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Mahaney Center for the Arts Announces New Season

August 31, 2015

2015-16 Highlights Include Explorations of the Body, Shakespeare’s First Folio, and a Celebration of Environmental Education

Middlebury, VT—Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts opens its 23rd season this September with a diverse and exciting array of concerts, plays, exhibitions, dance performances, films, and more. Among the highlights of the 2015-2016 season are the Clifford Symposium entitled The “good” Body; a month-long exhibition of Shakespeare’s First Folio, with related performances and celebrations; and artistic events celebrating 50 years of environmental education and leadership at Middlebury.



CliffordSymposium2015-IllustrationMelinda Beck (1).jpgThe annual Nicholas R. Clifford Symposium kicks off each academic year with campus-wide activities and discussions. This year’s symposium,entitled The “good” Body, takes inspiration from both the recent onslaught of racialized violence and the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The three-day symposium exploring the ideas of assumption, access, and accountability will take place September 24–26 at the Mahaney Center for the Arts.

ShepparddeS-Baraka-de-Soleil-Photo-Jacob-Boll.jpgHighlights include two appearances by Barak adé Soleil, a disabled artist of color who passionately embraces the politics of identity, culture, and aesthetics.

NakedTruth-OttoDix-Maude_Arizona.jpgThe Middlebury College Museum of Art joins in the symposium with Naked Truth: The Body in Early 20th-Century German and Austrian Art. The exhibition will feature works by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Otto Dix, George Grosz, Max Beckmann, Käthe Kollwitz, and others whose work wrestled with the relationship between the nude body and contemporary morality. Naked Truth will be on view September 18–December 13.

A full schedule of lectures, movement workshops, and special events are listed at



FirstFolio_FirstFolioFolger.jpgWilliam Shakespeare’s First Folio—the first complete collected edition of his plays, and one of the world’s most influential books—comes to Middlebury College in February as part of a national tour marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Middlebury hosts a month-long exhibition and series of performances, workshops, speakers, film screenings, and family events.

WomenOfWill-photoKevinSprague11.401v1.jpgHighlights include a Folio Festival on February 18; screenings of Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing on February 20, and Tina Packer’s Women of Will, a theatrical tour de force deconstructing Shakespeare’s most famous female characters, on February 20–21.

For details visit



DancingInWildPlaces-AndreaOlsen-Brittany.jpegThis October, Middlebury will mark the 50th anniversary of the Program in Environmental Studies, the first of its kind in the nation. The campus-wide celebration of environmental education and leadership includes a diverse, interdisciplinary, and thought-provoking series of events.

Arts events will include the new performance Dancing in Wild Places by dance and environmental studies professor Andrea Olsen on October 4; three interactive dance installations entitled Poolastic, Black Igloo, and Garden on October 5–9; and an architecture lecture on environmental benefit in urban design by Susannah Drake on October 15. The popular annual storytelling event Cocoon (October 17) will feature the related theme of “roots.”

For details visit



SophieShao2-photoChristianSteiner.jpgThe Performing Arts Series opens its 96th season on October 2 with a concert by audience favorite, cellist Sophie Shao. Her performance with a hand-picked chamber music ensemble will include trios by Beethoven and Dvořák, and Brahms’ Piano Quartet in C Minor.

ShanghaiSmiling.jpg WuMan-cred-StephenKahn.jpgClassical music—string quartets and solo piano in particular—will continue to be a hallmark of the Performing Arts Series in the 15–16 season. The Shanghai Quartet will visit October 29, playing alongside China’s preeminent pipa virtuoso Wu Man. The U. K. based Heath Quartet will return in January to become the Series’ first-ever Quartet in Residence. They will offer two free concerts on January 14 and 21, and a ticketed recital featuring works by Haydn, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky on February 4. Pianist Jeremy Denk, a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship winner, will perform on October 7; legendary Portuguese pianist Maria João Pires will give a concert with her protégé Julien Brocal on March 12.

CaliGuitarTrio-cred-PaoloAizza.jpgThe Performing Arts Series will also introduce audiences to new faces and genres this season. The California Guitar Trio, performing on November 6, are known worldwide for their technical wizardry and wide-ranging repertoire. The world’s superlative vocal sextet, The King’s Singers, will perform on November 17. Jazz trumpeter, vocalist, and composer Bria Skonberg will play an ode to Louis Armstrong, plus a mix of jazz standards and her original works, on February 19. Dancer and choreographer Tzveta Kassabova will perform with Elena Demyanenko of Bennington College and Paul Matteson ’00 of Five Colleges on April 8–9.

