Soprano Malinda Haslett, leader of the University of Southern Maine’s School of Music Voice Department. Submitted photo

“Celebrating French Music, the History Makers, the History Changers,” a program highlighting the lives, music, and struggle for freedom of trailblazing French women composers who have been forgotten in history, presented by The Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine, in collaboration with the Franco Center, and the University of Southern Maine’s Osher School of Music and Bates College Department of Music, will be performed on Friday, March 1, at the Franco Center in Lewiston. The music will begin at 6 p.m., with a reception to follow at 7:15 p.m.

Soprano Malinda Haslett, director of USM’s Voice Program, and Osher School of Music seniors Josephine Lawrence, Bella St. Cyr, and Caroline Wood will honor the work of underrepresented musicians, including female Jewish composer and member of the French resistance, Claude Arrieu.

Haslett’s research and performances related to Arrieu earned her the USM Trustee Professorship in 2022-23. Arrieu was a founding member of the Front National des Musiciens, whose mission was to save artists and art from annihilation while preserving French culture and lifting morale. When the war ended, their music fell into obscurity. Yet, as Dr. Haslett’s work illuminates, Arrieu’s music lives on through her connection to Maine native, Dame Alice Esty, a soprano, philanthropist, and resident of Lewiston, who commissioned Arrieu to write for her after the war.

The evening program will celebrate Arrieu, Esty, and Maine’s contribution to the classical vocal music canon, and showcase the work of current young vocal artists here in Maine.

In honor of those who passed away after the tragic Lewiston shooting in October, the program will conclude with a rendition of Gabriel Fauré’s “Requiem.” In collaboration with friends and colleagues from Bates College, members of the USM Voice Program and students and faculty from Bates will come together to sing as a musical memorial.

Conductor duties will be shared by Scott Wheatley, who serves on USM’s voice faculty and as a collaborative pianist, and Joëlle Morris, singer, choral conductor, music educator at Bates.

Following the event, there will be a reception and presentation by students who will share their research on undervalued women pioneers in music.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. There is no admission fee, but seats must be reserved. The Franco Center is located at 46 Cedar St., Lewiston. Parking is available in the mill lot. The building is handicap accessible on the Lincoln St. Alley side.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.