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Liza Sacheli

Middlebury’s Mahaney Center for the Arts Announces 2014-2015 Season

August 26, 2014

Upcoming Year Filled with Anniversary Celebrations and International Work

Middlebury, VT—Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts will offer a diverse and exciting season of films, exhibitions, concerts, dance performances, plays, and more for the 2014–2015 season. This season also marks some important milestones, including the Performing Arts Series’ 95th anniversary; Series Director Paul Nelson’s 30th and final season; a play honoring Hillel’s 60th anniversary at Middlebury, and the 100th anniversary of the Middlebury College Language Schools.



2014–2015 is a season of milestones and celebrations for the Performing Arts Series. While the Series celebrates its 95th anniversary, director Paul Nelson will celebrate his 30th and final season—he will retire from the program in May. His discerning ear for new talent and his contagious passion for the world’s best chamber music have led audiences to hundreds of spectacular performances at Middlebury over the past three decades. Former associate director Allison Coyne Carroll will succeed Nelson at the helm, but during the current season, they will both be present for several special events that will honor Nelson’s legacy. On December 5, cellist Sophie Shao will perform in the world premiere of Revelations for piano quintet, composed by associate professor of music Su Lian Tan in honor of Nelson. On April 12, Nelson himself will offer a pre-concert talk about the Series and its 95 year history before the concert by legendary Slovenian pianist Dubravka Tomsic. Finally, on May 8, audience favorite Paul Lewis will perform Beethoven’s final three piano sonatas, monumental works of passion and technical intensity that are among Nelson’s favorites. Audiences will have the opportunity to greet Nelson at a post-concert reception in his honor.

Other chamber music highlights include a kickoff concert by the Takács Quartet (September 26); the young and energetic Belcea String Quartet (October 15); elite organist Nathan Laube (November 2); and the Axiom Brass quintet (April 24, as the opening of the annual Middlebury Bach Festival). Two free concerts by the Jupiter String Quartet (November 16) and the Elias String Quartet (March 14) will help make this extraordinary music series accessible to all.


The Performing Arts Series also presents acclaimed theatre, dance, and world music. Groundbreaking monologist Mike Daisey will perform Faster Better Social, a theatrical commentary on the ways technology is changing the way we think, communicate, and evolve (January 16 & 17). Daisey has been called “one of the finest solo performers of his generation” by the New York Times.


On March 17 & 18, prolific contemporary choreographer Camille A. Brown brings her daring movement to Middlebury with her latest work, Black Girl. On April 2, The Nile Project will bring the many sounds of Eastern Africa to Middlebury. The Nile Project’s first recoding, Aswan, was named a Top Five Must-Hear International Album of 2013 by NPR.

Now in its third year, the Performing Arts Series Society (PASS) offers benefits such as advance ticketing, pre-concert talks, and special events with the artists. Tickets go on sale to PASS members on September 3, more than a week earlier than the public. Information is available at




On September 2, the Middlebury College Museum of Art will reopen with Visual Weimar, 1919–1933, an exhibit of paintings, drawings, and etchings by some of Weimar Germany’s most prominent artists, including Otto Dix and George Grosz. Also on view this fall is Picturing Enlightenment: Tibetan Tangkas from the Mead Art Museum, highlighting 18 centuries-old scroll paintings of Buddhist figures, all recently cleaned and restored to reveal their vibrant color and intricate detail. Art history professor Cynthia Packert will give the opening gallery talk on September 12.


2015 exhibitions will include Mao, Sitting Bull, and Others: Recent Gifts from the Andy Warhol Foundation (opening January 6), which will feature some of the 20th century’s most vivid and recognized portraits; and Outside In: Art of the Street (opening February 13), exploring the global phenomenon of street art and the work of its major practitioners such as Banksy, Shepard Fairey, and others.

Other exhibitions this season include Hyper! Works by Greg Haberny (September 2–October 26); Many Thousand Gone: Portraits of the African American Experience (May 22–August 9); and The Language Schools at the Museum (May 22–August 9). Museum admission is free.




