Newsroom

August 26, 1999

Bicentennial Celebration Expands and Enlivens 1999-2000 Middlebury College Arts Program -- College Arts Events Offer Wide Range of Cultural Activities to Public at Low or No Cost

In honor of its Bicentennial in 2000, Middlebury College will present an arts program that features the richest array of performers, exhibits, and events ever to appear on campus. The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, internationally published children's author Tomie dePaola, and productions of such American theatre classics as "Our Town" and a "A Streetcar Named Desire" are among the cultural offerings scheduled this year.

"On the occasion of the Bicentennial, we wanted to celebrate the tradition of the arts at Middlebury. We found that the best way to do that with current students was by honoring the legacy of the talented faculty and alumni performers and artists that preceded them," said Director of the Middlebury College Center for the Arts Susan Stockton.

"We're also pleased that College subsidies have kept our ticket prices at the same low rates we've offered the last several years," added Stockton.

The Middlebury College Concert Series will offer a wide variety of artists, both new and familiar to the Center for the Arts.

On Oct. 13, violinist Mark O'Connor will return to the College to play a tribute to the jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli. Country Music Association "Musician of the Year" for six consecutive years, Grammy Award winner, composer, and master teacher, O'Connor has performed with a variety of musicians from Yo-Yo Ma, James Taylor, and Wynton Marsalis to Lyle Lovett and Paul Simon.

Praised by The New York Times for its "grace and virtuosity," the group Music from China will perform traditional and contemporary music of their native land on Nov. 13.

Two highly acclaimed pianists-Ivan Moravec and Garrick Ohlsson-will appear at the College. While Moravec will perform a program of Chopin on Jan. 21, Garrick Ohlsson will play Bach's Goldberg Variations on April 16. Critic Richard Dyer of The Boston Globe has written, "Of today's touring celebrity pianists, Ohlsson is the most comprehensively satisfying. He is a tremendous virtuoso."

A few years ago an article in The Guardian of Manchester, England declared, "There's just a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have altered the direction of musical history, and Steve Reich is one of them." The Guardian also stated, "[it was Reich] who from the start gave Minimalism its real substance and radical integrity." Steve Reich and Musicians will give a concert on April 5.

Along with musical performances, the arts events during the Bicentennial year will include museum exhibits, theatre, dance, workshops for children and their families, films, and lectures.

One of the major events will be a performance by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis on April 29. In a program entitled "For Dancers Only," the orchestra's music will encourage the audience to dance and swing in a cabaret-style atmosphere.

Another highlight of the year will be a visit by children's author Tomie dePaola. In an entertaining program, he will share stories and draw pictures. Books will be sold at the event and dePaola will be available for autographs.

Theatre productions by visiting artists, faculty, and students will take place throughout the academic year. One such production is the Vermont-based Weston Playhouse Theatre Company's regional premiere of "Master Class," the Broadway hit by Terrence McNally, on Oct. 19. This tour de force of acting and singing swept the Tony, New York Drama, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Play. The play features famed diva Maria Callas, who has lost her magnificent singing voice, but remains a force of nature as she teaches a master class before a live audience.

A bawdy explosion of flirtation, deception, passion, guns, and swords, "The Rover," which is set in Naples at carnival time, is by history's first recorded professional female playwright-Aphra Behn. On Dec. 9-11, Associate Professor of Theatre Cheryl Faraone will direct this play, also known as "The Banish'd Cavalier."

Dance enthusiasts will enjoy "Spring Day," a dance theatre piece performed by Pappa Tarahumara, a Japanese group founded by Hiroshi Koike, the group's director and choreographer, on its first United States tour. Hailed by Japanese critics as one of the country's leading contemporary artists, Koike and his work are characterized by inventive use of audio-visual media in performance. "Spring Day" explores the way in which the generative images of spring and summer are often illusory; inextricably connected with-but often not indicative of-the darker seasons to come.

Another highlight of the arts program will take place when the College's Dance Company of Middlebury (DCM) celebrates the Bicentennial year with student and alumni dancers performing work under the direction of guest artist Peter Schmitz at Middlebury on March 10-11. The apogee of a three-year process, this evening-length work develops images, themes, and choreographic metaphors begun in "Dream Boxes" (1998) and further evolved in "Two Parts Air" (1999). DCM takes this work to the Cunningham Studio for performance in New York City on March 24-25.

At the Middlebury College Museum of Art, two new exhibitions will begin the fall arts season on Sept. 14-"Treasures of Deceit: Archaeology and the Forger's Craft," and "Horatio Greenough: An American Sculptor's Drawings." The latter focuses on the work of an artist who is generally regarded as the first American sculptor to achieve international fame. Forty-eight drawings and 14 sculptures will comprise this retrospective of the artist's work, the first ever assembled. Among the works are portraits of George Washington, Samuel F.B. Morse, the Marquis de Lafayette, and James Fenimore Cooper.

Workshops for teachers and families, as well as lectures, slide presentations, and demonstrations will accompany both exhibits. During one such event held in conjunction with the Greenough exhibit, "Discovering Sculpture" on Oct. 2, children ages 6-12 and accompanying adults will learn about sculpture in the museum galleries, watch a stonecarver at work, and make a sculpture from recycled materials in a family workshop.

The College Street Film/Video Series presents recent and historic, American and foreign films in 35 millimeter shown at no charge. Highlights of the series include a tribute to Chinese cinema on April 8.

The series offers such films as "Mrs. Dalloway," starring Vanessa Redgrave in Academy Award-winning director Marleen Gorris' film version of Virginia Woolf's landmark 1925 novel. Other films in the series range from "Hilary and Jackie," an intimate portrait of the world famous cellist Jacqueline du Pre, whose crippling illness at age 26 brought an end to her soaring musical career, to "A Taste Of Cherry," the story of a solitary man contemplating suicide who drives through the hilly outskirts of Teheran in search of someone who will bury him if he succeeds, or save him if he fails.

Alumni will return to participate in numerous Bicentennial arts events. On Oct. 28-31, Claudio Medeiros, a member of the Middlebury College class of 1990, will direct Thornton Wilder's "Our Town." Alumni musical and opera stars from stages around the world will gather with alumni faculty and composers for the "Alumni Musical Gala" on April 15. In two exhibitions-"Fifty Years: Faculty Art at Middlebury" opening in January and "Middlebury Alumni Artists" opening in May-the Museum of Art will pay homage to those that have contributed to the artistic life of the College.

Tickets, Program, and Dinner Information

Information, tickets for all music, theatre and dance performances, a free four-color 1999-2000 Middlebury College arts calendar, or a free quarterly newsletter, "Arts at Middlebury College," are all available through the box office at 802-443-6433. Patrons can visit the Center for the Arts on the web at http://www.middlebury.edu/arts.

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, 12 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

The College Street Film/Video Series offers a rich array of films presented from September 18 through April 29. Films are shown twice on Saturdays, once at 3:00 p.m. and again at 8:00 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 Cafe in the Center for the Arts. Dinner is available only before select performances.