Spring will bring variety of arts events to the College

by Kourtney Kawano | 3/29/15 5:02pm

From the visually-engaging and thought-provoking exhibitions at the Hood Museum of Art to the enchanting melodies performed by student ensembles and unique performances that will be shown at the Hopkins Center for the Arts, the 2015 spring arts season is primed to be another term full of celebration for music, film, dance and the visual arts.

Aside from the ongoing events for the current exhibitions such as “About Face: Self-Portraiture in Contemporary Art,” which is on display through August 30, the Hood Museum of Art will open three new exhibitions in April.

“Water Ways: Tension and Flow,” which will open on April 4, will feature more than 24 landscape and portraiture photographs depicting the delicate balance between water’s effect on human life and vice versa. Although most of the works in the exhibition are drawn from the Hood’s permanent collection, the audience will be able to see these works in a new light as they all provide commentary about different aspects of water’s significance for sustaining life. While many of the photographs are from the 20th and 21st centuries, “Water Ways” will also include depictions by Roman and Egyptian artists in conjunction with the Nile Project— a group of musicians, educators and activists who are set to perform a blend of African and Arab music on April 17 in Spaulding Auditorium as a part of the group’s residency from April 13-18. The exhibition will also include the screening of the documentary “Watermark” (2013) on May 20.

Two exhibitions, “Auto-Graphics: Works by Victor Ekpuk” and “Ukara: Ritual Cloth of the Ekpe Secret Society,” will open at the Hood on April 18. “Auto-Graphics” will combine several works by Nigerian artist Victor Ekpuk, including his graphic and pastel print Composition No. 13 (Sante Fe Suite) (2013), which features Ekpuk’s characteristic use of nsibidi, a Nigerian writing form of the Ekpe people. On April 24, Ekpuk himself will give a lecture titled, “Excavating Memories” to share how his cultural and social experiences influences his art.

Hood Museum head of publishing and communications Nils Nadeau said that Ekpuk will create a large-scale drawing in the second-floor galleries, in tandem with the exhibition that is devoted to his recent work, beginning on April 20.

“Anyone can stop in and witness his progress live as he creates a new wall drawing,” Nadeau said.

The exhibition focused on ukara, a traditional cloth that represents the prestige of the Ekpe society, will also explore African culture through the ukaras’ designs and use. Each ukara includes a specific pattern and dye, as well as nsibidi symbols to convey a deeper meaning for the owner. Many of the ukaras featured in the exhibition were given by Eli Bentor, an art history professor at Appalachian State University, who will be leading a panel discussion about the collection on May 15.

In addition to the Hood Museum’s new exhibits, there will also be a variety of events at the Hop throughout the spring term, beginning with the dance performance “When the Wolves Came In” choreographed by 2013 MacArthur Fellow Kyle Abraham and performed by his company Abraham.In.Motion, on March 31 and April 1 in the Moore Theater. Abraham’s choreography blends classical and modern styles set to African spirituals and music by classical music composer Nico Muhly and jazz pianist Robert Glasper that celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 20 years since the end of South African apartheid.

Dutch theater ensemble Hotel Modern and composer Arthur Sauer will perform “The Great War” on April 7 and 8 at the Hopkins Center. The play will recreate World War I through household materials and narration based on soldiers’ letters.

In addition to hosting outside performers, the Hop will also present shows by student ensembles. Under the direction of music director Louis Burkot, the Glee Club will pair with opera professionals and Dartmouth alumni in ¡Figaro! (90210), a modern adaptation of Wolfgang Mozart’s comic opera “The Marriage of Figaro,” on April 9 and 10. The performance, which was written by Vid Guerrerio ’96 and premiered at the Los Angeles Opera, will feature New York-based singers Javier Ortiz and Candace Lynn Matthews as the opera’s leads. The Contis will be played by fellow New York professional Lee Velta and Handel Society of Dartmouth College vocal coach Erma Mellinger. Other notable roles in the performance will be portrayed by Emma Orme ’15, Nathaniel Graves ’13, doctoral candidate Olivia Kang and Tyler Putnam ’09.

