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Aquino and Herbert:
Composer and Poet Make Beautiful Musicy

Poetry and choral music are kissing cousins,” said adjunct English Professor Mary Herbert, explaining why professor Robert Aquino, chair of the Music Department, set some of her poems to music.

According to Aquino, the idea for the collaboration rose from a casual comment he made to Herbert about composing music for
her words. Out of 50 poems that she sent him, Aquino selected four. “I tried to find a unifying theme,” he said. “Mary’s poem, ‘Hurricane Edouard,’ struck me because I could do something dramatically in a musical setting. I looked for other poems that had to do with the natural elements.”

“Because the poems are in free form, rather than in a particular metrical rhyme, it’s more of a challenge for a composer to make the music flow,” Aquino added. “But I like that challenge.” It’s a challenge he met before when he set music to English Professor Robert Spector’s poems a few years ago.

The LIU Chorus, directed and accompanied on the piano by Professor Gloria Cooper, will perform the duo’s work on April 30 in the Humanities Building Conference Hall.

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