UM Theatre & Dance Alumn, Amy Almquist (MFA Directing ‘93), has the national distinction of being the only professional actor working full-time in a prosecutor’s office exclusively to train attorneys in courtroom presentation techniques and persuasive communication strategy. As the Training Supervisor at the Pima County Attorney’s Office in Tucson, AZ, her work has given Pima County a reputation for developing criminal prosecutors with presence and strong trial skills. We asked Amy to tell us more about her creative career and her advice for prospective students and recent graduates in the arts.
UMArts: Amy, you’re breaking ground as a professional actor/director training prosecutors in performance theory for the courtroom. But your work isn’t just limited to Tucson.
Amy: That’s right. I also work with the Pentagon and the U.S. Department of the Army’s JAG Trial Counsel and Defense Counsel Assistance Program. I am honored to travel to military bases around the world training litigators in strategic trial advocacy by immersing them into the world of theatre and the discipline of acting and applying it to their work. As part of my work with lawyers, I authored a manual for effective courtroom trial advocacy called Authentic, Persuasive and Strategic Communication: The Three Keys to Powerful Courtroom Performance. I guest lecture and lead workshops on strategic communication skills at the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Council, the University of Arizona’s Graduate College, International Doctoral Program, Eller College of Business and the James E. Rogers College of Law. I’ve presented communication training seminars at the National Advocacy Center in South Carolina and the JAG Criminal Law School for the U.S. Department of the Army.
UMArts: That’s impressive work–can you tell us more about your career path?
Amy: I began by studying acting at the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago and then UM where I received my MFA in directing and served as a graduate instructor, teaching acting to non-majors. I worked professionally as an actor and director for over 25 years on stage, and in film and commercials, and I am a member of the Screen Actors Guild. For nearly a decade, I traveled internationally with LaughingStock Comedy Company performing customized comedy improv entertainment for Fortune 500 companies. I also served on the faculty at Pima College in Tucson teaching acting, public speaking and interpersonal communication before moving to my current role with the Pima County Attorney’s Office.
UMArts: Why did you choose the University of Montana and the Master of Fine Arts in Theatre?
Amy: I always loved Missoula for its rich arts scene and diverse population. I started my career as an actor and had minimal exposure to the complexities of directing. The UM MFA Theatre degree emphasized blending the discipline of acting with directing. I was able to work on my acting and become a better director because of it. In class I watched the way professors worked with my colleagues and then I applied those techniques with my own actors in rehearsals at night. The directing program at UM was also unique to other programs as it offered numerous opportunities to direct small scenes, fully-staged productions and film projects.
UMArts: How did your UMArts education prepare you for what you do today?
Amy: When I took performance-theory courses in my UM graduate program, I could hardly fathom a situation where I would use the information practically since I wasn’t looking to teach at the university level or pursue a doctorate. Working with lawyers has changed that for me. While actors openly embrace presentation and performance work with feeling, lawyers openly resist it with their intellect. I found myself re-learning how to teach acting from an intellectual perspective and performance theory really became the backbone of my work. I have the pleasure of being able to work with criminal prosecutors and defense attorneys much like a theatre director by helping them feel more comfortable and confident in their work. It’s a joy to workshop one-on-one with an attorney, get to the heart of their discomfort and see them grow and become more self-assured week by week. When I watch attorneys in front of a jury successfully put child molesters and murderers away, it’s tremendously satisfying to know that I played a part in making sure that justice was served.
UMArts: Was there a UM professor who especially influenced you?
Amy: The late Dr. James Kriley left an indelible imprint on me. He had a wonderful way of applying all disciplines of the arts to directing. Anyone who ever had the privilege of taking a directing class with him will never forget the discussion of My Last Duchess by Robert Browning. He taught staging through classical paintings and had an incredible eye for how stage pictures create impact and emotion. He taught me how to approach my work intuitively by listening to the needs of actors and finding a collaborative balance with my directorial vision.
UMArts: What advice do you have for a student considering an arts degree?
Amy: Odds are that you will never become a star or become wealthy by pursing an arts education. The competition is great and rejection is at every turn. Make sure you are ready for this life before you dive in. The desire to create and perform has to be in your bones from a need to do this work. It is a journey full of struggle and personal growth, but worth it if you are willing to open yourself, dump the ego and learn. With public schools dropping arts programs from lack of funding, the world needs you to remind it that the arts make a difference.
UMArts: Any tips for recent graduates embarking on their career?
Amy: First, keep your mind open. There are myriad ways to apply your training–you may be surprised. Always be open to learning and growing. Never work for free. The most successful people in this business are people that others like to work with. Finally, be memorable off stage–go the extra mile to be helpful, stay late, and get to know the people you are working with. Treat for coffee, buy donuts and show them you are part of the team.
Beth lo was one of four american artists invited to create work on the occasion of the 7th annual Gyeonggi International Ceramics Biennale in South Korea held 23 September – 17 November, 2013. The sculptural installation she created, Breath, includes porcelain figures and containers of standing water that gently ripple from blowing fans. The resulting multi-media sculpture shifts between cultural identities, media and artistic disciplines to present a powerful meditation on life and death. Lo says. “I wanted to challenge myself to use other media in this piece and so included light, motion and sound elements.”
At the heart of Lo’s work is her cultural identity as Chinese-American. Like every second-generation child of an immigrant family, Lo strives to reconcile the culture she inherited with the culture into which she was born. The stories of her family – from their origins as wok makers in their ancestral home of Wu Zhen to their immigration to the US – are central to Lo’s work.
Lo, who was born in Lafayette, Indiana, has chronicled her family’s history through her artwork. Her parents were part of a great Chinese exodus tied to the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War between the Communist and Kuomintang armies. It is no accident that her parents moved to the US in 1943. To their delight, they discovered that they loved their new lifestyle and, as their family grew, wanted their children to have the opportunities afforded by the West. Lo’s parents lostKoreacontact with their families for nearly a decade. When communication was reestablished, they were greeted with horror stories of physical abuse, degradation and punishment that affirmed their decision to leave. Given the opportunity to return to China, they chose to remain in the US.
