Translation Theme Semester: Celebrating Tagore: Translations through Music, Dance, and Poetry
“Celebrating Tagore: Translations through Music, Dance, and Poetry” features performers from the School of
Music, Theatre & Dance, including the 90-member University Choir, a 20-piece string orchestra, and students and faculty from SMTD’s Department of Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation, as well as classical Indian dancers and vocalists in a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore’s birth.
Rabindranath Tagore was the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize, in 1913. Best known for his poems and songs, he was a prolific writer in Bengali and translator in English, a statesman, and later in life, also an artist. Several of his paintings and drawings are currently on a tour of the world’s premiere art museums.
This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the University of Michigan’s Department of Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation. The centerpiece of the performance will be “Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva,” set to music by jazz faculty member Ed Sarath, and choreographed by Odissi dancer Sreyashi Dey, who will perform with an ensemble consisting of Srishti Dances of India and dancers from student group Michigan Sahana. The concert will also feature U-M public health professor and Rabindrasangeet singer Mousumi Banerjee on a solo performance of Tagore’s “Aguner Parashmani,” arranged by jazz graduate student Demetrius Nabors, and the premiere of Sarath’s setting of Tagore’s “Sorrow Persists, Joy Prevails.” Jazz faculty Geri Allen, Robert Hurst, Andrew Bishop, and Michael Gould will be featured soloists. Associate Director of Choirs Eugene Rogers will conduct.
The concert is also featured as part of the Fall 2012 Translation Theme Semester in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (translation.lsa.umich.edu). Coordinated by the Department of Comparative Literature, the theme semester encourages students and faculty to explore translation as an interaction across languages, media, cultures, and disciplines. Tagore’s poems will be translated from text to music and from music to dance; through the performance of singers, musicians, and dancers, the audience will experience many layers of translation inspired by Tagore.
The world-renowned author Amitav Ghosh will make introductory remarks to start this evening of celebrating Tagore’s legacy to world literature. Ghosh will speak more about his response to the performance at an Author’s Forum on Friday (4pm, December 7 in the Gallery of Hatcher Library). Like Tagore, Ghosh was born in Calcutta, and his novels have been translated into more than two dozen languages. His visit as International Writer in Residence is hosted by the Michigan Quarterly Review, the Zell Visiting Writers Series in the MFA Program, and the Department of Anthropology.
The evening is presented by the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, with generous support from the LSA Translation Theme Semester, Department of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation, Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Center for World Performance Studies, Office of the Vice President for Research through the SMTD Faculty Block Grant program, National Center for Institutional Diversity, Center for South Asian Studies, Institute for the Humanities, and the Zell Visiting Writer Series.