HASAN ELAHI, Media Artist, UMD Professor of Digital Media
I work in a field where I don’t really know what field I work in. And I’m okay with that. I’m fascinated by work that challenges my ideas and my preconceived notions, things that really take me out of a comfort zone. I’m okay with just being an artist. It allows me to jump from place to place to place to place to place, or from content to content, without having to categorize what kind of response people should have to what it is that I do.
Hearing Kronos Quartet really made me rethink what music is.
DAVID C. DRISKELL, Artist and Art Historian
It was 1964 and, as a young professor at Howard University in the Department of Art, I had a grant to travel to Europe. It was my first visit to Europe; I started out in Greece. And I wanted to recount some of my classical education, specifically Greek theater, so I went to the amphitheater at the base of the Acropolis to see a performance of The Birds by Aristophanes.
…the arts are universal. They move beyond barriers…
I love the moment where you see something happen on stage, or backstage, when the person gets it, when it clicks. Moments like that happen all the time at the Clarice Smith Center.
I get to watch students have those ‘aha’ moments and I see all the work that has gone into it…
FAEDRA CARPENTER, Dramaturg, UMD Assistant Professor, UMD School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies
In 1995 my dear friend and mentor took me to see the Off-Broadway production of Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk. It was early in my career as a professional dramaturg and my mentor thought this much-touted piece would help me gain a greater understanding of the possibilities of devised theatre.
This total merging of the sensory and the cerebral helped me realize, fully, the power of performance…
BILL DORLAND, UMD Professor of Physics, Honors College Director
I grew up in rural Arkansas trailer parks. Our house had wheels and we used them! By the time I was eight, we had lived in 16 different towns and probably because of this nomadic lifestyle, I had no connection to the performing arts.
I had never seen modern dance or heard music… Chills ran up and down my spine!
KENNETH ELPUS, Assistant Professor of Music Education, UMD School of Music
I was directing a choir of high school students in rehearsal of a contemporary piece called A Boy and A Girl by Eric Whitacre, which is an English translation of a poem by Octavio Paz.
…working with young voices, college age and even younger, is such a magical experience.
SHARON MANSUR, Dance Artist, UMD Assistant Professor, School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies
This is the moment when I knew I wanted to dance for the rest of my life: My high school boyfriend’s mother, Susan Dowling, was the executive producer for dance programming at public television station WGBH in Boston.
I wanted to … needed to … HAD to experience that intimate and compelling mingling of art and life.
SHERI PARKS, UMD Professor of American Studies
At first, I was not even looking. I was just a little kid at her teenaged sister’s school performance, playing with some toy in my lap, when I felt the air go still. It was 1968, the end of segregated education in Asheville, North Carolina. My sister’s class would soon move from their all-black school to the much bigger, all-city white school, leaving behind a safe and caring community to go to a place that did not want them.
DAVID DICKEY, BM in Oboe Performance, BA in Vocal Performance, UMD School of Music
It was the summer of my senior year of high school. I was at the Eastern Music Festival, playing the second oboe part in Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony, which I had never heard done before, which is stupid because it’s such a staple, such an amazing work. So the first time I was hearing the piece was as I was playing it.