Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

October 25, 2005

Pianist, Actor and Vocalist Claudia Stevens to Give Whitworth Performance
Depicting Story of Austrian Family During World War II

Claudia Stevens, a concert pianist, actor and classical vocalist, will depict in a Whitworth performance the terror and turmoil her mother's family experienced during the Nazi takeover of Austria in l938.

Stevens' performance, "A Table before Me," will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. in the Music Building Recital Hall at Whitworth College. Admission is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-3275. The event is sponsored by the Lilly Endowment and is presented by Whitworth's Weyerhaeuser Center for Christian Faith and Learning.

In her performances Stevens draws upon her many talents to create innovative, one-person musical theater. "A Table before Me" tells the story of an Austrian family during the Nazi era. It features theatrical and musical styles of the period as well as excerpts from letters and documents Stevens' family received from the Gestapo. National Public Radio has called her performance "one of the most profound theater moments in recent times."

"A Table before Me" holds historical as well as contemporary significance, given the present-day climate of collective anxiety over public safety, according to Stevens. Through her performance she hopes to promote discussion about the potential violations of personal freedom in the pursuit of national security.

Stevens' other performances include "An Evening with Madame F," which tells of the struggle and ethical dilemma of Nazi concentration-camp inmates who survived by performing music for the enemy. In her presentation "In the Puppeteer's Wake," Stevens explores courageous resistance and rescue missions at sea during World War II.

Stevens holds degrees in music from Vassar College and the University of California at Berkeley, and a doctorate of musical arts from Boston University. She is currently on leave from her position as associate professor of piano at the College of William and Mary to serve as a visiting scholar at Brandeis University for the 2005-06 academic year.

In 2004-05 Stevens performed five of her original works at Stages Repertory Theater, in Houston, at the Baltimore Theater Project, at the Cornelia St. Cabaret, in New York, and at more than 25 colleges and universities. She has received grants from the International Theater Institute and the Interdisciplinary Artists Program of the National Endowment for the Arts, and has been a resident artist at RS 9 Szinhaz, in Budapest, Hungary, as well as at the MacDowell Colony.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,400 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.

Contacts:

Michelle Seefried, program coordinator, Weyerhaeuser Center for Christian Faith and Learning, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3275 or mpace@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information officer, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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