Celebrate the Centennial!

Middlebury Language Schools Centennial Conference and Events

Celebrate the Centennial of the Middlebury Language Schools at both the Middlebury, Vermont campus and the Mills College campus! All events and performances are free and open to the public. The concerts on Friday and Sunday do not require tickets; Middlebury College ID holders will be admitted until fifteen minutes before the start of the performances. We will have video streams available if you can't join us at the conference.

Centennial in Vermont

May 22 to August 9
Language Schools Centennial Exhibition
Middlebury College Museum of Art, Overbrook Gallery 

Travel the world in this special summer exhibition celebrating the centennial of the Middlebury Language Schools. The many countries and cultures of the 11 Language Schools are represented by 22 works of art selected from the museum’s permanent collection. In addition to regular hours of operation, the museum will be open from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15.

Friday, July 10

Wen Yee Ho, M.A. French ’78, pianist
8:00 p.m., Center for the Arts, Concert Hall

Etude in A-Flat Major, op.25, no.1, and Fantaisie-Impromptu in C-Sharp Minor, op.66, both by Frederic Chopin.

Saturday, July 11

School of Hebrew Concert
8 p.m., Wilson Hall

LIONS is a seven piece group based in NYC that draws its inspiration from the beautiful music of Ethiopia. Playing arrangements of Ethiopian funk tunes from the 60's-70's as well as original Israeli music with Ethiopian influence.

Wednesday, July 15 – Friday, July 17

Centennial Conference: The Local App: Language and Culture in a “Flat World.” ​
Attendees will tackle the question, “What is the environment in which tomorrow’s students and professionals will most productively learn about other parts of the globe and how to engage speakers of other languages?” Several expert panel discussions will cover topics including global academics, language and identity, and the next century of the Language Schools.

Wednesday, July 15

Conference Panel: The human-language-technology nexus: Where do ‘we’ fit in?
Streamed from Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Monterey, California
2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m., Davis Library 105

Centennial Carillon Concert
5:00 p.m., Mead Chapel Lawn
George Matthew, Jr., College Carillonneur
Featuring works by Beethoven

Randie Malinsky Memorial Lecture Series: "Words with a View" presented by Omri Lior
5:30 pm. to 6:30 p.m, Bicentennial Hall Room 220


Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony,” Film Screening

8 p.m., Center for the Arts, Concert Hall

The Language Schools will present the Vermont film premiere of this documentary film, which takes a cinematic journey across five continents and into the heart and soul of one of the greatest works of art. The film will be introduced by its producer/director, Kerry Candaele.


Thursday, July 16

Honorary Degree Ceremony and Conference Opening
10:00 a.m., Mead Chapel

Keynote Speaker - Adrian Wooldridge
The Economist magazine’s management editor and writer of the Schumpeter column

Conference Panel: Framing the Global Academic Agenda
1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., Wilson Hall

In the competitive race to "globalize the curriculum" and attract larger numbers of international students, how do colleges and universities worldwide retain their ties to the communities and environments they were once created to serve? How can academic leaders globalize their institutions' agendas while remaining true to the local, regional and national roots from which they emerged? How can we ensure local identities, economies, and traditions these institutions represent are not lost in a "flat world”?

Jeff Cason, Moderator Dean of International Programs, Middlebury College
Junko Hibiya President, International Christian University
Laurie L. Patton President, Middlebury College
Driss Ouaouicha President, AI Akhawayn University
Donald Steinberg President & CEO, World Learning, Inc.

Conference Panel: The Secret Sauce: Selling Global Products in Local Markets
3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m., Wilson Hall

What do globalization failures like Walmart's in Germany or the Daimler/Chrysler divorce tell us about the need to teach business executives a basic understanding of regional cultures, values, and customs?  Can marketing specialists fine-tune their message for a foreign market if they are ignorant of the societal discourses that undergird and shape them? How important is direct access to local and regional communication venues (media, advertisements, social networks, cultural practices) in understanding global markets?

