School of Music Professor receives Kirwan Faculty Research and Scholarship Prize

This blog post is by Emily Schweich, a broadcast journalism major.

Linda Mabbs was honored with the Kirwan Faculty Research and Scholarship Prize

Dr. Mary Ann Rankin, Senior Vice President and Provost of University of Maryland; Linda Mabbs, University of Maryland School of Music professor; Dr. Brit Kirwan, Chancellor of the University System of Maryland; Wallace Loh, President of University of Maryland, College Park

University of Maryland School of Music professor Linda Mabbs was honored with the Kirwan Faculty Research and Scholarship Prize at the university’s fall convocation Wednesday.

The award is one of the highest honors a faculty member can receive that recognizes research and creative ability.

“Everyone is thrilled about it, because it recognizes the school and what we do here,” Mabbs said.

Mabbs was recognized for her work as artistic director of the ten-day festival The Art of Argento: A Celebration of Composer Dominick Argento’s Work that the School of Music presented in April 2012. Argento received the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1975 and is regarded as America’s leading composer of lyric opera.

As artistic director of the celebration, Mabbs researched and programmed all of Argento’s song cycles, oversaw three fully staged operas by the Maryland Opera Studio, arranged for faculty to present lectures about Argento’s music and stage directed a performance of Argento’s Letters from Composers. She arranged for Argento to be in residence for the entire festival and invited famed mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade to perform one of Argento’s works and give a masterclass.

Mabbs herself also performed in the festival, singing the title role in Argento’s opera Miss Havisham’s Fire. In addition, she presented the world premiere of Argento’s Cabaret Songs and performed Six Elizabethan Songs with an ensemble of students and faculty.

All of the performances were professionally recorded and will be available in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, which will create an archive for young musicians to use as a resource, Mabbs said.

Mabbs said she was “humbled” to receive this award and that to her knowledge, she is the first artist to receive it. She hopes that it draws attention to the creative work being done in the School of Music.