Volker’s Music Drama Premieres July 29 on chatterbird Facebook Page

Mark Volker standing behind a piano

Belmont School of Music Professor Mark Volker’s music drama Body and Soul, After the Plague will premiere virtually on Thursday, July 29, at 7 p.m. by chatterbird, the internationally-renowned, Nashville-based ensemble dedicated to exploring uniquely orchestrated chamber music.

Funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the work will highlight the importance of empathy and diversity in humanity’s broader divisions, using the medieval conception of “sin” (self-division) as a transgression against both oneself and the fabric of the human community. It will premiere in Nashville at the Parthenon, and will be produced in collaboration with Dr. Suzanne Edwards, a medieval scholar at Leigh University, and Belmont Photography Professor Dr. Christine Rogers, a visual artist.

Two voices will be interwoven with music and film in a framing of a medieval poem, known as “The Body and Soul Debate.” This is a late fourteenth-century poem in which the body and soul of a recently-deceased person debate which is more responsible for leading them astray in life. Ultimately, it is clear that the debate only serves to teach them about one another, as they have a shared fate – and a shared responsibility in it.

The piece will be streamed via the chatterbird Facebook page free of charge. The Facebook event also offers the opportunity to purchase a commemorative program booklet featuring artwork and background of the project through Eventbrite.