Saturday, May 21, 2016
Polhill Park/City of Beacon Visitor’s Center
Main Street at Route 9D
On Saturday, May 21, 2016, at 11 am in Polhill Park, the City of Beacon, New York will hold a dedication ceremony to install the Margaret Fuller Marker at the Beacon Visitor’s Center. This marker commemorates the historic visit of women’s rights activist Margaret Fuller to then Fishkill Landing in Fall 1844. Fuller resided here for seven weeks while writing America’s first Feminist work, Woman in the Nineteenth Century. The book publication profoundly impacted the women’s rights movement, inspiring the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York.
Margaret Fuller’s legacy is profound. According to Susan B. Anthony, Fuller “possessed more influence on the thought of American women than any woman previous to her time.” She was a transcendentalist poet and visionary, an intellectual scholar and writer, and a dedicated social activist. She used the power of her pen to advocate for women’s equality, abolition, prison reform, democracy, and human rights. Sadly, her life came to a tragic end in 1850 in a shipwreck off the coast of Fire Island.
The Margaret Fuller Marker will be part of the Women’s Rights and Suffrage History Trail, currently in development. The trail recognizes and promotes women’s heritage in New York State in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote that came to fruition in 1917.
The May 21st ceremony will include a keynote by Margaret Fuller scholar, theologian and educator, Michael Barnett, remarks by other local leaders, music, and refreshments. In addition, the Beacon Historical Society will present an informational exhibit at the Howland Public Library, 331 Main Street, Beacon, through the month of May. There are also plans to install a mini-exhibit within the visitor’s center.
Beacon Open Studios Weekend commences directly after this event at noon on May 21.
To commemorate the event, BeaconArts is facilitating the commission of a new piece of music for voice and violin by Beacon resident and composer, Debra Kaye. The piece is a setting of Fuller’s poem Freedom and Truth (1859) –
To a Friend
The shrine is vowed to freedom, but, my friend,
Freedom is but a means to gain an end.
Freedom should build a temple, but the shrine
Be consecrate to thought still more divine.
The human bliss which angel hopes foresaw
Is liberty to comprehend the law.
Give, then, thy book a larger scope and frame,
Comprising means and end in Truth’s great name.
About the Composer, Debra Kaye:
Hailed as “a unique voice in American music, transcendent…witty… colorful…profound,” composer Debra Kaye is a star whose brilliance continues to grow. Her body of work blends her deep classical roots with a wide range of influences including jazz, world music, folk, experimental improvisations, world events and sounds of daily life. Her catalogue includes close to 40 chamber music, art songs, choral and theatrical compositions.
Recognized with seven ASCAP Plus Awards for her “creative contributions to American music,” Kaye is also the recipient of additional grants and awards from Meet the Composer, Mannes College of Music, the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir, the New School and the Edward T. Cone Foundation.
Season highlights include the premiere of five new compositions. The choral work, Hey Yud Yud-Parallel Universes presented by Composers Concordance in their series Pitches at an Exhibition – CHORUS 72, a multi-media event inspired by the art of German painter Rainer Gross. The Andante Appassionato movement from her String Quartet No. 1 celebrated its premiere in December. March saw the debut of her klezmer sextet, Dance to Unknowing featuring a distinguished ensemble of New York musicians. This spring, Ikarus – Duo for Binya, commissioned by the Community Music Center, received its world premiere in Portland, OR, followed by the NY premiere, also in spring 2016, the premiere of Kaye’s song, Freedom and Truth, commissioned by the Beacon Arts Community Association to commemorate pioneering women’s rights activist Margaret Fuller. The season began with German publishers Bellmann Musik including her composition Buscando for solo harpsichord, commissioned by Arthur Haas of Yale University, in their two volume set The Contemporary Harpsichordist.
Her 2014 debut album on Ravello Records, And So It Begins was produced by Grammy winner Judith Sherman. Included on Ted Gioia’s list of top 100 CD’s of 2014, the recording was recognized as “a valuable discovery, given the quality and originality of the music that promises Kaye a bright future.”
Kaye’s media credits include Chicago’s WFMT, Burlington’s WRUV, Princeton’s WPRB’s Classical Discoveries, Berkeley’s KALX, as well as a recent interview for Women’s History Month on Merle Exit’s radio show.
A faculty member at Mannes College the New School for Music, Kaye runs an established private studio where she teaches piano, theory and composition.
When not composing, Kaye is an avid reader and enjoys mountain climbing and the outdoors.