A celebration of ten years in the company of extraordinary minds featuring renewed partnerships, commissioned works and unique performance formats. Originally posted on the ARHU Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center website.
The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center celebrates our 10th anniversary season by turning the spotlight on the people who make us what we are: Intrepid explorers, divine divas, culture bearers, soul stirrers, serious kidders, keepers of the flame and just plain art nuts. Together, these extraordinary individuals have created a culture of learning, exploration and growth that will continue in 2011-2012 in performances, engagement activities, dialogues, workshops and more.
A Toast to 10 Years and Counting On September 10, we’ll all raise a glass of champagne in the Grand Pavilion to celebrate the launch of our new season then join divine diva Patti LuPone for her witty and candid autobiographical review, Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda. It's a no-holds-barred reminiscence by a one-of-a-kind artist, who relives her artistic life up 'til now through songs and stories: the roles she has played and wishes she could have played; the mass "cattle-call" auditions at the beginning of her career; her unlikely entrance to Juilliard; and her numerous career ups and downs.
Long-Time Partners in a Year-Long Creative Arc Building long-lasting and meaningful relationships with artists is vitally important to the Center. So are opportunities for artists to collaborate creatively with each other. In 2011-2012, several artists will be with us several times over the course of the season, interacting with audiences – and working with each other – in performances, dialogues and workshops.
Dr. Ysaye Barnwell Fortune’s Bones, February 25-26 Dr. Ysaye Barnwell – composer, educator and artistic director of Sweet Honey in the Rock – led a community choir project at the Center in the 2003-2004 season, and she returns this year to curate and direct the Fortune’s Bones project, which will include performances on February 25-26 and a year-long series of events of discovery on campus. Who was Fortune? In life, he was an African-American slave who served a doctor in post-Colonial Connecticut. In death, he became a medical specimen and later a walk-by exhibit at the Mattatuck Museum, a skeleton known only as "Larry." But Fortune was also a husband, father and human being. Stirred by his story, Connecticut poet-laureate Marilyn Nelson wrote Fortune’s Bones: The Manumission Requiem. The book fell into the hands of Dr. Barnwell and she was so gripped by the story's power she set the text to music. Her cantata, performed here by a full symphony and choirs, forms the centerpiece of a program that will also include spirituals by the Heritage Signature Chorale and featured soloists. The evening celebrates the fullness of African-American life and metaphorically sets Fortune’s bones to rest. As Dr. Barnwell notes, "God's Blessings on Fortune … da bell done rung."
Eiko & Koma The Japanese-American dance duo Eiko & Koma is known for otherworldly movement that draws inspiration from nature and suggests the subjective nature of the passage of time. They were most recently at the Center in the 2006-2007 season with Reyum: Cambodia Project. These MacArthur "Genius" Award recipients will share their singular vision in three events this season.
Regeneration, September 14-15: This retrospective program of three works, presented in the intimate confines of the Kogod Theatre, spans 35 years in the evolution of Eiko and Koma's creative arc. It will be accompanied by a visual arts installation of Koma's work in our Grand Pavilion. This presentation is part of a multi-faceted Retrospective Project that applies the tools and concepts traditionally used in creating a visual art retrospective to works of performance. Project elements will take place in multiple cities over several years. Fragile, February 21-22: This performance/installation event, created and performed in partnership with Kronos Quartet, will take place in the Kogod black box theatre, which will provide a flexible format for the unique four-hour format. Each evening will feature multiple performance configurations of music and dance, and audience members may come and go as they would at a museum exhibit. Caravan, May 3-5: This free outdoor performance/installation on the Center’s Front Plaza takes place in a specially modified trailer (suggestive of the caravan in the title). The work embraces audiences in a non-staged setting and gives people a chance to experience Eiko & Koma – and the Center itself – from a new perspective.
Kronos Quartet Renowned for its eclectic, no-holds-barred approach to contemporary chamber music, Kronos Quartet is also committed to partnering with other adventuresome artists who work in a diversity of forms. Kronos has performed at the Center each season since the 2007-2008 season, developing powerful relationships with students and audiences in mutual explorations of discovery. They will build on this history in three collaborative presentations with other artists this season.
