Public performances in which I sing or conduct a group of singers

I’m happily purring along on a short set I’ll be doing with Fran Trester and Lisa DeSiro on Saturday March 21. Packing a cool little concert into 10-12 minutes is a fun project and I’m so happy it’s on the first day of Spring AND Bach’s birthday. So come down and hear a gaggle of poets, a dancer and my student In Paik (also singing with Lisa). Lisa organizes the Solidarity Salons, which are fabulous responses to these “interesting” times.

across from Trinity Church in Copley Square

Solidarity Salon 8-24-19What do Emma Lazarus, Paul Simon, Emily Dickinson and Sully Prudhomme have in common?  They all wrote poetry I am singing at the Solidarity Salon on August 24.  My colleague Lisa DeSiro creates these, with lots of poets and few musicians.  We each do a short set.  I make my own mix of singing the “regular tune” and having my way with the compositions.  Info in the flyer, above.

 Sunday, January 27 at 3:30; Slosberg Auditorium, Brandeis University

What a pleasure to come back to a piece after some years and find deeper understanding as I rework it.  Dana Maiben wrote “The Green House” and recently won the Miriam Gideon Prize for it, so we get to do it again.  The poem, by Martha Collins of Cambridge, is a dreamscape in which one goes on over time, much as one would fall back asleep and return to the (somewhat) same dream.  One of  my favorite lines:

It wouldn’t be true.  The orphan in the story                                                           

is only a sign of trying to start things over,                                                             

as if you could do it yourself, without a mother.

         by Martha Collins, “The Green House”

Full info:

Music Composed by Women Past and Present 

The Annual Alfredo and Demitra DiLuzio Concert at the Slosberg Music Center, Brandeis University.  Presented by the Women and Music Mix of the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center. 

This year’s concert will be curated by composer, violinist and conductor Dana Maiben, a WSRC Scholar and winner of the 2018 Miriam Gideon Prize for her composition “The Green House.” The concert will feature the Mockingbird Trio and guests performing the prize-winning composition along with new work by Maiben and other Boston area women. 

This concert is made possible thanks to the generous support of WSRC board co-chair Rosalie Ripaldi Shane, ’66, in honor of her uncle and aunt, Alfredo and Demitra DiLuzio. 

When: Sunday, January 27 at 3:30

Where: Slosberg Auditorium, Brandeis University

Admission: Pay What You Decide

Contact: Dana Maiben,

The 2019 Alfredo and Demitra DiLuzio Concert, “Composing Women,” will be performed on Sunday, January 27 at 3:30 at Brandeis University’s Slosberg Music Center, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA. The concert is curated by composer, violinist and conductor Dana Maiben, winner of the 2018 Miriam Gideon Prize for her composition The Green House. The concert will feature the Mockingbird Trio – Elizabeth Anker, Contralto, Scott Woolweaver, viola, and John McDonald, piano – and guests Deborah Boldin, flute, and Tracy McGinnis, bassoon, performing the prize-winning composition and Rebecca Clarke’s viola sonata, as well Concerto Incognito and La Donna Musicale performing earlier works. 

Dana Maiben is a Resident Scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center of Brandeis University, where The Green House was premiered in 2013.  The work is scored for Contralto, flute, bassoon, viola, and piano, and sets a group of poems by Cambridge-based poet Martha Collins. Woolweaver and McDonald will perform the monumental early 20th century Viola Sonata by Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979) in its 100th anniversary year. A concertizing violist herself, Clarke entered the Sonata in a contest sponsored by Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge in 1919. It tied for first place (with a work by Ernest Bloch) but the judges found it hard to believe it was written by a woman. The concert will also feature members of two other notable Boston-based ensembles, Concerto Incognito and La Donna Musicale, performing works by two 17th-century nuns, the Violin Sonata by Isabella Leonarda (1620-1704) and poetry by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648-1695). Sor Juana was a self-educated poet, philosopher, and polymath of New Spain whose criticisms of the misogyny of the Church brought her great troubles. A substantial body of her poetry and prose but no musical compositions survive; Maiben’s Canciones de Amor, new settings of some of Sor Juana’s love poetry, will be premiered by Soprano Camila Paria and viola da gambist and WSRC Resident Scholar Laury Gutierrez on January 27. Maiben herself will take the stage alongside cellist Christien Beeuwkes and harpsichordist Frances Conover Fitch to perform the Violin Sonata by Isabella Leonarda. Leonarda rose to the position of Superiore in the Ursuline Convent in Novarre, and composed prolifically at least from age 50. The Violin Sonata has the distinction of being the first of its genre to be published by a woman. 

