Reaching back through time, Knoxville: Summer of 1915 enshrines cherished memories recaptured amid the turbulence of the first half of the twentieth century, linking them in a simple but idyllic tale of life on Highland Avenue in Knoxville. Austin Stewart will explore author James Agee and composer Samuel Barber’s approaches to coloring in their own childhood memories with Knoxville.
Stewart will examine public and private contexts the work and its words coursed their way through over the years: Agee’s nostalgic 1915 memory site and that of the Lost Generation, the circumstances under which he drafted the poem in ninety feverish minutes, and the coincidences that surrounded Barber’s use of the poem in 1948, as well as its subsequent performances in the Soviet Union with funding from the CIA.
Superstar soprano Pretty Yende joins the PSO in performances of Samuel Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915 at its January 14-15 concerts in Richardson Auditorium.
PSO Soundtracks is presented in partnership with Princeton Public Library. The series is sponsored in the 2022-23 season by Cerberus Sentinel.
Austin Stewart, PhD, is the director of planned and major gifts at the Curtis Institute of Music, having held similar roles with Opera Lafayette and Detroit Opera. Austin received his doctorate in historical musicology from the University of Michigan, having attained candidacy in music of the Baroque and early Classical periods (1637 to 1759) as well as the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His research interests include music and civic identity, the American West, artistic citizenship, and everything opera.