COVID-19 Updates: Fall Semester


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Italian panel painting from "The Art of Devotion"

New arts season brings broad scope of events to Middlebury this fall

August 19, 2009

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? Middlebury College steps up to the fall 2009 season with a lively selection of events for all to enjoy. Some of the highlights include the opening of a stunning collection of Italian Renaissance panel paintings, once considered to be objects of devotion as well as icons of status and wealth; an imaginative and thought-provoking interpretation of  Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" set in a post-Hurricane Katrina landscape; an exhibition and lecture by internationally recognized Pacific Northwest architect Jim Cutler, who is this year's Cameron Visiting Architect; the debut of the Middlebury College Orchestra's new director, Andrew Massey; and a free concert in Mead Chapel performed by the legendary Emerson String Quartet, as well as many other performances, productions, films and studio art events.

In addition to a full season of delightful performances, the Performing Arts Series is celebrating its 90th anniversary and its 25th year with director Paul Nelson at the helm. This fall's musical offerings open with the jazz interpretations of the Aaron Diehl Trio on Sept. 18. Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as "the most promising discovery that Wynton Marsalis has made since Eric Reed," Diehl's distinctive piano interpretations of jazz masters like Art Tatum and Duke Ellington pay homage to tradition while establishing his own voice.

Emerson String Quartet
Many artists are returning to Middlebury for repeat performances over the year. The Emerson String Quartet will give a free concert on Oct. 2 in Mead Chapel. The group - named after New England's Ralph Waldo Emerson - returns for its 31st performance at Middlebury. Other familiar faces include the Pavel Haas Quartet; cellist Sophie Shao; and legendary pianist Paul Lewis. Later in the year, Middlebury College 1982 graduate and musical iconoclast Philip Hamilton will return to perform "Voices," an original a cappella concert that fuses global rhythms and influences.

New faces include young Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova, who will perform Bach unaccompanied and has been quoted by the London Times as "destined to be a force in the classical music firmament for decades to come," and another bright young Russian, pianist Rustem Hayroudinoff, who will play selections from Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich and Chopin.  After the new year, the college will welcome the chamber music duo of cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras and pianist Alexandre Tharaud; dynamic performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña; the Hugo Wolf Quartett; and pianist Richard Goode.

On Sept. 22 and 23, the Classical Theatre of Harlem presents its imaginative interpretation of Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot," set in a post-Hurricane Katrina landscape. After a

A scene from "Waiting for Godot"

highly acclaimed 2006 run in New York City, the production traveled to New Orleans' Ninth Ward for a series of free outdoor performances that spurred nationwide dialogue on race and class.

On Nov. 12 through 14, director Richard Romagnoli will present playwright Jim Cartwright's "Road," which focuses on an English town on any given Saturday night, when unemployment is the only job and fun is a memory lost in a haze of alcohol.

In January, director Cheryl Faraone will present Snoo Wilson's poignant and fantastical "Lovesong of the Electric Bear." The play follows the life of Alan Turing, British code-breaker and father of the modern computer, whose brilliant mathematical career was marred by personal tragedy. The story is told by his teddy bear, who serves as both cheerleader and Greek chorus. 

A highlight of the spring will be Faraone's direction of the Bertolt Brecht parable "The Good Woman of Setzuan," in which three gods come in search of one good person and find her in Shen Te, a prostitute.

The vibrant dance season includes a solo performance by Middlebury College Professor of Dance Andrea Olsen on Sept. 26 titled "On Close Observation" and inspired by her trip to the Galapagos Islands in the summer of 2008. On Oct. 16 and 17, INSPIRIT founder and artistic director Christal Brown, also a Middlebury College Visiting Artist-in-Residence, will present and perform with INSPIRIT, a dance company that creates contemporary works with spiritual and ancestral insight.

Coming in January, the Dance Company of Middlebury will present "Proyecto República Dominicana" under the artistic direction of Middlebury College Lecturer in Dance Penny Campbell. With this performance, the company questions the role of artists and early socialization through song and dance games. The company will also visit Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, to share work with students and artist partners.

The Middlebury College Museum of Art begins the year with "The Art of Devotion: Panel Painting in Early Renaissance Italy" on Sept 18. The exhibit, which continues through Dec. 13, assembles paintings from 10 collections to explore their role as icons of devotion, as well as wealth and status. Also on exhibit from Sept 18 through Dec. 13 is "Prints and Prejudice: Woodcuts and Artifacts from the American Civil War." Several lectures and events relating to both these exhibits will take place throughout the fall.

Opening from January through April will be "Greece vs. Rome: The 18th-Century Quest for the Sources of Western Civilization," which will present the Piranesi prints of ancient Rome and plates from Stuart and Revett's book "Antiquities of Athens." The exhibit is curated by Middlebury College Professor of History of Art and Architecture Pieter Broucke, who will give a related lecture titled "Neoclassicism and the Notion of Classical Architecture" on Jan. 14.

The Hirschfield International Film Series returns this season with its varied collection of more than a dozen mostly independent films from around the world. Selections this year include "Happy-Go-Lucky," written and directed by Mike Leigh; "Man on Wire" about French performer and wire-walker Philippe Petit; "Synecdoche, New York," written and directed by Charlie Kaufman; and "Che," Steven Soderbergh's epic directorial effort in two parts.

Films in the series are free and shown twice on Saturdays - at 3 p.m. and at 8 p.m. - in Dana Auditorium in Sunderland Language Center on College Street (Route 125). 

Performing Arts Series tickets are $24. Department events are $10. Information; tickets for all music, theatre and dance performances; a color 2009-2010 Middlebury College arts calendar and the quarterly newsletter, "Arts at Middlebury College," are all available online through the college's box office or by phone at 802-443-6433. The box office opens on Monday, Sept. 7, for Middlebury College students, faculty, staff, alumni and other ID card holders; and on Monday, Sept. 14, for the general public. Patrons may also sign up for Middlebury College Arts Mail - an information service that delivers e-mail updates on arts and cultural events. Museum exhibition information is available at 802-443-5007 or online. Open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 12-5 p.m., the museum is located in the Middlebury College Kevin P. Mahaney '84 Center for the Arts. Admission is free.