When Lo’s father received a position teaching in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering at Purdue University, the family settled in the Midwest. Facing a new place, they simultaneously sought to blend in and preserve their traditions, as Lo recounts in her book Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic (2012). This is the second autobiographical children’s book, after Mahjong All Day Long (2005) that Lo illustrated in collaboration with her sister, the author Ginnie Lo. Lo also takes inspiration from her mother, Kiahsuang, a nonagenarian who practices traditional Chinese brush painting.
Lo came to Montana in the early 1970s to study with Rudy Autio at the University of Montana. When he retired in 1985, Lo was hired as Professor of Ceramic Art to replace him. She has garnered a series of awards, including the Missoula Cultural Council Individual Artist Award (2014); United States Artists Hoi Fellowship (2009); University of Montana Provost’s Distinguished Lecturer Award (2006); a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowship Grant (1994); the Montana Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship (1989); and an American Craft Museum Design Award (1986).
A functional ceramist by training, she has generated a vast body of sculptural work with an implied narrative throughout her career. Over the years, she has refined her quick-witted, playful works which elegantly blend serious issues with characteristic aplomb and good humour. These include diminutive figures in casual, yet heroic, poses that are reminiscent of propaganda posters from the People’s Republic of China, with hanzi characters encapsulated in talk bubbles floating above their heads, as well as her Fu Dog salt-and-pepper shakers.
While Lo never lived in the People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong’s influence has certainly been felt. He began to direct the future direction of the Chinese national character as early as 1917, when his article “A Study of Physical Culture” (Tiyu zhi yanjiu) was published in the influential journal New Youth (Xin Qingnian). This article extolled the benefits of routine exercise as a means to make the Chinese people physically strong. Mao, an ardent swimmer, was an enthusiast whose rising popularity made swimming an accepted physical activity. In 1956, Mao famously swam across the Yangtze (also called Chang Jiang or The Long River) for the first time and was inspired to compose the poem “Swimming” (Youyong) about transformation and progress:
I have just drunk the waters of Changsha
And come to eat the fish of Wuchang.
Now I am swimming across the great Yangtze,
Looking afar to the open sky of Chu.
Let the wind blow and waves beat,
Better far than idly strolling in a courtyard.
Today I am at ease.
“It was by a stream that the Master said –
‘Thus do things flow away’ “
Sails move with the wind.
Tortoise and Snake are still.
Great plans are afoot:
A bridge will fly to span the north and south,
Turning a deep chasm into a thoroughfare;
Walls of stone will stand upstream to the west
To hold back Wushan’s clouds and rain
Till a smooth lake rises in the narrow gorges.
The mountain goddess if she is still there
Will marvel at a world so changed.
On 16 July, 1966 Mao repeated the feat as a calculated political manoeuvre to signal his robust health to critics in the party leadership. Strangely, the photograph from this event (depicting the heads of Mao and his attendant security personnel floating in the Yangtze) finds echoes in Lo’s work for the Gyeonggi International Ceramics Biennale.
Water, floating and bathing are persistent themes in Lo’s work. She consistently incorporates imagery of boats, pails and bathers. Breath strongly relates to a sculpture from 2012 entitled K’an, the Water Hexagram, also from the Good Children series. With Breath, however, Lo engages all the viewer’s senses while using the associations of floating and swimming (passive and active activities) to suggestaltered states of consciousness such as dreaming, even death.
The work, however, is titled Breath, not ‘Swimming’. And it is the breath on which we should focus. The title indicates an inhalation or exhalation of air that can be seen or heard. In this work, white porcelain swimmers are silhouetted against the white gallery wall. Colour is kept to a minimum. The breath of the title is visible (rendered as gold leaf balloons issuing forth from the swimmer’s mouths) as well as felt in the wind from the fan.
For Mao, to swim was to rebel against his father’s Confucian notions of physical reserve. For Lo, swimming is a metaphor for the series of negotiations she makes as a Chinese-American artist and an affirmation of the predominant role that her parents have in her life. Breath is less about Lo’s struggle to balance the cultural dichotomies of tradition and Westernisation, assimilation and resistance, or native language versus translated speech, which are threaded throughout her previous work. Instead, Breath is a reconciliation on the part of the child of traditional parents to understand her role, a theme that resonates in the title of her longstanding series, Good Children.
The figures in Breath are slightly disconcerting, rendered with a sameness that suggests they are siblings or relatives. This is eerie in the way that clones or twins are disturbing, suggesting infinite successive generations of identical genetic material. This odd mirroring recalls Salvador Dalí’s comment about the dead brother after whom he was named, “My brother and I resembled each other like two drops of water, but we had different reflections.” The figures, receding infinitely, floating indeterminately and bleached white, are ghostly.
Lo’s newest work is a startling ode to her ancestors, as arresting as a Qing Dynasty memorial portrait of a dead relative, staring back at the viewer from another realm. The figures in Breath come from another place. As the fan stirs the hairs on the back of our necks, Beth Lo reminds us that breath is the thin line of mortality, all that separates swimming from drowning.
