Friday August 12, 2011

Arts Series Turns 50

The Arts Series celebrates with stellar performances and an exhibit of memorabilia from the series' 50 years of concerts, lectures and programs.

The University of Dayton's Arts Series is celebrating its 50th season with a lineup of performers from Dayton and around the world, as well as an exhibit of memorabilia from the series' half-century of concerts, lectures and programs.

(See 2011-12 schedule below)

During its long history, the Arts Series has welcomed award-winning, and sometimes provocative, acts to Dayton.

"The goal has always been to offer programs that show diversity and challenge the audience to think about the world in new ways," said Arts Series coordinator Eileen Carr. "For example, the Arts Series attracted quite a lineup of social activists in the 1960s and 1970s, reflecting the tumultuousness of the times."

The inaugural series in 1961 opened with a performance by Marian Anderson, who in 1955 was the first African-American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. She was followed in the Arts Series by a long line of iconic performers, including singer Ella Fitzgerald, mime Marcel Marceau and Flamenco guitarist Carlos Montoya.

South African singer and civil rights activist Miriam Makeba performed on campus in 1969, a year after her controversial marriage to Black Panther Stokely Carmichael. Ten years later, the Arts Series welcomed playwright Edward Albee, whose play "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" lost a Pulitzer Prize award reportedly because it did not represent a "wholesome" view of American life.

The Arts Series has partnered with Cityfolk since 2003 to bring the World Rhythms Series to Dayton which features some of the most respected world music artists from around the globe, including Huun Huur Tu from Tuva, Vieux Farka Toure from Mali and Luciana Souza from Brazil.

Created at the suggestion of a University of Dayton engineering professor, the Arts Series is an enduring example of the University's commitment to educating the whole person, engaging the local community and celebrating diversity.

"The series is intended to appeal to people from all academic backgrounds and pursuits," Carr said. "It's for all people, not just arts majors."

This goal reflects the desires of the University's student population. About 350 students are majoring in the arts, but more than 1,300 students in other majors participate in advanced arts courses or performances.

To accommodate these interests and provide a more comprehensive education, the University is fund-raising for a $35 million University Center for the Arts. The building, to be located near the southwest corner of Brown and Stewart streets, will be an asset for the region and the University, consolidating the University's arts programs and providing state-of-the-art auditoriums.

The 2011-12 Series

Unless otherwise noted, Arts Series events are ticketed events and open to the public. Ticket prices are $15 general admission; $10 for University of Dayton faculty, staff and alumni; and $5 for University of Dayton students. Purchase tickets through the University's box office in Kennedy Union online at or at 937-229-2545.

Parking on campus is free at all times in single letter lots, but a permit is required weekdays prior to 7:30 p.m. Obtain a permit at the visitor's center on the main campus circle. Find a campus map at

For World Rhythms Series tickets, contact Cityfolk at 937-496-3863 or visit

Sept. 19-21
Menahem Pressler, Pianist
8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, Sears Recital Hall:
Screening of documentary Beaux Arts at 50.
8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, Kennedy Union Boll Theatre: "Reflections on a Career in Music" lecture and demo. Free but tickets required.
8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, Sears Recital Hall: Concert; limited tickets available.
Pressler is a founding member and pianist of the famed Beaux Arts Trio, described as "the gold standard for trios throughout the world" by The Washington Post. Now in his 88th year, he continues to captivate audiences as performer and pedagogue, performing solo and chamber music recitals to great critical acclaim.

Oct. 4
8 p.m. Tuesday, Kennedy Union Boll Theatre
This Cityfolk-sponsored event features the well traveled throat-singing ensemble Huun Huur Tu. Established 25 years ago in Tuva, a Russian republic on the Mongolian border, Huun Huur Tu has been called "a force of nature." The group's first visit to Dayton in 2006 was a sell-out. This concert is rescheduled from a February 2011 concert canceled due to weather. Visit for tickets.

Oct. 20
The Baroque Bach
8 p.m. Thursday, Sears Recital Hall
Dayton-based Rob Turner, nationally regarded for both his playing and construction of Baroque flutes and recorders will perform in concert with harpsichord specialist David Schrader. This all-Bach program, with pieces transcribed for solo and duo instrumental performance, will open a window on the period of the great 18th century composer.

