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Music Professor's Commissioned Piece to Premiere Saturday in Cincinnati

Elizabeth Haskins Set to Music Poem by Cancer Survivor

February 27, 2013

Elizabeth Haskins

Elizabeth Haskins

Elizabeth Haskins’ new composition, “I Am Forever Changed,” will have its concert premiere Saturday (March 2) in Cincinnati.

MUSE, Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir commissioned Haskins, assistant professor of music at Wilmington College, and four other composers to create original composition for MUSE’s 30th anniversary year in 2013.

WC colleague, Catherine Roma, professor of music, directs MUSE. Roma explained she presented Haskins with a book of poems, Pink on Pink: Writing My Way through Breast Cancer, by poet and cancer survivor Teresa Schreiber Werth with the request that Haskins select a poem to score for musical performance.

She selected “I Am Forever Changed,” which deals with Werth’s struggle with cancer.

“Elizabeth’s work is beautifully crafted,” Roma said. “Her sensitivity to the text is everywhere apparent.”

The piece is written for unaccompanied women’s choir, primarily in four parts with soprano solo.
MUSE will premiere the piece at Saturday’s concert, which features the theme, “The Rising of the Women Is the Rising of Us All.” The event is scheduled for 8 p.m. at St. Monica-St. George Parish Catholic Church in the Clifton area of Cincinnati.

The Walnut Hills Women’s Ensemble and Grand Rapids (Mich.) Women’s Chorus also will perform. Tickets, priced on a sliding scale, will be available at the door.

MUSE also will perform this work at the College Conservatory of Music with the CCM Chorale on March 12.

In praising Haskins’ composition, Roma noted that Haskins “artfully added” another line that recurs throughout the piece.

Haskins writes in a program note that, “The recurring idea of being forever changed is musically portrayed by a repeated melodic theme. The descending line was borrowed from the last movement of Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique Symphony.

“I wanted all choral parts to sing the melody at one time or another during the piece because every women is a potential victim of this insidious disease,” Haskins added.