Deanna Witkowski, pianist, composer, vocalist and author, will be the featured presenter at the Cyprian Davis Lecture at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology, St. Meinrad, IN.
Her performance-lecture, “Jazz is Love: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams,” will be held on Thursday, February 9, at 7 p.m. Central Time in St. Bede Theater.
Known for her adventurous, engaging music that heals the soul, Witkowski moves with remarkable ease between Brazilian, jazz, classical, and sacred music. Witkowski’s performances combine virtuosity and heart, telling stories that reveal her innate curiosity of the human condition.
Her first book, Mary Lou Williams: Music For The Soul (Liturgical Press), published in September 2021, is the winner of the 2022 ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award and the 2022 Jazz Journalists Association Award for Biography of the Year.
Her seventh recording, Force of Nature (MCG Jazz), released in January 2022, reached number five on the JazzWeek nationwide radio chart and remained in the top 10 most played albums on jazz radio for more than 10 weeks.
A frequent winner of composition competitions for her concert and sacred choral pieces, Witkowski has received funding for new work from the New York State Council on the Arts (for her Afro-Brazilian project, the Nossa Senhora Suite) and the Choral Arts Initiative PREMIERE|Project Festival.
Fr. Cyprian Davis, OSB, for whom the lecture is named, was a professor of Church history at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology. His award-winning book, The History of Black Catholics in the United States, is regarded as the essential study of the American Black Catholic experience.
He was a founding member of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus and a contributor to Brothers and Sisters to Us, the 1979 pastoral letter on racism published by the United States Catholic bishops. He died in 2015.
The presentation is free and open to the public. Parking is available at St. Bede Hall and in the Guest House and student parking lots. For more information, call Mary Jeanne Schumacher at 812-357-6501 during business hours.