Bigfork Summer Playhouse
Alexa Larson, Designer (recent graduate)
Andy Meyers, Director (alum)
Bryan Kaschube, Designer (alum)
David Cody, Music Director (faculty)
Dwayne Ague, Stage Manager (alum)
Jacob Sefcak, Actor (student)
Lizzie Hatfield, Music Director (adjunct faculty)
Marc McDuff, Musician (student)
Mike Monsos, Designer (faculty) Alicia Bullock-Muth, Music Director (alum)
Yana Dryden, Designer/Scenic Artist (student)
Steve Hodgson, Actor (student)
Mike Verdon, Artistic Director (alum)
Sam Williamson, Actor (recent student)
Cutler Brothers Productions
Marquis Archuleta, Actor (student)
Jessica Goldade, Stage Manager/Scenic artist (recent grad)
Fort Peck Summer Theatre
Zack Aschim, Designer (student) Sarah Bell, Designer (alum)
Patrick Cook, Actor (alum)
Mike Fink, Designer (student)
Shy Iverson, Designer (recent grad)
John Knipsel, Actor (recent grad)
Gwen Mann, Designer (recent grad)
Paige O’Neill, Stage Manager (student)
Spencer Perry, Designer (recent grad)
Katie Querin, Stage Manager (student)
Aaron Torgerson, Designer (former student)
Annie Rottenbiller, Stage Manager (alum)
Colton Swibold, Actor (student)
Illustrious Virginia City Players
Alyssa Bosch, Actor (recent grad)
Blair Rath, Actor/Technical Director (student)
Stephen Seder, Actor/Stage Manager (recent grad)
Missoula Children’s Theatre
Erik Montague, Tour Actor/Director (recent grad)
Montana Repertory Theatre
Lizzy Bennett, Colony 19 Intern (student)
Shay Fiegi, Carpenter (student)
Mike Fink, Designer/Scenic Painter (student)
Brian Gregoire, Construction Technical Director (student)
Zach Hamersley, Designer/Carpenter (student)
Katt McClaine, Production Assistant (student)
Aaron Mehr, Carpenter (student)
Nikki Nelson, Designer (student)
Bridget Smith, Colony 19 Assistant Producer (alum)
Jadyn Velazquez, Designer/Carpenter (student)
Montana Shakespeare in the Parks
Lindsay Brown, Stage Manager (recent student)
D. Marie Long, Production Coordinator (alum)
Opera House Theatre Company
Hillary Bard, Actor (student)
Thain Bertin, Actor (student)
Adryan Miller-Gorder, Actor (student)
David Mills-Low, Artistic Director (former student) Reid Reimers, Actor (alum)
Rebecca Schaffer, Actor (alum)
Playhouse at Mack’s Inn
Hugh Butterfield, Actor (student)
Zootown Improv at Stensrud Playhouse
Sean Kirkpatrick, Cast Member/Writer (student) Bree Zender, Cast Member/Writer (student)
Every night in Vienna about 10,000 music fans are treated to classical music, something that is simply unheard of in any other city in the world! We invite you to join the fun during our 2015 Vienna Study Abroad, May 26-July 6.
Vienna’s musical life is dominated by four great monumental performance venues. The Musikverein, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Vienna State Opera House and the cathedral-Stephansdom. Combined with world-class theatre, art museums, galleries and historic sites that span the ages, there is something for everyone in Vienna! Field trips to other areas of interest such as Salzburg and Prague!
UM Faculty customized a program with YOU, the Music Student in mind! Those with a major or interest in music or art will study the great master works of the ages, perform in historic concert halls, walk the path of the great composers and artists that lived and worked in Vienna: Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Klimt, Otto Wagner, Bruckner, Czerny, Haydn, Mahler, Schoenberg, Strauss and many, many more.
Ranked as the “best city in the world to live” Vienna has proven itself to be safe, friendly to Americans and clean. Students will live in apartments with full kitchens, living rooms or common areas close to classes, transportation, concerts, faculty, top medical facilities, shopping and recreation.
Students enjoy world class concerts, opera and art, such as the Vienna Philharmonic, considered by many to be the best in the world! Students engage in performances and open rehearsals. Vienna State Opera: experience one of the top opera addresses in the world—where you can hear the best in first-class productions. The famous stage offers a different program every day, with over 50 operas and ballets each season. Chamber Music: hear the leading pianists, violinists, cellists, string quartets, contemporary ensembles, vocalists, wind players, brass ensembles, percussionists and period instrument ensembles in the world. Attend grand choral concerts and performances by the Vienna Boys Choir who have an enthusiastic international following. They are often called “the youngest Viennese Ambassadors.” Museum of Fine Arts: built in 1891, near the Imperial Palace, it houses the extensive collections of the imperial family. With its vast array of eminent works, it is considered one of the most eminent museums in the world. Rembrandt to Monet, it is all there!
The 2015 Vienna program includes 178 miles of walking tours. Participants see the homes of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and more. Visit the graves of these Vienna composers including Mahler and Brahms. Walk where they walked, listen to concerts in the grand halls that premiered their works.
To find out more information about the program, including courses, cost, housing and financial assistance, please contact Maxine Ramey at 406.243.6880 or email@example.com.
"Art Montana: Beth Lo" 2014
UM College of Visual and Performing Arts students and alumni took home top honors from the Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival in Toronto, Canada. Director Rachel Stevens, a second year MFA student in the School of Media Arts Digital Filmmaking program collaborated with Josef “Tuna” Metesh (BFA Media Arts ’13), Sarah Meismer (BFA Art, Media Arts ’13), and Caitlin Hofmeister (MFA Media Arts ’12) to create the documentary 20/Nothing. The film received the award for Best Experimental Film and the coveted PBS P.O.V. (Point of View) Award, which comes with opportunities for theatrical screenings in major cities and television exposure. POV is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.
The short film was created in just five days as part of the International Documentary Challenge. 20/Nothing was selected as one of twelve finalists from over 100 entries to premiere at the 2014 Hot Docs Festival, North America's largest documentary film festival. The team was encouraged to attend, and began crowdsourcing the funds through theaudienceawards.com to attend. In addition, they received support from the Montana Film Office. 20/Nothing is the second collaboration for this group of intrepid filmmakers. Their first joint effort screened this winter at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Missoula.
“I was blown away as we sat there watching the films from the International Documentary Challenge— they were all incredible,” says Stevens. “I was certain that 20/Nothing's highest award would be showing a film that we made and love at Hot Docs alongside talented filmmakers from all over the world. When they announced 'This year's P.O.V. Award goes to 20/Nothing, directed by Rachel Stevens,' we were absolutely shocked. Throughout the rest of the weekend we learned to trust that strong feeling we had during the making of 20/Nothing, which was this is something good. We want to make more things like that, together. You will see more from us. Guaranteed."
A vocal scholarship brought Neal Lewing to the University of Montana School of Music in 1970. On May 9, 2014, the prolific musician, producer and arts educator will pay-it-forward, presenting a benefit concert in the School of Music Recital Hall at 7:30 pm on the UM campus. The concert is free; in lieu of admission, Lewing encourages friends and fans to make a donation to the School of Music General Scholarship Fund.
