Gannon University’s Erie Chamber Orchestra Welcomes Guest Pianist Martha Summa-Chadwick
Posted: April 13, 2015
The notion of the tortured genius who suffers for his or her art
is an enduring legacy of the Romantic era. It makes for a great
narrative. Still, the link between mental illness and great art can
be established, however provisionally.
That link is the subject of two concerts next week by Gannon
University's Erie Chamber Orchestra with pianist Martha
Summa maintains an active career as a soloist and chamber
player, roles she will fill in the final offering of the inaugural
series of Joe Luckey recitals on Monday, April 13, and on Friday,
April 17 in a concert with the full orchestra and the Slippery Rock
University Concert Choir, Stephen Barr, director, under the
direction of Music Director Matthew Kraemer.
The connection between music and the mind has been a recurring
theme of her life and varied and wide-ranging career. Summa was
recruited by IBM as a student at Connecticut's Hartt School of
Music. "[The company] found that musicians had the second-best
aptitude to run computers after children's book authors," she said.
Following graduation, Summa went to work in data processing for
Aetna, Westinghouse and the Tennessee Valley Authority. "I thought
I'd do this for a couple of years, make money, then go back to
She did, but found that extra-musical-or perhaps
meta-musical-interests tugged at her.
Summa is also the founder and executive director of the nonprofit
organization Music Therapy Gateway In Communications, Inc., in
Chattanooga, Tennessee, which advocates for music as a treatment
modality for persons with disabilities.
Erie Chamber Orchestra Executive Director Steve Weiser, himself
a musician, had forged a relationship with Erie's Barber National
Institute that included outreach events involving orchestra
members. It was a perfect vehicle for Summa's interests, and on
Tuesday, April 14 and Thursday, April 16, she will conduct
individual student sessions at the Institute. On Wednesday, April
15 at 3 p.m., she will deliver a lecture, "Biomedical Music
Techniques and the Brain," in Gannon University's Yehl
On Monday, she will play works by Claude Bolling and Robert
Schumann, the latter a composer widely believed to have had bipolar
disorder. On Friday, the program will include another work by
Schumann, The Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 80, as well as
Beethoven's "Choral Fantasy," Op. 80 and Hugo Wolf's "Scherzo and
The Joe Luckey Recital, "Prelude to the Dream," will be
presented on Monday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian
Universalist Congregation of Erie, 7180 Perry Highway. The concert
with the Erie Chamber Orchestra, entitled "The Burden of Genius,"
will be presented on Friday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m. at Church of the
Covenant, 250 W. 7th St.
Both events are free. For more information on the Joe Luckey
Recital Series of the Erie Chamber Orchestra, click here.