Past Event

Abolitionism and the Arts in the Long Eighteenth Century

May 6, 2023
5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
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East Gallery, Maison Française, Buell Hall
A Concert, and Panel to think through the connections between the arts and the history of abolitionism in the Atlantic world

Opposition to slavery and the slave trade permeated the art worlds of literature, music, and visual art in the long eighteenth century. Europeans and Americans composed poetic critiques of the slave trade, sang songs of sympathy for enslaved people, and engraved images that asserted the common humanity of Africans and Europeans. This one-day interdisciplinary symposium, to be held at Columbia University on 6 May 2023, brings together musicologists, literary and theater scholars, art historians, and historians to think through the connections between the arts and the history of abolitionism in the Atlantic world. The day begins with interdisciplinary panel presentations at the Heyman Center (10 am to 5 pm RSVP HERE) with opening remarks by Atesede Makonnen. The day will conclude with a concert of rarely-heard abolitionist songs from the long eighteenth century performed by Awet Andemicael (soprano, Yale University) and Magdalena Stern-Baczewska (piano, Columbia University) at the Maison Française (5:30 to 8 pm).

Joy is the hallmark of Awet Andemicael’s artistry. A critically-acclaimed concert and recording soprano, she has sung across North America, in Europe, Asia, and Africa, with ensembles including the Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Handel and Haydn Society, and Bach Collegium Japan. She holds degrees from Yale University, Yale Divinity School (YDS)/Institute of Sacred Music (ISM), the University of Notre Dame, UC Irvine, and Harvard University. Dr. Andemicael has published articles and chapters on Christian theology, music and faith, and other topics, and is currently Associate Dean for Marquand Chapel and Assistant Professor (adj) in Theology at Yale.

Magdalena Baczewska is a pianist, harpsichordist, recording artist, speaker, and an educator. She is a Senior Lecturer and the Director of the Music Performance Program at Columbia University. Baczewska has appeared internationally with the world’s leading orchestras, among them the San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, and China National Symphony. She has toured extensively with the Grammy and Oscar-winning composer Tan Dun. Her critically acclaimed discography spans many genres, from pre-Baroque keyboard music to collaborations with techno and hip-hop artists. Embracing the dual role of an educator and administrator at Columbia, Baczewska directs a program that gathers over 400 student musicians, including members of the elite Columbia-Juilliard Exchange.

This event is co-sponsors by the Columbia University Maison Française, the Columbia University Seminar in Eighteenth-Century European Culture, the Columbia University Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities, the Columbia University Center for Ethnomusicology, the Columbia University Department of Music, the Goldsmiths, University of London Department of Music, Music & Letters, and the Royal Musical Association.