Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-09-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES                DOWNLOAD PDF ISSUE

Composer Libby Rudolph turns music to activism
by Catey Sullivan
2018-10-10

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


When composer/vocalist Elizabeth "Libby" Rudolph was an undergraduate at the University of Illinois, one of her professors gave her some guidance that changed the shape of her education.

"He told me I was shouldn't write music because I was too female and too emotional," Rudolph said. At the time, Rudolph had been already composing for years, was a veteran of the world-renowned Interlochan Arts Academy and an award-winning tutor in the more-complicated-than-calculus study of musical theory.

She had a ready response for her university advisor: "I told him to go piss up a rope. Then I found a new college."

A few decades out from that exchange, Rudolph is both an acclaimed vocalist and composer. On Oct. 16, the queer-identifying artist is turning over a recital's worth of her own compositions to other vocalists and musicians. Finding Home, Finding Self: The Music of Elizabeth Rudolph begins at 8 p.m. at the Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church, 600 W. Fullerton Ave. Proceeds from the deeply personal concert will go to the Chicago Women's Health Center, which since 1975 has worked to provide works to empower women and trans* people with pay-what-you-can-afford, high-quality health care and health education.

"I don't believe it's actually music until somebody performs it," Rudolph told Windy City Times. "It's not music when it's just sitting on a page. I have all these black-and-white notes I've written over the past 40 years, all these pieces that in my mind, aren't really music yet."

Rudolph has been writing songs since 1980, when she was a teenager growing up in tiny New Berlin, Wisconsin. She describes her sound as minimalist, contemporary and classical. She loves Stravinsky, Strauss and big band, loves and hates Wagner and once loved Philip Glass, but "burned out" on his music in high school. Her friends say they can hear jazz in her compositions. She insists she's not good at lyrics ( "I'm not confident writing in English. I am confident writing in music." ).

With degrees in vocal music and composition from Minnesota's prestigious St. Olaf College, Rudolph can deliver Cole Porter and operatic art songs with equal verve, and works regularly with Chicago's Transgressive Opera, New Moon Opera and The Floating Opera Company. Her pieces have been performed and/or recorded by VOX3 collective, Third Eye Theater, and Opera on Tap-Chicago.

"In writing music, I discover myself. Creation is a form of mediation. I need that. We all need that. Now, more than ever, creation is important," Rudolph said. The intersection of art and politics is also paramount, she said.

"It's so important to make things political right now. My dad ( and other conservatives ) like to patronizingly dismiss my concerns by saying that 'politics isn't personal.' But politics is totally personal.

"I have a pre-existing condition and I have to get individual insurance. Before the Affordable Care Act, I couldn't get insurance at any price. Anyone who votes for a candidate who pledges to eliminate the ACA without providing another way for me to get insurance, is voting for me to live in constant fear and stress. That's just one example."

In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, Rudolph turned the fear and stress toward amping up up her powers of creation.

"I had no comprehension that the conservative movement was so strong. I was absolutely confident Hillary would win. The composition I eventually wrote about it is called 'Sickness.' It's about the sickness that has taken control of our culture.

"It's potent here in the U.S.A., but it's happening all over. Look at Doug Ford in Ontario. Look at what's happening in Poland. Look at Theresa May and Brexit. It's important for artists to express themselves. If we don't say anything now, we might not be able to say anything later," she said.

Rudolph's work also takes on Shakespeare, who gets his own set in the Oct. 16 concert. The segment includes compositions Rudolph set to Richard III's most harrowing monologues: Lady Ann's inconsolable sorrow and rage over the Richard's butchering of her husband and father-in-law, and Queen Margaret's hair-raising, Cassandra-like incantations.

Many of Rudolph's compositions are set to poems penned by her aunt, Appleton Wisconsin-based Julia Ball. "Family Relations," featuring Ball's lyrics, includes "Perfect Fog," a song about Rudolph's grandfather and his decline into Alzheimer's. "The last eight years of his life, it was like he wasn't there. ( The song ) is about the transition between grandpa being grandpa and grandpa being gone," Rudolph said.

The concert also has an instrumental section, where musicians including Meghan Guse, Rachael Long, Samantha Attaguile and Katherine Dalin, will be in the spotlight. Other pieces feature the words of August Strindberg ( 'The Third Night,' two songs with lyrics by Strindberg for bass-baritone, bass clarinet, and piano ) and mezzo soprano/composer/poet Yvonne Strumecki ( 'e Gustaria Hablar,' a song cycle for soprano, violin, and piano ).

Rudolph's queer identity and bisexual orientation shows up in subtle ways in her performances. "I don't know that my sexuality shows up that much in my composition so much as it does in my artistic choices as a performer.

