September 16, 1997

The 1997-1998 Middlebury College Arts Program Offers a Feast of Cultures From Vermont to Tokyo

With more than 20 concerts, nine art exhibits, 21 films, and 18 theatre and 15 dance productions, the 1997-1998 Middlebury College Arts Program can satisfy every cultural craving.

From the Tokyo String Quartet and films like "Portrait of a Lady" to an art exhibit featuring gardens, a wide array of performers and works of art from Vermont and around the world will be available for the public to enjoy from September through May, often at little to no cost.

"We are very excited by the rich variety of the arts program, and we're eager to make both Vermonters and visitors aware that this cultural resource is open to them," said Susan Stockton, Director of the Center for the Arts.

Stockton said that people may be surprised to learn that most performances cost no more than $9.00 for adults and $7.00 for seniors and children under 12. "We're thrilled that College subsidies make these low ticket prices possible given the national and international stature of many of the artists," said Stockton. Admission to the museum and all films is free, as is parking.

Middlebury offers several different categories of arts events.

The Middlebury College Concert Series, now in its 79th season, will present 18 performances by artists that vary from solo vocalists and piano trios to Renaissance musicians and string quartets. New this season is reserved seating for higher profile concert series events.

Several major performances highlight this season's concert series. Leading off the season is American pianist Peter Serkin, who will appear on October 14. Serkin has been called "one of the supreme musicians of our time" by "New York Magazine." Polish-born pianist Emanuel Ax will perform on November 23. The "Los Angeles Times" said Ax "plays the piano like a master, with authority and probity." Known to audiences around the globe, the Tokyo String Quartet will perform quartets by Haydn, Schnittke, and Smetana on March 10.

Maestro Ali Akbar Kahn will bring the uplifting and extraordinary music of North India to Middlebury College's Mead Chapel on April 25. Considered a national living treasure in India, Kahn's mastery of the sarod, a beautiful 25-string instrument, led violinist Yehudi Menuhin to call him "an absolute geniusÂ…the greatest musician in the world."

The Middlebury College Museum of Art's new exhibits will complement changing selections from the College's permanent collection. Artwork inspired by the garden, Japanese prints and an 18th century salon are just a few of the season's highlights.

On display from March 14 to May 31, "After Eden: Garden Varieties in Contemporary Art" will bring together a multi-faceted collection of painting, photography, sculpture, video and outdoor installations by contemporary artists.

Exploring the omnipresence of the garden in today's society, the exhibit reveals the garden in all its current formsas idea, as exquisitely cultivated space for recreation and delight, or simply as a metaphor for purposeful human activity in the natural world.

This fall, long before the museum becomes a garden paradise, the public is welcome to enjoy "A Hidden Treasure: Japanese Prints From the Carnegie Museum of Art" and "The Return of the Salon Louis XVI," featuring restored wood paneling from an 18th century drawing room that was once in the College's Le Chateau. Both exhibits are on display from Sept. 4-Nov. 23.

Further offerings include the work of accomplished sculptor, painter and printmaker Nancy Graves and an exhibition entitled "The Artistic Imagination and Ecological Values." Both will open on January 6.

The College Street Film/Video Series will present recent and historic, American and foreign films in 35 millimeter. Guest lectures will accompany several of the films.

Spanning many cultures and countries, the series begins on September 20 with a panel of Middlebury College professors showing and discussing favorite scenes from Japanese films.

On October 11, in the British movie "Secrets and Lies," an adopted young black woman experiences a transformation after discovering that her birth mother is white. The film won the Palme D'Or [best film] at the Cannes Film Festival.

Later in the series on January 24, one of the most celebrated Hollywood spectacle films, "Lawrence of Arabia" recreates World War I desert warfare in a newly restored version of the movie.

Dance and theatre productions by faculty and students-along with music, art and film-are offered by the Middlebury College Arts Program throughout the academic year.

Dancers will take their work outdoors in "Outdoor Project: Dancing on the Land," a free performance by Andrea Olsen and others at the Center for the Arts' pond on

October 25. Dance highlights also include a "Fall Student Dance Concert," which features exciting new work performed by student choreographers on Dec. 5-6; "The Dance Company of Middlebury In Performance" on Jan. 23-24; and "Creach/Koester: Men Dancing," which takes its inspiration from the chant traditions of 13th and 16th century sacred music, on March 6th and 7th.

This season, an intriguing mix of contemporary work, classics and visiting artists will occupy the theatre department's stages.

On Oct. 30-Nov. 1, "Mad Forest" will transport audiences to Romania, under and after the Ceausescus, revealing what happens when the silence is broken.

In one-man shows or recitals that are part of the concert series, British actor Oliver Ford Davies will perform "Shakespeare's Kings: The Exercise of Power" on Nov. 8. The performance includes speeches by Henry V and Macbeth. Davies' "Figures in Landscape" on Nov. 12 will focus on Wordsworth's development as a poet and examine his obsessions, achievements and failures. The actor is also known for his work in commercial film, including his roles in the upcoming "Startrek IV" and "Racing Demon."

"The Philadelphia Inquirer" praised Philip Barry's "The Philadelphia Story," which will take place Nov. 20-22, for its "nimble wit and impish twist of situation." On March 12-14, Nikolai Gogol's "The Government Inspector" will entertain local theatre lovers with high-spirited and keen witted satire on official crookedness, human stupidity, and the dangerous 15 minutes of fame.

Combining the talents of both the theatre and dance departments, "Chinchilla: Classical Forms in a Landscape," from April 30-May 2, explores the backstage intrigues of Sergey Diaghilev and the members of the Ballets Russe.

Tickets, Program and Dinner Information

Information, tickets for all music, theatre and dance performances, a free four-color 1997-1998 Middlebury College arts calendar, or a free bi-monthly newsletter, "Arts at Middlebury College," are all available through the box office at 802-443-6433.

Museum exhibition information is available by mail or by calling 802-443-5007. Hours are Tuesday through Friday 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, noon-5:00 p.m.

The College Street Film/Video Series is a rich array of 21 films presented from September 20 through May 2. Films are shown twice on Saturdays, once at 4:00 p.m. and again at 7:30 p.m. in Middlebury College's Dana Auditorium on College Street.

Patrons hungry for both food and the arts also can contact the box office at 802-443-6433 to make the required reservations for pre-performance dinner at the Rehearsals Café in the Center for the Arts. Dinner is available only before select performances.