Tickets for the Performing Arts Series go on sale September 21 to the general public at 802-443-MIDD (6433) or Middlebury College ID card holders and Performing Arts Series Society (PASS) members can enjoy advance ticket purchase privileges. For PASS information, visit



ArtOfStorytelling-Lakshmana.jpgOn September 8, the Middlebury College Museum of Art will open The Art of Storytelling: Five tales from Asia, Then and Now. This exhibition includes painted and printed interpretations of these compelling narratives from the 16th century to the present, complemented by contemporary comics, illustrations, and other digital media. Visitors can enter a special a studio space to view sketches by artists in the show and create their own comics. Author and comics artist Scott McLeod will give a related lecture on October 2.

2016 exhibitions will include Deco Japan: Shaping Arts and Culture, 1920–1945, which showcases the spectacular craftsmanship and sophisticated design long associated with that nation (opening January 29); and Paul Strand in Vermont: 1943–1946, an exhibition of 25 of this great American photographer’s later works, all taken in Vermont (opening May 27). Museum admission is free.



FlarePath.jpgThe Theatre Program will open its season November 5–7 with Terence Rattigan’s 1941 play Flare Path. Set in a hotel near an Royal Air Force Bomber Command airbase during WWII, this dramatic and funny play features a love triangle between a pilot, his actress wife, and a famous film star. Richard Romagnoli will direct a cast of Middlebury College students.

A few weeks later, Alex Draper ’88 will direct Clickshare, a fresh new play by fellow alumnus Lucas Kavner ’06.5. Originally developed at the MIDD-Summer Play Lab, this play follows a group of employees at a popular news website who live and die by the viral content of their pieces. But when they break a story that’s bigger than anything they’ve ever seen before, their lives hang in the balance. Clickshare will be performed December 3–5.

Tickets to Theatre Program shows go on sale two weeks prior to opening night.



The Dance Program will host the second annual Vermont College Dance Festival November 12–14, featuring performances each day by faculty and students from Middlebury, University of Vermont, Bennington College, St. Michael’s College, Johnson State College, Marlboro College, and Castleton Universiry. Middlebury College teaching artists’ work will also be showcased in the Faculty Dance Concert on March 18–19.

FallDance-MandyKimm'17-photoAlanKimaraDixon.jpgStudent work is always a focus of the Dance Program. The Fall Dance Concert on December 4–5 will showcase emerging choreographers and the annual Newcomer’s Piece, choreographed this year by Mellon Artist in Residence Maree ReMalia. Artistic Director Tzveta Kassabova and the Dance Company of Middlebury will create a new work From Somewhere, drawing on images, sound, and energy derived from a residency in Detroit, Michigan. The new piece will be  premiered on January 30–31 before going on tour in Washington, DC. Senior dance majors Celeste Allen and Najwa Stafford will present their thesis work on May 6–7. This joint concert will examine the intersection of contemporary choreography with their other areas of study—studio art, Chinese, sociology, and anthropology—to create an evening as diverse and layered as their intellectual pursuits.

Tickets to Dance Program shows go on sale two weeks prior to opening night.



VocalRecital-Katie Dunleavy'12&JulianneWeiboldt'14.JPGThe Department of Music will present concerts by its many excellent student ensembles throughout the coming year. Vocal music audiences can enjoy student performances of arias, Baroque era songs, and popular showtunes on December 12, March 19, and May 14; and two concerts by the Middlebury College Community Choir on November 22 and May 8. The Middlebury College Choir’s appearance schedule will include a November 15 concert of new music written specifically for them; Lessons and Carols for Advent and Christmas on December 13; and a March 20 performance of the first parts of Mozart’s Requiem in D. The Sound Investment Jazz Ensemble will give free concerts of big band classics of the swing era and new jazz classics on December 5 and May 7. The sixth annual Bach Festival will take place April 29–May 1, including the grand Festival concert on April 30 and an organ concert by Nathan Laube on May 1.

Concerts by the department’s Affiliate Artists will include the Vermont Virtuosi flutes (September 19); the annual collaborative concert (September 20); guitarist Dayve Huckett (October 16); flutist Anne Janson (November 1); pianist Diana Fanning (March 6); and Piper Timothy Cummings’ annual St. Patrick’s Day concert (March 13). 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 New York City-based, community-driven design architect Erinn McGurn (November 20), and Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller of AGENCY architecture (March 2). Faculty members Andrea Murray and Ashar Nelson ’90 of Vermont Integrated Architecture, P.C. will offer a public lecture, “Learning from the Environment,” on January 27.

