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.
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
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.
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
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.
CROWELL CONCERT SERIES
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
EZRA & CECILE ZILKHA GALLERY
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.
OUTSIDE THE BOX THEATER SERIES
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
Conversation with Tony Kushner
Thursday, Oct. 30, 8 p.m.
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.
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 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