Author Archives: Elizabeth Sacheli

2015-16 Arts Season Announced!

MiddleburyArtsCalendar15-16-coverThe Mahaney Center for the Arts opens its 23rd season this September with a diverse and exciting array of concerts, plays, exhibitions, dance performances, films, and more. Highlights include the Clifford Symposium The “good” Body; a month-long exhibition of Shakespeare’s First Folio, with related performances and celebrations; and artistic events celebrating 50 years of environmental education and leadership at Middlebury.  Middlebury College faculty, staff, students, and other ID card holders are entitled to great discounts AND a chance to buy tickets before the general public.

Story at

Full season listings at

Buy tickets starting September 16 at go/tickets or xMIDD or in person at the box offices in McCullough and the Mahaney Center for the Arts.

For a print version of the Arts Calendar, call x3168 or email

You Are Invited to the Dedication of Middlebury’s New Steinway Concert Grand Piano on March 1

On Saturday, March 1, the campus community is invited to two special events celebrating the dedication of the College’s new Steinway concert grand piano, given by the Rothrock Family in honor of Jessica and Ron Liebowitz.  Many students, faculty, and staff have already taken an opportunity to get acquainted with this beautiful new instrument.

Polisi, Joseph W.

First, Joseph Polisi, president of the Juilliard School, will give a public lecture on “The Arts, Education, and the Human Experience” at 4:30 p.m. in the Mahaney Center for the Arts Concert Hall. Dr. Polisi is a leading college administrator; a writer in the fields of music, public policy, and the arts; and an accomplished bassoonist. Middlebury awarded Polisi an honorary Doctor of Arts degree in 2010.  Read more at


piano_aloneLater that night, at 8:00 p.m., the Concert Hall will host a festive evening of classical and jazz piano performances by members of the Middlebury College community: Cameron Toh ’17, Shannia Fu ’17, David Heschel Liebowitz, Gwendolyn Toth ’77, Felix Klos ’14 with Dick Forman, and Nathaniel Rothrock ’12.5 with Jeff Buettner. The event will also include the screening of the new video “Selecting a Steinway” by Stephen Diehl and Matt Lennon ’13. A reception will follow the performances.

It’s free, but tickets are required.  Get your tickets at, xMIDD, or by stopping by either Box Office location in McCullough or the Mahaney Center for the Arts. Read more about the piano’s arrival at

FIRST TIME! Middlebury and Amherst Jazz Groups Make Music Together

The Sound Investment Jazz Ensemble will present a joint concert with the Amherst College Jazz Ensemble on Monday, October 10, at 8 p.m. in the Mahaney Center for the Arts Concert Hall.

The evening will be a celebration of the 50th anniversary of an historic jazz event. On July 6, 1961, the Count Basie Orchestra and the Duke Ellington Orchestra met in a New York City recording studio and cut the album entitled “FIRST TIME! The Count Meets the Duke.” It remains one of the few collaborative band albums ever produced.

These two important figures in jazz had great respect for each other, but had not found a way to work together before. At Ellington’s invitation, Basie brought his band into Ellington’s home territory, and recorded on his label, Columbia. Basie remarked that Ellington had always been his idol. The feeling was apparently mutual: Ellington considered Basie “the essence of the essence of the swing.” In setting up the session, Ellington said, “I tried to establish a status of the hostness to the mostness.” In turn, Basie called it “the most wonderful date I ever worked on.”

Now, fifty years later, Middlebury’s Sound Investment Jazz Ensemble has invited the Amherst College Jazz Ensemble to come to town in that same spirit of making incredible, swinging music together.

Bruce Diehl, Jazz@Amherst’s director, and Dick Forman, leader of The Sound Investment, have long looked for ways to get Amherst and Middlebury jazz students together. Finally, with the generous support of the Amherst College Music Department, Diehl will bring the full band and other Amherst jazz students northward for a couple of days of making music together.

The concert will feature a varied program. In a nod to the historic Basie-Ellington album, selections from the Basie-Ellington FIRST TIME! album will be played by the Amherst and Middlebury bands simultaneously. Each ensemble will also perform a few of the numbers they are working on individually. Combos from each school will round out the program. The evening promises to be one of the highlights of Middlebury’s fall jazz programming.

