History and Music of Benjamin Franklin Live at TAMIU Feb. 20
Posted: 2/10/11

‘The History and Music of Benjamin Franklin’s
Colonial America’ at TAMIU, Feb. 20

Texas A&M International University hosts “The History and Music of Benjamin Franklin’s Colonial America,” Sunday, Feb. 20 at 3 p.m. in  the TAMIU Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Recital Hall.

The innovative program will feature Norman Rockwell’s “Poor Richard’s Almanac” Suite, historian and author John Micklos, Jr., glass armonica instrument master William Zeitler, the Monte Vista String Quartet and pianist Christopher Guzman.

The presentation is made possible by TAMIU, the Lucy Meriwether Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Red Hill Society of Children of the American Revolution and Toni L. Ruiz.

The musical program will include Adagio by W.A. Mozart, Melodrama from Leonore Prohaska by Ludwig Van Beethoven, Adagio and Rondo (with Quartet) by W.A. Mozart, Grave by Karl Leopold Roellig, Adagio by Joseph Aloys Schmittbaur, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy by P.I. Tchaikovsky, Climbing the Holy Mount (with Quartet), Vigil for a New Moon, and The Contemplation of the Grail by William Zeitler.

Benjamin Franklin is one of the nation’s most revered founding fathers. Made famous for his experiments with electricity, Franklin had a vast knowledge of music and surrounded himself with it throughout his life. 

In 1761, he invented the Glass Armonica, premiered in early 1762 when played by London Virtuoso Marianne Davis. Franklin was the first to envision the tuning of glasses into an individual musical instrument. Franklin claimed the armonica was the invention he took most delight in creating, so it is fitting to pay tribute to this remarkable instrument on the 250th Anniversary of its invention. Both Mozart and Beethoven wrote works for the glass armonica.

Also part of Sunday’s event is Norman Rockwell’s suite of seven paintings, “Poor Richard’s Almanac,” a portrayal of life in Colonial America. The painting depicts the role of taverns, inventions of the Golden Age with an emphasis on Franklin and the importance of his associations with English Royalty, his role as a printer, his life in colonial Philadelphia, and the women in his life.

Historian John Micklos, Jr. will share his insights on life in Colonial America. Author of nearly 75 newspaper, magazine, and journal articles, he has served as editor-in –chief of Reading Today, the membership newspaper of the International Reading Association. He is an active freelance writer and author of more than 15 books for children and young adults, including biographies and poetry. Micklos’ fascination with the Nation’s founding led him to write The Revolutionary War Library Series in 2008, a young person’s perspective of the founding of the nation.

William Zeitler is one of the world’s leading virtuoso performers on the armonica. A musician since the age 5, Zeitler studied piano and went on to earn a B.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts.  He has gone on to entertain audiences around the world.

The Monte Vista String Quartet, under the direction of Andrew Small, has exclusively drawn its string quartet players from the San Antonio Symphony. Monte Vista String musicians are full-time professional musicians who attained Quartet positions through competitive national auditions.  The musicians hold degrees from some of the finest music schools in the world.

Texas native and pianist Christopher Guzman has entertained audiences throughout North America, Europe and Asia.  He received his bachelors and masters degrees from the Juilliard School, and studied at the New England Conservatory of Music. Guzman is a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. 

For additional information, contact the University’s Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 956.326.2180, e-mail prmis@tamiu.edu, click on tamiu.edu or visit social networking sites on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu