START Visiting Artist Residencies

The START Project is a Mellon funded initiative intended to support the integration of the
creative arts throughout campus. A total of $60,000 has been allocated to support residencies by visiting artists during the calendar year 2013. The Arts Advisory Committee reviewed  applications from faculty members in all disciplines, with preference for projects that originated from within one of the college’s arts disciplines or are in direct partnership with faculty within an arts discipline. More information about visiting artist residencies can be found here.

2013 artist residencies

Interdisciplinary Music Commission of Composer Gabriela Lena Frank

Jennifer Kelly

Thanks to a Mellon START Grant and numerous supporting departments around campus, Lafayette students and faculty will explore creative thought and process as celebrated composer Gabriela Lena Frank is being commissioned to write a 35-minute major work for the Lafayette Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, combined with 2 pianos, string quartet, and professional vocal soloists. The text of the composition is based on the work of Nicaraguan poet Pablo Antonio Cuadra.

Included in this commission project:

  • Artist residencies (Fall 2013 / Spring 2014)
  • Concerts (Fall 2013 / Spring 2014)
  • Engraved and published score (G.Schirmer) with dedication page
  • Integrative website
  • Interdisciplinary arts symposium (Spring 2014)

Lafayette professor Jennifer Kelly has featured Frank in Kelly’s upcoming book, In Her Own Words: Conversations with Composers in the United States, to be published in June 2013, by the University of Illinois Press. Her connections with Frank made this commission possible.

This ambitious project infuses art throughout the campus, and will impact students and faculty across humanities and engineering through lectures, symposium, student projects, and master classes exploring creative thought and process. Participating departments include Music, Women’s and Gender Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Foreign Languages and Literatures, scholarship recipients for Creative and Performing Arts [CaPA], Engineering Division, art, and Lafayette Cultural Programs.

Concerts include:

  • Fall 2013, Dr. Frank, a virtuosic and sought-after concert pianist of contemporary repertoire, will perform a formal piano concert through Cultural Programs in the Williams Center
  • Spring 2014, Premiere of the multi-movement, 35-minute composition for choir, 2 vocal soloists, and 2 pianos, with additional music for string quartet
  • Spring 2014, Chiara String Quartet will perform a formal concert through Cultural Programs in the Williams Center.


New Music Lafayette

Kirk O’Riordan

These funds are being used to support several professional guest performers for the New Music Lafayette concert series. These performers include cellist Larry Stomberg, clarinetist Marianne Gythfeldt, and flutist Reuben Councill. These performers will be performing on February 5, 2013 and interacting with members of the Lafayette College Contemporary Music Ensemble and other Lafayette students while on campus.


Lamar Thomas, Feb. 10-12, 2013

Suzanne Westfall with John McKnight, Jorge Torres, and Wendy Wilson-Fall

Film and Media Studies, Africana Studies, Music, and the Office of Intercultural Development are sponsoring a two day residency with Mr. Lamar Thomas, author, filmmaker, television host, singer and Grammy nominated songwriter. Mr. Lamar’s film and book Take Me Home 2 Da Delta “celebrates the Delta legends who rose above oppressive poverty, illiteracy, and oppression to give birth to a musical style that would shape American culture.”

Lamar Thomas, Black Heritage Month artist in residence during his visit to campus Feb. 10-12, will hold workshop sessions with several classes; a meet and greet 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, in the Portlock Black Cultural Center; participate in a discussion noon Monday, Feb. 11; and a film-screening and discussion 7 p.m. Feb. 11 in the Williams Center.


The Nine Parts of Desire, March 21,

Mary Jo Lodge with Mary Armstrong, Robin Rinehart, and Larry Stockton

Iraqi-American playwright and actress Heather Raffo will perform her award winning solo play, The Nine Parts of Desire, and complete a week long residency at Lafayette in March. Raffo’s award winning show explores Iraqi/American identity and nine women living in, or effected by, the recent war in Iraq. Raffo will lead a post-show discussion.
As part of the residency, organized by faculty from Womens and Gender Studies, English, Theater, Music and Religious Studies, Raffo will also visit with several classes and will conduct workshops with students during her residency.


