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Visiting Composer at Aug. College

A woman who's composed for a variety of instruments and ensembles is spending several days this week at Augustana College, talking with students and appearing at a concert featuring one of her works. Tonight and tomorrow night, the faculty ensemble Tikkun will perform "And Trouble Came: An African AIDS Diary."

Laura Kaminsky says she wrote it while spending a year in Ghana during the early 90's. It was inspired by some medical missionaries and is the story of a young AIDS patient.

"Only after meeting Sister Margaret and this young man in the village was I able to weave together poetry and quotations that I took from different biblical texts with my own entries - my own creative writing - and through all of that is the music."

Kaminsky says she knew, even as a child, she wanted to do something in music or the visual arts, but didn't make a final decision until she was studying psychology at Oberlin College.

"But when it came right down to it, I had so much more passionate and committed time writing my first string quartet than I did have doing the statistical analysis for my psychology project - maybe there's a lesson to be learned there. That's sort of the ah hah moment for me when I realized whatever it took I was going to be a composer."

She calls composing "a compulsion, something I have to do, and a need to express myself with sounds."

"And Trouble Came: an African AIDS Diary" by Laura Kaminsky will feature a viola, cello, and piano, plus narration. Performances are scheduled for tonight at 8, in Wallenberg Hall at Augustana College, and tomorrow (wed) night at 7, at the Unitarian Church in Davenport.

Her visit to Augustana is supported by the music department and the Augustana Humanities/Curriculum Fund.