of God.’ That was taken directly from his writings — in the 12th century!”
Gibson also is a pianist and music educator. She holds a master of music degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. She has studied piano with Marilyn Neely, Santiago Rodriguez and Robert Parris, and has done doctoral work in composition at New York University where she studied with Robert Sirota and Justin Dello Joio. Her works have been performed at Trinity Church, Wall Street, and the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York, as well as at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Minneapolis, and the Schubert Club’a Landmark Series Program in St. Paul. Gibson served as chair of the music department for Marymount School of New York, where she developed a comprehensive children’s choral program. She has maintained a private piano studio for more than 20 years.
Preceding the performance will be an interview with the composer by Dr. William Banfield, holder of the St. Thomas Endowed Chair in Humanities and Fine Arts, and a discussion of the theological significance of the texts by Dr. Anne King Lenzmeier, of the St. Thomas theology Department.
For more information on this and other St. Thomas Music Department events, call (651) 962-5850.