Student sets Cleopatra’s life to music > News > USC Dornsife – USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

For a USC Dornsife general education seminar, a music and business undergraduate juxtaposed modern jazz with ancient history to create two musical pieces based on the life of the legendary Egyptian ruler. [3½ min read]

In a USC Dornsife general education course about Cleopatra, a USC Thornton student delivered a tuneful take on the ancient Egyptian ruler’s life. Above, Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s 1885 painting <em>The Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra, 41 B.C.</em> (Image Source: WikiCommons.)”> </p>
<p>In a USC Dornsife general education course about Cleopatra, a USC Thornton student delivered a tuneful take on the ancient Egyptian ruler’s life. Above, Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s 1885 painting <em>The Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra, 41 B.C.</em> (Image Source: WikiCommons.)</p>
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For his final project in the course “Cleopatra’s World,” USC undergraduate student Simon Hwang ditched the term paper and decided to compose two jazz pieces that explore different aspects of the storied Egyptian ruler’s life.

“Was There, Us?” focuses on Cleopatra’s two relationships with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. “G Avenue” evokes the power that Cleopatra exercised as the leader of Egypt.

Hwang said he wanted his first piece to look at the nature of Cleopatra’s romantic relationships with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony because it is nearly impossible to gauge the role political expediency played in each of them.

“I found her relationships with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony particularly interesting because of the amount of ambiguity involved — especially how they can be perceived to be politically motivated and not based on true love.
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