Posted: August 23, 2001
MIDDLEBURY, VT - For inspiration for the 2001-2002 arts season at Middlebury College, organizers have drawn from the Green Mountains and early America to foreign countries worldwide. A rare traveling exhibition of 54 paintings and sculptures from our country's first century, "Young America: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum," will help kick off the season on Sept. 14. Later exhibitions will celebrate Vermont artists David Bumbeck and Sabra Field. The arts calendar is also brimming with events that offer glimpses into cultures from around the globe, including visits by the London Theatre Exchange and a premiere by West African singer Kandia Kouyate. A series of films includes works from China, Iran and Sweden.
Music fans will recognize some familiar names on the calendar. Return engagements are booked for the popular Cyrus Chestnut Trio, the Tokyo String Quartet, the Takács Quartet and pianists Wu Han and Ivan Moravec.
The Smithsonian exhibit is an honor to present, not only to the College community but also to the entire region, according to Jennifer Lane, the new director of the Middlebury College Center for the Arts (CFA). "This is the only stop this exhibition will make in New England and we're thrilled to host it," she said. "Young America," on view at the Middlebury College Museum of Art from Sept. 14 through Nov. 25, includes works from early American artists such as John Singleton Copley, Thomas Cole, Hiram Powers and Lilly Martin Spencer. A variety of related talks and workshops will be held in connection with this event.
"We're also pleased to host a number of events which combine different disciplines and call for students and professionals to collaborate," Lane said.
With a five-week residency, the London Theatre Exchange is one such example. It opens with performances Oct. 12-13 of "Elizabethan Rivals: Art or Money" and "A Century on Stage: from Shaw and Wilde to the Present." The first is a look at rivals William Shakespeare and Philip Henslowe battling between art and enterprise. The latter paints a dramatic portrait of a changing modern society. On Nov. 8-10, however, director Chris Hayes will incorporate Middlebury College student actors into his unique theatrical production of "Henry V," featuring specially devised music and dance.
According to Middlebury College Professor of Theatre Cheryl Faraone, the London Theatre Exchange is a company with enormously strong credentials and one that normally works with much larger universities, both in the United States and South America.
With a new name this season, the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series boasts a powerhouse lineup featuring several well-loved returning performers as well as some fresh faces in the music world.
Cyrus Chestnut will bring his legendary energy and wit to the stage when he performs jazz music with the Cyrus Chestnut Trio at the Middlebury College Center for the Arts on Sept. 28, the first event in the Middlebury College 2001-2002 Performing Arts Series.
The energetic and witty Cyrus Chestnut and his trio will delight local jazz lovers again when he kicks off the series on Sept. 28. The world-renowned Takács Quartet returns to Middlebury twice this season for concerts and educational events. The string ensemble's Oct. 4 performance will include pieces by Beethoven and Haydn. On Jan. 25, pianist Diana Fanning and cellist Dieuwke Davydov join the quartet for presentations of Antonín Dvôrák's Piano Quintet and Franz Schubert's Cello Quintet, respectively.
Several acts that are new to Middlebury are slated for February and March. On Feb. 13, music lovers will be treated to a taste of West African sounds by vocalist Kandia Kouyate. Her concert, "The Soul of Mali," features traditional African instruments such as a 21-string harp-lute called a kora, a balafon or xylophone, and a bolon or bass harp, along with guitar and other strings. On Feb. 15, acclaimed pianist Claude Frank and his accomplished violinist daughter Pamela Frank team up to present several of Beethoven's violin and piano sonatas, among other selections. Both have performed at the CFA before, but never as a duo. Counter-tenor David Daniels will also demonstrate his exceptional vocal range on March 17.
As part of the Middlebury College 2001-2002 Performing Arts Series Vocalist Kandia Kouyate will offer a taste of West African sounds in a concert that features traditional African instruments on Feb. 13.
The Tokyo String Quartet returns to Middlebury College April 5. The popular and acclaimed chamber ensemble plans an evening of Brahms' chamber music. Likewise, pianist Wu Han returns on April 19, this time for her first solo recital at Middlebury in 15 years. She plans a program of all-Russian works by Tchaikovsky, Scriabin and Rachmaninoff.
Some of the theatre productions on tap for this season involve lively collaborations of various disciplines. The department of theatre, the department of music, and the Middlebury College Orchestra team up for "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, A Play for Actors and Orchestra" Nov. 30-Dec. 2. Directed by Middlebury College Professor of Theatre Richard Romagnoli, the production tells the story of a lunatic triangle player, who thinks he has an orchestra, sharing a cell in a Soviet mental asylum with a political prisoner. The orchestra, which will play the score composed by André Previn while seated onstage with the actors, is actually another character in the play.
