Soprano Janis-Rozena Peri, a member of the West Virginia University music faculty, has released a compact disc titled”Music of Zenobia Powell Perry, Volume I, Art Songs and Piano,”in conjunction with Jaygayle Music and Cambria Master Recordings of Lomita, Calif.
The CD features compositions written by Peris mother, the noted composer Zenobia Powell Perry, and also features WVU faculty members John Crotty, piano, and Joyce Catalfano, flute. It is the first recording devoted to the works of Zenobia Perry.
Songs include Perrys”Homage to William L. Dawson on His 90th Birthday,”“Promenade,”“Rhapsody”and”Flight”for solo piano,”O the Angels Done Bowed Down,”“Threnody Song Cycle,”“Heritage and Life Song Cycle,”“How Charming is the Place,”for soprano and piano, and”The Hidden Worlds of Bahaullah,”for soprano, flute and piano.
Zenobia Powell Perry was born in 1908 in Boley, Okla., and is a graduate of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, ColoradoUniversity at Greeley and the University of Wyoming. She studied with Nathaniel Dett, William L. Dawson and Darius Milhaud and has composed more than 100 pieces of music, including piano music, art songs, chamber music, works for orchestra, band and chorus, and an opera. Her compositions have been performed throughout the United States.
She retired as composition and theory teacher and resident composer at CentralStateUniversity at Wilberforce, Ohio, where she taught for nearly 30 years. Perry was saluted for cultural contributions by the Ohioana Library Association in 1987, and in 1988 she was honored by the Hall of Musical Instruments at the Smithsonian Institutions Museum of American History. The Ohio General Assembly presented her with a”Lifetime Achievement Award”in 1991.
Janis-Rozena Peri has appeared frequently in New Yorks major concert halls and at colleges and universities across the country. She specializes in the works of American composers, particularly African American women. She earned a bachelors degree in piano from OtterbeinCollege and a master of music in voice from MiamiUniversity. She spent a year as a special student at OberlinCollege and won the Kate Kinley Neal Award Competition at the University of Illinois, which allowed her to study in New York.
She made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1971, singing the role of the Mater Gloriosa in Mahlers Eighth Symphony with the Hartford Symphony conducted by Arthur Winograd. Following a highly acclaimed recital at Carnegie Hall in 1977, she appeared as soprano soloist in the distinguished CBS -TV two-part”Camera Three”program,”Gustav Mahler in New York,”with James Levine and Pierre Boulez as commentators. She made her European debut with the Schweizer Tournee Theater as”Frankie”in the Bizet-Hammerstein”Carmen Jones”and has toured many European countries.
“Music of Zenobia Powell Perry, Volume I”may be ordered by contacting Jaygayle Music at P.O. Box 8144, La Crescenta, Calif. 91224-0144 or calling (818) 446-0082. Jaygayle Music is preparing all of Zenobia Perrys music in professional editions to be offered for sale, beginning in June. For more information, see the Zenobia Perry Web site:http://www.zenobiaperry.org/.