Posted: Tuesday, September 15, 2015

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Transylvania University will host four of the most renowned Kentucky poets on Sept. 23 at the premiere of “Where I Am Now,” a music and poetry collaboration from Transylvania music professor Larry Barnes.

The program will be in Carrick Theater at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Part of Transylvania’s Creative Intelligence Series, the piece sets to music poems submitted by Pulitzer-Prize nominee Jeff Worley and Kentucky Poets Laureate Frank X Walker, Richard Taylor and George Ella Lyon. The poets will speak about their works, which are set in the first person and portray strong feelings around circumstances that range from the everyday to the extraordinary.

“I was thrilled to have these fine poets agree to this project, and I wanted to do them justice by fully expressing my emotional response to their personal and deeply moving works,” Barnes said. “The power of their words inspired me to write music that is luminous, nostalgic, grief-stricken but hopeful and, at the end, full of sass.”

Following the introductions, Lexington sopranos Joanna Manring and Anabelle Wright Gatton will join Barnes at the piano for the first performance of the new songs. Styles include classical contemporary, distant ragtime and a slow drag blues.

“Their works led me to musical styles I wouldn’t have touched on my own,” Barnes said. “This collaboration has moved my heart more strongly than I imagined when I took the chance and asked these artists to join me. I hope that our audience will feel the brilliance of their poems through my music.”

Transylvania University, located in the heart of downtown Lexington, Ky., is ranked in the top 15 percent of the nation’s four-year colleges by The Princeton Review, which cites its community-driven, personalized approach to a liberal arts education through 38 majors and 37 minors. Founded in 1780, it is the 16th oldest institution of higher learning in the country, with nearly 1,100 students.