Lawrence University invites community to celebrate composer Debussy’s 150th birthday with ‘carnival’ Sunday

The Lawrence University Conservatory of Music piano department on Sunday is celebrating the 150th birthday of French composer Claude Debussy by inviting the community to a “Debussy Carnival.”

The event, which is free, is a multimedia examination of the social and cultural history of Paris from the years 1880 to 1918, which influenced the work of Debussy.

It begins at 11 a.m. and runs throughout the day Sunday in Harper Hall inside the Music-Drama Center at Lawrence in downtown Appleton.

Highlights include live music performances, an art exhibit, theatrical readings, a dance competition, a gamelan demonstration and a circus act. They reflect the times in which Debussy lived.

Lawrence student piano majors plan to perform nearly all of Debussy’s works for piano. Many of the pieces last about 2 to 3 minutes.

A 1 p.m. faculty recital features professor of music Catherine Kautsky, soprano Joanne Bozeman, violinist Wen-Lei Gu and tenor Steven Spears.

A cakewalk dance competition starts at 3 p.m. A freshly baked cake goes to the first-place couple. Those who are interested may participate in a cakewalk instruction/practice session from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

An exhibition of art works that inspired Debussy’s compositions will be on display in the Harper Hall lobby from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The works will remain on display from Monday through Nov. 2 in the Quirk Print Gallery in the Wriston Art Center on campus. Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For a complete schedule of events for the “Debussy Carnival,” visit

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