With Clarinetist David Krakauer, September 16: Kronos will team up with David Krakauer – a master of classical chamber music, Eastern European klezmer music and avant-garde improvisation – for a concert that will include the world premiere of a new Center-commissioned work by composer Aleksandra Vrebalov. With the Alim Qasimov Ensemble, February 18: Kronos will join with the Alim Quasimov Ensemble, an Azerbaijani group renowned for its soulful, fiery interpretations of the country’s traditional mugham music. Together, these musicians from the East and West forge a sound that incorporates the rhythms and melodies of multiple cultures. Fragile with Eiko & Koma, February 21-22: Kronos will help craft, and will perform, in this two-night performance/installation event. Musicians from Kronos will break out of the quartet format for some of the musical performances and might even engage in choreographed movement or improvisation.
Margaret Jenkins Light Moves, February 3-4 Choreographer Margaret Jenkins has created two commissioned works for the Center in past seasons: A Slipping Glimpse (2007) and Other Suns (2010), each inspired by movement traditions of other cultures. This season, she is working with American collaborators – media artist Naomie Kremer, poet Michael Palmer and composer Paul Dresher – to create Light Moves, a Center-commissioned work in its East Coast debut on February 3-4. Performed by the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, the concert will feature live music by the Paul Dresher Ensemble.
Master Artists Conduct Residencies with UMD Students Sustained residencies involving UMD students, faculty and audiences have been a hallmark of our work throughout the years. This season, three very different residencies will explore the creative impulse and its manifestations.
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is renowned for their brilliant and conductorless approach to music-making, which fosters the ideals of chamber music in orchestral playing. Orpheus will work with the School of Music throughout the year to share their unique rehearsal and performance techniques with students in the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra and will perform at four events, two sponsored by the School of Music and two sponsored by the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center's visiting artists program. This year-long engagement by Orpheus is the result of a collaborative partnership between the Center's Artistic Initiatives department, which selected Orpheus for presentation in the 2011-12 season, and the university’s School of Music.
School of Music Events With the UMD Symphony Orchestra, December 4: Members of Orpheus join with the UMSO in a performance of Haydn's Symphony No. 90. With the National Orchestral Institute, June: Members of Orpheus have been on the faculty of the UMD School of Music's National Orchestral Institute for a number of years and they will return in June to work with NOI students and faculty on conductorless performance.
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center Visiting Artist Events With pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, February 10: Orpheus will present a program that includes Jean-Yves Thibaudet in performance of Shostakovich's Concerto for piano, trumpet and strings, Op. 35 2 as well as Tippet's Divertimento on "Sellingers’ Round" in the first half of the program. The second half will feature the ensemble in Honegger's Pastorale d’ete and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade in C for Strings, Op. 48. With UMD faculty artists and students, Saturday, March 31: Members of Orpheus will join UMD faculty artists and students for an evening of chamber music featuring Felix Mendelssohn's ebullient Octet in E-flat Major, op. 20.
Morton Subotnik Silver Apples of the Moon, April 18 Electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnik first caught the public ear with Silver Apples of the Moon, a work he composed in the late 1960s on the then newly developed Buchla synthesizer. He will be an artist-in-residence in the School of Music during the 2011-2012 season, and on April 18 will perform Silver Apples of the Moon live in the Center's Grand Pavilion under the auspices of the visiting artists program. This free event will feature a light and projection landscape created in real time by visual/projection/lighting designer Lillevan – the Grand Pavilion as it has never before been seen or heard.
Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) With the UMD Wind Orchestra, March 29 Violinist and composer Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) conducted a residency at the Center in the 2007-2008 season, culminating in a performance of his haunting work, One Loss Plus, which explored his Haitian heritage. This season, he will draw inspiration from the Jewish Haggadah for a new work that explores the meaning of faith, persecution and personal choice, which will be premiered by the UMD Wind Orchestra on March 29. The Clarice Smith Center is partnering with the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan to commission and present this piece and UMWO musicians will perform in the New York premiere of the piece at the JCC.
Other Program Highlights Distinctive artistic visions will be represented throughout the season in a variety of disciplines. Some highlights include:
Joshua Redman's James Farm, September 25 Joshua Redman has a restless musical intelligence that continually pushes the boundaries of the jazz idiom. He brings that creative fire to his newest band, James Farm, as he returns to the quartet format. Since the group's debut at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2009, Redman and his James Farm collaborators Aaron Parks, Matt Penman and Eric Harland have fully explored a song-based approach to improvisation in performances that are rhythmically and technically complex, harmonically rich and emotionally compelling.
