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Music history professor presents paper in Italy

May 14, 2010

Valerie Goertzen, Ph.D., assistant professor of music history at Loyola University New Orleans, will present her paper, “Clara Schumann’s Improvisations and Her Mosaics of Small Forms,” at an international music history conference in La Spezia, Italy this summer.

“Beyond Notes: Improvisation in Western Music in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries,” will be held July 15-17 at the Centro di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea. The conference is being organized by the Società dei Concerti of La Spezia, and the Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini of Lucca.

Goertzen’s paper examines how Clara Schumann’s groupings of short pieces in concert programs beginning in the mid-1830s show her concern for large-scale design, her highlighting of relationships among works by different composers such as Beethoven, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Bach, Scarlatti and Robert Schumann, and her sense of historical progression in the repertory.

“Schumann brought her own compositional abilities to bear in performing these pieces, improvising preludes and transitions connecting one to the next,” said Goertzen. “Later in life, she notated examples of her improvised preludes, including preludes to pieces by her husband, Robert Schumann, which had been included in these groupings. Thus her programming and her notated improvisations can be studied together as evidence of her analysis of portions of her repertory.”

For more information, contact Sean Snyder in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at smsnyder@loyno.edu or call 504-861-5882.

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