The Theatre Program’s season opens with the heartwarming comedy Mendel, Inc., directed by Richard Romagnoli (October 31–November 1), following a Jewish family’s pursuit of the American dream in 1920s New York City. The production will honor the 60th anniversary of Middlebury Hillel.

A few weeks later, Cheryl Faraone will direct British playwright Snoo Wilson’s bawdy and exuberant play Vampire (November 20–22). This intellectual drama careens from Victorian England, to the onset of World War I, to a biker’s funeral presided over by a punk dominatrix.


In the spring, Cláudio Medeiros ’90 will direct Middlebury College students in Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening, a funny and once-scandalous play set in the sexually oppressive culture of late 19th century Germany (April 30–May 2).





The Dance Program kicks off their season on September 18 with NC Dances VT, a collaborative concert featuring the choreography of Middlebury dance chair Christal Brown, University of Vermont dance chair Paul Besaw, and their one-time mentor, professor emeritus Jan Van Dyke of the University of North Carolina. New this year, a Faculty Dance Concert (February 26) will showcase the multifaceted talents of new instructors Tzveta Kassabova, Trebien Pollard, and Scotty Hardwig, as well as Brown.


Student work is always a focus of the dance program. The Fall Dance Concert on November 21 and 22 will showcase emerging choreographers and the annual Newcomer’s Piece. The Dance Company of Middlebury will create a new work to be premiered on January 23 and 24 before going on tour in New York City. Senior dance majors Steve Durocher, Doug LeCours, Sarae Snyder, and Afi Yellow-Duke will present their thesis work on May 1 and 2. This joint concert will draw on their varied interests—including creative writing, literature, sociology, and Chinese—to create a diverse and layered evening of movement.




The Department of Music will present concerts by its many excellent student ensembles throughout the coming year. The Middlebury College Choir’s appearance schedule will include the Opera Company of Middlebury’s La Traviataon October 3 and 5; a joint concert with the Vermont Collegiate Choral Consortium on November 20; Lessons and Carols for Advent and Christmas on December 7; and a March 30 “welcome home” concert, after completing their European tour.


The Sound Investment Jazz Ensemble, playing big band classics of the swing era and new jazz classics, will give free concerts on November 22 and May 2. Vocal students will perform concerts of arias, Baroque era songs, and even popular showtunes on December 6, March 7, and May 8. Other concerts include the African Music and Dance Ensemble (November 18 and April 29) and the Middlebury College Community Chorus (November 23 and May 10). The fifth annual Bach Festival will take place April 24–26, with concerts, interest sessions, guest artists, and more.

Solo concerts by the department’s Affiliate Artists will include harmonica player Mark LaVoie (September 13); guitarists Eric Despard (September 27) and Dayve Huckett (October 18); and flutist Anne Janson (November 7). Piper Timothy Cummings shares music from Ireland and Appalachia on March 15 for St. Patrick’s Day. Many of the Affiliate Artists will come together for a collaborative concert on November 1. Like most music department events, these concerts are free and open to the public.



The Department of History of Art and Architecture will present a series of public talks by Cameron Visiting Architects as part of their on-campus residencies during the academic year. 


Guests include museum design and exhibition designer Melanie Ide (October 8), regionalist Dan Rockhill of the University of Kansas (November 4), and David Sellers (January 21), a pioneer of the Vermont design/build movement. Architecture 
faculty John McLeod and Stephen Kredell will discuss “Moving Toward Architecture for All” in a public lecture on February 19.


Art history presentations this season include Ben Tilghman of Lawrence University, exploring calligraphy and ornament in The Book of Kells (September 25); and associate curator of ancient art Pieter Broucke exploring the Western reception of Greek and Roman art in “Classical/Neoclassical” (March 13). These talks are free and open to the public.




The Hirschfield International Film Series will present acclaimed foreign and independent films on Saturdays at 3:00 and 8:00 PM, throughout the year, starting September 13. 


