Of Nature Composed

November 15, 2016

A behind-the-scenes discussion with Consuelo Sherba, Aurea Artistic Director, relating the research and contributions from the Athenæum’s Special Collections, in devising the upcoming program Of Nature Composed on November 19, at The Granoff Center

This unique program, created for The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities Series, Celebrating the Centennial of the Pulitzer Prize, will be a multi-disciplinary performance at the intersection of the arts, nature, science and the humanities to form a complex essay about the environment. The Aurea Ensemble combines music with the spoken word, bringing together both contemporary and classic compositions and texts to explore significant themes and inspire audiences. This Salon will concentrate on the process involved bringing together all the layers of the program, after the usual intense research and incubation period, with specific reference to the Athenæum’s Special Collections.

For the “Of Nature Composed” campfire, the ensemble, including actor, Nigel Gore, actor/musician Chris Turner, and musicians, Katherine Winterstein, Megumi Stohs, Consuelo Sherba and Emmanuel Feldman, will feature music and writings of 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner John Luther Adams, John Cage and Charles Ives, music of ground-breaking Renaissance composer Johannes Ockeghem, words of contemporary Pulitzer Prize-winning nature poets Galway Kinnell and Mary Oliver, as well as the naturalists, Henry David Thoreau and John Muir. Multi-media imagery will also will be integrated into the performance. Join us as Sherba discusses the process involved bringing together all the layers of this program.

Funded by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, the Open Sesame Project brings together six artists/scholars working in different genres to research into the Athenæum’s extensive collections.

Of Nature Composed is part of a collaborative series of programs facilitated by the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prizes in 2016. An exploration of the changing nature of journalism and the humanities in the digital age, What is the 21st Century Essay? programming thematically focuses on environmental issues because of their urgency and relevance to our health, communities, and economy.


Consuelo Sherba, violist, is artistic director and a founding member of the performance ensemble Aurea. Since 2004, she has performed with Aurea at the Chicago Humanities Festival, the New York University Humanities Festival, FirstWorks Providence, the Pawtucket Arts Festival, the Maverick Festival and throughout New England. She is a 2015 honoree of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities for her creative vision and multidisciplinary, humanities-driven programming with Aurea; was chosen as Person of the Year by the Pawtucket Foundation in 2007, and in 2008, was awarded the prestigious Rhode Island Pell Award. She has been on the applied music faculty at Brown University since 1986, teaches at the RI Philharmonic Music School and performs with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, The Vermont Symphony and Buzzard’s Bay Music Festival and has served as principal violist of the Simon Sinfonietta and the Boston Virtuosi. She has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the Boston Pops, Grand Teton Music Festival, the Carvalho Festival in Brazil, the Aspen Music Festival, and Colorado Music Festival. She was also a member of the Atlanta Chamber Players, principal violist of the Atlanta Chamber Orchestra, Atlanta Ballet Orchestra, and the West Virginia Symphony. From 1983-2000, Consuelo was violist of the Charleston String Quartet, in residence at Brown University, performing with the quartet throughout the United States, Europe and Scandinavia. A graduate of the LaGuardia School for the Arts in New York City and City College of New York, with graduate work at U/Mass Amherst and UWMilwaukee, and the Aspen Institute for Advanced Quartet Studies, her major teachers were Felix Galimir, Bernard Zaslav and Philip Naegele, with coaching by the Juilliard Quartet, Fine Arts Quartet, Budapest Quartet, and Eugene Lehner.

This season was generously supported by the following friends and partners:

Categories: Art History, Art, and Design