Charles MacCormack, Moderator Executive-In-Residence, Middlebury College, former President and Chief Executive Officer, Save the Children
Catherine Lee Change Director, Stena Line, Trustee of Middlebury
Steve Martus  Managing Director and head of the Derivative Solutions Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities, London
Bill McAndrews Vice President, Communications Strategy/Corporate Communications, BMW 
Marna Whittington Chair, Middlebury Board of Trustees


Francisco Álvarez, pianist, & Maria Laetitia Hernandez, soprano
9:00 p.m., Center for the Arts, Concert Hall

Renowned pianist Francisco "Paco" Álvarez and soprano Maria Laetitia Hernandez join forces for an unforgettable evening. Álvarez is a professor of piano at the Conservatorio Superior de Música in Granada and conductor of both the Science School Choir at the University of Granada and the Spanish School Choir at the Language Schools. He has performed as a soloist in major halls in Spain, the United States, South America, and Europe and has recorded unusual Hispanic music for the National Radio of Spain. Hernandez, a finalist in the Metropolitan National Council Auditions Southeast Region Finals this past year, has performed with opera companies and orchestras in Puerto Rico and Florida.

Friday, July 17

Conference Panel: Working Without Subtitles: Language Schools Alumni/Kathryn Davis Fellows
9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m., Wilson Hall

Former students of the Middlebury Language Schools reflect on how having studied language and culture impacts their work and professional trajectory. This panel will include Kathryn Davis Fellows who are working around the world in a variety of professions.

Philip Geier, Moderator  Kathryn Davis Family Foundation; Partner, College Board of Overseers
Jessica Beinecke

"Shaping the future of the US-China relationship on the Chinese web" - Foreign Policy's Pacific Power Index

Christa Bryant Harvard Nieman Journalism Fellow, former Christian Science Monitor Bureau Chief
Scott Markowitz Managing Director, Bank of New York Mellon
Helene Songe United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Community Development Officer in Pasto, Colombia.
Caroline Travalia Associate professor of Spanish Linguistics, Hobart and William Smith Colleges 

Conference Panel: Language & Identity: Putting Your Self on the Line
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Wilson Hall

How does the "New Tribalism" affect the languages we are born with and the languages we want to learn, or need to learn, or are expected to learn?  Is the Wittgenstein conundrum ("The limits of my language mean the limits of my world") still valid? How do linguists and linguistics negotiate tensions between global convergence and national identities?

Susan Baldridge, Moderator Provost, Middlebury College
Rosemary Feal Executive Director, Modern Language Association
Michael Geisler Vice President for Language Schools and Chief Risk Office, Middlebury College
Judith Liskin-Gasparro Associate Professor of Spanish and Co-Director of Foreign Language Acquisition Research and Education (FLARE/SLA), University of Iowa (Emerita)
Art Troitsky Russian journalist and School of Russian faculty

Conference Panel: Language Schools 2.0: The Next Century
1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., Wilson Hall

What are the emergent trends and best practices in teaching in the new millennium while understanding the reality of diverse communities and particularities? Will area studies make a comeback? How do faculty and administrators triangulate the push and pull of international cross-cultural education, multiculturalism, and globalism? What will be the role of technology (translation software, social media online/hybrid forms of curriculum delivery) in mediating these divergent interests? What might a path breaking concept like the Language Schools’ intensive immersion look like a hundred years from now as we move from 1.0 to 2.0?

Stephen Snyder, Moderator Dean of Language Schools, Middlebury College
Elizabeth Bernhardt Director of Stanford Language Center, Stanford University
Aline Germain-Rutherford Chief Academic Officer for Middlebury Interactive Languages and the Surdna professor of Linguistics at Middlebury College
Scott McGinnis Academic Advisor and Professor, Defense Language Institute
Vardit Ringvald Director, Institute for Advancement of Hebrew & School of Hebrew, Middlebury College

Conference: Closing Speaker - Frank Sesno
3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., Mead Chapel

Frank Sesno ’77, and former CNN correspondent, anchor, and Washington bureau chief, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University

Rakugo
7:30 p.m., Dana Auditorium

Rakugo is a traditional Japanese art of storytelling. Performers tell humorous, scary, or moving dramatic stories, using vivid facial expressions and body language to convey characters.  At the annual Rakugo performance, professional Rakugo players Yanagiya Sankyo and Ryuutei Saryuu perform classic stories while traditional paper-cutter Hayashiya Niraku cuts audience requests into paper masterpieces. In Japanese but appropriate for non-speakers.

