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Posted 08.06.08

Orpheus and Eurydice Premier, Kushner Part of 2008-09 CFA Series

A U.S. theater premier, an alternative bluegrass band, a documentary photography exhibit and a provocative playwright are all part of Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts lineup for 2008-09.

The CFA’s season opens Sept. 19 with the U.S. premiere of Compagnie Marie Chouinard’s Orpheus and Eurydice following its world premiere in Rome and its acclaimed tour through Asia. The season continues with performances by clarinet virtuoso David Krakauer, alternative-bluegrass stars Crooked Still, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and much more.

“We’re excited for another season of exciting and important work at the CFA,” says CFA director Pam Tatge. “This year’s programming features incredibly diverse fare, packed with artists who are truly groundbreaking in their art forms.”

In September, the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery presents “Framing and Being Framed: The Uses of Documentary Photography,” a semester-long exhibition that examines how visual artists use documentary photography in their work. The exhibition will feature work by, among others, Susan Meiselas and Alfredo Jaar.

In October, the Navaratri Festival of offers several nights of Indian music and dance culminating in one jam-packed weekend. A recent work by the legendary Peter Brook makes its only New England stop to open the Outside the Box theater series. The month also includes by a talk by renowned playwright Tony Kushner (pictured in poster at right).

“Tony Kushner is one of the most engaging and provocative playwrights of our time,” Tatge says.

November brings a far-reaching cross-disciplinary examination of photography and historical interpretation on the occasion of the History and Theory conference being hosted by Wesleyan, featuring major exhibitions at Zilkha Gallery, the Davison Art Center and Olin Library.

In December, the departments of theater and music collaborate on a major production of the Brecht/Weill classic, Threepenny Opera, featuring the Wesleyan University Orchestra. The production will be accompanied by a series of talks and discussions to contextualize this masterpiece of the 20th century.

Finally, “Feet to the Fire,” the campus-wide exploration of climate change through science and art, produced in collaboration with the Environmental Studies Program, will continue throughout the 2008–09 season.

Additional details about the upcoming CFA series are below:

Compagnie Marie Chouinard (pictured at left)
Friday & Saturday, September 19 & 20, 8 p.m.
Marie Chouinard tours internationally and is one of Canada’s most lauded, avant-garde choreographers. She explores the astonishing potential of the human body in its most intimate and excessive manifestations. With a vocabulary that is at once erotic and deeply spiritual, Chouinard creates highly-charged evening-length spectacles with a company of dancers noted for their wildly unbridled commitment to her movement vocabulary. Wesleyan hosts the U.S. premiere of her newest work, Orpheus and Eurydice, based on the legend of Orpheus. http://www.mariechouinard.com

Tere O’Connor
Friday & Saturday, Nov. 21 & 22, 7 and 9:30 p.m.
Filtered through a rigorously personal and philosophical lens, Tere O’Connor’s radical reinvention of the formal conceits of concert dance distinguish him as a truly original presence in the dance world. He returns to Wesleyan with Rammed Earth, which explores architecture as a fundamental, subliminal force in the choreographic form as well as in the human experience. http://www.tereoconnordance.org/

Rubberbandance Group: Phase II
Friday & Saturday, April 24 & 25, 8 p.m.
This season, Breaking Ground will feature another exceptional Canadian company, Rubberbandance Group, a collective of world-class dancers from contemporary and break-dance backgrounds that investigate human relationships through an inventive hybrid choreography of hip hop dynamics and contemporary ballet. http://www.rubberbandancegroup.com/.


David Krakauer
Saturday, Sept. 27, 8 p.m.
Internationally-acclaimed clarinetist David Krakauer redefines the notion of a concert artist. Known for his mastery of a myriad of styles including classical chamber music, Eastern European Jewish klezmer music and avant-garde improvisation, he brings these worlds together for a dynamic concert program entitled Beyond Crossover. http://www.davidkrakauer.com/.

Crooked Still
Friday, Oct. 17, 8 p.m.
“What if the 1920s Appalachian musicians could’ve heard the music we hear now?” asks Rushad Eggleston, cellist for Crooked Still, the hot young alternative bluegrass group on a mission to bend the boundaries of traditional music. The unlikely combination of banjo, cello and double bass drives this low lonesome band, whose captivating vocals and high-wire solos have enraptured audiences all over North America and Ireland since 2001. http://www.crookedstill.com/.

Trio Globo
Saturday, Nov. 15, 8 p.m.
Trio Globo has crafted a totally original voice in contemporary acoustic music with combustible spontaneity, rhythmic influences derived from six continents and diverse musical roots that span jazz, classical and sacred traditions. Eugene Friesen (Paul Winter Consort), Howard Levy (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Paquito d’Rivera) and Glen Velez (Paul Winter Consort, Steve Reich) bring three unique musical visions together to create original work that is instantly recognizable as their own. http://www.classactsontour.com/artists/trioglobo/trioglobo.htm

Henry Threadgill
and Ensemble Zooid
Friday, Feb. 6, 8 p.m.
At the forefront of music for the past quarter of a century, Henry Threadgill incorporates his experiences with jazz, gospel, blues and marching bands freely in a mix with various world musics. He views these folios as evolutionary and uses ideas from the past as an ingredient, rather than a basis, for his music.