Lewing’s performance on the historic Recital Hall stage is especially meaningful; the senior recital in that hall has been a rite of passage for UM Music students since the building was constructed over 60 years ago. But as Neal Lewing entered his junior year at UM, a heart to heart with his advisor, the late Professor George Lewis, changed the course of his career, and interrupted his education before he had a chance to perform on the Recital Hall stage.
Neal was already playing as a professional and business was booming. Struggling to balance his work and academic life, he sought advice from Lewis, who encouraged him to follow his heart and go on the road. In 1972, Lewing did just that. “I went to UM for four years, and finished in 1974. I never got a degree, though I did get an education. George Lewis taught me how to keep my voice in shape and to follow my star.”
Lewing’s star led to performing on stages around the country and being heard on radio stations around the globe. He toured with the Missoula Children’s Theatre, performed and directed music for the Fort Peck Summer Theatre, and co-founded and directed Deer Lodge’s Old Prison Players. A passionate advocate of arts education, Lewing performs and teaches in schools and communities around Montana. He was appointed by the governor to serve on the Montana Arts council from 2001-2007. In 2008 the Polson Chamber of Commerce named him the “Polson Ambassador of the Year” in recognition for his contributions to the community as managing director of the Port Polson Players. For over 30 years, Lewing and his wife Karen have led the company, whose multi-level program includes community theatre, children's theatre, summer theatre and other performing arts opportunities.
“What a treasure Neal and Karen have been for the Flathead Valley,” says Linda Bates of Bigfork. “What they have been able to do for the generations of school children and adults (most with no training,) in producing unbelievable productions is genius… They have been advocates and exceptional role models for young people to pursue their education at UM where Neal, Karen and both their children studied.”
With all his success, one regret remained – never performing on the Recital Hall Stage. After 40 years, the May 9 concert will fulfill that dream. When he returns with his cadre of special guest performers, Lewing will find the historic stage nearly unchanged since his time at UM. Aside from minor equipment upgrades, the Hall and the School of Music have not been renovated since it was built in 1953, a state-of-the art facility at that time.
Though there’s certain to be some nostalgia in the air, Neal Lewing is clear that he devised the feel-good concert with the future in mind: “I've made my life in music and theatre and would like to recognize my roots and give back to promote the same for young people.” He hopes his story will inspire students facing a crossroads as they make career decisions. “Obviously, one does not have to follow any specific roadmap to have a successful and productive life in the arts”.
“Practice … practice …” is the punchline for the old joke, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” That is precisely what Stephen Kalm did in New York City last week in preparation for an April 22 performance at Carnagie Hall.
Kalm is dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at the Univeristy of Montana and a music professor. He will perform in the Harry Partch opera “The Wayward” as part of an inventive series titled “collected stories: hero,” which is curated by composer-in-residence David Lang.
For more information about the performance, visit the Carnegie Hall website at http://bit.ly/1h3EXBG.
Although this marks his debut in Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, Kalm has performed in opera and concert at the Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, throughout the United States and in international festivals in London; Paris; Berlin; Lisbon, Portugal; Copenhagen, Denmark; Avignon, France; and Bern, Switzerland. Next month he will sing the baritone solos in Vaughn Williams’ “A Sea Symphony” with the Glacier Symphony in Kalispell.
Kalm first performed “The Wayward” in 1991 at the “Bang On A Can Festival” at Circle in the Square Theatre in New York’s Greenwhich Village. He also toured “The Wayward” production around the United States and Europe. A recording, available on Amazon, was released in 2002 on Wergo Records.
“The Wayward” comprises four mini operas: “Barstow,” “San Francisco,” “The Letter” and “US Highball.” The longest opera, “US Highball,” outlines the autobiographical experiences of two hobos on a trancontinental hobo trip from San Francisco to Chicago during the Depression.
Dr. Lori Gray has been invited to present two internationally peer-reviewed paper sessions and two internationally peer-reviewed poster sessions at the International Society for Music Education (ISME) conference in Brazil this July. ISME is the premiere international organization for Music Education, with members from more than 80 countries. The two selected two papers, Teacher Mobility and Identity: The Lived Experiences of Four Veteran General Music Teachers, and, The Impact of Mobility on General Music Teachers’ Roles and Perceptions of Role Support, were accepted for the World Conference in the ISME commission group "Music in Schools and Teacher Education Commission." The selected poster, Teacher as Explorer, Ambassador, and Role Model: Paul’s Story of Mobility, Identity, and Role as a General Music Teacher, was accepted for both the MISTEC Conference and the World Conference.
In addition to the four presentations, Lori has arranged to visit local universities and public schools (K-12) to network, learn about Music Education in Brazil, and work with teachers and professors on the new government mandated Music Education curriculum in Brazil. She is in contact with former and current UM students from Brazil and also faculty and staff from K-12 schools and universities in Brazil. Lori plans to establish contacts with K-12 and university teachers and professors in Brazil for future collaborations in research in Music Education. These contacts may also help strengthen UM’s relationship with Brazil as we seek to grow our number of Brazilian students. In 2008, the Brazilian government mandated the inclusion of Music Education in public schools (K-12). However, the Brazilian government did not specify that a teacher licensed in Music Education was required for the added music instruction in schools until 2013. Future research projects may include working with K-12 Brazilian teachers and university professors to design Music Education curricula, utilizing U.S. curricula as models while taking into account the musical heritage and cultural differences unique to Brazil. Future research collaborations with K-12 teachers and university professors in Brazil to write articles comparing and contrasting music and Music Education in the U.S. and Brazil are also of interest to Lori.
Dr. Lori Gray is Assistant Professor of Music Education at the University of Montana. She teaches elementary and secondary music methods courses for undergraduate music education majors and non-majors, and graduate courses in music education. Lori holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, a Master of Arts in Teaching, a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She taught in public and private schools for several years as an elementary and middle school general music specialist in San Antonio and Dallas. Lori’s research interests include music teacher identity, reflection, professional development, mentoring, and the preparation of future music teachers. Lori has presented research and teaching sessions at state and national conferences in Arizona, California, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia.
