Mary Lou Williams Lecture and Gala Performance featuring Deanna Witkowski

Lecture, March 21, 2024: 4:00 - 5:30 PM CDT. 4th Floor, Information Commons, LSC. 

Live Performance, March 22, 2024: 7:00 - 8:30 PM CDT. Skowronski Music Hall, Mundelein Hall, LSC.

Loyola celebrated the music of the late jazz great, Mary Lou Williams (1910-1981), in late March, 2024. As an adult convert to Catholicism (with many ties to Jesuits), Williams’s sanctity is getting better known— especially in her corporal works of mercy for fellow musicians and loving care for all who crossed her path. Williams expressed her faith in her music– innovatively composing and situating jazz in liturgical settings and demonstrating the sacral range of jazz music in new registers. A virtuoso pianist, in her early career, Williams was part of the 1940s Kansas City jazz scene– inspiring and mentoring such artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Charlie Parker.

Deanna is the author of Mary Lou Williams: Music for the Soul. She is also the foremost interpreter of Williams—both musically (as a virtuosa pianist) and as a scholar, and her March 21st lecture found its focus here.  The March 22nd concert primarily featured selections from Williams's third jazz Mass ("Mary Lou's Mass") as well as Deanna's tribute recording to MLW ("Force of Nature"). The Deanna Witkowski Trio (featuring Deanna, bassist Larry Kohut, and drummer Tom Hipskind) led the way-- and Loyola's own Ignatian Voices (under the direction of Professor Kirsten Hedegaard), were featured as well. 

Both events were free, open to the public and all were welcome.


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