Tag Archive for music and public life

MiddletownRemix Draws Wesleyan, Local Community to Festival of Art and Sound

The Wesleyan and local community participated in “MiddletownRemix: Hear More, See More,” a festival of art and sound, on May 11 in downtown Middletown. After a year of exploring, sharing, and remixing the sounds of Middletown on the MiddletownRemix website, event attendees celebrated the city’s acoustic identity at the festival, which featured four commissioned world premieres, three live DJ sets, two art/sound installations, a laptop orchestra, food trucks, graffiti art, a gallery walk and a flash mob.

“MiddletownRemix” was presented by Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts and Green Street Arts Center and made possible with support from the Connecticut Office of the Arts, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Middletown Commission on the Arts; and in partnership with the City of Middletown, Middletown Public Schools, WESU 88.1FM, Community Health Center of Middletown, It’s Only Natural Market, MAC 650 Gallery, Middletown Framing, North End Action Team, NoRA Cupcake Company, The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts and Cultural Center, and the Middletown Relations Committee of the Wesleyan Student Association. The festival is part of the year-long campus and community-wide exploration “Music and Public Life.” (Photos by Nick Lacy)

MiddletownRemix

Avant-Garde Music Composer John Cage Celebrated with Exhibit, App

John Cage in 1988. (Photo courtesy of Special Collections and Archives)

John Cage in 1988. (Photo courtesy of Special Collections and Archives)

Influential experimental music composer, writer and artist John Cage (1912-1992), famous for his avant-garde music, was affiliated with Wesleyan from the 1950s until his death in 1992. During his 37-year relationship with Wesleyan, Cage collaborated with members of the Wesleyan music faculty, composed and performed on campus, and was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in 1960–61 and 1969–70. Wesleyan University Press published several of his books.

To honor Cage’s time and achievements at Wesleyan, the university is celebrating the centenary of Cage by focusing on his understanding of music as a social process through a collection of events.

Wesleyan’s Special Collections and Archives is hosting an exhibition titled “John Cage Writes” Dec. 3-March 10, 2013. The exhibit, mounted in the museum cases on the first floor of Olin Library, focuses in part on the five books Cage wrote that were published by Wesleyan University Press: Empty Words, M, SilenceX, and  A Year from Monday Silence has been hailed as one of the most important works on music by a 20th century composer.

“Although he’s best-known as an avant-garde composer, John Cage also wrote pioneering books and this exhibition will spotlight his literary endeavors,” says Leith Johnson, university archivist, who is curating the exhibition with Suzy Taraba, director of Special Collections and Archives.

Wesleyan University Press released the 50th Anniversary edition of John Cage's "Silence" in 2011. The book includes Cage's lectures and writings.

Wesleyan University Press released the 50th Anniversary edition of John Cage’s “Silence” in 2011. The book includes Cage’s lectures and writings.

Cage donated the papers related to his writing to Wesleyan and the exhibition draws on these materials, the archival records of Wesleyan University Press, and other SC&A collections. Among the items included in the show are correspondence, notebooks, manuscripts, photographs, editions of Cage’s works, and examples of his influence on book artists.

There’s also an app for that.

Musician Jack Freudenheim ’79, working in conjunction with Larson Associates and the John Cage Trust, created an app that lets a user play the sounds of John Cage’s ‘prepared piano’ released in time to celebrate what would have been Cage’s 100th birthday. Learn more about the app in this past Wesleyan Connection story.

In addition, the Center for the Arts hosted three musical performances on “John Cage and Public Life” as part of its “Music & Public Life” series, a year-long campus and community-wide exploration, celebrating and studying the sounds, words, and spirit of music.

Shasha Seminar Participants Celebrate Music and Public Life

The 11th Annual Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns was held on Nov. 8-9. Endowed by James J. Shasha ’50 P’82, the seminar is an educational forum for Wesleyan alumni, students, faculty and friends that provides an opportunity to explore issues of global concern in a small seminar environment.

The 11th Annual Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns was held on Nov. 8-9. The focus of this year’s seminar was Music and Public Life. In addition to lectures, seminar participants were treated to concerts and participated in musical performances.

Endowed by James J. Shasha ’50 P’82, the seminar is an educational forum for Wesleyan alumni, students, faculty and friends that provides an opportunity to explore issues of global concern in a small seminar environment.

Endowed by James J. Shasha ’50 P’82, the seminar is an educational forum for Wesleyan alumni, students, faculty and friends that provides an opportunity to explore issues of global concern in a small seminar environment.

Ethnomusicologist Anthony Seeger delivered the keynote address Nov. 8 titled, "Can We Safeguard Disappearing Musical Traditions? And If We Can, Should We?” Seeger is distinguished professor of ethnomusicology, emeritus, at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and director emeritus of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings at the Smithsonian Institution.

Ethnomusicologist Anthony Seeger delivered the keynote address Nov. 8 titled, “Can We Safeguard Disappearing Musical Traditions? And If We Can, Should We?” Seeger is distinguished professor of ethnomusicology, emeritus, at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and director emeritus of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings at the Smithsonian Institution.

More information on the 11th Annual Shasha Seminar is online here. (Photos by Dat Vu ’15)

Shasha Seminar to Focus on Music and Public Life Theme Nov. 8-9

The Shasha Seminar will offer expert articulation of the issues, from Wesleyan and Middletown to the broader arenas of American and global music today, as well as hands-on engagement with a number of world music traditions.

The Shasha Seminar will offer expert articulation of the issues, from Wesleyan and Middletown to the broader arenas of American and global music today, as well as hands-on engagement with a number of world music traditions.

