Meadows School of the Arts

SMU recognizes outstanding achievement at 2015-16 Hilltop Excellence Awards, Honors Convocation

2013 laurelsSMU faculty, staff, administrators and students were recognized with teaching awards, service honors and the University’s highest commendation, the “M” Award, at the 2016 Hilltop Excellence Awards Monday, April 18.

> Read the list of award winners from Honors Convocation 2016

On the same day, the University honored its best students at the 19th Honors Convocation. The address was delivered by Fred Chang, director of SMU’s Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security, the Bobby B. Lyle Endowed Centennial Distinguished Chair in Cyber Security and professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering.

An internationally renowned expert in cyber security and former director of research of the National Security Agency, Chang is also a Senior Fellow in the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and a Distinguished Scholar in the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin.

The lead inventor on two U.S. patents, Chang has twice served as an expert witness at hearings convened by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology. In addition, he has served as a member of the Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency and as a member of the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Academies. Most recently, Chang was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and will be formally inducted during a ceremony at the NAE’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 9, 2016.

(more…)

April 19, 2016|For the Record, News|

Meadow’s 2016 Spring Dance Concert showcases another world premiere

Spring-DanceThe Meadows Dance Ensemble in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts presents its 2016 Spring Dance Concert March 31-April 3 in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center. The ensemble will perform one world premiere and two enchanting ballets, creating an awe-inspiring evening for the audience.

The concert’s highlights will include the world premiere of a newly envisioned version of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite (1945), choreographed by Claudia Lavista and Victor Manuel Ruiz, artistic directors of the acclaimed Delfos Danza Contemporanea in Mazatlán, Mexico.

The program also showcases the Martha Graham masterpiece Appalachian Spring (1944), set to Aaron Copland‘s original score. The ensemble will also perform Tchaikovsky’s Pas de Deux by George Balanchine, an eight-minute display of ballet bravura and technique set to music the composer belatedly created for Act III of Swan Lake.

Meadows dancers will present encores of Firebird Suite and Appalachian Spring, accompanied by the Meadows Symphony Orchestra, at the Meadows at the Winspear annual gala concert on May 11.

Performances will take place at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $7 for students, faculty and staff and can be purchased online. For more information, call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

March 30, 2016|Calendar Highlights, For the Record, News, Save the Date|

New Visions, New Voices 2016 showcases student work, alumni involvement March 30-April 3

Rehearsal for New Visions, New Voices new play festival at SMU 2016

Rehearsal for the 2016 New Visions, New Voices Play Festival

Now in its 22nd season, the New Visions, New Voices play writing festival brings the raw stories, language and characters of graduating SMU Meadows theatre students to the stage.

The full-length plays written by students are presented as staged readings, without costumes or sets. The students are partnered with either an alumnus or a Meadows faculty member who directs the student’s play and provides mentorship. Each performance is followed up with a discussion between the audience, playwright, director and actors.

All performances will take place in the Greer Garson Theatre at the Owens Art Center from March 30 to April 3, 2016.

Students involved in the production learn an invaluable set of skills while seeing their own writing come to life. “One of the most important things New Visions has helped me develop is creative discipline. If I wish to be a creative professional, I can’t just make things when inspiration strikes. I need to show up every day, and be there waiting for inspiration when it finally decides to show up,” says Jeremy Arata, whose piece will be showcased on Sunday, April 3.

Here is this year’s dynamic line-up:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 – 8:00 p.m.Tough Love by Holly Settoon, Directed by Jacob Nice ’15

The play looks at the lives of three young people who meet in a teen detention center somewhere in the American heartland, all of whom are struggling to survive the boredom, emptiness and anarchy of their time in the system.