Takács Quartet, November 12 Four distinct musical personalities come together in the Takács Quartet, bringing a unique blend of drama, warmth and humor to the string quartet repertoire. This program features twentieth-century masters who pushed the boundaries of classical music while retaining the lush melodic qualities of earlier compositional eras. Rigorous and physically demanding for the musicians, all three pieces can be embraced with ease by the classical music lover. The program includes Janáek String Quartet No. 1 ("Kreutzer Sonata"); Britten String Quartet No. 1; Ravel String Quartet in F.
New York Festival of Song Manning the Canon: Songs of Gay Life, November 15 Our audiences love the New York Festival of Song – perhaps for their meticulous research into repertoire, or their joie de vivre in concert, or their decidedly non-stuffy approach to musical themes. This season, NYFOS returns to the Center with a bold new program, Manning the Canon: Songs of Gay Life, which explores what founder Steven Blier describes as the quintessential moments of a gay man's experience. The concert's five musical chapters evoke gay life in contemporary America through works by Porter, Bernstein, Blitzstein and more, interspersed with two intermezzos featuring canonic composers of the past. Some songs are explicitly about gay life, while others were not intended to be "gay songs." But as Blier says, "What I have discovered, or rediscovered, is that a great song speaks to everyone, whispering its secrets to all listeners."
Basil Twist with Christopher O'Riley Symphonie Fantastique, March 29-31 Basil Twist has called puppetry "a very simple form of magic." His signature work, Symphonie Fantastique, is a bewitching underwater marvel combining puppetry with the powerful insinuations of music, dance and abstract art. Set to the five movements of Hector Berlioz's work by the same name, the abstract hour-long work is performed entirely in a specially constructed 1,000-gallon water tank, using mirrors, slides, dyes, blacklight, overhead projections, air bubbles, latex fishing lures and other materials. For our presentation, Twist reunites with pianist Christopher O'Riley, who will provide live piano accompaniment using a specially arranged version of Berlioz's symphony.
UMD School of Music A Celebration of Composer Dominick Argento The School of Music celebrates composer Dominick Argento's 85th birthday with several events.
Music in Mind - An American Original: Dominick Argento at 85, March 30 Faculty artist Linda Mabbs is joined by several of her colleagues in this tribute to the music of Dominick Argento, in celebration of his 85th birthday. From the lively Six Elizabethan Songs to the piano four-hand settings of the Valentino Dances, this concert is the first of various programs that will be presented throughout the month of April as the School of Music explores the many facets of this remarkable American composer. Maryland Opera Studio - Postcard from Morocco, April 20, 22 & 26 The Opera Studio presents a one-act opera by Argento based on A Child’s Garden of Verse by Robert Louis Stevenson. A small group of people wait in a railway station. A lady with a hand mirror. A man, Mr. Owen, with a paint box. A passenger with luggage. Another man has a cornet case. A hat maker, a shoe salesman and a woman with a cake box. A puppet maker appears, talking about all of the things that go into puppet making. The puppet show concludes, and everyone but Mr. Owen leaves. He sings about the ship of his childhood dreams. Rather than being plot-driven, the work draws its strength from the emotional impressions created by its characterizations. Maryland Opera Studio - Miss Havisham's Fire, April 21, 25, 27 & 29 The tribute continues with an opera based on Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, subtitled "Being an investigation into the unusual and violent death of Aurelia Havisham on the 17 of April in the year 1860." Miss Havisham lives for 50 years in the seclusion of her home, dying when her wedding gown, which she has never removed since she was jilted by her fiancé, catches fire. Past and present merge in a series of flashbacks that reveal the dark relationships Miss Havisham had with her adopted daughter Estella, and the orphan Pip.
UMD School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies Heavy is the Head, April 27-May 5 Heavy is the Head is a theatrical clown comic-tragedy inspired by William Shakespeare's King Lear, adapted by Leslie Felbain, integrating original music, clown performance and participation by undergraduate and graduate dance students. This world premiere will feature MFA in Performance candidates (MFAPs) from the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, which embraces the notion of cross-collaboration and "interdisciplinarity" – the ability to tap into new and different art forms to fully express a creative idea.
Stories of Learning, Exploration and Growth Since the Center opened its doors in September 2001, we have been committed to transforming lives through sustained engagement with the arts. Toward that goal, we have:
- engaged hundreds of thousands of people from the metropolitan Washington, DC area in performances, workshops, dialogues and other events,
- welcomed visiting artists chosen not only for the content of their work but for their commitment to interact with our community in meaningful ways,
- supported the creation of nearly 40 new works by artists in multiple genres and
- spotlighted the exemplary work of students and faculty from the academic units of music, theatre and dance.