"I can flirt with everybody on stage. It's Off-Loop storefront, so nobody cares," she said. "I always sang boy songs, girl songs. Change the octave and you're fine. I came out in 1994 as a lesbian, but then I realized I still liked men too. So I've identified as bi forever," she said.

"Although," Rudolph added, "somebody recently reprimanded me on the Internet for calling myself that. They said 'bi' enforced the binary and I was actual pansexual. I've had relationships with men, women be people who didn't identify as either gender."

Rudolph's coming the concert is at once performance and a testimony to art as resistance and resilience. "If you're feeling overwhelmed and sad, go home," she said. "Lock the door. Create."

"Finding Home, Finding Self: The Music of Elizabeth Rudolph" is at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church, 600 W. Fullerton. Tickets are $15. Proceeds bgo to the Chicago Women's Health Center. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/events/1615725035199317/; ticket info is at findinghomefindingself.brownpapertickets.com/ .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

SOCIAL MEDIA Sam Cushing talks COVID-19, creating meaningful content 2020-09-15
Sarah Brightman in Chicago in Dec. 2021 2020-09-15
SHOWBIZ 'Pose,' Matt Bomer, 'Mr. Soul,' Lil Nas X, Halsey, Dave Koz 2020-09-15
SHOWBIZ 'Star Trek,' Julianne Moore, benefit album, 'To Wong Foo' 2020-09-08
SHOWBIZ #ReadOutProud, Mj Rodriguez, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Lopez 2020-09-02
'The Best of Cher' on DVD Sept. 15 2020-09-01
MUSIC Trans singer Kyler O'Neal debuts music video, talks poetry 2020-09-01
SHOWBIZ Disco fundraiser, drag queen dies, Randy Rainbow, Outfest's tribute 2020-08-24
Artemis Singers virtual panel Sept. 26 2020-08-20
WCPA names William Southerland as new artistic director 2020-08-19
MUSIC The B-52s' Kate Pierson takes the stage to urge women to vote 2020-08-19
Holocaust Museum, Resiliency2020 hosting star-studded event 2020-08-18
Navy Pier to reclose temporarily 2020-08-18
NATIONAL Streisand/Summer, HIV treatment, Alex Morse, Barney Frank 2020-08-18
SHOWBIZ Trans record label, Ruby Rose, gay producer dies, Kamala supporters 2020-08-18
MUSIC Performer Jane Badler helps present late son's musical vision 2020-08-18
MUSIC Cor.Ece: Queer singer on journey, 'The Chi' and 'hopeful electro-soul' 2020-08-13
Women Take the Stage Aug. 26 national online event 2020-08-11
SHOWBIZ Sarah Paulson, The B-52s, NBA player, Issa Rae, Ryan Reynolds 2020-08-10
WCPA names William Southerland as new artistic director 2020-08-05
SHOWBIZ Janet Mock, 'Pose,' Joan Jett, Sam Smith, 'Digging Up Dorothy' 2020-08-04
Lollapalooza running virtually July 30-Aug. 2 2020-07-30
Five Worth Finding: Bill T. Jones book, Music Box thriller and more 2020-07-22
SHOWBIZ: Ellen, Scooby-Doo, 'Survivor,' LGBTQ singers, Andy Cohen 2020-07-21
Concert for Cuba July 18-19 2020-07-17
SHOWBIZ Seth Rudetsky, LGBTQ films, Janelle Monae, trans singer 2020-07-13
Ravinia Festival names new CEO 2020-07-10
NUNN ON ONE MUSIC Rufus Wainwright on new album, Pride, future 2020-07-08
SHOWBIZ Paris Jackson, GALECA nods, Halle Berry, Jennifer Holliday 2020-07-07
SHOWBIZ Terrence McNally, Latino/a/x musicians, singer Harry Hains, Lena Waithe 2020-06-29
EXPO CHICAGO pushed to 2021 2020-06-24
Out local musician releasing album, launching music station 2020-06-24
Music Box, Kino Lorber hosting film 'Proud' 2020-06-23
Old Town's virtual Pride Jam on June 26 2020-06-23
SHOWBIZ Lee Daniels, 'Walking Dead' star, Sylvester, Richard Simmons 2020-06-23
Reunion, OTV and Slo 'Mo hosting virtual Pride festival June 26-28 2020-06-22
Nick Jonas joining Virtual Pride Fest Chicago 2020-06-18
Sylvester's iconic album 'Step II' to be reissued 2020-06-18
Music Box, Kino Lorber hosting film 'Proud' starting June 19 2020-06-16
WORLD Global Pride, trans woman attacked, Poland items, singer comes out 2020-06-15
 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.