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Forum focuses on artists who spent time in region

  • Virginia Eskin spoke about Willa Cather, Amy Beach, and Edward MacDowell - all national artists who at one point or another had a connection to the Monadnock region - during the Amos Fortune Forum on Friday. Eskin also performed musical interludes on the piano. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • Virginia Eskin spoke about Willa Cather, Amy Beach, and Edward MacDowell - all national artists who at one point or another had a connection to the Monadnock region - during the Amos Fortune Forum on Friday. Eskin also performed musical interludes on the piano. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Virginia Eskin spoke about Willa Cather, Amy Beach, and Edward MacDowell - all national artists who at one point or another had a connection to the Monadnock region - during the Amos Fortune Forum on Friday. Eskin also performed musical interludes on the piano. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, August 07, 2018 10:40AM

Friday’s Amos Fortune Forum focused on a nationally renowned author and two composers who at one point spent time in the Monadnock Region.

“I have long believed New Hampshire is a social place for artists, painters, sculptors, musicians and writers,” speaker Virginia Eskin said on Friday at the Jaffrey Meetinghouse.

Eskin, a classical pianist who has been honored by a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Lotus Club of New York, spoke about author Willa Cather, composer Amy Beach and composer Edward MacDowell, who each have a connection to the area.

Though she grew up in Nebraska, many of Cather’s best works were written while in Jaffrey, including “My Antonia” which was published 100 years ago. She was buried in Jaffrey after she died in 1947.

Cather came to Jaffrey in 1917, staying at the Shattuck Inn, in an effort to find a place of seclusion for her writing.

“There’s something great about the experience [of living in Jaffrey] and I’m not talking about black flies,” Eskin said.

Eskin moved to New Hampshire in the 1980s and owns a cottage on Gilmore Pond.

Eskin also spoke of Edward MacDowell, the namesake of Peterborough’s MacDowell Colony.

MacDowell and his wife Marian bought a farm in Peterborough in 1896. It was during that period that MacDowell produced a wealth of music, all while surrounded by the rural beauty of the Monadnock Region.

“He composes probably the most charming pieces of his career in the log cabin,” Eskin said.

The MacDowell Colony was built in 1907 in order to create a place for artists to work in the company of their peers.

One of those peers was Amy Beach, a successful American composer who spent a number of summers at the MacDowell Colony, starting in 1921. 

Eskin deviated from the norm of other Amos Fortune Forums when she took a seat behind the in-house piano to play a number of interludes throughout her talk, some of which were from rarely heard compositions.

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.