Jazz has been part of the Middlebury experience since 1934, when a group of students formed a big band to play the music that’s been called America’s National Treasure. MIDDJazz, encompassing jazz performance, teaching, and lessons, reflects the continuation of that tradition. The College’s big band, The Sound Investment Jazz Ensemble (SIJE), plays the best of contemporary jazz arrangements in addition to celebrating the classic charts of the swing and jazz repertoires. The SIJE features many of the best jazz players on campus. Dick Forman, a mainstay of the Vermont jazz scene and Middlebury’s Director of Jazz Activities, leads the SIJE, as well as an active jazz workshop program which supports the development of smaller groups.

Bruce Diehl, the Director of Amherst’s Jazz Performance program, teaches and performs in a variety of settings. He has developed Jazz @ Amherst to make this music a vital part of the Amherst campus. It has become a strong musical presence in the Pioneer Valley and beyond. Like its Middlebury counterpart, the Amherst program has developed a vibrant big band, the Amherst College Jazz Ensemble, and a very active combo program. The performance program is complemented by courses in jazz history, improvisation and individual instruction.

The joint concert will take place on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 8:00 PM, in the Mahaney Center for the Arts Concert Hall at Middlebury College. The performance is free and open to the public. For more information, call 802.443.3168 or go to

Pilates Classes: OHIC Discount Available for Faculty/Staff

Pilates Classes with Nina Vila of the Vermont Center for Classical Pilates

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 12:30–1:20 PM, starting September 20

 Mahaney Center for the Arts, Dance Studio (rm 109)

 Once/week for $60*, twice/week for $120*
(once/week students may attend either day)

* OHIC discount for the first 20 faculty/staff to register!
*The first 20 College faculty/staff to register will receive a $10 discount, courtesy of the Optimal Health Initiative. Sorry, this discount is limited to current faculty/staff only; other ID card holders are not eligible.

 Registration opens Tuesday, September 6 at 10:00 AM!
Register at the Box Offices in McCullough or the Mahaney CFA, Call xMIDD, or go online at

Great for strength, flexibility, and conditioning! Pilates exercises focus on the deep core/torso muscles, with careful attention to breath and alignment of the spine, for a total-body workout.  Newcomers welcome.Classes are open to Middlebury College Students/Faculty/Staff. Registration closes September 30.

 Questions?  Nina, or 388-7400 or Liza, or x3169

Tickets Go on Sale September 6 for PTP/NYC: Seating is Limited!

PTP/NYC Brings Off-Broadway to Vermont September 15–17

Acclaimed theatre company with ties to Middlebury College’s theatre program presents two shows from their 25th anniversary season

The Off-Broadway powerhouse PTP/NYC brings two shows to the Mahaney Center for the Arts on September 15–17, 2011. Both evenings of theatre are encore presentations from the company’s landmark 25th anniversary season this summer in New York City.

Tickets go on sale Tuesday, September 6, at the Middlebury College Box Offices, and since seating is limited, all performances are sure to sell out quickly.

The first of the two shows is Territories, a double-bill of short plays by Steven Dykes presented on Thursday, September 15, and Saturday, September 17, both at 8 p.m. Directed by Cheryl Faraone, both plays tell erotic stories of betrayal and voyeurism. The first short play is a light gathering of dust, a highly sexual, darkly humorous study of the damage inflicted on lovers by a government that rewards personal betrayal. The cast of professional actors includes Middlebury College alumni Megan Byrne ’96, Stephanie Janssen ’99, and Alex Draper ’88. Next is The Spoils, the tale of an army official with a romantic’s faith in the power of music. He finds his idealism shattered by the quartet of women who he is tasked with interrogating. The cast includes Gillian Durkee ’12, Cori Hundt ’11, Lilli Stein ’11, Nesba Crenshaw, and Alex Draper ’88. Music for The Spoils was composed by Paul Englishby. Audience members at the Thursday evening performance are invited to stay after the show for a discussion with the artists. A special anniversary reception follows the Saturday night show.