Among this year’s offerings is the 2013 Italian film The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza), about an aging playboy who receives a shock from his past on his 65th birthday (November 15). TIME Magazine called this “the year’s grandest, most exhilaring foreign film.” The Missing Picture (L’image manquante) is a brilliant documentary by Cambodian director Rithy Panh, using clay figures, archival footage, and his own narration to recreate childhood scenes in his country’s killing fields of the 1970s (March 7). A pen pal mixup leads to chaos in the The Lunchbox (Dabba), when a middle-class Mumbai housewife sends a special lunchbox to her husband at work, but it ends up in the hands of a different man(April 11). Screenings are free of charge.




The Studio Art Program will present a provocative series of exhibitions of student work throughout the year. Highlights include Pinhole Photography, on view October 28–November 6. The show features black and white photos made by direct contact with 4-by-5-inch negatives, exposed in cameras of the students’ own design and construction. Among the other artistic media are portraits in ceramics and oil (September 2–12); large-scale drawings (September 26–October 3); silkscreen prints (December 1–9); painting in water-based media (February 19-24); intaglio (March 9–17); welded steel sculpture (March 19–April 3); color photography (April 6-14); and advanced drawing (April 21–30).

The student-artists will invite the public to see their work in progress at Open Studio day on April 10, offered as part of the Spring Student Symposium. These exhibitions are presented in the Johnson Building, and are free and open to the public.



Acclaimed Middlebury-based painter Kate Gridley shows off her works in oil and sound with “Passing Through: Portraits of Emerging Adults,” a special double exhibition in the Mahaney Center for the Arts and Town Hall Theater, on view now through October 26. Gridley will also present special events and artist-led tours on September 26 and October 24.


Vanguard multimedia artist Paul D. Miller (well known in popular culture as “DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid”), will visit Middlebury September 19 as the keynote presenter of the 2014 Clifford Symposium, “Transforming the Academy in the Digital Era.”


In a performance geared toward families, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s brass quintet will present “Haunted Horns” on October 19 at the Mahaney Center for the Arts Concert Hall. This Halloweeen concert will include wacky, scary, and mysterious favorites for the season. Family ticket rates of $20 are available.


Tickets go on sale to Performing Arts Series Society members on September 3; to Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, and other ID card holders on September 8; and to the general public on September 11. For more information, or to request a 2014–2015 Arts Calendar, call 802.443.3168 or go to





Image captions:

Middlebury 2014-2015 Arts Calendar cover

Middlebury College Performing Arts Series: cellist Sophie Shao

Middlebury College Performing Arts Series: Takács Quartet, photo Keith Saunders

Middlebury College Performing Arts Series: theatre monologist Mike Daisey, photo Ursa Waz

Middlebury College Performing Arts Series: choreographer Camille A. Brown, photo Matt Karas

Visual Weimar, 1919-1933: Max Beckmann (1884–1950), Die Enttäuschten I, 1922, lithograph, 19 1/4  x 14 3/4 inches. Courtesy of the Sabarsky Foundation

Mao, Sitting Bull, and Others: Recent Gifts from the Andy Warhol Foundation: Andy Warhol, Mao, 1972, screenprint on paper, 36 3/4 x 39 1/4 inches. Extra, out of the edition. Designated for research and educational purposes only. Collection of Middlebury College Museum of Art. Gift of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, 2014.027. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Mendel, Inc.: New York City Scene, 1920s

Spring Awakening, Spring 2014 theatre production

NC Dances VT: Van Dyke Dance Group, Untitled Elegy, photo Steve Clarke

Fall Dance Concert: Meredith White ’15, photo Alan Kimara Dixon

Middlebury College Choir

The Sound Investment Jazz Ensemble, photo Michael O’Hara ’17

Melanie Ide, Cameron Visiting Architect

Anonymous, Chi-Rho Page, The Book of Kells

Hirschfield International Film Series: The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza)

Studio Art: Pinhole Photography by Neil Steiner ’16

Kate Gridley (American, b. 1956), Passing Through: Portraits of Emerging Adults, 2013, oil on linen, 60 x 30 inches each. Photo Howard Romero

Haunted Horns: A VSO Brass Quintet Halloween Family Concert

Mahaney Center for the Arts
Middlebury College
South Main St./Route 30 South
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 443-3168 phone
(802) 443-2834 fax