In the Spring of 2020, UT professor, pianist, and composer, Dr. Kevin Class, suddenly found himself with a lot of time on his hands, thanks to Covid-19. He decided to begin a project that was presented to him as an idea, years ago, by poet, social activist, and long-time production manager of UT Opera Theatre, Rebecca Parr. That project was to write an opera, setting Parr's poetry to music. As an opera is a very large undertaking, Class decided to try writing a song cycle and requested some poems from Rebecca, who then sent a few in an email with the subject line of "from last year..."
What began as an experimental project to compose some songs ended as a multi-disciplinary collaboration between the University of TN School of Music and the University of the Philippines, Manila. The end result was not only a collection of newly composed songs reflecting moments in a woman's life, but also a recording by pianist, Kevin Class and soprano, Stephanie Quintin-Avila, an accompanying art film, created by Alegria O. Ferrer, professor of voice and a stage and film director at the University of the Philippines, and a documentary film that follows the process of creating and recording this music across the globe during a pandemic (Ms. Quintin-Avila resides in the Philippines).
"From Last Year..." will premiere on Youtube on March 25th