Middlebury’s Mahaney Center for the Arts Announces 2013–2014 Arts Season

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts has announced the 2013-2014 season, filled with extraordinary films, exhibitions, concerts, dance performances, plays and more. The season’s offerings, though remarkably diverse, demonstrate particular strengths in contemporary art, international work and the finest chamber music the world has to offer. Student and faculty artists will show their exciting visual and performing arts work alongside a parade of accomplished guest artists.
The 94th season of the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series includes an impressive roster of the finest American artists, as well as first-class international performers. Classical chamber music continues to be a hallmark of the series. A string of excellent solo piano concerts is woven through the year, including accomplished British musician Imogen Cooper (Oct. 10), 20-year-old Gramophone Artist of the Year Benjamin Grosvenor (Oct. 29), Russian phenom Alexander Melnikov (Feb. 23), and Middlebury audience favorite Paul Lewis (April 4). Other highlights include Chinese classical guitarist Xuefei Yang (Dec. 6), and American cellist Sophie Shao, who will perform in the opening concert for the Middlebury Bach Festival (April 25). Two free concerts by the Jupiter String Quartet (Nov. 23) and the Elias String Quartet (March 13) will help make this extraordinary music series accessible to all.
The Performing Arts Series also presents acclaimed theater and dance companies. In September, the theater company Living Word Project comes to Middlebury for two performances of the urban hip-hop show “Word Becomes Flesh” by Marc Bamuthi Joseph (Sept. 20 and 21). Contemporary dance company Hyphen, led by Middlebury dance faculty member Catherine Cabeen, will give two public performances focusing on interdisciplinary collaboration (Oct. 11 and 12). Tickets for the Performing Arts Series go on sale to the general public on Sept. 16.
The Performing Arts Series Society (PASS), now in its second year, offers its members benefits such as advance ticketing, pre-concert talks, and special events with the artists. Tickets went on sale to PASS members on Sept. 3, nearly two weeks earlier than the public. Information is available at http://go.middlebury.edu/PASS.
On Sept. 3, the Middlebury College Museum of Art opened the fall exhibition “Vito Acconci: Thinking Space,” marking the 30th anniversary of Acconci’s first permanent commission, “Way Station I (Study Chamber),” and its recent reconstruction on campus. An internationally celebrated performance and video artist before he came to Middlebury, Acconci went on to found Acconci Studio and establish a distinguished career as a designer of public places in this country and abroad. The artist himself will give a public talk on Nov. 7.
The major spring exhibition is “Performance Now” (Feb. 7–April 20), featuring videos, objects, films and installations that document ephemeral occurrences. Including works by Marina Abramovic, William Kentridge, Clifford Owens and Laurie Simmons, among many others, the exhibition surveys critical and experimental currents in this historically significant, global development in art practice.
Other exhibitions this season include “Screened and Selected II: Contemporary Photography and Video Acquisitions, 2006–2011” (Sept. 13-Dec. 8); “Vermont Architecture” (Jan. 7-March 23), and “Guerilla Girls: Art in Action” (April 1-May 25). Museum admission is free.
The Theatre Program’s season opens with contemporary British playwright and feminist Caryl Churchill’s startling and subversive play “Vinegar Tom,” directed by Cheryl Faraone (Oct.31-Nov. 2), a cabaret about hanging witches.
Later this fall, Richard Romagnoli directs David Edgar’s historical and political epic “Pentecost” (Nov. 21-23). This play about the freeing and redemptive power of art “is the meatiest new drama I have seen since Stoppard’s ‘Arcadia,’” said Jonathan Kalb of the Village Voice. The title is a New Testament reference to the multiplicity of languages.
Spring term productions will include a new adaptation of the controversial book and motion picture “A Clockwork Orange,” directed by Andrew Smith ’97.5 (April 10-12), and Sarah Ruhl’s tantalizing and elegant comedy “In the Next Room”(or “The Vibrator Play”), directed by Cláudio Medeiros ’90 (April 30-May 3). Tickets go on sale two weeks prior to each opening night.
The 2013-2014 Dance Company of Middlebury will activate their work with three social catalysts this year: first, Butoh performance with guest artist Shizu Homma; next, fashion design and contemporary choreography with guest artist Ayo Janeen Jackson; and finally, carnival with the New Waves Dance and Performance Institute’s performance studies program in Trinidad and Tobago. Christal Brown directs this year’s company of student dancers, premiering their new work, “The Meaning of the Masks,” on Feb. 21 and 22 at Middlebury.
Guest artists include south Indian classical dancer Sasikala Penumarthi and her students from the Academy of Kuchipudi Dance in a free performance on Oct. 14.