Stacey Kent in concert
8:30 p.m., Center for the Arts

Grammy-nominated American jazz singer Stacey Kent brings her glorious voice and love of languages to Middlebury. Kent, an alumna of the Italian, German, and, Portuguese Schools, is a truly international artist. She is a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters in France. She is fêted by Brazilian musical royalty; she recorded a live album in 2012 with Bossa Nova legend Marcos Valle, and Grammy Lifetime Award-winning guitarist and composer Roberto Menescal performed on Kent's latest album, "The Changing Lights." Stacey went on an eight-month tour in 2014 in which she played (and sang in multiple languages) at more than 100 shows in 30 countries on five continents. Kent will perform alongside her husband, saxophonist and composer Jim Tomlinson, also an alumnus of the Middebury Portuguese School. This promises to be a fittingly multilingual evening of jazz and song.

Saturday, July 18

Across-the-Schools Performance Showcase
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., Mead Chapel

Taiko Drumming
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., Mead Chapel Lawn

Taiko has long been an important part of Japanese culture; spiritual healers played taiko to dispel evil spirits and drive insects from the rice fields; Samurai employed taiko to instill fear in the enemy and courage in themselves; villagers used taiko to in their prayers for rain and in thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest. Over time, many areas developed unique choreography and rhythms celebrating festivals or recreations of historic events.

Sunday, July 19

Abigail Washburn & Wu Fei in concert

8:00 p.m., Mead Chapel

A singing, songwriting, Nashville-based clawhammer banjo player, Abigail Washburn pairs venerable folk elements with far-flung sounds, and the results feel both strangely familiar and unlike anything anybody's ever heard before. An alumna of the Middlebury Chinese School, Washburn speaks Chinese and is able to make profound connections to culture and people on the other side of the Pacific. Washburn is one of the few foreign artists currently touring China independently and regularly. She records in English and Chinese as a soloist and with her husband, Béla Fleck, as well as with the old-time band Uncle Earl and Sparrow Quartet.

Born and raised in Beijing, Wu Fei is a composer, vocalist and guzheng (Chinese zither) performer. She spent her formative years at the China Conservatory of Music before coming to the US in 2000 where she began to diversify her sound and experiment widely, working with musicians like John Zorn, Fred Frith, Carla Kilhstedt, Evan Parker, Pauline Oliveros, and many others. Wu Fei composes for choir, string quartet, chamber ensemble, Balinese gamelan, and orchestra; her commissions include a composition for Percussions Claviers de Lyon that premiered in the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing.  Wu has also appeared as a guest on Fred Frith’s Eye to Ear II (2004, Tzadik) and The Happy End Problem (2006, ReR). 

At Middlebury,  Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei will perform as a banjo-guzheng duo, playing & singing a selection of songs that combine their traditional Appalachian and Chinese influences. 

Monday, July 20

Leopoldo Erice, piano concert & Kazem Abdulla, clarinet
An evening of classical music featuring composers Brahms, Schumann, Schubert.
8 p.m., Center for the Arts Concert Hall

Leopoldo Erice (Spain, 1977) enjoys an international performing career, which has brought him to Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa. He has taught at the American University of Sharjah (UAE), at Wilfrid Laurier University (Canada), and at Middle Tennessee State University (USA).  In 2006 he founded the Festival Internacional de Música Clásica de Ribadeo (Spain). Leopoldo has won several prestigious national and international awards and has made recordings for television and radio programs in Spain, Argentina, Syria, and the USA.  He holds the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts from the State University of New York at Stony Brook (USA).

Maestro and clarinetist Kazem Abdullah, alumnus of the Middlebury German School, has become one of the most watched young American conductors on the scene today. In August of 2012, he became Generalmusikdirector of the city of Aachen, Germany.

Sponsored by the German School and School of Russian.

Please visit this site often as we add details about the events.