More than half of the Alumni Recital Hall at the Redfern Arts Center was full of students and community members who came to see artists from the Boston-based art song group Calliope’s Call perform on Wednesday, Nov. 8 as part of their New Moon Concert Series.
The New Moon Concert Series, which celebrates Calliope’s Call’s 10th anniversary, featured music composed by women including Sarah Hutchins, Jodi Globe, Marion Bauer, Libby Larsen and Gilda Lyons.
The group performed art songs, a genre that transforms pre-existing poetry into music. Traditionally, a piano and vocal component make up this type of music.
Dr. Evangelia Leontis, adjunct professor of music at KSC and co-director of Calliope’s Call, performed alongside fellow vocalist and co-director Megan Roth at the recital.
Leontis said the New Moon concert series explored themes of love, nature and femininity through song.
“Each piece is its own artistic work, but there’s an overarching theme of exploring female existence in the world,” Leontis said.
One of Calliope’s Call’s stated goals is to bring attention to contemporary composers.
“Four out of the five composers we’ll be featuring are contemporary, with the exception of Marion Bauer, whose work dates back 100 years. It’s really important to us that we expose people to newer music and get those names out there,” Leontis said.
Additionally, Leontis said the New Moon Concert Series will be recorded as the group’s debut album, which will be released in the spring of 2024.
Playing alongside Leontis and Roth, pianist and Yale School of Music lecturer Dr. J.J. Penna accompanied on the piano. Penna was asked by Roth to perform alongside Calliope’s Call.
“I was very happy to be asked to participate in their vision. The concert showcases a lot of musicians from my generation, and is very committed to promoting the works of our time,” Penna said.
Piano and vocal components work together with pre-existing poetry to create art songs, and Penna reflected on that interconnectivity.
“These texts are in many ways self-contained, completed works of beauty. It begs the question, why not just read the poem with a musical backtrack to accompany it?” Penna said. “Composers who devote themselves to song have a unique and independent approach to how they choose a text. Composers are always responding to an atmosphere or tone in the poem. Maybe something in the sound or content, and embodying it to give the poem a whole new artistic dimension of beauty.”
Sarah Stagg, a first-year music education major, attended the performance and said, “As a vocalist, it was cool to see different lyrics and singing styles. It was interesting to see what a professional singing group looked like. The faculty and students work really hard to give us the chance to see these kinds of events, and it’s really cool to see people come out here to support our music community.”
Ryan Pacheco can be contacted at