Student work is always a focus of the dance program. Seniors Adeline Cleveland ’13.5 and Amy Donahue ’13.5 will present a concert of original work inspired by their interests in contemporary dance, gender dynamics, contemplative practices and multimedia expression on Dec. 5 and 6. Spring graduates Hai Do ’14, Rachel Nuñez ’14, Cameron McKinney ’14 and Jill Moshman ’14 will present their senior thesis concert on May 2 and 3. This lively evening will combine the various interest of the students — from Vietnamese dance and culture, hip-hop and traditional Japanese movement, to psychology and physical memory. Tickets for dance program events go on sale two weeks in advance.
The Department of Music presents a diverse mix of concerts by students, faculty and guest artists throughout the coming year. The Middlebury College Orchestra will give a Halloween-themed concert on Oct. 31; the Middlebury College Choir will perform American music and works by Middlebury composers on Nov. 17. The Middlebury College-Community Chorus presents a Thanksgiving concert on Nov. 24, as well as a collaborative concert with the Champlain Philharmonic on April 6. Among the other excellent departmental ensemble performances are the African Music and Dance Ensemble (Nov. 19 and April 30); and the Sound Investment Jazz Ensemble (Nov. 22 and May 3). The third annual Bach Festival will take place April 25-27, with concerts, interest sessions, guest artists and more.
Affiliate Artists will take time away from teaching Middlebury College students to give a series of solo concerts. The year kicks off with two guitarists: Eric Despard on Sept. 21 and Dayve Huckett on Oct. 4. Flutist Anne Janson’s performance on Oct. 5 will be accompanied by projected paintings from the Hudson River Valley School. Pianist Cynthia Huard presents variations from Bach to Mendelssohn on March 2, and piper Timothy Cummings shares music from Ireland and Scotland on March 16 for St. Patrick’s Day. Many of the Affiliate Artists will come together for a collaborative concert on Nov. 2.
Most music department events are free and open to the public; exceptions are the College-Community Chorus’s April concert and selected Bach Festival events, which are ticketed.
The Department of History of Art and Architecture will sponsor a series of public talks by guest artists and architects throughout the year. The first is Ajay Sinha of Mount Holyoke college, who will speak about the Indian photographer Dayanita Singh in a talk entitled “The Photo Book and the Camera Animal” on Oct. 24. Cameron Visiting Architects Kyu Sung Woo (Jan. 13) and William Massie (April 9) will give public lectures as part of their on-campus residencies working with Middlebury College students on academic projects.
Middlebury College alumni and faculty also appear on the list of expert speakers. Madeline Firestone ’13 returns to campus Oct. 25 to present her recent research on the museum’s sculpture of Saint Barbara. Sotheby’s photographs specialist, Emily Bierman ’07, discusses the world of photography auctions on Nov. 19. Pieter Broucke, director of the arts and associate curator of ancient art, gives a talk called “Black Figure, Red Figure — Go Figure!” on March 6 that will explore the college’s teaching collection of ancient Greek pottery. These talks are free and open to the public.
The Hirschfield International Film Series will present acclaimed foreign and independent films on Saturdays throughout the year at 3 and 8 p.m., free of charge. This year’s series kicks off with “Wuthering Heights,” British director Andrea Arnold’s 2011 resetting of Emily Brontë’s classic novel (Sept. 14). Other highlights include “Kon-Tiki,” the oceanic journey of Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, who crossed the Pacific on a balsa wood raft in 1947 (Oct. 12); “Searching for Sugar Man,” the lost-and-found story of 1970s American musician Sixto Rodriguez (Nov. 16); and “Wadjda,” the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, by the country’s first female director (Feb. 15).
Special events include a visit with film director Eugene Jarecki (Sept. 23), in conjunction with Sept. 21 screenings of his Sundance Prize-winning prison documentary “The House I Live In”; and a lecture by Professor Garrett Stewart of the university of Iowa (Nov. 11) about Michael Haneke’s Oscar winning French film “Amour,” to be screened on Nov. 9, examining the bonds of love in old age.
Student work is the focus of a series of studio art exhibitions planned for 2013-2014. The first, “Portraits: Power and Influence,” on view Sept. 17–24, features oil paintings created in collaboration with students in the Philosophy of Aesthetics class. Other exhibitions include “Line in Space: Just a Corner of Your Memory Palace” (Oct. 8-15), “Environmental Observations: Land, Light and Weather of Autumn” (Nov. 26-Dec. 3), and “Sculptural Architecture: the Lilliputian Meets the Gargantuan”(Feb. 11-18).The student-artists will give an inside look into their work at Open Studio day on April 11. These exhibitions are presented in the Johnson Building, and are free and open to the public.
For more information, or to request a 2012–2013 Arts Calendar, call 802-443-3168 or go to www.middlebury.edu/arts.

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