When Bonita Hyman sings, people listen. The locally based mezzo-soprano has a syrupy, supple voice that imparts traditional roles with drama and voluptuousness; remarkably, she’s also used it with ease and conviction in trickier modern vocal parts. In this concert, cosponsored by American Women Composers–Midwest, Hyman will get to show her range in a pair of contrasting works. Three Songs, a 1935 work by trailblazer Ruth Crawford Seeger, is angular, atonal, and rhythmically complex. Set to poems by Carl Sandburg and scored for oboe, piano, and percussion, these songs were ahead of their time in accentuating conversational speech patterns, and Crawford Seeger (Pete’s aunt), who with her musicologist husband Charles transcribed thousands of folk songs, had a keen feel for the vernacular. Songs From the Rubaiyat (1963) by Dorothy Rudd Moore, on the other hand, are lyrical, sensual–evocative of Ravel and vaguely Oriental. The program also includes Translucent Unreality no. 1 by Darleen Cowles Mitchell, a founding member of AWC Midwest, and Sonata for Piano and Violin, an early effort by Chicagoan Lita Grier. Hyman’s colleagues in the performance department include flutist Lyon Leifer, violist Melissa Trier Kirk, and oboist Patricia Morehead. Tonight, 7:30 PM, auditorium, Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. Saint Louis; 667-1618 or 794-3042.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Lisa Kohler.