On March 8-9, the Performing Arts Series and the dance program's Different Views Series presents "Daughter of a Pacifist Soldier." The work explores the experience of soldiering based on oral histories and personal writings, including several by Middlebury-area veterans. The production mixes music, dance, text, photography and video.
Late in the season on April 25-27 the department of theatre, dance and film/video will present "The Three Sisters" by Anton Chekhov.
Dance fans will be treated to performances Oct. 5-6 by dance program artist-in-residence Amy Chavasse. Her acclaimed company will present "Death, Beauty and Flying," a composition based on the life of Cuban-American artist Juan Gonzalez. It features a new duet choreographed and performed by Chavasse and Peter Schmitz, a member of the Middlebury College dance faculty.
Student and alumni dancers will also kick off a week-long New England tour with the Dance Company of Middlebury, starting with an evening-length program, "Path," Jan. 18-19.
The department of music sponsors its own series of free concerts throughout the year. One event concert fans are sure to enjoy is a performance of French song by tenor Paul Sperry and pianist Ian Hobson on Oct. 26.
Once the Smithsonian exhibition relinquishes the spotlight at the Middlebury College Museum of Art, the focus of featured works will shift to more modern times.
Two openings are scheduled for Jan. 15, one of which will feature photos taken by Charles "Teenie" Harris, a photographer from 1931-1975 for the Pittsburgh Courier, a preeminent African-American newsweekly. There will be 50 black and white photographic works by Harris that feature images of famous 20th century Americans as well as scenes of neighborhood life, sporting events and popular entertainment. The other collection celebrates the work of Vermont printmaker and sculptor David Bumbeck, a Middlebury College faculty member since 1968, on the occasion of his retirement. Both exhibits run through April 7.
The museum's season finale is a summer exhibit by one of Vermont's most famous artists and a member of the Middlebury class of 1957, Sabra Field. From May 16 through Aug. 11, 100 of her best known prints will be on display.
Lectures, slide presentations and demonstrations will accompany the museum's exhibits. The hands-on family program, "Art Together," continues this season for children ages 6-12 and accompanying adults. Admission to the events and the program are free.
Film enthusiasts have come to rely on the Hirschfield Film/Video Series for an eclectic mix of American and foreign films in 35-millimeter, shown at no charge. Highlights of the series include the Sept. 22 showing of "The House of Mirth" based on the classic Edith Wharton novel. The film's cast includes Dan Aykroyd and Gillian Anderson, who stars as the elegant and ravishing socialite Lily Bart.
Eric Stoltz plays Lawrence Seldon and Gillian Anderson stars as Lilly Bart in "The House of Mirth"(2000, USA), which will kick off the annual Middlebury College Hirschfield Film/Video Series on Sept. 22.
On Nov. 3, the series will present two Iranian films, "The Wind Will Carry Us" and "The Circle," as part of a symposium titled "A Glimpse Behind the Veil: Contemporary Iranian Cinema." An acclaimed Danish film, "The Idiots," takes the screen March 9. It was honored with the International Critics' Award at the 1999 London Film Festival and a 1999 nomination at Cannes for the Golden Palm Award. The American-made "You Can Count on Me" will be shown March 30. It received the Screenwriting Award and the Grand Jury Prize at the 2000 Sundance Festival.
Other selections include works by filmmakers from England, Taiwan, France and Sweden.
Tickets, Program and Dinner Information
College funding will continue to allow the Center for the Arts to offer tickets for $10 or less. Many events are also free.
Information; tickets for all music, theatre and dance performances; a free four-color 2001-2002 Middlebury College arts calendar; and a free quarterly newsletter, "Arts at Middlebury College," are all available through the College's box office at 802-443-6433. Patrons can also visit the Center for the Arts on the Internet.
Museum exhibition information is available by calling 802-443-5007 or visiting the museum website. Hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 12-5 p.m. Admission is free.
The Hirschfield Film/Video Series offers a rich array of films beginning Sept. 22. Films are shown twice on Saturdays, once at 3 p.m. and again at 8 p.m. in Middlebury College's Dana Auditorium in the Sunderland Language Center on College Street (Route 125).
Prior to select performances, dinner is served at Rehearsals Cafe in the Center for the Arts. To make the required reservations, contact the box office at 802-443-6433.