Magazine On-line [summer 2010]
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Smith Concert Series to feature harmonious sounds of Anonymous 4

Transylvania’s Haggin Auditorium will welcome Anonymous 4 onto its stage Wednesday, December 8, as the latest attraction in the Dorothy J. and Fred K. Smith Concert Series.

Anonymous 4

The women’s group, featuring Ruth Cunningham, Marsha Genensky, Susan Hellauer, and Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek, uses its vocal styling along with poetry and narrative to design its shows. The group draws on a medieval influence but branches into contemporary styles in their music.

The women joined together in 1986 after Rose attended a medieval workshop at a monastery. She decided to try the style with a group of all-female voices, and the group she put together sounded so wonderful that they put together a program for the public. They continued to draw upon music from the Middle Ages but eventually began to explore Renaissance, contemporary, folk, and gospel music.

Now the New York residents take that unique sound on tours all over the world, including performing in North America, Europe, and the Far East. This summer they travel to Leipzig, Germany, and Girona, Spain. Anonymous 4 has performed on several radio and television programs, including Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, CBS Sunday Morning, A&E’s Breakfast With the Arts, and NPR’s Weekend Edition. Their albums have sold almost 1.5 million copies and have topped the Billboard classical charts.

 four centuries of chantTheir most recent album, “Four Centuries of Chant,” is their 21st record and was released in September 2009. It mixes medieval chant with more traditional polyphonic music. Where most groups adapt chants into melodies and sing them, Anonymous 4 decided to restore and perform them. To learn more about Anonymous 4 or to listen to samples of their music, visit

Dorothy J. Smith ’42 established the concert series in 2007 in appreciation for the opportunities Transylvania gave her as a student of music and English. The series is named for her and her late husband, a 1940 Transy graduate. Past performers have included the Kronos Quartet, Chanticleer, and Tiempo Libre.

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