Symposium Hosted by the Mahaney Center for the Arts in Honor of Its 20th Anniversary
Middlebury, VT—Middlebury College’s annual Nicholas R. Clifford Symposium kicks off each academic year by giving the campus community rich opportunities to discuss and experience timely topics from many perspectives. This year’s symposium, entitled “Creativity and Collaboration,” is hosted by the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts in honor of its 20th-anniversary season. The Symposium features over 30 events starting September 27, 2012, with an impressive lineup of speakers, performances, and panel discussions, in both arts and non-arts disciplines.
The opening keynote speech will be delivered by Peabody Award-winning radio producer Julie Burstein, author of the acclaimed book “Spark: How Creativity Works,” on Thursday, September 27, 2012, at 7:00 P.M. in the Mahaney Center for the Arts Concert Hall. Burstein has spent her working life in conversation with highly creative people—interviewing, probing, guiding, and creating public radio programs about them and their work.
In her book, she offers a tour through some of creativity’s essential byways, exploring its mysterious workings, and helping us find more of that dimension within ourselves. Her talk will be followed by a book-signing and reception in the lobby, including the original aerial performance “Wire2
” by alumni artists Rachel Schiffer ’06.5 and Ben Schiffer ’10.
Charles A. Dana Professor of Art and Architecture Kirsten Hoving leads the “Off the Wall” art discussion on Friday, September 28 at 12:15 P.M. at the Middlebury College Museum of Art. Hoving will reflect on her collaboration with students in the art history course Alfred Stieglitz and Camera Work, which resulted in the current exhibition “Camera Work: Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand, and Company.”
The award-winning U.S. choreography duo PearsonWidrig DanceTheater will craft a centerpiece of the Symposium: A Curious Invasion
This new performance will marshal the energy of professional dancers, Middlebury College students, faculty, alumni, and staff to create, a sweeping, site-specific dance work that will travel through the Mahaney Center in four performances throughout the weekend. The event exemplifies the theme of creativity and collaboration by encompassing the contributions of many different artists: collaborations with the Dance Company of Middlebury, live music by Peruvian Japanese composer Pauchi Sasaki, and snippets of the Alumni Solos Project, choreographed by Peter Schmitz, with Paul Matteson ’00, Simon Thomas-Train ’09, Pamela Vail ’90, and Otto Pierce ’13. Versions of A Curious Invasion
have been performed in China, Korea, Japan, India, and New Zealand. Performances will take place at 12:30 and 4:30 P.M. on both Friday, September 28 and Saturday, September 29, 2012, and they are free and open to the public.
New York City’s High Line park is the topic of a second keynote, given by former New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and High Line Vice President for Planning and Design Peter Mullan on Friday, September 28, 2012, at 7:00 P.M. in the Mahaney Center for the Arts Concert Hall. The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line, which is elevated above the streets of Manhattan’s West Side. Founded in 1999 by community residents, Friends of the High Line fought for its preservation and transformation at a time when the historic structure was threatened with demolition. Mullan and Benepe will explain how they and their colleagues collaboratively established the High Line as an extraordinary public space for all visitors to enjoy.
The Hirschfield International Film Series will present two screenings of the Oscar-winning dance film “Pina” on Saturday September 29, 2012, at 3:00 and 8:00 P.M. in Dana Auditorium. This incendiary documentary film by Wim Wender explores the life and work of late German choreographer Pina Bausch, while viewers see her company perform her most notable creations, where basic things like water, dirt, and even gravity take on otherworldly qualities. The 3:00 P.M. screening is introduced by Daniel Houghton ’06, visiting lecturer in film and media culture, with a post-show discussion led by Professor of Film and Media Culture Leger Grindon and Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance Catherine Cabeen.
The esteemed Emerson String Quartet offers a capstone performance to the Symposium on Saturday, September 29, 2012, at 8:00 P.M. The Emerson String Quartet has amassed more than 30 acclaimed recordings, 9 Grammy Awards, 3 Gramophone Awards, and the coveted Avery Fisher Prize, among other achievements. The list of the quartet’s connections to Middlebury is nearly as long: 31 performances, 4 honorary degrees, and a performance at the Mahaney Center’s opening gala in 1992. Honoring cellist David Finckel’s last season with the Emerson, the Performing Arts Series will present the quartet in Mead Memorial Chapel, where they made their campus debut in 1981. The program will include works by Schumann, Shostakovich, and Beethoven (his first “Razumovsky” quartet). Associate Professor Larry Hamberlin will give a preconcert lecture at 7:30 P.M. Tickets are $25 for the general public, with discounts available for Middlebury College faculty, staff, students, and other ID card holders, as well as audience members who will also attend the Takács String Quartet concert three days later.
Other Symposium highlights include colloquia in environmental studies and political science; talks and panels on storytelling, economics, poetry, neuroscience, playwriting, and improvisational theater; open art studios, and presentations on jazz, social entrepreneurship, film direction, world music, and the intersection between theater and mathematics. Among the accomplished guest speakers are Dr. W. P. Seeley, Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Bates College and professional sculptor; Oscar-winning film designer Rick Heinrichs of “Sleepy Hollow” and “The Big Lebowski;” filmmakers Markell Kiefer ’96.5, Tyson Lien ’98, and Tenzin Ngawang of “Buddha Prince Backstage;” and video set designer Tim Bartlett ’99 speaking about his collaboration with Middlebury faculty member and composer Su Lian Tan on the chamber opera “Lotus Lives.”
Most events will be held at the Mahaney Center for the Arts, at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, Vemont, off Route 30 south. For more information, call 802.443.3168 or go to http://www.middlebury.edu/arts.
Clifford Symposium Illustration by Serge Bloch
Julie Burstein, photo Pavlina Perry
Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864–1946), Two Towers—New York from Camera Work XLIV, 1911, published 1913, photogravure on paper, 11 x 7 7/8 inches. Collection of Middlebury College Museum of Art, purchase with funds provided by the Walter Cerf Art Acquisition Fund, 2008.030. Photo Tad Merrick
PearsonWidrig DanceTheater, photo Tom Caravaglia
The High Line: wildflower field, looking north toward West 29th Street, where the High Line begins a long, gentle curve toward the Hudson river. ©Iwan Baan, 2011
Emerson String Quartet, photo J. Henry Fair