Hear the music of Frank Lloyd Wright's father Feb. 28 at Unity Temple in Oak Park

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

Tonight, Thursday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m., at Unity Temple, Oak Park music historian David Patterson will re-introduce architecture fans to William C. Wright, the long-neglected yet highly influential composer-father of America's most famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.

According to a news release, the event celebrates the release of Patterson's recording, "The Music of William C. Wright" and will feature live performances of Wright's compositions by pianist Kuang-Hao Huang, tenor Matthew Dean, and soprano Laura Lynch.

Unity Temple Restoration Foundation (UTRF) will host the event as part of its "Break-the-Box" program series. Proceeds from the concert will support UTRF's mission to restore and preserve Unity Temple. Tickets are $15 for UTRF members and $18 for non-members, and are available at www.utrf.org or by calling (708) 383-8873. Click here to purchase tickets.

The concert will present the fruits of Patterson's successful Kickstarter campaign, in which he raised more than $7,000 through the online "crowd funding" website to support this recording. The finished product, a CD, features 21 pieces and constitutes the first-ever recording of Wright's father's compositions, drawn from materials found in archives throughout the country.

These solo piano pieces and vocal works not only illuminate the figure of William C. Wright, but also inspire more thoughtful discussion of his role in shaping the young Frank's attitude toward music, nature, design, and ultimately, toward architecture itself.

"We are delighted to present the premiere of "The Music of William C. Wright" at Unity Temple, Frank Lloyd Wright's modern masterpiece and one of the most important designs in his 'repertoire,' Emily Roth, Executive Director of UTRF, wrote in the release. "Unity Temple – often referred to as Frank Lloyd Wright's 'jewel box' – was designed with musical performances and acoustics in mind. Music makes the space come alive."

 This event will paint a portrait of Frank Lloyd Wright's father in words and music, giving us fresh perspective not only of the architect's upbringing, but also of the father whose musical mind was so essential to Frank's own creative method.

Patterson has served on the musicology faculties of the University of Maryland-College Park, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Chicago. He is currently preparing a monograph on the subject of Frank Lloyd Wright and music, as well as coordinating a second recorded volume of William C. Wright's compositions. 

Wednesday Journal featured this project last fall. To read more about Patterson and his project, cick here.

Email: anna@oakpark.com Twitter: @AnnaLothson

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