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Concert Series Honors Two Women Musicians

January 22, 2008

New Wave staff

A new concert series by the Newcomb Department of Music begins on Friday (Jan. 25) that commemorates two women who were notable New Orleans musicians — a renowned black vocalist and a longtime faculty member and soloist.

Barbara M. Jazwinski, department chair and the Virginia Beer Professor of Music, announced that the first event in the new Del Marmol/Annabelle Bernard Concert Series will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in Dixon Recital Hall. The free concert is open to the public.

Made possible thanks to generous donations to the Del Marmol Fund, the series honors the work and legacy of Clara Del Marmol (1893–1994), a distinguished faculty member of Newcomb College, and Annabelle Bernard-Mercker (c.1940–2005), an internationally renowned black soprano, who was a New Orleans native.

The inaugural recital will focus on Tulane’s classical vocal music division and feature three graduate-level voice majors — sopranos Rebecca Schermerhorn and Arynne Sherouse, and mezzo-soprano Chase Kamata, as well as a recent piano graduate, James Kelly.

Del Marmol, who served in the Newcomb Music Department from 1918 until 1963 and was honored as a professor emeritus, was originally from Gijon, Spain, and received her degrees from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and Newcomb College.

She initially joined the faculty as a staff accompanist and later became an assistant professor of voice. In addition to teaching academic music courses, Del Marmol was an accompanist who worked with hundreds of Newcomb students, visiting artists, choruses and opera productions. She was also a noted soloist.

Annabelle Bernard-Mercker received degrees from Boston’s New England Conservatory and Xavier University of New Orleans. She sang in all of Europe’s major concert halls and toured the world as one of the Deutsche Opera Berlin’s principal sopranos.

In 1976, she became the first black American to perform a major role with the New Orleans Opera. At her retirement in 1998, Bernard-Mercker’s repertoire included more than 30 operas and 25 oratorios.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000