Upcoming 2015-16 Hopkins Center Performances

by Hayley Hoverter | 7/30/15 7:51pm

The Hopkins Center for the Arts is gearing up for the upcoming 2015-16 school year. The Hopkins Center is offering a wide array of theater and dance, classical, folk and pop music from students and outside artists. Performers include Grammy winners La Santa Cecilia, Ukelele player Jake Shimbukuro and Carlos Henriquez, a jazz composer and bassist from the Lincoln Center of Orchestra.

Hopkins Center programming director, Margaret Lawrence, said that one of the unique aspects of this year’s performances is that they invited broad range of artists to campus.

“We have, [for example], one of the greatest opera singers in the world, Renée Fleming, coming. But still there are artists that people have never heard of, people who are still emerging,” Lawrence said. “They could, in a few years, be the new MacArthur geniuses, but right now they’re lesser known.”

Lawrence said that this year’s offerings might appeal more to younger crowds than in past years.

“This year in particular represents a new generation — a generation not afraid to speak out. The goal is to produce something not just for people to consume, but to involve the audience,”Lawrence said, “With classical music, we often get less Dartmouth students to attend, but this year, they’re performing Sufjan Stevens. It’s young and fun.”

Lawrence starts looking for performers a year in advance of their performances at the College to ensure that she has an eclectic, entertaining array of artists. She’s already in the process of looking for the 2016-17 performers. She goes to conferences and talks to people to start building connections.

Every year, the Hop brings international performers, and this year is no exception.

“We have artists from everywhere, from Brooklyn to Brazil,” Lawrence said.

Although she estimates that, on average, only about 25 percent of the Hop’s audience members are Dartmouth students, Lawrence’s focus is primarily on these students. She sets aside tickets for these students to make sure that shows will not sell out before she gets students in the seats.

Lawrence also noted that with College President Phil Hanlon’s interest in experiential learning as part of his campus-wide goals, she has been encouraged to incorporate students' learning into the performances. This includes publishing a guide of upcoming shows in advance of each academic quarter, which she sends to professors that teach in relevant departments. Professors often will bring students to the shows and will occasionally be able to bring the performers to their classes.

For example, on Oct. 2 an autobiographical comedy show, “All Atheists are Muslim,” will show at the Hop, and Lawrence hopes to reach out the women’s, gender, and sexuality studies program and Gender Studies and religious studies department as well as the Tucker Foundation.

Dartmouth Wind Ensemble director Matthew Marsit said that he is most excited about the student performances that will be taking place this year at the Hop.

“The process of making music is extremely experiential. There’s a learning process that we work through. The art of music making is a great model for other curriculum that tries to incorporate art,” Marsit said. “Music is one of those great opportunities for sharing, other than speech and research — it’s another branch of looking at a complete person, or a complete art.”

Theater professor Dan Kotlowitz, the lighting designer for the play “Don Juan Comes Back from the War,” which is coming to the Hop this fall, echoed this sentiment. He got involved in his work when, in college, he became interested in lighting because of the community of artists he met, with whom he shared his interests in different forms of art, like painting.

Marsit noted that there has been a greater appreciation and support for the arts over the past six years, starting with former College President Jim Kim. He believes this change has been reflected in the admissions process.

“I’ve seen an increase in the number of students auditioning. More musicians have been coming to Dartmouth,” Marsit said.

Lawrence is particularly excited about the opening performance of the school year. Taylor Mac will be opening with performance in drag called “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music.”

“I have seen [Mac] many times over the years. It’s hilarious, wonderful and will be revealing of the part of history that people often don’t talk about,” Lawrence said. “You could see him psychoanalyzing the ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy.’”

“Don Juan,” which is about World War I, makes social statements that might be engaging for students.

“This play is a greater metaphor for how nothing has changed. The first World War was called the ‘war to end all wars,’ but not much longer after World War I we had World War II and we still have wars today, which shows that we didn’t learn from it,” Kotlowitz says.

Marsit was particularly excited about the student performances in the wind ensemble in the fall. Marsit will be co-conducting a performance with prominent wind conductor Timothy Reynish.

“There’s no experience like a live concert,” Marsit said. “Nothing, with any amount of technology can replicate the energy onstage of the performers and the audience members. Music is the one holy intangible art form. As soon as it’s experienced it’s gone...It’s great that students can have that experience with a low price. Never again in their lives can they experience something like that.”

Correction appended (July 31, 2015): A previous version of this article misquoted Lawrence as saying that the Hop's programming aimed "to involve the artist.” The quote should have read that the Hop aims "to involve the audience.”

A previous version of this article also stated that "Don Juan Comes Back from the War" will be at the Hop this summer. It will be here this fall.

The Dartmouth regrets these errors.