Admission to the concert is by donation to support the Music Programs of the WSRC: pay what you decide, no-one will be turned away. This concert, presented by the Women and Music Mix of the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center, is made possible thanks to the generous support of WSRC board co-chair Rosalie Ripaldi Shane, ’66, in honor of her uncle and aunt, Alfredo and Demitra DiLuzio. The Women and Music Mix was founded at the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center to study the contributions of women to the field of music as composers, performers, conductors, teachers, scholars, and sponsors. The Women and Music Mix consists of acclaimed music Scholars who have committed themselves to advancing and advocating for women in music. Members bring their pioneering work to the University and the wider public through lectures, concerts, conferences, publications, and recordings that highlight and explore issues of women and gender.

Composer, conductor, medieval fiddler, keyboardist, violinist and violist Dana Maiben, winner of the 2018 Miriam Gideon Prize, is a Resident Scholar of the Women’s Studies Research Center of Brandeis University, where her prize-winning composition The Green House was premiered in 2013. Her compositions include a chamber opera, Look and Long, based on the play by Gertrude Stein, instrumental chamber music, and music for dance and theater, for solo voice(s) and instrument(s), and for a capella voices. Maiben holds degrees from Smith College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, with additional studies at Oberlin College Conservatory and the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. She counts medievalist Thomas Binkley, violinist Jaap Schroeder, choreographer Paula Josa Jones, and composers Ron Perera and Lou Harrison as important mentors. Hailed by the Boston Globe for her “supremely joyous artistry,” Maiben performs music from the 12th century to the 21st, conducts opera and oratorio, and has earned international recognition for her performances of 17th-century music. Her discography as a violinist includes sonatas by Francesca Danzi Lebrun (Dorian) and Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre (forthcoming). A dedicated teacher, Maiben serves on the faculty of the Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is Artistic Director of the ensemble for 17th century music, Concerto Incognito.


No one will accuse me of programming too much “holiday music” this December for JP Jubilee.  We’re talking about DESPAIR!  The 7th Deadly Sin.  Fun and funny song; we’ll also sing Never Never Land to keep you weepin’ in a sweet way.

We’ve had a couple of terrific outreach concerts this Fall–a Thanksgiving lunch for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, at a senior/disabled housing in my neighborhood, and the 150th anniversary of Curtis Hall.  Now we’re ready for our short and sweet final concert, Saturday December 8 at 2:00.  You’ll be done singing along (and clapping) by 3.

2018w concert flyer sm color

On another note, save the date for a performance by the Mockingbird Trio plus a few wind players:  Sunday January 27 at 3:30pm at Brandeis, we’ll be reprising Dana Maiben’s The Green House.  Details below:

The Annual Alfredo and Demitra DiLuzio Concert at the Slosberg Music Center, Brandeis University
Music Composed by Women Past and Present
Sunday, January 27, 2019 at 3:30 p.m.
Presented by the Women and Music Mix of the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center
This year’s concert will be curated by composer, violinist and conductor Dana Maiben, a WSRC Scholar and winner of the 2018 Miriam Gideon Prize for her composition “The Green House.” The concert will feature the Mockingbird Trio and guests performing the prize-winning composition along with new work by Maiben and other Boston area women.

Folks, if you’ve been around me this century, you’ll know that a LOT of wonderful music has been written for me and my pals, Scott (Woolweaver) and John (McDonald), otherwise known as the Mockingbird Trio.

We are delighted to offer sound and links for you and any aspiring contralti, violists (and pianists who want to make music with their alto and violist friends).

Twelve songs on modern American poets were recorded live, and they are here on the website, along with links to the composers so you may contact them directly for sheet music.  Many of them have written a LOT of songs for us, like Fran Trester, who even wrote a 2-person opera called 334 Bunnies.

