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The College of St. Scholastica

Community members are invited to experience a program of contrasts featuring St. Scholastica music faculty Dr. Jennifer Lien and Dr. Nicholas Susi. “Juxtapositions: European Orientalism, Asian America and Asia” will be held in the Mitchell Auditorium on Friday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. 

Images of Asia have long sparked the European musical imagination. Musical Orientalism, with its descriptions of exotic landscapes and fetishized female figures, found a ready and receptive audience during the era of European imperialism and colonization that peaked during the two World Wars. These stereotypes of otherness and the Eastern feminine ideal remain in the general Western imagination today. 

In this recital, Lien and Susi juxtapose examples of French and British musical Orientalism with contemporary works by Asian American women composers, ending with a coda of songs by composers from Southeast Asia. Composers include Maurice Delage, Amy Woodforde-Finden, Kamala Sankaram and Melissa Dunphy. Alumnae Rylee Newton ’21 and Grace Young ’21 also return to St. Scholastica as special guests.

Lien, lauded for her “sonorous, clear voice” and her dramatic range, has been seen on opera and concert stages in California, Florida, New York, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Singapore. Dr. Lien holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice and an MA in Historical Musicology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A seasoned vocal educator, Dr. Lien taught voice to majors and non-majors at UW-Madison and at Beloit College before coming to the College.

Susi is an assistant professor of music and has been described as “an innovative musician and aggressive thinker with a gift for keyboard brilliance.” His varied activities in recent seasons include solo and concerto performances, masterclasses, lectures, community outreach events and competition adjudication. In addition to teaching private lessons in piano, Dr. Susi also coordinates the class piano program and teaches courses in music theory.

Juxtapositions is open to the public; general admission is $10. Students and Sisters of the St. Scholastica Monastery can attend for free.

Performers Jennifer Lien and Nicholas Susi
Dr. Jennifer Lien (left) and Dr. Nicholas Susi (right)