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

Meadows School of the Arts

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|

Meadows Theatre showcases Brecht’s St. Joan of the Stockyards Feb. 24-28, 2016

This article was originally published Feb. 17, 2016.

St Joan 6

Photo by Kim Leeson

For its first play of 2016, Meadows Theatre will perform Bertolt Brecht’s St. Joan of the Stockyards. The play will run from Feb. 24-28 in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 for SMU staff, faculty and students.

> Buy tickets online for the Meadows Theatre production of St. Joan of the Stockyards

The play features an innocent heroine, Joan Dark, who battles Pierpont Mauler, the owner of a meat-packing plant. This engaging and slightly dark drama is laced with humor as the story grapples with the theme of freedom from material exploitation. Throughout the play, individuals seek justice in a society driven by profits.

St Joan 10

Photo by Kim Leeson

This reworking of the martyrdom of Joan of Arc has been described by The New York Times as “…a good workout for the sense and soul.”

Meadows School of the Arts Assistant Professor Blake Hackler is directing. In Dallas, he is a company member at the Undermain Theatre and has also appeared with the Trinity Shakespeare Festival and Dallas Theatre Center. Currently, he is the acting coach for Lisa Lampanelli, who is working on a one-woman show.

For more information, call 214-768-2787.

February 24, 2016|Calendar Highlights, For the Record, News|

Meadows Community Series presents J.S. Bach’s monumental St. Matthew Passion Sunday, March 6, 2016

Meadows choral March 2015 4The Meadows Chorale of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts is partnering with Conservatory Orchestra of the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) to present J.S. Bach’s monumental work St. Matthew Passion.

The performance is part of the Meadows Community Series, a series established to bring Meadows performances to the community and engage new audiences. This dramatic retelling of the events leading up to the crucifixion of Christ is a huge undertaking, rarely taken on by college choirs. The Meadows Chorale, under the direction of Pamela Elrod Huffman, has been preparing for this all year.

Dr. Robert Bode, director of choral activities at UKMC, will conduct the concert at Highland Park United Methodist Church (HPUMC) on Sunday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. The event is free to guests, and no tickets are required. In lieu of tickets, the choir asks guests to make a donation to the North Texas Food Bank online or at the concert (both cash and non-perishable food items will be accepted).

NPR describes the piece as “one of the pillars of Western scared music, at once monumental and intimate, deeply sorrowful and powerful.” This piece continues to move audiences even three hundred years after it was first heard during Good Friday services at St. Thomas’ Church in Leipzig, Germany.

Meadows Chorale Nov. 2014The work is divided into two parts, originally intended to be performed before and after the sermon during Good Friday services. The first part begins with an immense wave of sound to tell the stories of the Last Supper and arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. The second part is more somber and tells of the trial, crucifixion and burial of Jesus, and meant to leave viewers in a mournful mood as they anticipate the memorial of Christ’s death on the cross.

The Meadows Chorale was invited by UKMC to collaborate on this project and will also be performing at the American Choral Directors Association 2016 Southwest Regional Convention in Kansas City on Tuesday, March 8.

For more information, call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

February 22, 2016|Calendar Highlights, For the Record, News|

2016 Meadows Virtuosi Concert takes place Saturday, Jan. 30

Andres Diaz

Andrés Díaz

The 2016 Meadows Virtuosi Concert will spotlight Professor of Cello Andrés Díaz and Artist-in-Residence and Director of Chamber Music Matt Albert in an annual performance featuring Meadows faculty, students and guests playing side-by-side in an exciting chamber music program.

Also featured will be Dallas Symphony Orchestra violinist Maria Schleuning and the Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence Cézanne Quartet, made possible by a generous campaign donor.

Matt Albert, 2014

Matt Albert

The program will include works by Caroline Shaw, Andrew Norman, Kevin Puts and Astor Piazzola, as well as the rarely performed septet realization of Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen.

The show is free and open to the public and will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30  in Caruth Auditorium.

January 29, 2016|Calendar Highlights, Faculty in the News, News, Save the Date|
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