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Claudia Stevens

University of North Dakota
Center for Human Rights and Genocide Studies

Special Event Claudia Stevens
An Evening with Madame F

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Click here to view a @&A session with Claudia Stevens

Claudia Stevens

An Evening with Madame F

An Evening with Madame F, created and written by Claudia Stevens for her solo performance as musician-actor, with additional original music by Fred Cohen, has been presented at the national and international level for two decades. The work is widely praised by critics, audiences, and the Holocaust survivor community as a uniquely authentic and profound artistic expression of the Holocaust. Drawing on first-hand accounts – those of her own family members and of concentration camp musicians including Fania Fenelon, she depicts and mirrors the struggle of women who survived Auschwitz as entertainers. Stevens performs as pianist and singer, incorporating music that was played and sung by concentration camp inmates. Herself the daughter of victims of the Holocaust, she also meditates on the complex ethical and artistic dilemma of expressing unspeakable horror through art. “An Evening with Madame F” was produced for television by PBS affiliates WCVE and WHTJ.

A major article about Claudia Stevens, this play, and other Holocaust-related works by her, appears in the Winter, 2009-10 issue of “Reform Judaism” magazine.

“An Evening with Madame F” has been programmed at venues in Houston, Chicago, Denver, New York, Washington, DC, Fort Worth, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Cincinnati, New Orleans, West Palm Beach, Tacoma, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Omaha, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Spokane, Oakland, Salt Lake City, St. Paul, Louisville, Baltimore, Boston, and many other cities. Presenters have included Holocaust centers, Jewish Federations and Foundations, JCC cultural arts series and lectureships in Jewish Studies, etc.

Additionally, the piece has been presented by many leading educational institutions. Recent engagements include: Lehigh University, Claremont McKenna College, Rider University, Haverford College, Stanford University, the Toronto Holocaust Education Center, Swarthmore College (as Cooper Artist in Residence), Dartmouth College, University of Puget Sound, Grinnell College, the Univ. of Calif. at Santa Barbara, Brandeis University, Pacific Lutheran (as Raphael Lemkin lecture on Holocaust), Davidson College; Denison University, Holy Cross, Carleton College, Western Michigan Univ., the Univ. of Mississippi, Clemson University, Whittier College (the Feinberg lecture), the Univ. of South Carolina, Christopher Newport University and others

About Claudia Stevens

Claudia Stevens creates and performs her unique and complex solo plays with music, now a body of fifteen original works, throughout the United States, in Europe and Asia. A number of her plays have been published. She also has become a recognized thinker and speaker about ethics and the arts. Classically trained as a pianist, singer and composer, Claudia holds degrees in music from Vassar College (summa cum laude), the University of California at Berkeley and the DMA from Boston University. Her academic positions include the College of William and Mary as Assoc. Professor of Piano, where she now is a Visiting Scholar. As a composers’ pianist in the 1980’s she was associated with the great American composers Aaron Copland, Roger Sessions and Elliott Carter, presenting their works and those of the younger generation at Carnegie Recital Hall and other leading venues. As a pianist she was the featured artist on a number of “Performance Today” on NPR broadcasts and live on PBS television. Many piano works composed for her have been published. The Aaron Copland House in New York and several other libraries now house collections devoted to her projects in new music advocacy and to her own career.

Since 1990, as an interdisciplinary performing artist, playwright and composer, Claudia has been supported by grants from the International Theater Institute, from the Virginia Commission for the Arts (twelve consecutive grants), by “New Forms” from the NEA, and residencies including the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, RS9 Szinhaz in Budapest, and Gitameit Art Center in Rangoon, Burma at the invitation of the American diplomatic and arts community there. From 2005-7 she was a Visiting Scholar/Artist at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University, which produced several of her works. Her solo plays have been staged in Houston (“Stages Repertory”), at the Baltimore Theater Project, the Sandglass Theater, and the Berkeley Art Center, among numerous venues.

Claudia Stevens also has become a librettist, collaborating with San Francisco area composer Allen Shearer in several works of chamber opera: “The Dawn Makers,” which premiered at the Herbst Theater, San Francisco in 2009 and “Riddle Me,” produced at the Univ. of California at Santa Cruz in March, 2011. She lives in the Bay Area in California.