The second presentation of the weekend is Neal Bell’s psychological drama Spatter Pattern: or How I Got Away with It, playing Friday, September 16, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, September 17, at 2 p.m. The play follows a screenwriter who becomes entangled in the life of a university professor under investigation for the grisly murder of one of his students. The cast includes Adam Ludwig ’93, Christo Grabowski ’12, Lucy Van Atta ’12, and Andrew Zox ’05. Spatter Pattern is directed by Jim Petosa. A post-performance discussion with the actors and crew will take place in the theatre both evenings.

The design team for PTP/NYC includes scenic designer Hallie Zieselman, lighting designer Mark Evancho, and costume designers Lilli Stein ’11 (The Spoils) and Emma Ermotti ’12 (a light gathering of dust and Spatter Pattern). Michael Bradley Block is the stage manager.

The Potomac Theatre Project (PTP) was founded at Middlebury College in 1987 by Cheryl Faraone, Richard Romagnoli, and Jim Petosa—a trio of theatre visionaries who recognized the advantage of an alliance between aspiring young theatre students and actively working professionals. Over two and a half decades, the company moved from just outside Washington, DC, at the Olney Theatre Center in Bethesda Maryland to New York City. The company currently spends each summer at the Atlantic Stage 2 in lower Manhattan, where they have come to be known as PTP/NYC.

The company has given undergraduate students the opportunity to work alongside established Equity actors and other professionals doing everything from performing on stage and designing sets to managing company business and marketing. More than 200 Middlebury College students have been PTP company members at some point during or after their college careers. Co-founders Faraone and Romagnoli are professors in the Middlebury College Department of Theatre and Dance.

The 2011-2012 season marked PTP/NYC’s landmark 25th anniversary, with three critically-acclaimed shows, including the two shows on their way to Middlebury, as well as Howard Barker’s political and human drama Victory: Choices in Reaction. The season featured a dozen alumni actors and stage managers, and an equal number of 2011 and 2012 grads in multiple areas of production and design. The company held a New York celebration of alumni writers, directors, and actors on July 25, called “25 on 25,” with alumni joined in from California, Aruba, and multiple areas of the East Coast for eleven hours of readings, discussions, and extraordinary reunions. The celebration will continue at Middlebury, where a champagne reception will cap off the run of four shows, after the Saturday evening performance. Audiences will be invited to stay after the show to raise a glass of champagne with the cast and crew.

Tickets for Territories and Spatter Pattern are $25 for the general public; $20 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students.

Tickets for these two shows go on sale at a special, advance date: Tuesday, September 6, at the Middlebury College box offices in McCullough Student Center and the Mahaney Center for the Arts, or by phone at 802-443-MIDD (6433), or online at

For more information, call 802.443.3168 or go to

2011-2012 Arts Season Set to Begin

Hundreds of performances, exhibitions, and arts events showcase student and faculty work, and world-class artists from around the globe.

Audiences are in for a treat as the College’s 2011–2012 arts season launches in September. The year will feature over 300 plays, exhibitions, concerts, dance performances, films special events, and more. Middlebury students and faculty will showcase their diverse work alongside first-class artists visiting from around the world.


Among the early highlights of the season is a weekend of theatre with PTP/NYC. This off-Broadway company is a theatre powerhouse affiliated with the Middlebury College theatre program, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. They will perform two separate presentations: Territories, a double-bill of short plays by Stephen Dykes, on Thursday, September 15, and Saturday, September 17, 2011; and Spatter Pattern: or How I Got Away with It, on Friday, September 16, and Saturday, September 17, 2011, all in the Mahaney Center for the Arts’ Seeler Studio Theatre. Tickets for this special event go on sale September 6.

The theatre program is also presenting two faculty-directed productions this fall. Charles Mee’s Big Love, the comic tale of 50 Greek brides betrothed against their will to their 50 American cousins, will be directed by Claudio Medeiros ’90 on October 27–29, 2011. Richard Romagnoli will direct Nick Dear’s The Art of Success, based on the life of artist William Hogarth, November 17-19, 2011. Tickets go on sale two weeks in advance.