Christopher Kirkpatrick and Maxine Ramey have been invited to perform and give master classes and presentations about the University of Montana at several universities in South Korea May 31-June 9, 2014. Invitations have come from Chungnam National University and Dongeui University through Useon Choi, the new principal clarinetist of the Great Falls Symphony. The event is titled “International Clarinet Festival in Concert” and will feature these two UM clarinetists in collaboration with faculty and students from Busan and Seoul, as well as a group of clarinetists, the Kansai Clarinet Quartet from Osaka, Japan. Chris and Maxine will meet with prospective students from South Korea, work with them in master classes, and perform with them in clarinet ensembles. They will perform works by American, French, Japanese, and Korean composers.
The letter of invitation from Dongeui University in Busan states:
“This collaboration will build a creative activity/cultural impact/artistic collaboration between the two universities through the universal language of music.”- Yun Sang un, Professor of Orchestra, Music Department, Dongeui University
The current President of International Clarinet Association, John Cipolla, states:
“Now, more than ever, as peace in our world continues to be challenged, projects like Maxine and Chris are planning, not only make a strong music contribution and positive impact on a region of the world outside America, but also contribute to a broader cultural bonding of various international people.”
Dr. Christopher Kirkpatrick is an assistant professor of music and has been teaching at the University of Montana since 2009. Before arriving in Montana, he was a freelance musician in Michigan, performing with orchestras such as the Detroit Symphony, Lansing Symphony, and the West Michigan Symphony. Christopher has performed at numerous conferences, including the International Clarinet Association’s Clarinetfest© , the North American Saxophone Alliance Conference, the Brandon University Clarinet Festival, World Bass Clarinet Congress in Rotterdam, and the Montana/Idaho Clarinet Festival. During the summers, he is on the faculty of the International Music Camp. He is an active adjudicator both internationally and in the state of Montana. He holds degrees from Michigan State University (DMA), the University of New Mexico (MM) and the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga (BM).
Dr. Maxine Ramey is the Director of the UM School of Music and summer study abroad Vienna program. In 2013, she was awarded the Administrator of the Year for the University of Montana and was named a Distinguished Professor for the School of Fine Arts in 2008. An international clarinet performer, she was recently elected as President of the International Clarinet Association. She is a clarinetist with the Sapphire Trio, with UM violin professor Margaret Baldridge. They recently served as U.S. State Department Cultural Ambassadors in a tour of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. In 2010, 2011, and 2012, they performed in the West Bank, Golan Heights, and Northern Israel and served as judges for Palestinian National Music Competition in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Nablus, and Gaza. They have toured Japan, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Ireland and most regions of the U.S. The Trio were featured guest artists at the Spanish National Clarinet/European Clarinet Association Congress in 2013, and will present at the 37th Annual Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium and International Clarinet Association Clarinetfest© 2014 at LSU this summer.
Students in Missoula and afar now can take advantage of the University of Montana’s first Bachelor of Arts degree that can be earned fully online. Beginning autumn semester 2014, the UM School of Media Arts will launch its online bachelor’s degree in integrated digital media.
The program will allow students to tap their creative potential through the study and artistic application of emerging digital technologies. Courses will focus on interactive media, the Web and Internet, gaming and digital design applications.
School of Media Arts Director Mark Shogren said the online option also will allow students to pursue their degree or even a double major in a more flexible way. Taking advantage of UM’s flat spot tuition – no increase in tuition costs between 12 and 18 credits – adding a couple of classes from this innovative new program can help a student diversify their education and work around a busy schedule.
“It’s going to be a really dynamic new way to get more bang for your buck,” Shogren said.
Shogren imagines two main types of learners will be drawn to the new online program. One includes on-campus students looking to supplement another major with complementary skills through media arts. Another is the distance learner, who either can’t make it to Missoula or would rather stay in their community or country to take advantage of a completely digital education.
The degree requires 42 core credits and six elective credits, as well as UM’s standard general education credits, which also can be completed online. Distance-learning students will never need to visit campus, but the school will offer a physical connection to the program for local students.
“For students who are here, there will be a lab, opportunities to meet with faculty in person and meet other students,” Shogren said. “They’ll still be part of the media arts family.”
There are no prerequisites for students to enter the program. UM students enrolled in any of the first-year classes can declare the media arts major, and on-campus students are welcome in the online program along with students from across the globe.
“We want to not only create online courses, but online experiences,” Shogren said.
For more information on the School of Media Arts online bachelor’s degree, visit http://www.umt.edu/mediaarts/index.php/bachelor-of-arts-online-integrated-digital-media.
The University of Montana Jazz Program and the UM Buddy DeFranco Jazz Festival once again welcomes middle school, high school and college jazz combos, choirs and bands from across the Northwest to learn the language of jazz. The NEW DATE for the 34th annual event was Friday & Saturday, March 28-29, 2014. The festival included more than 35 different guest groups from Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon and some of the finest jazz musicians in the business.
Evening concerts were held at the Dennison Theatre on the Missoula Campus. The UM Jazz Festival brought around 1,500 music students, their directors, jazz lovers and artists to Missoula’s campus and community during the two-day event. The emphasis of this unique instrumental and vocal jazz festival was on education, improvisation and the jazz language. Additionally, there were clinics, ensemble critiques, workshops, open rehearsals and master classes with the guest artists. Guest artists included Clipper Anderson (Bass – Seattle), Vern Sielert (Trumpet – U of Idaho) Dana Landry (Piano – UNC), David Pietro (Saxophone – New York), Jim White (Drum Set – UNC) and much more.
“Our festival offers a truly educational experience for all – middle school, high school and our own college students,” said Rob Tapper, UM Director of Jazz Studies, assistant professor of trombone, and Director of the Festival. “We take pride in considering this one of the best educational festivals in the country.”
In addition to the educational element of the festival, public performances electrified the local jazz community. On Saturday evening after the festival concert the guest artists performed an After Hours’ session at one of Missoula’s musical iconic locations, the Top Hat Lounge. The UM Jazz Program was also proud to partner with yet another wonderful year of Jazzoula events which take place from March 24th to the 27th.
