Posts Tagged ‘UVM Lane Series’

2010 – conducting the arts in vermont

January 3, 2011

If there is one word that decribes the performing arts scene in Vermont (particularly Burlington) this past year, it must be ‘transitional’.

Here’s the overview:

  • The Vermont Mozart Festival hired Gil Shohat as their new Artistic Director this past summer, replacing founding director Mel Kaplan (who then – less than consenting – was moved into an emeritus advisory role). Then, less than a month ago, the Festival announced it was closing the score after 37 years of summer concerts. Insurmountable financial deficits were cited as the reason.
  • The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts said goodbye to its 30-year founding director Andrea Rogers, and welcomed John Killacky as the next Executive Director.
  • Jane Ambrose retired in June after 23 years as the Director of the UVM Lane Series. She was succeeded by the Series’ former manager, Natalie Neuart.
  • The Vermont Youth Orchestra emerged from a year of interim conductorship with Andrew Massey to hire a new permanent Artistic Director. Ronald Braunstein arrived from New York City this summer to assume the role. In early October, the VYO’s Executive Director Caroline Whiddon unexpectedly announced her forthcoming departure in the end of January. On December 8th, WCAX-TV reported that Braunstein would also be leaving his new post in the end of January. The circumstances of the situation remain unclear to the public. To date there has been no public statement from the Orchestra or its board about the decision, though (apparently inconclusive) closed meetings have been taking place to discuss the situation. At this moment, Braunstein remains in his position as the VYO’s Artistic Director – for how long is a good question. (Here’s a Burlington Free Press article about Braunstein’s performance with the VYO at Burlington First Night.)

Now that the foundation has been recreated and reshaped for many of these important organizations, let’s hope for a prosperous, creative – and stable – 2011!

walter cerf lifetime achievement awards

June 12, 2010

State House, Monplelier

On Thursday afternoon I headed to Montpelier in the afternoon for the annual Vermont Council on the Arts presentation of the Walter Cerf Lifetime Achievement awards. Three women were being honored this year, and over the years I’ve become friends with two of them. I couldn’t miss their big day. Jane Amrose (UVM Lane Series) and Andrea Rogers (Flynn Center) are both also retiring this year, as is the third Cerf honoree, Jean Olson (Governor’s Institutes), who I had not met until that day. During her acceptance speech, Olson remarked on the womens’ 100+ years of combined service in serving the community.

The ceremony started at 4, at the end of the Council’s annual meeting. It opened with the annual State of the Arts presentation by VAC director, Alex Aldrich. He warned that the state’s arts organizations ignore marketing and promotion at their own peril, even when declining ticket sales and donation revenue mandate reduced budgets. Aldrich also outlined the three broad initiatives the Council is focusing on now in its own effort to market, promote and grow the arts in Vermont:

  • The Breaking into Business workshops: provides tools and consultation to artists in intensive 2-day sessions to help them learn how to market their own art.
  • The Routes Initiative: starting on August 1st, makes $200 grants available to teachers and arts orgs for transportation purposes. The Council created this program in response to the increasing comments it had been receiving about how difficult and prohibitively expensive it was becoming to physically get people to the events being presented.
  • A new marketing and outreach campaign to promote Vermont’s arts and culture sectors in state, and beyond.

Then the awards presentation began, including an artist showcase of dancing (Tiffany Rhynard’s Disposable Goods: What Is/Who Is?) and a preview of Upper Valley Arts forthcoming film, Freedom and Unity: The Vermont Movie.

As for the award recipients themselves, Ambrose, Rogers and Olson all shared a bit of their personal history, thanks to their co-workers and partners, and, words of insight. Jane Ambrose summed it up when she talked about how she was able to fulfill her vision for adventurous programming over the years: “It’s a Vermont thing. You have to trust people and when people trust you, you can do anything.”

The house chamber at the State House held many familiar faces that afternoon, as reps from arts organizations all over the state turned out for the same reason I did. The afternoon was a luminous collage of memories, friends, inspiration, laughs and a few tears.

Things are changing with the retirement of these three influential, strong arts leaders.

I’m looking forward to finding out – and being part of – wherever we go next.

exceptional pianists at a recital hall near you!

November 6, 2009

Van_CliburnSo I’ve been laid a bit low with a cold this week – how low? No updates here, for one thing. And I’m writing this at 6:50 Friday evening, knowing that a terrific recital is starting in a little over a half hour, and I won’t be there. I’ve been looking forward to it for over a month. I even had tickets, which I gave away earlier today. That’s how low.

This season the UVM Lane Series is featuring the top three winners from the recent Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. It’s a rare opportunity to hear the musical voices of tomorrow, before these young players have recording contracts and extensive touring obligations that might prevent them from coming to some of the more intimate venues, like the UVM Recital Hall.

Early in October the first of the three recitals took place as silver medalist Yeol Eum Son took the stage for a brilliant performance that included the stunning Samuel Barber piano sonata. If you’re not accustomed to thinking of that piece as stunning, you haven’t heard it in the right hands.

The next recital is tonight (starting in about 28 minutes now…), with competition finalist Di Wu. Her solo program will include Ravel’s Miroirs (a replacement for Gaspard , which was on the original program – too bad!) and Schumann’s highly inventive, deceptively difficult Davidsbundlertänze. She’ll go on to another full concert tomorrow night, this time with the Burlington Chamber Orchestra: Beethoven’s second concerto.

We’l have to wait until March 5th for the third and final recital in the series, with gold medalist Haochen Zhang. At 19 he was the youngest performer in this year’s Van Cliburn competition.

If this cold isn’t gone by then, this is fair warning: I’m going anyway. I’ll sit in the back, keep the sniffles to a minimum, and promise not to get too close to you. But I’m not missing another one of these.

marta gomez, coming soon

September 17, 2009
(photo courtesy of the UVM Lane Series)

(photo courtesy of the UVM Lane Series)

Quick note here about a show you’ll want to add to your calendar: Colombia’s Marta Gómez is coming to Burlington for a single show with the UVM Lane Series – Friday evening the 25th at 7:30.

You might have heard her recently as a featured guest on Idan Raichel’s new recording, Within My Walls, and she’s touring now with new songs she’s written for her latest release, Musiquita.

Born in Bogotá and educated at Berklee, her voice is sweet and the music – warmly polished and frequently shaped with a jazz dialect – still remains firmly rooted in the folk traditions and everyday experiences of the people in her native Colombia.

I can’t wait.


More stories:

Marta interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition

Idan Raichel Project at NPR Music

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