Tony-award winning actress and Grammy-award winning singer Audra McDonald will perform selections from her newest album at the Hopkins Center on April 14. The show will include a discussion with McDonald.

On April 17, the Dartmouth Glee Club will perform a selection of poems by Christina Porter ’06, who died 10 years ago, to celebrate the opening of an exhibition of Porter’s work at the Black Family Visual Arts Center.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra will visit the Hopkins Center on April 19 and play pieces by artists ranging from Mozart to alternative rock band Radiohead.

On April 21, the College will present the Dartmouth Film Award to Oscar-nominated director Abderrahmane Sissako and screen his film “Timbuktu” (2014). During his time at the College, Sissako will host discussions and visit geography, film and media studies and African and African American studies classes.

The Hopkins Center will host the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain on April 22. The orchestra will cover artists from alternative rock band Nirvana to singer Otis Redding.

On April 24, two award-winning jazz groups will perform together, as the Terrence Blanchard E-Collective and the Ravi Coltrane Quartet share a bill at the Hopkins Center. The performance will include a post-show discussion and a masterclass with Coltrane.

Honoring the rich sound of 20th-century European music, the Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble will perform the music of Russian composer Igor Stravinsky and his contemporaries in Spaulding Auditorium on May 2. The concert will include French composer Florent Schmitt’s “Dionysiaques” (1914), Stravinsky’s “Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments” (1924), Belgian composer Jules Strens’ “Danse Funambulesque” (1929) and Armenian composer Alexander Arutiunian’s “Trumpet Concerto in A-flat Major” (1950).

Wind Ensemble conductor Matthew Marsit said that he organized the concert around the Stravinsky concerto and the composer’s connections in the artistic community in Western Europe.

“Once one great work is in place for a concert, the fun challenge is developing a program that partners well to create a meaningful experience for the audience and Ensemble,” he said.

Graduate student Scott Smedinghoff and Benjamin Meyer ’15 will perform the solos for the Stravinsky piece and the Arutiunian’s Trumpet Concerto, respectively.

On May 5 and 8, the College’s music department will present the Festival of Contemporary American Music. The festival will feature performances by the string ensembles Flux Quartet and String Noise.

The College’s theater department will present its spring musical, “Merrily We Roll Along” on May 8, 9 and 10.

Celebrating its graduating seniors, the Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble will perform its 36th annual senior feature concert at Spaulding Auditorium on May 9. The concert will honor flutists Leif Harder ’15 and digital musics graduate student Angela Kim, saxophonists Hannah O’Flynn ’15, Manav Raj ’15 and Brett Szalapski ’15, trumpeter Matt Metzler ’15, trombonist Dan Nulton ’15 and drummer Eli Derrow ’15 through pieces selected and performed by the seniors and the Ensemble. Barbary Coast director Don Glasgo said that the performance will include pieces written by two seniors.

Glasgo said the concert will also include a singing element as Jeremy Whitaker ’15 will accompany the Ensemble for their performance of Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher” (1931) and John Coltrane’s “Resolution” (1965).

The Handel Society of Dartmouth College will perform Guiseppe Verdi’s classic “Requiem” (1874) on May 16 with a full orchestra.

Comedian Tig Notaro, one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 50 funniest people, will perform at the College on May 20.

On May 22 and 23, the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble will perform, while directed by former-Mark Morris Dance Group member John Heginbotham. The performance will include new pieces by Heginbotham and Rebecca Stenn, the group’s 2014 guest director.

Wrapping up the term will be a trio of musical performances, starting with the Dartmouth Gospel choir on May 23. On May 27, the World Music Percussion Ensemble will perform pieces from South America and West Africa. Finally, the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra will wrap up the term with a performance of Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 6” (1904) on May 30.