The 92nd season of the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series includes an impressive list of world-class performers.  Leading British pianist Paul Lewis, a favorite of Middlebury audiences, returns on October 14, 2011, and on May 4, 2012, to continue his two-year Schubert project. Pianists Alexander Melnikov (November 18, 2011), Rustem Hayroudinoff (January 13, 2012), and Steven Osborne (March 2, 2012) add depth to the solo piano repertoire for the season. String quartets, a hallmark of the Series, are well-represented by three expressive and passionate ensembles: the Hugo Wolf Quartett, on October 28, 2011; the Elias String Quartet on March 21, 2012; and the Pavel Haas Quartet on April 13, 2011. Classical guitarist Xuefei Yang, called “one of the most extraordinary instrumentalists in the world” by the New York Sun, will perform on February 21, 2011. Tickets for the Performing Arts Series go on sale to the general public September 19.


The Mahaney Center for the Arts had undergone some exciting renovations this summer, and 12 faculty members from the Department of History of Art and Architecture have recently moved into new offices and beautiful “smart” classrooms, just in time for the start of the fall semester. The move will allow the art historians to work more closely with the Middlebury College Museum of Art, just down the hallway. Cementing this renewed relationship is a new series of visual art events entitled “Off the Wall: Informal Discussions about Art.” Assistant Professor of Art History Eddie Vazquez leads the first edition of the series, speaking about outdoor public sculpture around the Mahaney Center for the Arts, on Friday, September 30. Lunch is provided. The talk is free and open to the public, and community donations will be accepted for the lunch.

Two renowned architects will be in residence this fall, hosting exhibitions of their designs, working directly with Middlebury College students, and offering public lectures. Billie Tsien of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects will show her work October 5–19 and give a talk on Thursday, October 13, 2011. Japanese architect and professor Koichiro Aitani shows his work October 20–November 3 and gives a public lecture on Thursday, October 27, 2011. Both are free.


The Middlebury College Museum of Art will present the exhibition Painted Metaphors: Pottery and Politics of the Ancient Maya, opening Friday, September 16, 2011. The exhibit, on view through December 11, 2011, relays a human story of power and intrigue among people who lived more than 1,300 years ago. Nineteen Chamá polychrome ceramics are accompanied by more than 100 objects illustrating Maya daily life, religious ritual, and shifts in rulership. A series of related slide lectures and public talks throughout the fall will expand viewers’ perspective on the exhibition. The first is given by Elin Danien, consulting scholar from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Art and cocurator of Painted Metaphors, on Thursday, September 15, 2011.

Among the other exhibitions this season are How Did I Get Here?, a show investigating recent museum acquisitions and how they made their way into the College’s collection, September 7–December 11, 2011; and Environment and Object in Recent African Art, an exciting look at contemporary work from artists including El Anatsui and Yinka Shonibare, January 27–April 22, 2012.

This fall, the Museum bids a fond farewell to the site-specific structure So Inclined, the spiraling wooden sculpture marking the front entry to the Mahaney Center for the Arts. American artist Patrick Dougherty, who created the work with the help of over 250 local volunteers, will return to campus Friday, October 28, 2011, to mark the occasion and discuss his latest projects in an illustrated slide lecture.


Student dancers are the focus of two senior concerts this season. Jeremy Cline gives his senior thesis concert on Friday, November 18, and Saturday, November 19, 2011, mixing religious dance elements with his study of meditation, yoga, capoiera, and tai chi. Later in the year, seniors Sarah Chapin, Alicia Evancho, James Moore, and Alexandra Vasquez collaborate in a joint concert on Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21, 2012, at 8:00 PM. Bessie Award-winning dancer and choreographer Kyle Abraham brings his company Abraham in Motion to Middlebury on Friday, March 16, and Saturday, March 17, 2012, at 8:00 PM to perform their new work The Radio Show. Tickets for The Radio Show go on sale to the general public September 19; the student concerts go on sale two weeks in advance.


