Requiem for Rice 2017 Preview

Honoring the Suffering of African Enslaved on Lowcountry Rice Plantations and their Contributions to the Economy of the US South.

Thursday, September 21, 2017
Staging of Unburied, Unmourned, Unmarked

Carnegie Mellon University, School of Music, Mellon Institute Auditorium, 4400 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

Watch the broadcast for the staging of Unburied, Unmourned, Unmarked by string ensemble, a dramatic reading of excerpts from Requiem for Rice libretto by Vanessa German, and discussion of the score (in development) and libretto by Dr. Trevor Weston, composer, and Dr. Edda L. Fields-Black, librettist.

Unburied, Unmourned, Unmarked is inspired by the history of African and African American forced laborers who cultivated rice in the Lowcountry. Colour of Music Festival commissioned Dr. Trevor Weston to compose ‘Unburied, Unmourned, Unmarked’. This piece for string orchestra takes inspiration from traditional African music and traditional folk music by African Americans: fiddle music, long-meter hymns and Gullah music. The string work will eventually become a longer dramatic work for voices and full orchestra, Requiem for Rice.

On this special evening, Pittsburghers attended a staging of Unburied, Unmourned, Unmarked by a string quartet one month before the world premiere of Unburied, Unmourned, Unmarked at the Colour of Music Festival in Charleston, SC. The audience was also invited to participate in a discussion afterwards with composer, Dr. Trevor Weston, and librettist, Dr. Edda L. Fields-Black.

Sponsored by Opportunity Fund, CMU Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean’s Office, CMU Humanities Scholars Program, CMU Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, CMU School of Music, CMU Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE), CMU Center for the Arts in Society (CAS).

Temeka Cage Conley

Tameka Cage Conley, PhD is a literary artist who writes fiction, poetry, plays, librettos, and essays. She received a doctoral degree in English in 2006 from Louisiana State University, where she was a recipient of the Huel Perkins Doctoral Fellowship. Her dissertation,“Painful Discourses,” was awarded the annual Lewis Simpson Distinguished Dissertation Award. She has received writing fellowships from the Cave Canem Poetry Foundation, the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Squaw Valley Writers Conference and Workshops. She is the 2013 recipient of the Eben Demarest Trust Award and the opera, "A Gathering of Sons," for which she wrote the libretto, debuted at the Pittsburgh Festival Opera. She held a Truman Capote fellowship in Fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop from 2016-17 and is currently a Graduate Fellow in the Program.

Vanessa German

Vanessa German is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is the founder of Love Front Porch and the ARThouse, a community arts initiative for the children of her historic Homewood neighborhood. Her work is in private and public collections including Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, The Progressive Art Collection, David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, Snite Museum of Art, among others. German’s fine art work has been exhibited widely, most recently at Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, GA; the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; the Studio Museum, Harlem, NY; the Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL; and in the traveling exhibition State of The Art: Discovering American Art Now, which originated at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR. Her work has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s All Things Considered and in The Huffington Post, O Magazine and Essence Magazine. She is the recipient of the 2015 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant.

Edda L. Fields-Black - Librettist

Dr. Fields-Black is a specialist in early and pre-colonial African history whose research interests extend into the African Diaspora. Professor Fields-Black serves as the Faculty Advisor for Carnegie Mellon's African and African American Studies Minor and teaches courses on African history from the early pre-colonial to the neo-colonial period, slavery and freedom in Africa and the New World, West African history, globalization in African History, and the making of the African Diaspora. Her research has been funded by the Woodrow Wilson, Ford, Annenberg, and Mellon Foundations as well as by Fulbright-Hays. Professor Fields-Black's has received funding from the Henry Luce Foundation Project: The Greening of Early Undergraduate Education at Carnegie Mellon and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation: Institute for the Study of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology. Full Bio

Trevor Weston - Composer

Trevor Weston’s music has been called a “gently syncopated marriage of intellect and feeling.” (Detroit Free Press) Weston’s honors include the George Ladd Prix de Paris from the University of California, Berkeley, a Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the MacDowell Colony. Full Bio

Requiem for Rice: Unburied, Unmourned, Unmarked World Premier 2018