Arts & Culture

Hoggard Named Middetown’s Music Ambassador

Pictured, Jay Hoggard (center) accepted his award from City of Middletown Mayor Dan Drew and Commission on the Arts Chair Jenny Lecce.

Pictured, Jay Hoggard (center) accepted his award from City of Middletown Mayor Dan Drew and Commission on the Arts Chair Jenny Lecce. (Photo by Cassandra Day/Middletown Press)

Wesleyan vibraphonist and composer Jay Hoggard was named the Music Ambassador for the City of Middletown on Aug. 31 at the Mayor’s Office. In addition to being recognized for his valuable artistic and creative contributions, the Music Ambassadors’ music becomes the featured ‘music on hold’ for all City of Middletown phones.

Hoggard, who is a member of the Class of 1976, is an adjunct professor of music and adjunct professor of African American studies.

City of Middletown Mayor Dan Drew also proclaimed that August 31 is Jay Hoggard Day.

Read more in The Middletown Press.

Jay Hoggard

Jay Hoggard

The Music Ambassadors’ program is sponsored by the Middletown Commission on the Arts/City Arts & Culture Office. Learn more about Jay Hoggard on his website.

New Short Story by Scibona Published in Harper’s

Salvatore Scibona, the Frank B. Weeks Visiting Assistant Professor of English, is the author of a new short story published in the September 2015 issue of Harper’s Magazine.

Titled, “Tremendous Machine,” the story follows Fjóla Neergaard, a failed fashion model, lacking direction, and living in seclusion at her wealthy parents’ vacant Polish country house. She sets out to purchase a sofa for the house, which contains almost no other furniture, and finds herself in an odd store full of pianos. She purchases a piano and signs up for lessons with an elderly, once famous pianist.

Scibona shared some thoughts about the inspiration of his new story from the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H., where he was a fellow this summer.

“A few years ago, never having played an instrument before, I bought a piano and started taking lessons. This became an obsession to an unhealthy degree. I got tendonitis and had to stop playing for a while. Then I started again with a new teacher who became an inspiration. When I first started teaching at Wesleyan, I plotted my movements on campus to hit the practice studios in the basement of the CFA between classes.

“Around the same time, I took a trip to Poland, principally to the former Jewish Quarter of Krakow, a place that now has become a tourist destination, but that in the early ’90s when the story takes place bore little public acknowledgment of its history.

“The story is about a young Danish woman who has failed as a fashion model and is living in spartan desperation at a Polish estate her wealthy parents have purchased as an investment, with no intention that anyone should ever live there. In the ruins of her hopes, she happens on a piano warehouse and has one of those grace-bitten moments in life when something that feels like your true calling clubs you in the back of the head.

“The central mystery of the story, to my understanding, is that once Fjóla (that’s her name) starts playing she discovers a stamina, a talent, and a will that seems to come from nowhere at all. But nothing comes from nothing. And the story wants to know where this came from, this hidden gift.

She has superpowers. She discovers them by accident, and they save her. But where did they come from?”

Scibona, who in entering his third year teaching at Wesleyan, spent about a year working on the story. He wrote most of it in his apartment at Lawn Avenue and Brainerd Road. A recent Wesleyan graduate inspired the first name for the protagonist’s father in the story.

Scibona teaches fiction writing (Techniques, Intermediate, Advanced) and a First Year Seminar called Three Big Novels, an occasion for frosh to cut their teeth on some grand good novels. This year they will be reading Moby Dick, Anna Karenina and A House for Mr. Biswas.

Scibona’s other stories include “The Hidden Person,” which appeared in Harper’s, and “The Kid,” which was published in The New Yorker. His novel The End was a finalist for the National Book Award.

The Mash, “Bach to School” Kick Off CFA’s New Season

The Mash will kick off the 2015-16 Center for the Arts series on Setp. 11. Inspired by Fete de la Musique, also known as World Music Day, the fourth annual festival highlights Wesleyan's student music scene.

The Mash will kick off the 2015-16 Center for the Arts series on Sept. 11. Inspired by Fete de la Musique, also known as World Music Day, the fourth annual festival highlights Wesleyan’s student music scene.

Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts 2015-16 season includes two world premieres, one United States premiere, one New England premiere, four Connecticut debuts and the following events:

Artist in Residence and University Organist Ronald Ebrecht will perform "Bach to School" at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 11 in Memorial Chapel. The concert will feature a lively recital of works by Johann Sebastian Bach, César Franck, Charles-Marie Widor, and John Spencer Camp Professor of Music Neely Bruce. (photo by Sandy Aldieri)

Artist in Residence and University Organist Ronald Ebrecht will perform “Bach to School” at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 11 in Memorial Chapel. The concert will feature a lively recital of works by Johann Sebastian Bach, César Franck, Charles-Marie Widor, and John Spencer Camp Professor of Music Neely Bruce. (photo by Sandy Aldieri)

