Our media relations team can respond quickly to your requests. Please contact director of marketing and communications, Bert Beiswanger via email at or call 317.275.1317, public relations manager, Bryan Corbin via email at or call 317.275.1315 or communications coordinator, Hyacinth Rucker via email at or call 317.275.1388.

Eiteljorg premieres classical music performance Aug. 27: Songs of Clay and Stone

by | Jul 28, 2017

Mezzo soprano Kathryn Findlen performs Kenneth Frazelle work honoring Nampeyo

INDIANAPOLIS – An exciting fusion of classical music, iconic Western images and Native American pottery is in store Aug. 27 when the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art presents the world premiere of Songs of Clay and Stone.

Award-winning mezzo soprano Kathryn Findlen and pianist Robert Brewer will perform composer Kenneth Frazelle’s work in the Eiteljorg’s Clowes Court. Lyrics and music of Songs of Clay and Stone honor Nampeyo, the matriarch of Hopi pottery, and are inspired by the wind-sculpted landscapes of New Mexico, including Chaco Canyon, an Ancestral Puebloan site.

“We were delighted to learn of this piece, as it is consistent with the Eiteljorg Museum’s commitment to tell the historic and contemporary stories of Native peoples and the American West. Thus we are honored to host this world premiere performance by leading artists that combines different forms of expression in an inspiring way,” Eiteljorg President and CEO John Vanausdall said.

“During a visit to the Eiteljorg in 2016, Kathryn Findlen instantly knew the museum would be the perfect location for the premier of Kenneth Frazelle’s work,” said Martha Hill, vice president of public programs and Beeler Family director of education at the Eiteljorg, who has helped organize the event.

During Songs of Clay and Stone, images of Southwestern landscapes and the photographs of renowned Western photographer Edward S. Curtis will be projected onscreen. Before the performance, museum curators will offer insights about Curtis’ photographs and Nampeyo’s pottery; and after the show, curators will lead audience members on a brief tour to view pottery by Nampeyo and Maria Martinez on exhibit in the museum’s Native American galleries.

Admission to the performance at 3 p.m. Eastern time Sunday Aug. 27 is $15 for museum members and $20 for nonmembers. To order tickets online, visit

About the Artists:

Kathryn FindlenVocalist Kathryn Findlen is noted for her dramatic interpretations of symphonic, oratorio, opera and chamber works.  She was awarded the American Prize for Excellence in the Performance of New Music and was named classical singer of the year by the Austin Critics Table.


Kenneth FrazelleComposer Kenneth Frazelle’s music has been commissioned by Yo-Yo Ma, Jeffrey Kahane, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, among many others, and his compositions have been performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Westminster Abbey and elsewhere.


Robert BrewerAccompanist Robert Brewer is instructor of organ and harpsichord and collaborative pianist at the University of Texas. With a master’s degree in organ performance from Indiana University, Brewer has worked as opera coach at the Houston Grand Opera.


(Hopi-Tewa), 1859-1942, was a ceramic artist who gained national acclaim for the fine quality of her pottery that incorporated techniques from ancient Hopi pottery. Her work helped spark awareness of and interest in Native American art of the Southwest among collectors, and inspired generations of Hopi artists. Examples of Nampeyo’s pottery are found at the Eiteljorg, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and other museums.

Edward S. Curtis
, 1868-1952, was an American photographer who captured iconic images of Native Americans with his camera at the turn of the 20th century as traditional ways of life were changing. Curtis’ thousands of photographs, early sound recordings and silent films depicting Native peoples are considered a priceless ethnographic record, and much of his work now is in the Library of Congress. Among the subjects Curtis photographed during his long career was the artist Nampeyo.

The Eiteljorg Museum’s Native American galleries have benefited significantly from the generosity of Helen Cox Kersting who in 2014 donated a priceless collection of more than 1,000 works, including pottery by numerous Hopi artists. Among the many Kersting gifts currently on exhibit are pots created by Nampeyo and two of Nampeyo’s descendants: artists Nolan Youvella Nampeyo (Hopi-Tewa) and Les Namingha (Hopi-Tewa/Zuni). An interesting coincidence about the Nampeyo pottery-inspired music piece is that Helen Cox Kersting was an opera singer — a mezzo soprano — and she performed in New York, Cologne, Germany and elsewhere in Europe. She now resides in Arizona.

At the premiere of Songs of Clay and Stone, a cash bar will be available. The event fee includes admission to the Eiteljorg Museum.

About the Eiteljorg:
The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in downtown Indianapolis seeks to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the art, history and cultures of the American West and the indigenous peoples of North America. The Eiteljorg is located on the Central Canal in White River State Park, at 500 West Washington St., Indianapolis, Ind.  (Indianapolis is in the Eastern time zone.)

To arrange an interview with artist Kathryn Findlen, please contact the museum staff below:

Bryan Corbin                                        
Public Relations Manager                       

Bert Beiswanger
Director of Marketing and Communications

Hyacinth Rucker
Communications Coordinator




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