Balvant Parekh Distinguished Lecture 31-1-2015


Balvant Parekh Distinguished Lecture 31-1-2015
Balvant Parekh Distinguished Lecture Series 2015
Balvant Parekh Centre for General Semantics and Other Human
Sciences cordially invites you to attend the Balvant Parekh
Distinguished Lecture which is part of a series initiated in memory
Shri Balvant K. Parekh, the founder of the Centre.
Topic of the Lecture:
“After the History: Poem, Politics, Performance”
Janice Misurell-Mitchell
(Composer, flutist and vocal artist &
teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago)
Date and Time:
31 January 2015 at 4 pm
Balvant Parekh Centre for General Semantics and Other Human Sciences
C-302, Siddhi Vinayak Complex
Behind Vadodara Railway Station, Alkapuri, Baroda-390007
Ph: +91 265 2320870;
A Synopsis of the Lecture
(Prepared by Janice Misurell- Mitchell)
After the History (1991), is a piece for voice/flute and percussion that is based on a poem
by former Chicago poet, John Shreffler. The poem is a five-part cycle that serves as a
meditation on the "end of the Cold War"; the fifth section is a set of geometric variations
on themes inspired by the "Legend of the Dead Soldier" by Bertolt Brecht. In this poem
a dead soldier is featured in a parade where the promoters (the government, the military)
present him as alive. The Shreffler poem treats this imagery as a narrative, but in a form
where the words get shifted around, sometimes making sense, sometimes seeming
absurd, but always stressing the persistence of war.
My performance of the fifth part of “After the History” presents the text in dramatic
form, and through musical representation of images in the work. The verbal is at times
sympathetic and at times ironic. In my presentation I will take the listeners through the
different aspects of the creation of the work: from the most basic declamation of the text,
to extreme transformations of it. The choices I made of various kinds of music have
political meanings embedded within them; and these elements interact in actual
performance. We will then see a DVD of the performance.
After the History was “inspired” by the United States’ involvement in the Persian Gulf, in a
war waged by the first President Bush in 1991. Some of the imagery came from the
patriotic videos shown during halftime at the Super Bowl (American football) game in
January of that year, while other imagery came from the composer’s experience in
marching bands at high school football games and later, with composing and performing
using Sprechstimme and wordplay.
About the Speaker
Janice Misurell-Mitchell, composer, flutist and vocal artist, teaches at the School of the
Art Institute of Chicago. She has taught and performed in the US, Europe, Morocco,
Israel, Palestine and China. Her most recent CD, Vanishing Points, music for solo, duo, quartet
was chosen by Peter Margasak of The Chicago Reader as one of the top five new music
recordings in “Our Favorite Music of 2013.” This recording and her previous CD,
Uncommon Time, music for flute, voice and percussion, are on the Southport Records label.
Her videos can be found on Youtube.