Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Eastman flutist to perform 'Hibakusha'

Catherine Branch, a flutist who has cerebral palsy, will perform and discuss disability awareness at Finger Lakes Community College on Monday, March 7.

The concert will begin at 12:30 p.m. in B355 on the third floor of the main campus, 3325 Marvin Sands Dr.  Parking is available in the lot in front of the main building or in the Constellation Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center parking lot. The performance is free and open to the public.

The concert will begin with Branch and Ines Draskovic, assistant professor of music, playing “Three Romances” for flute and piano written by Robert Schumann. Branch will talk about Schumann’s disability during a brief overview of his life.

One of the solo pieces Branch will play is "Hibakusha" by Aaron Alon. The title refers to the Japanese name for those who survived the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki near the end of World War II. The survivors experienced an extreme kind of post-traumatic stress.

Branch says that just as nobody is "wrong" and no person's experience is "wrong," neither are any sounds inherently "wrong."  Perceptions of normal and acceptable are blurred from both a musical and social standpoint in "Hibakusha."

Branch is completing her master’s degree at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester while beginning her studies for a doctorate in musical arts, also at the Eastman. 

“My rather unique body is something I'm incredibly grateful for,” Branch says. “A large facet of my musical life is using the arts as a tool to communicate positively about difference, especially disability.”

“The concert at FLCC will be bound together by the idea that music has great potential to help us re-evaluate and explore our own perceptions of difference, and the ways in which different life experiences shape each of us in powerful ways,” says Branch. 

A 2008 graduate of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, Branch is dedicated to exploring the arts as a vehicle to promote social inclusion for the disabled. Also in 2008, she was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to research the role of art in social activism around the world.

For information about the FLCC concert, contact Community Affairs at (585) 785-1905.

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