Weiss Prizes Awarded
In the question and answer session following her reading, O’Hare explained that she wanted to explore the space between the apparent binary of ghosts, spiritual forms seeking the material realm; and saints, corporeal forms seeking the spiritual realm. “I’ve always been interested in the ways absolute categories like possessing / not possessing and presence / absence are less straightforward than they might initially appear,” O’Hare said in an e-mail.
Although O’Hare spent about three months crafting poems specifically for this collection, she was able to incorporate some of her previous work as well. “I think many of the themes that eventually coalesced into the concepts of ‘ghost’ and ‘saint’ were already present in my work,” she explained.
After a brief intermission, Rainero-de Haan conducted Enter: Life, which was comprised of four movements incorporating different languages. She wrote the piece for an eight-person ensemble of tenor, oboe, clarinet, horn, two violins, cello and percussion. Following her piece Rainero-de Haan talked about how much she learned through working with the musicians about what their instruments could do and what they sounded like together. The ensemble has been rehearsing under Rainero-de Haan’s direction since the first week of winter break, when she finished her composition. “I think this was the most rewarding part of the process,” Rainero-de Haan said when asked about the rehearsals, “as I was able to watch all the music in my head become realized by my dedicated musicians.”
Rainero-de Haan also talked about the development of her piece, which began as a way to explore various American-and-Italian-Jewish melodies with which she grew up or learned while studying abroad in Bologna, Italy during her junior year. It evolved into a four-part song cycle based on a personally significant narrative, although some of the Jewish melodies are included in the third movement.
Sunday’s performance was not the first time that these talented women showcased their work. O’Hare, a senior English major, has had her poetry featured in The Portland Review, The Potomac Review and Mad Poets Review, as well as on Sirius Radio and at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City. She has also taken part in Dickinson’s Semana Poetica VII and was the recipient of Dickinson’s Academy of American Poets Prize in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Rainero-de Haan, a senior Music Composition major, is also active in the chamber music program as a pianist. She has been studying composition since high school, when she attended The Walden Camp, a music composition camp in New Hampshire. In 2008 Rainero-de Haan was commissioned to write a piece for the PRISM Saxophone Quartet; her work premiered in New York City and Philadelphia in June 2010. O’Hare will attend Columbia University in the fall to pursue a Master’s degree in teaching, while Rainero-de Haan hopes to go to Europe to study Performing Arts Administration.