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Saturday, Feb. 28, 8 p.m.
As the nation’s premiere repertory company for chamber music, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS) is committed to bringing audiences the finest performances of an extraordinary body of repertoire, dating as far back as the Renaissance and continuing through the centuries to the finest works of our time. Led by Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han, the artistic core of CMS is a multi-generational, dynamic repertory company of expert chamber musicians who form an evolving musical community. http://www.chambermusicsociety.org/

Toumani Diabaté and the Symmetric Orchestra
Saturday, May 2, 8 p.m.
Winner of the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Traditional World Music Album, Diabaté is at the vanguard of a new generation of Malian griots (bards) who are constantly looking for ways of modernizing while still honoring their traditional music. http://www.myspace.com/toumanidiabate


Master Classes on Saturday & Sunday, March 7 & 8
Showcase Performance on Saturday, March 7
DanceMasters Weekend, now in its tenth year, is one of the most anticipated dance events in the Northeast. The combination of dance master classes and performances by premier companies provides an essential retreat for students and professionals interested in the latest techniques, as well as a showcase for dance enthusiasts who want to sample the work of leading choreographers.


Framing and Being Framed: The Uses of Documentary Photography
Saturday, Sept. 13 through Sunday, Dec. 7
Opening reception: Friday, September 12, 5–7pm
Zilkha Gallery will present a major, semester-long exhibition that examines how visual artists use documentary photography in their work. Artists often employ more than one system of representation in order to reinforce, subvert or go beyond the meaning offered by the images themselves. Some also use photographs to critique the documentary medium itself. The exhibition will feature work by, among others, Wendy Ewald, Andrea Geyer, Jim Goldberg, Eric Gottesman, Emily Jacir, An-My Le, Susan Meiselas, Ann Messner, Walid Raad, Martha Rosler and Krzysztof Wodiczko.


Wednesday, Oct.1 through Sunday, Oct. 5
The Navaratri Festival, a longstanding tradition at Wesleyan, celebrates Indian culture with music, dance, a religious service and the annual bhojanam (feast). This year’s festival features performances by acclaimed dancer Anita Ratnam as well as a musical performance by South Indian violinists Mysore M. Nagaraj and Mysore M. Manjunath.


The Grand Inquisitor
From The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Directed by Peter Brook
Friday & Saturday, Oct. 10 & 11, 8 p.m.
The work of legendary director Peter Brook returns to the U.S. with The Grand Inquisitor. In its exclusive Connecticut engagement, this stunning example of Brook’s latest work takes place in Seville during the Inquisition. http://www.peterbrook.net/

Conversation with Tony Kushner
Thursday, Oct. 30, 8 p.m.
Memorial Chapel
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner, hailed as “the most highly acclaimed playwright of his generation” by Salon.com, participates in a conversation about his wide-ranging and controversial body of work. Kushner is best known for his two-part epic, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes . He also wrote the screenplays for Mike Nichols’ film of Angels In America and Steven Spielberg’s Munich. http://www.barclayagency.com/kushner.html

Awaji Puppet Theater Company
Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 21 & 22, 8 p.m.
The Awaji Puppet Theater, based on Awaji Island southwest of Kobe, comes to Wesleyan as a stop on its North American tour sponsored by the Japan Society. They are the foremost practitioners of the Awaji puppetry tradition, which dates back to the 16th century and is often referred to as the origin of Bunraku puppetry.


Off the Beaten Path: A Jazz & Tap Odyssey
Friday, Sept. 5, 8 p.m.
Off the Beaten Path: A Jazz & Tap Odyssey explores the American art forms of jazz and tap and their unique cultural influences. The full-evening performance was created under the direction of award-winning New England dancer/choreographer Drika Overton and musician, composer and educator Paul Arslanian, in collaboration with renowned tap dancers Brenda Bufalino and Josh Hilberman. A jazz quartet consisting of piano, bass, drums and woodwinds will perform on stage with the company of six dancers.

Ticket Information
Ticket prices for CFA events vary, many events are free. The CFA box office is located on the first floor of the Usdan Center (45 Wyllys Ave., Middletown). For more information about the 2008/2009 Season, call 860-685-3355, or visit the CFA website.

By Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection editor, and Adam Kubota, press and marketing coordinator at the Center for the Arts. Photo of David Krakauer by Jean Marc Lubrano. Photo of Compganie Marie Chouinard’s Orpheus and Eurydice by Michael Slobodian.