Barbara Harbach, professor of music at UMSL, composed "Freedom Suite" and "Harriet's Story" – both inspired by the Dred Scott family. (Photo by Stephanie Zettl)

For the second time this year, Barbara Harbach will premiere a new composition inspired by Dred, Harriet, Eliza and Lizzie Scott – one of St. Louis’ most historically significant families. “Harriet’s Story” by Harbach, professor of music at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, will be performed at a concert scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. April 7 at Unity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bel-Nor, Mo.

The three-movement suite will be performed by Marlissa Hudson, soprano; David Gillham, violinist in the Arianna String Quartet, UMSL’s resident quartet; and Alla Voskobonikova, coordinator of piano studies at UMSL.

“I consider ‘Harriet’s Story’ to be a dramatic song cycle with large, sweeping gestures in the first two movements,” Harbach told The St. Louis American. “The third movement has an edginess to it. I still use a lot of melodies, it’s still my own musical language, but it’s edgier, more intense-sounding than my other works.”

The concert will also feature a performance of Harbach’s “Freedom Suite” by five UMSL students: Charles Clements, Ashley Dickson, Benjamin Dickson, Brandon Dickson and Daniel Dickson. Also inspired by the Scott family, “Freedom Suite” made its debut in January at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Observance at UMSL.

Lynne Jackson, Dred Scott’s great-great granddaughter, will make a presentation prior to the performances. The night will conclude with a musical preview of “The Mechanical Cat.”

The concert is free and open to the public. It is part of “Compromising Positions: Race, Gender and Sexuality in Missouri and the Midwest,” a two-day conference presented by Women in the Arts and the Gender Studies Program at UMSL.

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Ryan Heinz

Ryan Heinz