Thursday, March 31, 2016 – 8:00 p.m.: Filth by Isaac Young, Directed by Alia Tavakolian ’12

In a tiny Virginia town, a young woman struggles to keep the family farm afloat. But between the memories that haunt her and the introverted ways that make her unable to keep a job in town, she’s going to lose everything. That is, until a man needs her farm for his low-budget porn films – and offers to make her a star. Based on an unbelievable true story, the play is a tale of survival in the face of tragedy. Adult language and situations; not suitable for children and pre-teens.

Friday, April 1, 2016 – 8:00 p.m.: Finale by Dylan Guerra, Directed by Samantha Rios ’13

If they can survive the Dolphin Apocalypse, how bad can graduation be? When the seam of the universe opens, four best friends and one uninvited guest find themselves sucked into an alternate world on the eve of their college graduation. Secret loves are revealed, lies are uncovered, milkshakes are shaken and tickets to the Sunday Church Carnival are sold. Will they make it home in time to graduate, or will they become insignificant casualties in the bloody uprising by man’s favorite mammal? Adult language and substances.

Saturday, April 2, 2016 – 2:00 p.m.: Siren’s Song by Sasha Davis, Directed by Kristen Kelso ’14

Eager to escape the ghettos of Detroit, Wren studies to get into any college far away. When tragedy destroys her plans for a future with Thomas, she disappears into her grief for a decade, until awkward, funny Arthur drops into her life. The play considers the questions of lost love, new love, and self-love: which one is the hardest to accept?

Saturday, April 2, 2016 – 8:00 p.m.: Knew You by Laura Dupper, Directed by Jenna Hannum ’15

What is love? What makes it spark between one couple, and fade between another? In Knew You, James and Ellie ask the questions people have been asking for centuries. They fall in love as they interview friends and dissect classic romances for a school project. But as they fall out of love, will they find the answers they need or will love stay as elusive and enigmatic as ever?

Sunday, April 3, 2016 – 2:00 p.m.: Tiber by Jeremy Arata, Directed by Associate Professor of Theatre Sara Romersberger

At a minor way-station in space, seven strangers find themselves gathered on the 25th anniversary of the Ceasefire. Old wounds and new griefs arise as former enemies and feuding family members confront one another. When the life and communication systems fail, everyone’s lives are threatened. The group will have to pull together – but can they forgive to survive?

Tickets are free for each showing. For more information, call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

March 30, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News|

SMU NCAR meets challenge grant, announces $1 million in gifts for arts research

Donna Wilhelm photo by Kim Leeson

Donna Wilhelm (photo by Kim Leeson)

SMU’s National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) announced that it has successfully met a $500,000 challenge grant from Dallas philanthropist and civic leader Donna Wilhelm, raising a total of $1 million in 2015 for research, programs and services.

The purpose of the challenge grant, given by Wilhelm in February 2015 with a deadline of Dec. 31, 2015, was to generate $500,000 for operating support for the center. Wilhelm’s matching funds will endow a new Wilhelm Research Fellow for NCAR. The center, which was established in 2012 by the University’s Meadows School of the Arts and Cox School of Business, analyzes the largest database of arts research ever assembled, investigates important issues in arts management and patronage, and makes its findings available to arts leaders, funders, policymakers, researchers and the general public.

“The National Center for Arts Research has broken new ground in analyzing and interpreting data about the arts and cultural field in the U.S.,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “NCAR’s thought-provoking research is already helping both new and established arts organizations across the country. The University is grateful to benefactor Donna Wilhelm and the donors who supported the challenge grant for their dedication to the important work of the Center.”

An NCAR advisory board member who has supported the center since its founding, Wilhelm approached NCAR with the offer of the challenge grant. “As a donor, I fund initiatives that serve broad needs and have leveraged impact,” said Wilhelm. “The National Center for Arts Research established at SMU, where scholarly excellence and innovation thrives, met my philanthropic goal.  I also believe in strategic investing.  My challenge grant was structured to sustain operating support for NCAR and establish a Research Fellow endowment.  Thanks to generous and visionary donors, we achieved both.  Donors collaborating were able to empower the unlimited potential of NCAR and foster the health of arts organizations nationwide – I salute this amazing teamwork.”

