LEWISTON — In three separate musical performances during the weekend of Feb. 7-9, Bates College will present Maine’s best-known pianist, an evening of music by Austrian composer Hanns Eisler and a concert by singer-songwriter Leyla McCalla, all in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall, 75 Russell St.

Soprano Karyn Levitt and pianist Eric Ostling will perform Eisler songs, including settings for lyrics by renowned German poet Bertolt Brecht, in translations by playwright and singer Eric Bentley at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7. Admission is free, but tickets are required.

Pianist Frank Glazer, artist in residence at Bates, will give a special 99th-birthday concert featuring music of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8. Following the performance, a reception and toast will be held on the Olin stage in his honor. Admission to the show is $10 but 50 free tickets will be available for students and seniors (65 and older) as of Feb. 3.

Closing the weekend is McCalla, a singer-songwriter touring in support of her debut album, “Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes” (Dixiefrog Records), at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9. Admission to the show is $15. Free tickets are available to a limited number of students and seniors (65 and older).

Free tickets for all three performances are available through bit.ly/oacbates. Paid tickets are available through batestickets.com. For more information, call 207-786-6135 or email [email protected]

“Eric Bentley’s Brecht-Eisler Song Book”

This performance by Levitt and Ostling showcases songs of the Austrian composer Hanns Eisler in English versions by Eric Bentley. A world-renowned playwright, poet, drama critic and cabaret singer, Bentley was the first translator into English of Bertolt Brecht’s plays and poems, introducing Brecht’s work to American stages in the 1940s and ’50s.

Now 97 years old, Eric Bentley has worked with Levitt on this program since 2011. Eisler created a vast and varied repertory, and this program presents a stunning sample of his genius and versatility. Bentley adapted the song texts, which are poems by Brecht and other master poets, from their original German into English, unlocking Eisler’s starkly beautiful songs for American audiences.

Karyn Levitt creates and performs one-woman shows. She made her Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall in 2007 in her solo show “The Age of Romance: From Vienna to Broadway,” featuring works of the great composers of romantic operetta. She has performed at Goethe-Institut Boston, Shakespeare & Company, Oberlin College, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and many other cultural institutions.

Pianist and composer Ostling works in both the jazz and classical worlds. His classical works have received orchestral premieres in Louisville and Boston, and performances by the Muir and Manhattan String Quartets. A recording from his songbook of more than 60 jazz compositions is scheduled for release later this year.

Frank Glazer’s 99th birthday celebration

At 99, Glazer’s energy remains a source of amazement and inspiration for those around him. Glazer, of Topsham, has had a distinguished international career that began in the 1920s and has included numerous recordings, solo recitals and performances with orchestras and chamber ensembles, and his own television show in the 1950s. With his wife, the late Ruth Glazer, he founded the Saco River Music Festival, held for many years in Cornish, Maine.

Glazer has been an artist in residence at Bates since 1980. He recently finished a season of concerts revisiting his favorite music from three decades of performing at the college. In 2012, he released the book, “A Philosophy of Artistic Performance (With Some Practical Suggestions),” a collection of aphorisms and advice that he has been amassing since the 1930s. That same year he was featured on American Public Media’s popular program “The Story.”

Leyla McCalla

“What a voice, more Billie Holiday than anything,” Singout magazine reviewer Chris Nickson wrote of McCalla’s debut recording. “It’s an album that seems to exist out of time . . . although the world it describes really hasn’t moved on too much. As arranger, musician and vocalist she’s a remarkable talent, and this debut is assured and a harbinger of a towering career.”

A singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, McCalla has been a touring member of the string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops for two years. The cross-pollination of her Haitian roots with the African American folk-blues tradition endows her music with a unique, highly poetic freshness. Her album, set for release this February, got a push from a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $20,000.

“Vari-Colored Songs” blends settings she has written for poems by Langston Hughes, the renowned poet of the 1920s Harlem renaissance, with Creole folk songs. Guests on the album include Rhiannon Giddens and Hubby Jenkins of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, as well as New Orleans’ own Don Vappie on tenor banjo and Luke Winslow King on guitar.


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