AncientNearEasternArt—InNEngland&News-ASOR_pict2.jpgThe Art History Program’s offerings will include a talk by Susan Ackerman of Dartmouth College and Shalom Goldman of Middlebury in a presentation on “Ancient Near Eastern Art—in New England and in the News” on November 5.

Art History will also continue its collaboration with the Museum on the popular Friday lunchtime series Off the Wall: Informal Discussions about Art. This year’s speakers include James van Dyke of the University of Missouri-Columbia, speaking about German artist Otto Dix’s Silverpoints (September 25); Janis Staggs of New York’s Neue Galerie, discussing the work of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele (October 30); and professor and curator Pieter Broucke’s recounting of an art historical detective story centered on Italian Mannerist painter Orazio Samacchini (April 29). These talks are free and open to the public.



Boyhood_01.jpgThe Hirschfield International Film Series will present acclaimed foreign and independent films on Saturdays throughout the year at 3:00 and 8:00 PM. The Series opens with director Richard Linklater’s groundbreaking 2014 film Boyhood (September 19), filmed over 12 years with the same cast. This coming-of-age story is seen through the eyes of Mason, a child who literally grows up on screen before our eyes.

Other notable films are Japanese animator and director Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises (October 17), inspired by the designer of the World War II Zero fighter plane; the 2015 film Ten Thousand Saints (November 14), based on the novel by Eleanor Henderson ’01, who will read from her work and discuss its adaptation in a related event on November 16; and the Belgian/French/Italian film Two Days, One Night, directed by the celebrated Dardennes brothers. Screenings are free of charge.



FormAndMovement-Esteva.JPGThe Studio Art Program begins its academic year with imaginative and provocative exhibitions of student work, including Form and Movement: Sculpture and Drawings (September 17–29), demonstrating how student artists capture motion in a still object, and Line in Space: Just a Corner of Your Memory Palace (October 29–November 10), focusing on the limitless, form-making possibilities of welded-steel rod. While tackling elemental aesthetic issues of balance, volume, perspective, and scale, each sculpture provides a glimpse into the artist’s own personal narrative.

Other studio art exhibitions throughout the year will include Black and White Photography (November 12–December 1); Landscape Re-Imagined: The Autumn Campus (December 3–10); and A Box, Some Tape, and the New York Times (March 24–April 12). Senior thesis work will be featured in two exhibitions on January 27–31 and May 16–26. These exhibitions are presented in the Johnson Building, and are free and open to the public.

Full season listings are available at Full season listings are available at For more information, or to request a 2015–2016 Arts Calendar, call 802.443.3168 or go to


Image captions:

Middlebury 2015–2016 Arts Calendar cover

Clifford Symposium, The "good" Body: illustration by Melinda Beck

Clifford Symposium, The "good" Body: performer Barak adé Soleil, photo Jacob Boll

Naked Truth: The Body in Early 20th-Century German and Austrian Art: Otto Dix (German, 1891–1969), Maud Arizona (Suleika, das tätowierte Wunder) [Suleika, The Tattooed Wonder], 1922, etching, 19 5/8 x 16 7/8 inches. Sabarsky Collection.

First Folio, 1623, title page. Folger Shakespeare Library

Tina Packer's Women of Will, photo Kevin Sprague

Dancing in Wild Places: Andrea Olsen

Middlebury College Performing Arts Series: cellist Sophie Shao, photo Christian Steiner

Middlebury College Performing Arts Series: Shanghai String Quartet and Wu Man, pipa; photo by Stephen Kahn

Middlebury College Performing Arts Series: California Guitar Trio, photo by Paolo Aizza

The Art of Storytelling: Five Tales from Asia, Then and Now: Anonymous (Indian), Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita Depart from Their Guru’s Ashram in the Forest, illustration from a Ramayana (Epic of Rama) series, early 18th century, watercolor with gold on paper, 10 x 13 3/4 inches. Collection of Middlebury College Museum of Art. Purchase with funds provided by the Arthur and Helen Baer Foundation, 2002.002.

Flare Path

Fall Dance Concert:  Mandy Kimm '17, photo by Alan Kimara Dixon

Music Department Vocal Recital: Katie Dunleavy ’12 and Julianne Weiboldt ’14

Ancient Near Eastern Art—in New England and in the News: Photo ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives, Weekly Report 36 (April 13, 2015)

Hirschfield International Film Series: Boyhood

Form and Movement: Sculpture and Drawings: Claudia Esteva ’15, sculpture, 2015, welded steel rod