UIndy music professors perform ‘The Pleasant King’

by Morgan Ellis | Staff Writer
Published: Last Updated on

Performing the music of Schumann, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Hugo Wolf and others, Assistant Professor of Music Elisabeth Hoegberg and Assistant Professor of Music Mitzi Westra performed multiple musical pieces together bringing in the newest season on March 28 in the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall.

“The Pleasant King: Songs of Spring and the Seasons” featured sung texts in English, French and German and piano solos by Albéniz and Tchaikovsky.

“For me, music is really key to what I love to do [writing], so I incorporate music with what I love to do,” said freshman professional writing major Joseph Fields.

Professor of Music Mitzi Westra performs during “The Pleasant King” on March 28. Associate Professor of Music Elizabeth Hoegberg also performed in the show. Photo by Morgan Ellis

Professor of Music Mitzi Westra performs during “The Pleasant King” on March 28. Associate Professor of Music Elizabeth Hoegberg also performed in the show. Photo by Morgan Ellis

Fields talked about the elements of the performance he found most enjoyable.

“The most enjoyable parts for me were [Westra’s] facial features,” he said. “To me, that is the key to expressing emotion to the audience.”

After the performance, Hoegberg and Westra mingled backstage with some of those who attended the concert, such as colleagues and family members, and Hoeberg reminisced about where her love of music began.

“I was going on a car trip somewhere with my parents, and I heard this piece by Vaughn Williams, and I thought it was the most beautiful piece I had ever heard. I wanted to know how it was put together,” Hoegberg said. “And that was the moment I knew that music was what I wanted to study.”

Hoegberg briefly talked about the connections she made with her performance with Westra.

“My favorite piece was ‘October’ from ‘Les Saisons.’  I just love the color and the emotion in the piece. And also, I have an October birthday, so it’s my month,” Hoegberg said. “I have always loved Tchaikovsky, and he has a lot of piano music. But we tend to think of his big works like ‘The Nutcracker,’ for example, or his ‘Swan Lake’ and his ballets. But there is actually this whole body of piano music.”

Westra shared a similar taste in seasons with Hoegberg.

“The last line of that [‘Autumn’] gives me shivers when it says, ‘When Fall turns her head and smiles and brings the peace of God,’” Westra said.

As music professors, Hoegberg and Westra want to encourage all students of the University of Indianapolis to attend concerts in the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall, to broaden their knowledge of music and enhance their abilities to listen to music pegged as ‘boring’ with open minds and ears.

“We all get trapped in our own little sphere, and in this building, we are all guilty of it, too,” Westra said. “The complexity and the depth of some of this music, allows students to think of this music as poetry, or something that can enrich their lives, allowing them to think at a different level from day to day. It’s a ‘stop and smell the flowers’ kind of thing, especially when we are all losing our minds at this time of the year.”

Fields added one more reason for attending the performances in Ruth Lilly Performance Hall.

“When you come to these performances, you get to culture yourself,” he said. “You know, everyday you listen to music on your iPhone or the radio, but here you get to see the fruits of a performer’s labor that is put into this [the performance]. The countless hours spent in a practice room looking at their music is shown on their face and projects into the audience. When the audience gets to see that, that’s when the audiences finally gets to appreciate how much work is put into it.”

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