Donnie and Lizzie
Don Wilkinson as Officer O’Hare holding one of 334 Bunnies.  With Yours Truly as the eccentric bunny-hoarder.

If you know any contralti or violists, please direct them to this website.  We want to SHARE this wonderful material!

Thanks to Angie Flores of Adstrum Media for her help in putting the new site together, and love to all who knew Don.  Truly a wonderful colleague and friend.


I grew up with fog, and sang on the way to Oakland High madrigals at 7:30 in the morning.  It made my hair wavy like Janis Joplin…

On Saturday September 22, I’ll be singing with a fog/art project at the Arnold Arboretum.  Maria Finkelmeier’s piece for voices, brass and percussion lasts 20 minutes, so we’ll do it three times: 4:30, 5:30, and 6:30, right by the front gate and Hunnewell building.  Free and you are invited to wander around us as we make music!



Image may contain: textMake Music Boston

Water Music: 5 premiers, sung and played at the Esplanade on the longest day of the year…this is what I call new music heaven…percussion, brass and voices.  I can’t wait to hear what they all sound like out there, and I cannot imagine what the audience will experience as they wander through the Esplanade island near the Hatch Shell, among and between us performing musicians.  It’s sure to be a great event–I have done other large-scale pieces with Maria Finkelmeier, the organizer (“In C”, “Inuksuit” at the Arboretum, playing the wall of the Green Monster during a light show), and trust her implicitly.  These compositions are by Maria herself, Marti Epstein, Anthony Green, Neil Parsons and Manuel Garcia Albornoz.   7:30-9pm on Thursday, June 21, 2018, the River Charles in Boston…

Make Music Boston's photo.

Middlebury Song Fest

I’m excited about the upcoming recital at the new Middlebury Song Fest this Friday evening, May 18.  Favorite songs written in the recent past, very accessible tunes on New England poets, with a bit of improvisation and whimsy thrown in.  Peter Cirka on piano, (until I play on my own arrangement of a Ricky Ian Gordon tune).  We’ll also teach the audience a few settings of Emmas Lazarus’ famous “Give me your tired…” and a fun song about the library by Deborah Henson-Conant.

Bonus for Boston area friends:  an open dress rehearsal at the JP branch of the public library on Wednesday May 26, 2:30-3:30.  (30 South Street, Jamaica Plain, downstairs).

mockingbird trio contralto and viola art songs 21st century
Mockingbird Trio are a boston-based trio that perform contralto and voila art songs of the 21st century.

What a delight to come together with my pals to revisit some delightful 21st century song cycles by Fran Trester and learn some new tunes!  Celebrating Scott Woolweaver’s birthday (Mr. Viola to you), John McDonald has written a gorgeous new tune on a poem of Scott’s friend,  Cheryl Savageau, called “Equinox”.  It’s about a goldfinch, natch, because we are all a bit bird- and nature-crazy in this trio.  John plays piano for the rest of the pieces, but this bird song is just contralto and viola and it might rival John’s “The Mockingbird of Mockingbirds”, which was written for a big birthday celebration of mine in 2004.

Here are the details for the two concerts, both at All Newton Music School 
321 Chestnut Street West Newton, MA 02465  (617) 527-4553

Sunday March 11, 3:00pm  Scott’s birthday bash with nice reception afterwards.  Free, lots of good music for viola and I will be part of the 2nd half.  Includes “Domestic Affairs” by Francine Trester (10 songs on domestic life, including raccoons in the garbage and a bird named Ruffles) and “Equinox” by John McDonald (premier, described above).

Friday March 23, 11:00am  All-Mockingbird Trio in an informal setting, which includes lunch afterward.  $30, reservations required.  Program includes Howard Frazin’s “A Wren” and “Lullaby”, song cycles about birds by Francine Trester and John McDonald, his new “Equinox” and “The Mockingbird of Mockingbirds”.  Some on poetry by Denise Levertov; Fran writes her own fabulous lyrics. Howard Frazin’s Viola Sonata is also featured (premier, also being heard on March 11 concert).

How fun is this?  For me, nothing more delightful than singing beautiful 21st century music that was written for me and my pals, on gorgeous texts and getting to play music with them again after a hiatus (John was on sabbatical,  after being dept. chair and other grown-up duties).

Mockingbird illustration by Lisa French.