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Considering Matthew Shepard

A performance film followed by a conversation with Eugene Rogers and Craig Hella Johnson

Image of a performer standing in a large room in a museum as an audience looks on.
Photo by Mark Gju­kich. Cour­tesy of UMMA

Thursday, December 9, 2021
8:00 pm


Virtual Event


Penny Stamps Speaker Series
Watch Video
Open to the public
Free of charge

Pre­sented in part­ner­ship with the U‑M Museum of Art (UMMA), Con­sid­er­ing Matthew Shep­ard is an evoca­tive and com­pas­sion­ate musi­cal response to the bru­tal mur­der of Matthew Shep­ard in 1998, one of America’s most noto­ri­ous anti-gay hate crimes. Shepard’s tragic death ulti­mately led to the cre­ation of the Matthew Shep­ard Foun­da­tion and pro­vided a cat­a­lyst for leg­is­la­tion that expanded the def­i­n­i­tion of a hate crime to include sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. In 2009, Con­gress passed the Matthew Shep­ard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Pre­ven­tion Act. Com­poser Craig Hella John­son had a pro­foundly per­sonal reac­tion to both the mur­der and its res­o­nance. The Shep­ard fam­ily and Foun­da­tion engaged with John­son to cre­ate the Grammy-nom­i­nated ora­to­rio, Con­sid­er­ing Matthew Shep­ard, which draws from frag­ments of Shepard’s per­sonal diary. 

In Novem­ber 2021, the U‑M School of Music, The­atre & Dance and UMMA cre­ated a live per­for­mance film of the U‑M Cham­ber Choir per­form­ing the ora­to­rio under the direc­tion of award win­ning con­duc­tor Eugene Rogers, acclaimed stage direc­tor Matt Kunkel, and Emmy-award win­ning film pro­ducer Bob Berg, with pianist Scott VanOr­num, pro­duc­tion designer Har­ri­son Hof­fert, and nar­rated by Priscilla Lind­say. The live per­for­mance was pre­sented as part of the UMMA exhi­bi­tion Oh honey…A queer read­ing of the col­lec­tion and the 50th anniver­sary of the U‑M Spec­trum Center. 

This Penny Stamps Speaker Series event offers a pub­lic screen­ing of the per­for­mance film, fol­lowed by a con­ver­sa­tion with Rogers and John­son about the work.

Pre­sented by UMMA, the U‑M School of Music, The­atre & Dance, and the Penny Stamps Dis­tin­guished Speaker Series. Addi­tional sup­port pro­vided by U‑M Global Communications. 

Lead sup­port for the UMMA exhi­bi­tion Oh honey…A queer read­ing of the col­lec­tion is pro­vided by Alan Her­gott and Curt Shep­ard and the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan Office of the Provost.