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APSU music professor Williams featured on new opera CD

            CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The king did not care for his portrait; it referenced a failure from his youth that he wished to forget.

            CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The king did not care for his portrait; it referenced a failure from his youth that he wished to forget.

            “A major defeat—and how could that have been considered a part of my life worth remembering,” he shouts. When Jeffrey Williams, Austin Peay State University assistant professor of music, performed this role in the new short opera, “The King’s Portrait,” his baritone voice perfectly captured the intensity of the king’s anger.

            “Performing it was great,” Williams said. “I think he really understands the baritone voice. It was almost like he had written it for me and my strengths as a singer.”

            Chances are, renowned composer Thomas Sleeper, director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, did have the APSU professor in mind when he wrote the eight short operas that form his new CD, “Einstein’s Inconsistency: A Series of Operas,” because the two men had worked together multiple times while Williams was a doctoral student at that university. In July, Sleeper contacted Williams and asked if he would return to Florida for two days to record the new album.

            “He already knew my voice, so he sent me the score and asked me to come down in September.” Williams said. “Being in seven of the eight works was a lot of fun.  Sometimes, I was even two characters within the same work. We would record the first character and then go right back and record the second. It was pretty wild hearing my own voice in the track and then harmonizing with myself! Thom conducted all of it, but we didn’t rehearse; we went right into the recording process. I loved seeing his reactions to the way I colored certain moments as we were recording. It encouraged me to be inventive and take even more risks than I might have otherwise.”

            Albany Records released the album on March 1, and its inventiveness is being credited with infusing new energy into the old art form.

            “‘Einstein’s Inconsistency’ takes the listener into a sort of sonic funhouse, where the deepest and most primal of human anxieties is displayed in dazzling variety, and one cannot experience this work and remain unaltered by it,” composer Andy Skaggs said.

            The album is available for purchase at Amazon.com, iTunes, and at Albany Records, http://www.albanyrecords.com/.