Cultural Program residency enhancements, spring 2013
Ellis Finger

Noche Flamenca, with Soledad Barrio, February 1-2

 When Noche last performed at Lafayette a decade ago Sid Donnell praised the evening as exemplary, both as powerful dance theater and as valuable pedagogy for the teaching of Spanish culture – music, body movement, social identity, national character. He and his Spanish colleagues are eager for this return engagement, as a laboratory for learning about the cultural traditions of Spain through flamenco. Additionally, our new colleague Ana Ramirez-Luhrs has stepped forward to organize a master class with Soledad Barrio of Lafayette students and faculty, so that the performance will reach beyond the classroom and impact the residence life leadership team she works with.

Amjad Ali Khan Sarod Ensemble of India, February 11-12

This residency will connect the pleasure of hearing Indian classical music performed on sarod and tabla with insights into the deep traditions of Indian culture, as expressed through their classical music. As with Kodo (see below), Larry Stockton will be developing a unit of curriculum on Indian music for his world music students. The ensemble will give a morning workshop on the traditions of Indian music and the expressive properties of these unusual string instruments. These musicians are experts at situating the music they perform as a life-long immersion in Indian culture through the shared understanding of musical form and the disciplines of mind and aesthetics. Indian music always invokes the kindred world of mathematics and artistic structures, and this aspect of the class presentation will lay out these connections.


Compagnie Marie Chouinard of Montreal, March 12-13

Marie Chouinard is one of pioneers to have defined Canadian modern dance in recent decades. The two works she’s bringing to Lafayette celebrate two seminal cultural landmarks: Chopin’s Preludes of 1839 which animated salon culture of Paris in the post-Napoleonic era, and Igor Stravinski’s ground-breaking Rite of Spring which Lafayette highlights on the centennial of this 1913 event, also in Paris. The three main academic partnerships with this are the departments of music, French, art history, and the new course on dance that Nandini Sikand and Carrie Rohman, whose students will be invited to observe the dress rehearsal. Kirk O’Riordan, Nandini and Carrie will give a pre-performance program on the connections between dance and music, with commentary on the boldness and daring of Ms. Chouinard’s choreography. Bob Mattison will help us situate the events with art history students, through the larger world of seismic change in the visual arts that occurred in Paris and other major European cultural centers in and around 1913.

Kodo Drummers, March 19-20

Larry Stockton is creating a full module of learning in preparation for this world-class taiko drumming groups. He will feature their work in his world music class and the Lafayette Percussion Ensemble which he directs. He will also be making presentation in residence halls and Asian cultural classes in other disciplines (history, art, international affairs). Mellon funds will help us bring two master drummers and educators to campus for drumming workshops and cultural history forums on the arts of Japan. The guest workshop leaders are, proposed by Larry Stockton, are master drummers Alan Okada and Junko Nakagawa of New York’s Suh Taiko

 Composer and vocalist Gabriel Kahane,  (residency dates tba)

 Gabriel Kahane is among the new breed of young American composers, rooted in the vernacular of popular music as well as the classics – a kind of 21st century troubadour, blending the impulses of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. He is Orpheus’s composer-in-residence this year and next, and his workshops and presentations with young listeners are quick and enjoyable entrees into orchestral music. Lafayette is part of a commissioning team that is funding his new composition for himself and Orpheus, based on the journals and personal writings of WPA artists. Gabriel will be giving campus workshops at Dartmouth and the University of Maryland, where Orpheus will also perform his work. Mellon funds requested below will get him to campus three times earlier in the spring for class presentations (music, creative writing, American social history) and informal gatherings with students I various residence halls – McKelvy, Grossman House, the Arts Houses, etc.

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