Individual donors and foundations who contributed to help NCAR meet the challenge grant include Jennifer and Peter Altabef; Belle and Don Berg; Diane and Hal Brierley; Melissa and Trevor Fetter; Ann and Trey Fielder; Carol and Don Glendenning/Locke Lord LLP; Ann and Lee Hobson; T.J. Brown & C.A. Lupton Foundation/Kit Moncrief; Communities Foundation of Texas; M.R. and Evelyn Hudson Foundation; Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation; The Sarah and Ross Perot, Jr. Foundation; Vin and Caren Prothro Foundation/Perkins-Prothro Foundation; and the Tolleson Family Foundation.

“In a few short years, NCAR has placed Meadows at the epicenter of evidence-based insight into the arts ecosystem with the underlying purpose of helping arts leaders make better decisions,” said Meadows Dean Samuel Holland. “This significant gift from Donna Wilhelm and all those who contributed to meeting the challenge will allow us to sharpen our focus, build scale, and extend the reach of NCAR to places where its work is most needed.”

The first Wilhelm Research Fellow is Richard Briesch, professor of marketing in the Cox School. Briesch holds a Ph.D. in marketing from Northwestern, an M.B.A. from Rice and a B.S. in mathematics and computer science from Carnegie Mellon.

“Rick has been working with NCAR since we launched in 2012,” said Zannie Voss, director of NCAR.  “He is one of the most well-respected econometricians in the country and specializes in consumer behavior.”

Voss added, “We are so grateful to Donna Wilhelm and our additional generous donors for endowing the research fellowship and providing critical operating support that will help NCAR continue its dedicated work to help arts and cultural organizations nationwide.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

March 21, 2016|For the Record, News|

Escher String Quartet showcases work of student Michael van der Sloot

Escher

Members of the Escher String Quarter, left to right: Aaron Boyd, violin; Pierre Lapointe, viola; Adam Barnett-Hart, violin; and Brook Speltz, cello.

The internationally acclaimed Escher String Quartet is set to perform two free concerts, open to the public, at SMU. This will be the second program of their 2015-2016 Meadows residency. This group has previously performed at New York’s Lincoln Center, London’s Wigmore Hall and Berlin’s Piano Salon Christophori. Now, they’ll perform at  Caruth Auditorium on March 17 and at O’Donnell Hall on March 18, both at 7:30 p.m.

The concert on March 17 will showcase three pieces, most notably the world premiere of Night Music, composed by Meadows Master of Music degree candidate Michael van der Sloot. Van der Sloot, who studies composition and is also a talented cellist, he has written works for the Calgary Youth Orchestra and Grammy-winning violinist and SMU Meadows Artist-in-Residence Matt Albert, among others.

Michael

Michael van der Sloot (M.M. Composition ’17)

Van der Sloot describes the piece as “pretty creepy and restless.”

“It’s like when you’re lying completely still in bed, wide awake because you know there is a monster in the closet. There’s a little bit of anxiety and anticipation,” he says.

His piece was chosen among submissions from multiple other music composition students. “The atmosphere and the title of the work were a compelling fit for our program, which deals with death, either through direct personal experience as in Benjamin Britten’s Quartet No. 3, or indirectly as in Franz Shubert’s Death and the Maiden,” says Aaron Boyd, one of two violinists in the Escher String Quartet. “We were struck by the quality of all of the composers’ submissions, but van der Sloot’s work was an impressive combination of  aleatoric freedom with real textural and timbral beauty.”

The quartet will also hold workshops and classes as part of their residency. One workshop will be a particularly immersive experience for the students and will culminate in the formation of the March 18 concert. This side-by-side concert with the quartet and music students of the Meadows school will include works by Brahms, Dvorak, Shostakovich, and Haydn.

March 16, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|
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