Nov. 3
Taylor Mali, Spoken Word Poet
8 p.m. Thursday, Kennedy Union Boll Theatre
Taylor Mali is one of the most well known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement. Born in New York City in 1965, Mali is a vocal advocate for teachers, having spent nine years in the classroom.

Nov. 16
WORLD RHYTHMS SERIES: Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba
8 p.m. Wednesday, Kennedy Union Boll Theatre
Mali's Bassekou Kouyate and his group Ngoni Ba are among Africa's rising music stars, winning the BBC World Music Award's Album of the Year for 2008. "Ngoni" is the lead instrument used in the ensemble. It is a stringed instrument from West Africa with a body made of wood or calabash with dried animal skin stretched over it like a drum. Kouyate coaxes a wide range of sound from this simple instrument, accompanied by driving percussive backup. Visit for tickets.

January and April (Specific dates TBD)
RESIDENCY: So Percussion
Previous guests of the 2010-11 Arts Series, So Percussion returns to the University of Dayton to continue creative conversations with several groups. Their visits will serve as "bookends" for the spring semester. They will work with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, students at the Dayton Early College Academy (DECA) and the University's Percussion Ensemble. DECA students will help plan So Percussion's spring community concert; check the Arts Series website later in the season for updates:

Feb. 4
Minneapolis Guitar Quartet
8 p.m. Saturday, Sears Recital Hall
Minneapolis Guitar Quartet has been one of the world's leading guitar ensembles since its founding in 1986. The quartet has performed throughout the U.S. in recital and with orchestra, balancing a wide repertoire ranging from Renaissance and Baroque to Latin American and contemporary works. Presented in collaboration with Chamber Music Yellow Springs, which will host a second performance Sunday Feb. 5.

Feb. 20-22
RESIDENCY: Imani Winds
8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, Kennedy Union Boll Theatre
More than North America's premier wind quintet, Imani Winds has established itself as one of the most successful chamber music ensembles in the U.S. Since 1997, the Grammy-nominated quintet has created waves with its dynamic playing, culturally poignant programming and genre-blurring collaborations. Imani Winds is known for its commitments to commissioning new work and sensitively handling classical traditions. The University's Faculty Wind Ensemble will join the quintet in a Feb. 22 concert.

March 15
8 p.m. Thursday, Sears Recital Hall
This new chamber-rock ensemble founded by composer/keyboardist Missy Mazzoli is the Arts Series' most avant-garde offering. They have drawn rave reviews and are led by composer Mazzoli, whose works are widely performed by groups such as eighth blackbird. Victoire's most recent collection was selected by both The New Yorker and NPR as one of the top classical albums of 2010.

March 28
Eric Singer: Music Bots
8 p.m. Wednesday, Kennedy Union Ballroom
Founder of LEMUR (League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots), Eric Singer is a pioneer in the creative collaboration of art and technology. In this concert, Singer will demonstrate his "musicbots," including the spectacular "GamelaTron," a robotized version of the intricate gamelan, an Indonesian percussion instrument. These hybrid instruments are remarkably sensitive systems that remain responsive to the musicians who "play" them.

April 24
8 p.m. Tuesday, Kennedy Union Boll Theatre
Based in Quebec, this trio has been working together since 2003, garnering wide recognition for their renewal of the irresistible rhythms of French Canadian music. This final World Rhythms concert, co-presented by Cityfolk, will fill the hall with high energy in response to the weaving melodies created by the fiddle, accordion, harmonic, guitar, bouzouki and more. Contact for tickets.

Additional Programs

Career Conversations about Music: Traditional and Alternative Paths in the 21st Century
Sigma Alpha Iota Philanthropies, the University's department of music and the Arts Series will present a series of four programs featuring musicians during the spring semester:

So Percussion
Imani Winds
Missy Mazzoli of Victoire
Eric Singer of LEMUR

These free programs will feature conversational presentations followed by Q&A sessions focused on the changing nature of music careers. Receptions will follow. Look for details on these spring semester programs on the Arts Series website:

March 11 through June 10
Arts Series Archives Exhibition
Roesch Library
3 p.m. Sunday, March 11, Roesch Library lobby:
Opening reception, free and open to public.
An exhibition featuring memorabilia from 50 years of concerts, lectures and programs presented by the University of Dayton Arts Series, including items from Marian Anderson, Van Cliburn and the Kronos Quartet performances.

For more information, contact Meagan Pant, assistant director of news and communications, at 937-229-3256 or

Related Links