**Photo by William Munoz
Fire science education for youth merges with the performing arts when The CoMotion Dance Project presents 18 performances of Fire Speaks the Land: An Active Audiences Performance. Performed for school audiences in Montana and Idaho school gymnasiums and theatres, the 50-minute performance uses original choreography, narration, and music to explore fire science, forest ecology, and traditional Native perspectives on fire. This beautifully crafted live performance has appeal for all ages and is expected to reach over 4,000 children and adults.
Six performances will be held at Missoula elementary and middle schools. A week-long Idaho tour features eight performances at rural schools. In the Flathead Valley, three theatre performances will enable 1,268 Flathead Valley students and teachers to bus to the theatre to participate. Participating Flathead schools include: Fair-Mont Egan, Deer Park, Pleasant Valley, West Valley, Trinity Lutheran, Whitefish Middle Schools, Kalispell Montessori, Kalispell Middle School, Helena Flats, Olney-Bissell, and West Glacier. CoMotion company members will conduct creative dance workshops for Kalispell Montessori students, who will learn choreography about forest regeneration after a fire, to perform live at a Fire Speaks the Land concert.
Designed for K-6 students, Fire Speaks the Land features five dancers, a narrator, unique scenery and lighting, and colorful costumes as well as several opportunities for the audience to participate in the performance, both on and off stage. Students learn about ecological issues relevant to our region through an artistic, narrated performance that both delights and informs.
Karen Kaufmann, 2014 recipient of the Montana Arts Council’s Artist Innovation Award, directs the CoMotion Dance Project, an organization that promotes dance in K-12 education. Written and produced by Karen Kaufmann and Steve Kalling, the piece features choreography by Karen Kaufmann and Joy French, with live performance by five professional dancers: Allison Herther, Kaitlin Kinsley, Katie McEwen, Ashley Griffith and Joy French. Original music is composed and recorded by Steve Kalling and nine Montana musicians. Blackfeet musician and storyteller Jack Gladstone narrates the sound score.
The Fire Speaks the Land tour is supported in part by The University of Montana, Montana Cultural Trust, Montana Arts Council, Public Value Partnership, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, Flathead Conservation District, Cadeau Foundation, Idaho FireWise, Nez Perce Tribe Forestry and Fire Management Division, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, the North Central Idaho Fire Prevention Cooperative, Whitefish Performing Arts Center, Flathead National Forest, Missoula Fire Sciences Lab, individual schools and private contributors.
Fire Speaks the Land Tour Schedule
Meadow Hill School, Missoula, MT, March 6 at 10am
Washington Middle School, Missoula, MT, March 6 at 1pm
CS Porter Middle School, Missoula, March 7 at 10am
Missoula International School, Missoula, MT, March 7 at 2pm
Clearwater Elementary, Kooskia, ID, March 10th at 1pm
Kamiah Middle School, Kamiah, ID, March 11 at 9am
Timberline School, Kamiah, ID, March 11 at 1pm
Orofino Elementary, Orofino, ID, March 12 at 9am
Deary Elementary, Deary, ID, March 12 at 2pm
Troy Elementary, Troy, ID, March 13 at 9am
Lapwei Elementary, Lapwei, ID, March 13 at 2pm
Grangeville Elementary, Grangeville ID, March 14 at 9am
Hellgate Elementary, Missoula, MT, March 21 at 12:45 and 2pm
Workshops for Kalispell Montessori, Kalispell, MT, March 25th
Whitefish Performing Arts Center, Whitefish, MT, March 26 at 12:45pm (for 6 schools)
Whitefish Performing Arts Center, Whitefish, MT, March 27 at 10am (for 3 schools)
Whitefish Performing Arts Center, Whitefish, MT, March 27 at 1pm (for 5 schools)
Univ of Montana/Missoula, American College Dance Festival/NW Region, April 4 at 10:30am.
Media Arts Receives Large Software Donation
Korean software development company, “FXGear,” has donated incredible software and plug-ins to the School of Media Arts Animation Program such as Qualoth, FXHair, ezCloth, and FluX. These software products are used by designers and artists at Walt Disney Studios, Blizzard, Dreamworks, and other top VFX and Animation studios. With this software, students are able to create realistic cloth, hair and fluid simulations. In consultation with Professor Heejoo Gwen Kim, our Animation program is the third international and the second US recipient of cutting-edge VFX software. This significant contribution will help our students to expand their creative realm and give them more of a chance to develop their professional careers.
Mr. Chang-Hwan Lee, CEO of FXGear, recognizes the importance continued advances in software development have on the creative process, advising students that “Computer graphics and 3D animation [are] a combination of art and technology … do not forget to embrace the newest technology and use these tools for your creative art.” Mr. Tommy Ryoo, Sale and Marketing Director, said that FXGear was very pleased to donate their products to a renowned university where students have both the talent and the ability to optimize this software. The School of Media Arts is extremely appreciative of FXGear for this significant and meaningful donation, and to Professor Heejoo Gwen Kim for her advocacy of our students and curriculum.
For more information on FXGear and their Qualtoth, FluX and FXHair software, please visit www.fxgear.net
UM School of Music presents Fusion V the most eclectic and exciting mash up of musical events in the region. In one 70-minute seamless showcase, the audience will experience highlights of pieces from nearly every area of study in the UM School of Music including orchestra, jazz, choir, string chamber music, band, percussion ensemble, wind chamber music, opera aria, and steel drum music.
“It is like channel surfing for the listener,” says founder and director, Dr. James Smart. “Each musical ‘act’ is only three minutes long and the lighting is cued to bounce to the next act with no delay in the sound or energy. We use all of the space in the Dennison Theater including the seating area so don’t be surprised if you have a tuba player in your lap!”
The event began in the fall semester of 2009 and was patterned after popular concerts at the Eastman School of Music and University of Michigan. The diversity is not only in the style of music but also in the number of people involved. This year’s concert will feature pieces by a marimba soloist to a grand finale of over 150 musicians.
According to Dean Stephen Kalm, “If you could choose just one UM Music concert to attend this year, this would be the one.”
The public is invited to attend the Fusion V in concert on Friday, February 7 at 7:30pm in the George and Jane Dennison Theatre, UM Campus. Tickets are General Admission, $11 general, $6 seniors, $5 students. For more information, visit umt.edu/music/fusion.
