University of Alabama University Chorus and University Singers with the Prentice Concert Chorale and Chamber Orchestra Announce April 2019 Southeastern Premiere Performance of Jocelyn Hagen’s The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci

Tuscaloosa, March 20, 2019.  Commemorating the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, the University of Alabama University Chorus and University Singers with the Prentice Concert Chorale and a Chamber Orchestra consisting of UA faculty and students will present the southeastern premiere performance of acclaimed composer Jocelyn Hagen’s The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci on Tuesday, April 23, 7:30 pm at Moody Concert Hall on the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. A pre-concert talk with composer Jocelyn Hagen and poet Hank Lazer will begin at 7:05 pm.

The composition is a nine-movement work co-commissioned by the University of Alabama School of Music and the Prentice Concert Chorale as part of a commissioning consortium of university and community choirs, including lead commissioners: The University of Michigan Chamber Choir and the The Minnesota Chorale and Metropolitan Symphony.

Conductors Dr. Andrew Minear, Director of Choral Activities at the University of Alabama, Dr. Leslie Poss, Conductor of the Prentice Concert Chorale, and Dongkyu Lee, award-winning conductor and doctoral student in the UA School of Music, will share the podium for the premiere.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with such a phenomenal composer and to help bring this new music to life,” writes UA Director of Choral Activities Dr. Andrew Minear. “Jocelyn’s choral works are rhythmically exciting, harmonically rich, and emotionally stirring.” He adds, “It is momentous for our Tuscaloosa arts community that the superb singers of the Prentice Concert Chorale and our talented university students will be performing together again for the first time in many years. Including the innovative poetry by the University of Alabama’s own Hank Lazer also will add a wonderful synergy to the concert experience for our audience.”

Link to Minear bio:
Link to Poss bio:
Link to Lee bio:

More about the University of Alabama Choirs:
More about the Prentice Concert Chorale:

Hagen was inspired to create this new work following her experience in developing the dance opera Test Pilot, which featured choreography and video projections. She selected the text excerpts from the Leonardo notebooks, and is working with Ion Concert Media to develop the coordinated imagery that will be projected during the performances.

Link to video about the work:
Link to Hagen bio:

The imagery will include texts and drawings in Leonardo’s own hand, taken from his extensive notebooks. The projections will be coordinated with the music, based on newly-developed software that allows the video operator to precisely follow the musical score.

Ion Concert Media recently created MUSÈIK, the world’s most advanced digital sync software, and ever since Hagen learned about the technology she has been working towards creating a project that utilizes it to its fullest potential. The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci will be the first large concert work to be created with this technology in mind.

Link to Teaser Trailer of projections:

In addition to Hagen’s The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, the concert will feature the UA University Singers performing Cloudburst by innovative American composer Eric Whitacre (b. 1970) and three pieces that Leonardo da Vinci himself might have heard during his lifetime: El Grillo by Renaissance master composer Josquin des Prez (c. 1450-1521), Bona dies, bona sera by Florentine composer Marchetto Cara (1470-1525), and Madonna per voi ardo by the great madrigalist Philippe Verdelot (1475-1552).

To complement the music, poems from Hank Lazer’s newly published Slowly Becoming Awake (N32) will be read, performed, and displayed on screen. Lazer’s twenty-ninth book of poetry, and the sixth from his ongoing twelve-year Notebooks project, Slowly Becoming Awake gives readers multiple ways to enter the meditative space of each poem/page. This work can be understood as poem, visual art, improvised compositions, calligraphy, and the unfolding of intervals of consciousness rolled into one.

In January 2014, Lazer retired from the University of Alabama (where he continues to teach innovative seminars for New College, the Blount Scholars Program, and Honors College) after 37 years in a variety of positions, including Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, Executive Director of Creative Campus, and Professor of English. In April 2015, Lazer was selected for the state of Alabama’s highest literary award, the Harper Lee Award, for a lifetime of achievement in literature.

More about Slowly Becoming Awake and poet Hank Lazer:

Performance info:

Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Doors Open: 7:00 pm
Pre-Concert Talk with composer and poet: 7:05 pm
Concert: 7:30 pm

Moody Concert Hall
University of Alabama School of Music
810 2nd Ave
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

Available online or at the door.

Box Office Link:
Adults $10
Seniors $5 w/ ID
Students $3 w/ ID