• Sept. 11: The Mash at Olin Library, North College, Center for the Arts and Foss Hill.
• Sept. 11: “Bach to School” at the Memorial Chapel with Artist in Residence and University Organist Ronald Ebrecht
• Sept. 13: Music at The Russell House: Julie Ribchinsky Bach and the Modern World
• Sept. 16-Dec. 13: “R. Luke Dubois—In Real Time” exhibition in Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery
• Sept. 17-Nov. 7: Eiko Otake — “A Body in Places”
• Sept. 18: Nicholas Payton Trio featuring Gerald Cannon and Herlin Riley
• Sept. 24: “Theater After Wesleyan” panel discussion
• Sept. 25-26: Connecticut debut of Dorrance Dance
• Sept. 28: The Combat Paper Project
• Oct. 7-11: 39th annual Navaratri Festival
• Oct. 9: Daniel Beaty performing “Mr. Joy”

Art History Research Team Led by Mark Wins Major Grant

Peter Mark on the summit of the Ortler, the highest mountain in the Italian Sudtirol, in August. At Wesleyan, Mark teaches a course on “The Mountains and Art History.” (Contributed photo)

Peter Mark on the summit of the Ortler, the highest mountain in the Italian Sudtirol, in August. At Wesleyan, Mark teaches a course on “The Mountains and Art History.” (Contributed photo)

An international research team headed by Professor of Art History Peter Mark has been awarded a grant for a project titled “African Ivories in the Atlantic World.” The $115,000 three-year grant from the Portuguese Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) will make it possible for the research team to carry out the first laboratory analyses of selected ivories, in order to determine more precisely the age and the provenance of these little-known artworks. In addition, team members will compile the first comprehensive catalogue of “Luso-African ivories” in Portuguese collections, as well as the first thorough study of those carvings that were exported to Brazil at an early date.

Mark is the co-founder and director of the research group, based in Lisbon, Portugal.

Jenkins Profiles a Popular and Provocative Puppet Master

Ron Jenkins

Ron Jenkins

Professor of Theater Ron Jenkins writes in The Jakarta Post about Wayan Nardayana, a popular and provocative puppet master in Bali who “combines the political insight of a social activist with the spiritual wisdom of a priest and the comic instincts of a master entertainer.”

Jenkins describes the artist’s recent performance at a celebration of the birthday of Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno. “The dalang’s ability to make connections between sacred texts, Indonesian history and contemporary reality is at the core of his art,” Jenkins writes.

Nardayana tells the audience, “Indonesians today can also harness the power of their ancestors to inspire them to take the actions to make their country as strong as the other great nations of the world. Sukarno is one of those ancestors and remembering him is one way our generation can preserve our cultural identity and use it to take the actions necessary to create freedom today.”

Tatge Joins Board of the New England Foundation for the Arts

Pam Tatge

Pam Tatge

Pam Tatge ’84, MALS ’10, P’16, director of Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts (CFA), was appointed to the board of the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA).

Noted for facilitating Liz Lerman’s “Ferocious Beauty: Genome” at the CFA, an exploration of repercussions of genetic research in 2006, Tatge received the 2010 William Dawson Award from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, given to an individual or organization in the presenting field for sustained leadership, innovation and vision in program design, audience building and community involvement efforts.

Additionally, Tatge worked closely with former NEFA executive director Sam Miller ’75 to create Wesleyan’s Institute for Curatorial Practice and Performance, which offers an MA in performance curation. As a Wesleyan undergraduate, she majored in history.

“NEFA is an extraordinary institution with innovative programs that successfully marry artists to audiences in New England and across our nation,” Tatge says. “I’m honored to serve on their board.”

NEH Supports Research, Writing Projects by Tucker, Curran

#THISISWHY
Two Wesleyan faculty received NEH Public Scholarships to encourage new research and support their upcoming publications. Only 36 writers in the country received the award.

The Public Scholar program, a major new initiative from the National Endowment for the Humanities, is designed to promote the publication of scholarly nonfiction books for a general audience. On July 29, the NEH awarded a total of $1.7 million to 36 writers including Wesleyan’s Jennifer Tucker, associate professor of history, and Andrew Curran, the William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities and professor of French.

Tucker received a grant worth $50,400 to support her book titled Caught on Camera: A History of Photographic Detection and Evasion.

Sumarsam, Students, Alumni Attend Traditional Music Conference in Kazakhstan

PhD candidate Ander Terwilliger, University Professor of Music Sumarsam and PhD candidate Christine Yong attended the International Council for Traditional Music conference in Astana, Kazakhstan.

PhD candidate Ander Terwilliger, University Professor of Music Sumarsam and PhD candidate Christine Yong attended the International Council for Traditional Music conference in Astana, Kazakhstan.

From July 14–23, two ethnomusicology PhD candidates — Christine Yong and Ander Terwilliger — along with five alumni —Tan Sooi Beng ’80, Donna Kwon ’95, Jonathan Kramer ’71, Sylvie Bruinders ’99, and Becky Miller ’94 — joined University Professor of Music Sumarsam at the 2015 conference of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) in Astana, Kazakhstan. Tan Sooi Beng was elected to the ICTO executive board.