To learn more about supporting scholarships and the School of Music, contact Christian Gold Stagg, director of development, UMArts, (406) 243-4990, firstname.lastname@example.org.
University of Montana senior Arielle Nachtigal is having an extraordinary school year. She recently advanced to the National Finals of the Music Teachers National Association Young Artist Competition. This competition recognizes exceptionally talented young artists, and their teachers, in their pursuit of musical excellence. Nachtigal and five other singers from across the US have been selected for the final stage of the competition, which takes place March 23 in Chicago.
In addition, Nachtigal won the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions for the third straight year and advanced to the Northwest Regional Finals at Seattle's Benaroya Hall, where she won an Encouragement Award. The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions is a program designed to discover promising young opera singers and assist in the development of their careers.
Nachtigal was also the winner of the Coeur D’Alene Symphony Young Artist Competition. She will perform with that orchestra in concert March 21. In January 2013, Nachtigal and John Knispel of UM’s Opera Theatre program performed a scene from Strauss’s opera “Die Fledermaus” which won the Collegiate Scenes Competition of the National Opera Association, during the national convention in Portland, Or.
Her singing has captured the attention of opera professionals across the US. “They are impressed with the beauty and size of her voice, as well as her natural expressive abilities,” says UM voice teacher David Cody. “And of course, they can’t help telling her she has the perfect name for a singer,” as the word “Nachtigall” is German for nightingale. “Arielle is someone of whom both the university and community can be proud,” Cody says. She spent much of her youth with the Missoula Children’s Theatre, and has taken advantage of everything UM has to offer, including its study abroad program in Vienna, Austria.” She has been accepted to audition for the graduate voice programs at the University of Houston, the Eastman School of Music, and the New England Conservatory of Music.
As a senior in vocal performance major in the UM School of Music, Nachtigal has proven a very dedicated and highly motivated student. She has taken advantage of many opportunities to learn by participating in UM Opera Theatre, collaborative musicals at the School of Theatre & Dance, Masterclasses by visiting artists, and MCT productions. Nachtigal will perform during the upcoming UM Opera Theatre and Symphony Orchestra production of “The Legend of Orpheus,” at the MCT Center for Performing Arts Feb. 14-16.
MISSOULA, MT— Experience the legendary love story of Orpheus and Eurydice, set to music of the Baroque era in the opera titled The Legend of Orpheus. The production is a bi-annual collaboration between MCT’s Out of the Box Productions, the University of Montana Opera Theater and the University of Montana Symphony Orchestra. It will be presented live on stage at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts February 14-16, 2014. Offering this love story on Valentine’s weekend gives romantics the perfect date night!
As the creative team of David Cody, Anne Basinski, and Luis Millán considered a title for this year’s collaboration, Dr. Millán said, “Let’s do a Baroque pastiche!” They chose actual, individual numbers by various composers (Handel et al) and put them together, with a new English text, to make their own opera. Adding to the work is a group of talented dancers, choreographed by Joy French.
The Metropolitan Opera’s Baroque pastiche in the 2011-2012 season (The Enchanted Island) was very successful, and that particular production will be repeated this year in New York.
The Legend of Orpheus is an ambitious collaboration which features an original storyline and lyrics, and a cast of twenty-eight performers from the University of Montana, including singers and dancers. There are two casts with some members performing in both casts. MCT provides the technical support, costuming, theatre space, and ticket sales. The production is being sponsored by Tom Rickard and Cathy Capps.
** Tickets for The Legend of Orpheus are available beginning Monday, January 27th. The piece runs approximately 2 ½ hours, including an intermission and plays Friday, February 14th at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, February 15th at 2:00 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, February 16th at 2:00 p.m. Ticket prices range from $15.00-$21.00 and can be purchased at the MCT box office (200 North Adams), online at www.MCTinc.org, or by calling (406) 728-7529. All seats are reserved.
Media inquiries, please contact Terri Elander at MCT at 728-1911, ext. 232 or email@example.com
Multimedia Drawing Installation Opens at UM Gallery of Visual Arts
MISSOULA – A new exhibit of large-scale, three-dimensional drawings and installations using nontraditional materials and digital media will be featured at the University of Montana Gallery of Visual Arts. “Phobic” by Denver artist Sarah Rockett, will be on display Feb. 6-March 5 in the gallery, located on the first floor of the Social Science Building.
The artist will present a lecture on her work, sponsored by the UM School of Art Jim and Jane Dew Visiting Artist Fund, on Thursday, Feb. 6, at 5:10 p.m. in Social Science Building Room 356. A reception for the artist will follow the lecture from 6 to 7 p.m. in the gallery. All events and the exhibition are free and open to the public.
“Phobic” explores how fear operates within the relationships between the individual, the collective and others in American culture. The artist states that “fear is perpetuated by routine social interactions that purposely devise invisible barriers, segregating individuals from unknown people, places, and situations.”
Rockett’s multimedia approach to her work can be best characterized as drawings in space that are heavily invested in the formal elements of line and mark-making. Both figurative and abstract forms are created with benign, everyday materials such as wire, hot glue, plastic sheeting, tubes and insulation foam. The juxtaposition of menacing textures along with common materials prompts the viewer to re-examine the validity of fear.
In addition to her exhibition in the Gallery of Visual Arts, the artist will be working with students in the School of Art Student Gallery, located on the second floor of the Fine Arts Building, to create a collaborative installation. Rockett received her M.F.A. from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, and currently is an adjunct instructor at Metropolitan State University of Denver and Front Range Community College in Westminster, Colo.
The Gallery of Visual Arts is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Mondays are available by appointment only. More information about the UM School of Art and the gallery is available online at umt.edu/art
When University of Montana piano professors Steven Hesla and Christopher Hahn heard pianist Spencer Myer play the headliner recital for the Montana State Music Teachers Association’s state conference in November 2012, they knew they were hearing one of the nation’s top young musical artists.
“It was one of those ‘pin drop’ musical experiences,” Hesla said. “We simply knew we had to have him play for our Missoula audiences.”
