2017 Viola Award Nominee for Excellence in the Performing Arts
Beethoven’s Slippers was staged in Ardrey Auditorium on November 3, 2016, with piano quartet accompaniment, including professional string players from Pennsylvania and Flagstaff. Soprano Jennifer Trost, who also commissioned the work, sang the premiere performances. Flagstaff local soprano and Cloud’s private student Staci Dickens sang the final performance. All performances were part of NAU Lyric Theatre’s production, For the Love of Three Operas.
Dr. Gregory Berg describes Cloud as a first rank composer, a gifted and busy mezzo soprano soloist and a highly regarded voice teacher who is currently Coordinator of Voice at Northern Arizona University.
Additionally, David Canfield of Fanfare Magazine, when reviewing a CD of songs by Cloud writes “The the quality of these songs rises far above the level of the dilettante.” He continues to say that “these well-crafted song deserve to be better known.”
Synopsis: A woman poignantly details her love affair with Charles including romantic escapades in Paris and Santa Fe and thoughtful gifts, among them pearls and a pair of slippers worn by Beethoven. The production’s scenery utilizes over a dozen huge drops, fabric etched with the original sketches by Mr. Atwill as the woman recalls her memories. The production features guest violinist James Lyon, NAU string faculty Jackie Schwandt and Mary Ann Ramos, along with pianist Rita Borden in the chamber ensemble, guest artist Jennifer Trost and Flagstaff soprano Staci Dickens, each portraying The Woman.)
Beethoven’s Slippers will be performed at the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State University in February 2017. Subsequent performances will take place in Los Angeles in March. Jennifer Trost also plans to make a professional CD of the work.
About Judith Cloud
Composer Judith Cloud’s gift for vocal writing was born out of her own rich experiences as an accomplished mezzo-soprano soloist. Born in 1954 in Reidsville, NC, Cloud sang with her musical family in church services, where her first mentor, Dr. Ruth Graham, introduced her to music ranging from Bach to Britten. Later, Cloud entered the North Carolina School of the Arts, where she studied voice, conducting and composition. Her composition studies were with Robert Ward and Roy Johnson. Vocal instruction was with Janice Harsanyi, a champion of 20th-century American composers and an amateur composer, herself.
Cloud’s music, built on romantic principals, is at once lyrical, rhythmically challenging and harmonically intriguing. Her catalog includes numerous vocal, choral and instrumental works. Most notable is her cantata “Feet of Jesus” set to poems by Langston Hughes. In 2009 she was awarded first place for the Sorel Medallion in Choral Composition with a performance in Carnegie Hall, for her piece for chorus and guitar, “Anacreontics.” Cloud has created a niche for herself in the pantheon of American composers of art song.