Words for Music Perhaps

June 13, 2015 marks the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the birth of William Butler Yeats. Just a few weeks later, on July 3rd and 4th, Professor William Brooks (Music), joined by Professor Matt Campbell (English) and a dozen performers and distinguished visitors, will explore the musical implications of Yeats’s writings in two days of presentations. The entire festival is co-produced by the York Late Music Festival and the University’s Department of Music.

The festivities begin on the evening of July 3 with a lecture by Professor Ronald Schuchard, author of The Last Minstrels: Yeats and the Revival of the Bardic Arts. The morning of July 4 sees a lecture by Professor Campbell, after which attendees are invited to coffee and an open discussion with all three professors.

In the afternoon, recent York PhD Robin Bier will offer her reconstruction of performances given by Florence Farr and W. B. Yeats, using a ‘psaltery’ built from Yeats’s own designs. The afternoon concludes with an exploration of Yeats’s theories of performance applied to his poetry in translation, with newly created work by Lucia d’Errico (in Italian, accompanied by guitar), Merit Stephanos (in Arabic, accompanied by oud), and Thuy Thanh (in Vietnamese, accompanied by dan tranh).

The festival concludes with an evening concert on July 4, part of the York Late Music Festival, by Everlasting Voices. This vocal quintet, comprised of recent York graduates, will offer the first performances of five commissioned works setting Yeats’s texts, by William Brooks, Michael Parkin, and three recent York PhDs, Jonathan Brigg, Stef Conner, and Jon Hughes.

The evening concert will be given at the Unitarian Church, St. Saviourgate; all other events will be held on campus. For a detailed schedule and ticket information visit