Things Fall Apart, a song cycle by professor emeritus Roger C. Vogel will premiere Sept. 6 at 8 p.m. in the Ramsey Concert Hall of the Performing Arts Center. The concert is free and open to the public.
The song is based on excerpts from Nigerian author Chinua Achebe’s English-language novel Things Fall Apart. Originally published in 1958, the narrative tells the story of Okonkwo, a leader and wrestling champion from his village. The plot follows a series of events, including the coming of European government and religion, which end tragically with Okonkwo’s suicide.
Written in 2011, Vogel’s song cycle Things Fall Apart was commissioned by international bass-baritone soloist Odekhiren Amaize, an associate professor at Zayed University in Abu Dabi, United Arab Emirates. Amaize has served as a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the Moscow State Conservatory and has performed widely throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia.
His performance at UGA is supported by a department-invited lecturer grant from the Willson Center for the Humanities and Arts.
“It was especially rewarding to work with Odekhiren Amaize in selecting the excerpts to best portray the events, and it was challenging to write music that has some of the exotic character of Nigerian music,” said Vogel, who joined the Hugh Hodgson School of Music in 1976. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he has written more than 100 original works for a variety of performance, publishing and recording projects.
“It will be a thrill to premiere this new work at UGA with Amaize and other colleagues from campus,” Vogel said.
Things Fall Apart will be performed by Amaize, flutist Angela Jones-Reus, pianist Martha Thomas and percussionist Todd Mueller.
Jones-Reus and Thomas both are on the faculty of UGA’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music. Jones-Reus has been a professor of flute at UGA since 2000. Thomas has been on the piano faculty since 1986. Mueller is a faculty member at Gwinnett Georgia College.