Central Michigan University English Professor and Poet Robert Fanning visited the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas on January 20 for an emotive presentation of poetry and music with nationally acclaimed composer David Beedenbender. I lectured on impact.
Inspired by Fanning’s recent poem “Infinity Room”, Biedenbender has composed a new seven-movement piece called “in a field of stars”. Following their talk, his Khemia Ensemble, a respected contemporary classical collective, performed the piece in front of a packed audience.
Fanning said his poem was inspired by the “Infinity Room” installation by internationally renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. The song is also on the album Intersections, recently released by Ravello Records and available on all streaming services.
Fanning said, “To hear your words sung to music in such a breathtaking setting is an incredible honor.” You will have a whole new life, once again translated into music.”
This isn’t the first time Beedenbender has found inspiration in Fanning’s work. They also collaborated on the concerto “Severance”, based on Fanning’s book of the same name. Commissioned by the U.S. Navy Band, it was performed nationally and performed to an audience of thousands at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago on December 20th.
Their latest collaboration, “All We Are Given We Cannot Hold,” features a composition of Fanning’s seven poems and shares its title with his new manuscript. It recently premiered in Texas and will be performed at Michigan State University’s Cook Recital Hall on March 13th.