The International Council for Traditional Music is a non-governmental organization in formal consultative relations with UNESCO. It aims to further the study, practice, documentation, preservation and dissemination of traditional music and dance of all countries.

At the conference, Sumarsam presented a talk titled “Expressing And Contesting Java-Islam Encounters In The Performing Arts;” and Kwon spoke on “Glimpses Beyond The Curtain: Making Sense Of North Korean Musical Performance in the Age of Social Media.” Kwon also was a recipient of this year’s prestigious American Council of Learned Societies grant.

 

Beatles Benefit Concert Created in Memory of CFA Intern

A 21-member all-star band, featuring four members of the Wesleyan community, will come together to perform the Beatles White Album in its entirety at Blackbird: A Benefit Concert for the Stephanie Nelson Memorial Scholarship Fund, on Saturday, July 25 at Crowell Concert Hall. Pictured: Nadya Potemkina, Andy Chatfield, and Shona Kerr. (Photo by Cynthia Rockwell).

A 21-member all-star band, featuring four members of the Wesleyan community, will come together to perform the Beatles’ White Album in its entirety at Blackbird: A Benefit Concert for the Stephanie Nelson Memorial Scholarship Fund, July 25 at Crowell Concert Hall. Pictured, from left, are Wesleyan’s Nadya Potemkina, Andy Chatfield and Shona Kerr. (Photo by Cynthia Rockwell)

A 21-member all-star band will come together to perform the Beatles’ White Album in its entirety at Blackbird: A Benefit Concert for the Stephanie Nelson Memorial Scholarship Fund, at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 25 at Crowell Concert Hall. The concert is being held in memory of former Center for the Arts intern Stephanie Nelson, of Middletown, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 25. All proceeds from ticket sales will go toward creating a scholarship fund for Middlesex Community College students in support of internships at Wesleyan.

The concert is the brainchild of drummer Andy Chatfield, press and marketing director of the Center for the Arts. “Stephanie was the CFA’s first broadcast communications and multimedia intern from Middlesex Community College in 2013, and we all appreciated the energy and light that she brought to our office and to everything she did,” Chatfield said. “This event will celebrate Stephanie’s life with her family and friends and create a scholarship fund in her memory to support interns from Middlesex Community College to be paid for time spent working at Wesleyan.”

Basinger Comments on Why Today’s TV is So Good

Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, curator of the Cinema Archives, spoke with The Huffington Post about why today’s television is so good. TV has come a long way since 1961 when Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton Minow proclaimed television “a vast wasteland” in an address to the National Association of Broadcasters. The article explores how advances in technology and television production have vastly improved the experience for viewers.

One of the biggest changes was the introduction of DVR and streaming services, which mean we’re no longer slaves to the television schedule, required to sit on the couch for an hour when our favorite show airs.

“I think that’s a very ‘old people’ view, that we’re all just sitting around on our couch and eating cookies,” Basinger told The Huffington Post. “That’s very 1960s. I don’t think people do that anymore. We can control our viewing of TV, when we watch it and how we watch it.”

The writer also argues that “TV is now the definitive space for starting a dialogue around social issues.”

“TV has become a global forum of discussion, information, entertainment and intellectual stimulation,” Basinger agreed. “Watching TV doesn’t eliminate your intellectual life. It actually adds to it.”

Haverford Hosts Belanger’s “Rift/Fault” Photography Series

Marion Belanger, an instructor in Graduate Liberal Studies, is currently displaying her photography series “Rift/Fault” at Haverford College. The series is two dozen photography pairings of the North American continental plate, which stretches from California to Iceland. In an intersection of geology and art, the display walks a viewer through images of plate tectonics and the stories that they tell.

More information about the gallery, including dates and hours of operation, can be found here.  Samples of her photography are below:

One of Belanger's photo pairings in her "Rift/Fault" series.

belanger-rift-fault-2

One of Belanger's photo pairings in her "Rift/Fault" series.

Shapiro Reads from Fables in a Modern Key

Norman Shapiro, professor of french.

Norman Shapiro

On June 28, Norman Shapiro, professor of French, provided light verse readings, including a passage from his recently translated Fables in a Modern Key, as part of the Find Your Park summer festival event series. The reading took place at Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

Shapiro is a member of the Academy of American Poets and an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de la République Française.

Fables was written by by Pierre Coran (whose real name is Eugene Delaisse), a poet and novelist of the Belgian French-language. One of Begium’s most renowned poets with some 45 poetry books published to date, he also is the author of 25 published novels, 24 books of fables, hundreds of comic book stories, and several albums which have been translated into more than a dozen languages. His children’s stories and fables are published around the world, but this the first selection of his fables to be translated into English in a full length book format.

Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site was home to 19th century poet and scholar Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his family from 1837–1950. The historic 1759 colonial mansion also was General George Washington’s first major headquarters during the American Revolution. The house and its collections were a gift to the nation from Longfellow’s descendants in 1972. Its extensive collections and grounds represent more than 250 years of America’s history and literature.

Shapiro’s book can be found here.