What's Now: April/May/June 2015

UMD School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies
Second Season Gives Theatre Students First-Hand Entrepreneural Theatre Experience

School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) wanted a special kind of experience — one that replicates the entrepreneurial lifestyle of professional performing artists and provides them with the challenges and joys of creating and staging their own production.

TDPS faculty saw practical value in making such an experience available to both graduate and undergraduate students, leading the school to launch its Second Season initiative, which provides students with a very modest budget, performance space and faculty guidance. The students are responsible for creative development, casting, staging their piece and finding resourceful ways to make their small budget work — much like a professional theatre.

Each Second Season student production receives a stipend of $200–$250. Students plan and manage their budget to cover such theatre costs as lighting, costumes, props and marketing as they create and produce their original show. Second Season performances allow participants to implement the voice and movement skills learned in their theatre studies, and enable practical application of theatre research under the tutelage of the school’s faculty.

These highly provocative, original works consistently demonstrate the breadth of students’ talent. Second Season’s Wake Up!, on March 27 and 28, 2015, is an original site-specific dance theatre work and UMD House Party. It is inspired by Spike Lee’s film, School Daze (1988), the musically driven film that chronicled the ins and outs of a fictitious historically black college.

Co-conceived by TDPS student Meghan Bowden and alumnus Vaughn Midder (featured on the February 22 cover of the Washington Post Magazine), this performance challenges current UMD students to engage in ideas around race, gender, class and sexuality, as seen through the lens of the contemporary African American experience.

For its final spring performance, Second Season presents the annual Shared Graduate Dance Concert from April 10–12, 2015. Featuring choreography by TDPS Master of Fine Arts in Dance students, this concert focuses on new works in development. As the first opportunity for students to put their original material onstage and see how it unfolds, the Shared Graduate Dance Concert often contains the seeds of movement ideas that are featured in their later MFA Thesis programs.

The Clarice
Hair, Health and the Fine Art of Storytelling

The Clarice believes the art of storytelling can help change lives. Partnering with students from the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, the Charles R. Drew Pre-Medical/Health Society and the University of Maryland Center for Health Equity (M-CHE), an invaluable art-meets-community initiative was born.

The Health Advocates In-Reach and Research (HAIR) is a community-based intervention program committed to engaging Prince George’s County barbershops and beauty salons as culturally relevant portals for health education. Delivering information about disease prevention and medical services in the community, the initiative helps eliminate health disparities and advance health equity. HAIR builds on the rich and powerful history of barbers and beauticians as trusted entrepreneurs providing essential services to the African American community. The Shop, a West Hyattsville barbershop, is already engaging in delivering important health care and wellness information to the African American and Latino communities it serves.

The story of this unique initiative will be chronicled by art students using photography and other creative forms of expression to tell the story of The Shop’s clientele as they interact with these health resources. The storytelling will be represented in art forms like photography, movement, video and illustrated writing.

Visitors to The Clarice will get a sneak preview of the storytelling in a multimedia presentation on Maryland Day, April 25. The artwork will be displayed permanently at The Shop (5910 Riggs Rd, Hyattsville, MD 20783).

Made possible in part with funding from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s “Moving Maryland Forward” program.

UMD School of Music
National Orchestral Institute Forges Prestigious Naxos Recording Contract

Each year, the National Orchestral Institute (NOI) brings together the most outstanding young musicians from around the country for a month of coaching, rehearsals and performances with the world’s finest professional orchestral musicians and conductors.

Beginning in the summer of 2015, NOI is partnering with the internationally renowned classical music label Naxos to record one concert of all-American music per year. This relationship with the label elevates NOI to the international stage through the recording’s distribution and advances NOI’s commitment to providing professional development opportunities for its participants. This partnership marks Naxos’ first with a student-based summer music festival.

“We at the National Orchestral Institute and Festival are delighted to forge this partnership with Naxos, one of the leading classical labels in the world. By their actions, Naxos not only demonstrates its commitment to American composers, but to the education of our next generation of orchestral performers,” says James Undercofler, NOI’s artistic director.

School of Music Director Robert Gibson has stated the Naxos/NOI partnership “is wonderfully consistent with the School’s mission to serve as an advocate for American music through commissioning, performing and recording new works from promising younger composers and the work of American masters.”

Be sure to check out the first performance of the inaugural recording on June 13, 2015. It will feature Albany Symphony Music Director David Alan Miller conducting Michael Torke’s Bright Blue Music, Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring and John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1. The partnership will continue with UMD’s Director of Orchestral Studies James Ross leading the next NOI recording.

This year’s Institute and Festival takes place at The Clarice from May 30–June 27, 2015. In addition to David Alan Miller, this year’s conductors include John Morris Russell, Rossen Milanov and Asher Fisch. A laboratory for shaping the future of orchestral and chamber music performance, NOI prepares its participants for the professional world through performance opportunities for diverse audiences. In NOI’s Chamber Music Outreach Program, the NOI participants develop interactive concert programs for audiences of all ages as well as perform at more than 20 local schools and retirement homes.

International Piano Archives at Maryland
Celebrating the Year of the Piano

The International Piano Archives at Maryland (IPAM) will dazzle audiences with a free Reflections from the Keyboard performance on Thursday, April 2. IPAM Curator Donald Manildi and pianists Margarita Glebov and Seyon Lee will play and discuss works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and more.

2015 also marks the 50th anniversary of IPAM’s founding. To commemorate this milestone, a new gallery exhibit to be installed in late May in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library will display materials from IPAM’s extensive archives. From autographed scores to rare recordings from the turn of the 20th century, the exhibit illustrates the bold story of an independent archive that grew into a cultural heritage institution of international prestige. The celebration of IPAM’s 50th anniversary will continue in The Clarice’s 2015-2016 season with additional recitals and events.

Did you know?

The International Piano Archives at Maryland possesses the world’s most extensive collection of piano recordings, books, scores, programs and related materials, including about 96 percent of all commercial piano recordings ever issued!