Luther College presents “The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci”

October 18, 2019

Luther College is among a collection of prestigious ensembles to perform "The Notebooks of Leonard da Vinci" at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, in the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall. The concert is open to the public with no charge for admission.

Jocelyn Hagen, a Minnesota-based composer, began to assemble a consortium of organizations to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci in 2018. One year later, "The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci," a multi-media symphony, is being performed across the country.

Jennaya Robison, associate professor of music at Luther, received an email from Hagen about this unique project. As it began to take off, Robison, wanting to make Luther a part of the consortium, applied for and received a faculty development award along with an anonymous donation, which acted as the fund requirement.

"I really wanted Luther to be one of the institutions who see the value in supporting the creation of new music - especially music written by women. I cannot think of any other piece of music that so plainly celebrates the work of an institution whose purpose is the pursuit of knowledge," said Robison.

The performance, described as being a multi-media symphony, includes both choral-orchestral work and video projections. It's also about the "creation and investigation of knowledge and art."

Luther College joined the consortium in 2019, adding their name to a list of distinguished ensembles including the Minnesota Chorale, the University of Michigan, Yale Glee Club, Grammy Award-winning ensemble True Concord in Arizona, the University of Alabama and San Diego State University.

"One of the reasons da Vinci is admired by so many, including myself, is his uncanny ability to see the interrelatedness of science, art and nature. He used his powerful observational skills to understand the mathematics and fractional relationship of the human body, then he applied this knowledge to his art!"

The Luther College performance of "The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci" will conclude a concert by Luther College Collegiate Chorale, conducted by Robison, and the Decorah Chorale, conducted by Jason Rausch, joined by instrumentalists from the Luther faculty, student body and surrounding community.

Preceding the concert, there will be a lecture by the composer, Jocelyn Hagen, and Amy Weldon, professor of English, at 3 p.m. in the Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall.

This performance will act as the conclusion of the weekend of celebration for the inauguration of Luther President Jenifer K. Ward.

"I believe the performance of this work is the culmination of a weekend that celebrates both our new president and Luther's place in our larger community," said Robison.

Hagen will also be on campus on Oct. 24 for a lecture based on her recent TEDx talk, "Composing for choir, orchestra-and video projections." It is happening at 7:30 p.m. in Olin 102. It is open to the public with no charge for admission.

Jocelyn Hagen is a pioneer in the field of composition, pushing the expectations of musicians and audiences with large-scale multimedia works, electro-acoustic music, dance, opera and publishing. Hagen's commissions include Conspirare, the Minnesota Opera, the American Choral Directors Associations of Minnesota, Georgia, Connecticut and Texas, the Boston Brass, the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, among many others.

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