On Sunday, Feb. 9, Myer will perform during UM’s Celebrate Piano Series IV. The performance begins at 3 p.m. in the UM Music Recital Hall and tickets cost $20 for general public, $15 for seniors and $10 students. Proceeds will help support the Keyboard Benefit Fund, which allows students to travel, compete, earn scholarships and allow the School of Music to maintain and improve keyboard inventory. Tickets can be purchased online at http://umt.edu/music/pianoseries, at the UMArts Box Office in the Performing Arts and Radio/TV Center or by calling 406-243-4581. A master class will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, in the Music Recital Hall. It is free and open to the public.
Hailed as “one of the most important American artists of his generation,” Myer graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Juilliard School. He has been victorious at many important international piano competitions, taking first place in the 10th UNISA International Piano Competition in Pretoria, South Africa, in 2004. That same year, Myer became a laureate of the Montreal International Piano Competition, and further distinguished himself at the prestigious Busoni, Cleveland and William Kapell international piano competitions in 2005 and 2007. He nailed the gold medal at the New Orleans International Piano Competition in 2008.
“These international piano competitions, renowned for their formidable requirements and world-class standards, are undertaken by few, and won by even fewer,” Hahn said.
Myer’s friendly and engaging personality further endears him to musical audiences. “There is something magical that happens when performers and audiences merge,” Hahn said, “And this is certainly the case when Spencer Myer takes command of both the music and the instrument.”
Myer’s recital at UM’s School of Music will feature three sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti; Franz Schubert’s noble “Sonata in A Major, D. 959;” Claude Debussy’s colorful “Images from Book II;” Aaron Copland’s “Piano Variations;” and three pieces from William Bolcom’s cheeky ragtime suite, “Garden of Eden.”
The recital will pair world-class playing with the finest of compositions, and Myer will play the identical program as the headliner recital at the National Conference of the 2014 Music Teachers National Association in Chicago this March. For more information on Myer, visit http://www.spencermyer.com/.
It is fitting that an outstanding artist like Myer should take the stage at UM. The Keyboard Division of the School of Music has a long history of excellence, punctuated by increasing acclaim in recent years. UM’s popular “Pianissimo” concert was invited to perform in the Old Supreme Court Chamber in Helena in February 2013. UM’s Keyboard Society, an official student affiliate chapter of the MTNA, is comprised of more than 30 students majoring or minoring in piano. The MTNA Collegiate Chapter of the Year was awarded to UM’s Keyboard Society at the National Conference in Albuquerque, N.M., in 2010. In 2013, “Pianissimo VI” was featured at the Steinway Gallery in Spokane, Wash.
To learn more about the Celebrate Piano Series, call Hesla at 406-243-6055 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Montana choral music department represents a dynamic and vibrant community of individuals from colleges across the campus. All three choral ensembles, the University Choir, the Women’s Choir, and the Chamber Chorale owe a great deal of their recent successes and positive trajectories to the numerous collaborative projects in which they each participate.
In April 2014, the Chamber Chorale will travel to Illinois and take part in a performance in one of the grandest concert halls in the country: Chicago’s own Orchestra Hall in Symphony Center. The group was selected by taped audition to present as part of the Debut Series. The UM singers are excited about traveling and participating in this high-profile performance.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for all of us,” says Music Education major and three-year choir member Elin Peterson of Missoula. “Traveling with Chamber Chorale in the past has, I feel, proven to really bring us together as an ensemble. I think Chicago will bring the group to new levels of excellence!” After presenting their own portion of the performance, the Chamber Chorale will sing alongside the Manhattan Chorale - a professional choral ensemble from New York—providing some of the students a glimpse into what their lives might be like after graduation. “Many of us in this choir are looking forward to careers as professional musicians and trips like this give us an idea of what our lives could be like,” Tenor Ben Fox, Voice Performance major, remarks.
The choir will also work with internationally recognized conductor Dr. Craig Arnold. Arnold, who is also the conductor of the Manhattan Chorale, will lead the UM choir and the Manhattan Chorale in a combined performance of several choral works at the conclusion of the concert. For many of the singers the thought of performing in such a prestigious hall is both nerve-wracking and exhilarating. As junior Caitlin Wallace puts it, “It’s a really great opportunity for all of us to be able to sing in such a renowned place. This choir has really grown as an ensemble in recent years, and this experience will allow us to show how much we’ve improved as a group.”
Gilbert A. Millikan – Generosity in Perpetuity
On Thursday, November 21, 2013, the School of Art formally recognized Gilbert A. Millikan (1936-2003) during the dedication ceremony of the Gilbert Millikan Art Resource Center (Fine Arts Building, room 304). The Millikan Center provides students with access to books, journals, electronic media, and other research materials for the study of art history and criticism and the visual arts. The dedication is a testament to Millikan’s love of art, his legacy to the university, and his generous gift to the School of Art and the Montana Museum of Art & Culture. Millikan’s bequest has enriched the life of the university by enhancing creative research opportunities for its faculty and students, upgrading equipment, and renovating facilities.
Gilbert A. Millikan was a dedicated supporter of the visual arts at the University of Montana. As an alumnus of the university and a member of the College of Visual and Performing Arts Advisory Council, Millikan was devoted to nurturing young artists in the Missoula community. He cared deeply about the School of Art and participated in many of its activities, taking art history classes, attending exhibitions, openings, and lectures, visiting students in their studios, and collecting their works. At the end of his life, he and life-long partner David Richards made provisions to continue that advocacy and investment through a generous gift from his estate, the single largest gift to the School of Art in its over 100 year history.
Speakers Justin Armintrout, Rafael Chacόn, Julia Galloway, Stephen Kalm, Bob Knight, and Barbara Koostra, addressed the largesse of Gilbert Millikan’s legacy, his passion for art in the community, collecting and museums, his dedication to Montana artists and university students, and his unflagging commitment to professional development and student success. The School of Art, the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and the University of Montana are better because of Gilbert A. Millikan.
The dedication of the Millikan Center was preceded by the School of Art’s 7th annual Gilbert A. Millikan Faculty Lecture. The series focuses on the creative research activities of the School of Art faculty made possible through funds from the Millikan estate.