The Hirschfield International Film Series will present acclaimed foreign and independent films on Saturdays throughout the year at 3:00 and 8:00 PM, free of charge. This year’s series includes Oscar-nominated war documentary Restrepo, on Saturday, September 17, 2011; British director Mike Leigh’s newest film Another Year, following four seasons in the life of a happily married couple, on Saturday, October 8, 2011; and Cannes Film Festival award nominee Vincere, based on the story of Mussolini’s secret lover, on October 29, 2011. Special events include a lecture by film scholar Tony Pipolo on the 1956 melodrama Written on the Wind, starring Rock Hudson and Lauren Bacall, on Monday, November 14, 2011, with the associated screening of the film two days earlier on Saturday, November 12, 2011. A discussion with Andrew Peterson ’97, producer of the 2010 film Thin Ice (formerly titled The Convincer), starring Billy Crudup, Greg Kinnear, and Alan Arkin, on Saturday, March 17, 2012.


The Department of Music brings an exciting new project to life this fall with Lotus Lives, a chamber opera by faculty member and composer Su Lian Tan and Anne Babson. The score combines elements of rap, Chinese folk music, and dance-club sounds with high-art classical melodies. The impressive list of collaborators includes soprano Miriam Gordon Stewart, the iconoclastic Meridian Arts Ensemble, and video artist Tim Bartlett ’98. Lotus Lives will be performed September 30 and October 2, 2011, and is free and open to the public.

Also this fall, the music department throws a spotlight on its talented private music teachers. The Affiliate Artists Collaborative Concert on Saturday, November 5, 2011, will feature Paul Asbell, guitar; Carol Christensen, soprano; Miles Donahue; saxophone; Mia Fritze, horn; Cynthia Huard, piano; Dayve Huckett, guitar; Glendon Ingalls, bass; Anne Janson, flute; Steven Klimowski, clarinet; Mark Lavoie, harmonica; Susanne Peck, soprano; Pete Sutherland, banjo and mandolin; and Beth Thompson, soprano. This concert is free and open to the public.


Student work is the focus of a series of exhibitions planned for 2011–2012. The first, Portraiture in Sculpture, makes use of materials as diverse as glazed ceramic, blown glass, steel, wood, and plaster. It is on view October 7–15 in the Johnson Building. Other fall exhibitions include Line in Space: Just a Corner of Your Memory Palace (October 20–28); The Landscape Re-imagined (November 4–12); Pinhole Photography (November 14–25); and Silkscreen Prints (December 1–12). These studio art shows are all free and open to the public.

For more information, or to request a 2011–2012 Arts Calendar, call 802.443.3168 or go to

Read more about the season>>

See the full schedule of arts events>>

Middlebury College faculty, staff, students, and other ID card holders get a one-week head start on the best seats in the house, with ticket sales opening for ID card holders only on Monday, September 12. Ticket sales for the general public begin on Monday, September 19. Buy tickets starting September 12 here>>

Peals and Pipes at Middlebury July 29 & 30

Hans Hielscher, the brilliant carillonneur and organist from Wiesbaden, Germany, visits Middlebury College in midsummer to perform in two concerts at Mead Memorial Chapel: a carillon concert on Friday, July 29 at 7:00 PM (the “peals”), and an organ recital on Saturday, July 30 at 7:30 PM (the “pipes”).

Director of Music at the Markkirche, and Municipal Organist/ Carillonneur at the Concert Hall (Wiesbaden), Dr. Hielscher has played more than 2,800 concerts during 36 tours in 39 U.S. states and 26 countries worldwide. He is also a renowned author, lecturer, recording artist, and composer. In 1985, he was honored by the French government in Paris with the “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” for his worldwide promotion of French music.

Dr. Hielscher’s carillon performance is part of the 26th annual Middlebury College Carillon Series, which brings musicians from around the world to perform in the soaring tower of Mead Chapel every summer. His organ concert is being billed as a “Carillon Series Extra.”

Both events are free and open to the public. However, listeners at the organ recital may offer a free-will donation to support the concert.

For information, contact the Mahaney Center for the Arts at or 802.443.3168. See the press release online at