Concert Choir of Washington University to perform music about animals April 16

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lewis Spratlan to attend

The Concert Choir of Washington University — under the direction of John Stewart, director of vocal activities in the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences — will perform a concert of music about animals at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 16, in Graham Chapel.

The performance, titled “Animal Planet,” is free and open to the public. Graham Chapel is located just north of the Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd. For more information, call (314) 935-4841.

The program will feature what is only the second performance of “The Manatees at Blue Springs” by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lewis Spratlan, who will attend. The piece, which premiered in 2004 at the Westminster Choir College in Princeton. N.J., is based on a poem by Lewis Hyde and wittily describes the history of the manatee (a large aquatic mammal with paddle-like forelimbs) and its difficulties in sharing its Florida habitat with man.

Soprano Amy Schwarz, a junior from St. Louis, and pianist Sandra Geary, staff accompanist and coach, are soloists for the work.

Also on the program are “Listen to the Lambs” by Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943), one of the first Black American composers to be recognized in the field of classical music; and a setting of William Blake’s lyric poem “The Lamb” by the English composer Sir John Tavener (b. 1944). Other works include “Who’s Who in the Zoo” by Jean Berger (1909-2002), which is set to humorous rhymes of Ogden Nash, and “Little Lamb” by Marshall Bartholomew (1885-1978).

Spratlan (b. 1940) is a native of Miami and a professor of music composition and music theory at Amherst College in Massachusetts. He won the Pulitzer in 2000 for his opera “Life is a Dream,” based on a play by the 17-century-Spanish dramatist Pedro Calderón. Other honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts as well as top prize in the Rockefeller Foundation-New England Conservatory Opera Competition.

Calendar Summary

WHO: Concert Choir of Washington University

WHAT: Animal Planet

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, April 16

WHERE: Graham Chapel, just north of the Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

COST: Free

INFORMATION: (314) 935-4841