The 11th Annual Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns, featuring keynote speaker, ethnomusicologist Anthony Seeger, will be held on Nov. 8-9. Endowed by James J. Shasha ’50 P’82, the seminar is an educational forum for Wesleyan alumni, students, faculty and friends that provides an opportunity to explore issues of global concern in a small seminar environment.

The focus of this year’s seminar is Music and Public Life. It is part of a year-long celebration of Music and Public Life taking place at Wesleyan over the 2012-13 academic year. The full schedule is online here.

Seeger’s keynote address, to be delivered at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, is called, “Can We Safeguard Disappearing Musical Traditions? And If We Can, Should We?” Seeger is distinguished professor of ethnomusicology, emeritus, at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and director emeritus of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings at the Smithsonian Institution. His books and published articles have focused on issues of land use and human rights for Brazilian Indians, issues of archiving and intellectual property, and ethnomusicology theory and method. He was executive producer of all recordings issued on the Smithsonian Folkways label between 1988 and 2000, a total of about 250 audio and video recordings.

Seminar participants also will be treated to concerts and will participate in musical workshops. On Nov. 9, two discussion sessions will be held on local music and national/transnational music.

Wesleyan’s Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music Mark Slobin will facilitate the seminar. He is author and editor of many books on Afghanistan and Central Asia, eastern European Jewish music, and ethnomusicology theory.

The registration fee is $100 per person, and includes all sessions, receptions, meals and conference materials. Seating is limited; register online here. Contact Kathy Macko at kmacko@wesleyan.edu or 860-685-2737 for information on scholarship assistance.

Video Feature on the Student Music Celebration, The MASH

On Friday, Sept. 7, The MASH, inspired by Fete de la Musique, also known as World Music Day, highlighted the student music scene at Wesleyan University and kicked off the year-long campus and community-wide Music & Public Life program. The event opened with Wesleyan President Michael Roth joining the faculty and staff band Mattabassett String Collective for a short set at the Usdan University Center.

Three outfitted stages — located at the West College Courtyard, Usdan Huss Courtyard and Olin Library lawn — provided students with both the opportunity to listen to some of Wesleyan’s most popular student bands and to sign up and play for the audiences themselves. The music continued through dinner with a performance on Andrus Field with the student band Treasure Island opening for the alumni band, Bear Hands. Several concerts and music events planned by student organizations, the Music Department and the Usdan Center took place throughout the evening, further highlighting the student music scene at Wesleyan.

The video is below:

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Peter Yarrow Sings with Dar Williams’ Music Movements Class

Folksinger Dar Williams ’89 is back on campus, teaching Music Movements in a Capitalist Democracy through the Center for the Study of Public Life. On Oct. 3, the class gathered in Zelnick Pavilion to sing songs associated with the Civil Rights Movement of the early 1960s—"If I Had A Hammer," "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round," We Shall Overcome," and "Blowin' in the Wind" among them. Joining the class and accompanying on his guitar was folksinger Peter Yarrow, perhaps most widely known as a member of the Peter, Paul and Mary trio, as well as a political activist.

Folksinger Dar Williams ’89 is back on campus, teaching Music Movements in a Capitalist Democracy through the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life. On Oct. 3, the class gathered in Zelnick Pavilion to sing songs associated with the Civil Rights Movement of the early 1960s—”If I Had A Hammer,” “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round,” “We Shall Overcome,” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” among them. Joining the class and accompanying on his guitar was folksinger Peter Yarrow, perhaps most widely known as a member of the Peter, Paul and Mary trio, as well as a political activist.

Concerts, Workshops, Courses in Music, Public Life Exploration

Music & Public Life at WesleyanDuring the 2012-2013 academic year, Wesleyan will celebrate and study the sounds, words and spirit of music in public at the local, national and transnational levels through concerts, workshops, gatherings and courses, all designed to cross disciplines and to engage both the campus and regional communities.

Wesleyan’s new Music and Public Life series, presented by the Center for the Arts and Music Department, has a global scope and features performances and lectures by scholars and artists from nine different countries. Events during the fall semester include the New England premiere of “Voices of Afghanistan” (Sept. 28) and concerts by Noah Baerman (Nov. 2), Cross Street A.M.E. Zion Church Choir and Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem (Nov. 8), and La Cumbiama eNeYé (Colombia) and Merita Halili and The Raif Hyseni Orchestra (Albania) (Nov. 9); talks by ethnomusicologist Anthony Seeger (Nov. 8) and Ben Ratliff of The New York Times (Nov. 14); and a celebration of the centenary of John Cage (Dec. 5-8).

As part of the celebration, the public is invited to explore, share, and remix the sounds of Middletown throughout the year as part of MiddletownRemix, a project that combines location-based cell phone technology, a database, and a web application allowing individuals to record and store sounds and images of Middletown using free mobile phone software for iPhone/iOS and Android devices. These sounds will ultimately be remixed and performed by students, faculty and community members on Saturday, May 11, 2013.

Voices of Afghanistan's New England premiere kicks off the Music and Public Life series at Wesleyan. The concert is at 8 p.m. Sept. 28 in Crowell Concert Hall.

Voices of Afghanistan’s New England premiere kicks off the Music and Public Life series at Wesleyan. The concert is at 8 p.m. Sept. 28 in Crowell Concert Hall.

The Music and Public Life series is supported by grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the New England Foundation for the Arts, and is co-sponsored by the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, the Center for the Arts, the Music Department, the Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of the Dean of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Programs, Wesleyan Writing Programs and the Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns.

For a full listing of all Music and Public Life events, click here.