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Events 2017

You're the Expert

March 9

In the Skinner Hall of Music

The podcast series You’re the Expert, which uses comedy to make academic research more accessible, will conduct a live recording at Vassar College’s Skinner Hall on Thursday, March 9, 7:00pm. 


In You’re the Expert, host Chris Duffy leads a panel of comedians through game show segments and hilariously misguided guesses to try to get to the bottom of what a distinguished scientist studies all day.

The expert in this episode will be a member of the college’s science faculty. The comedians are Josh Sharp, Gary Richardson, and more. Sharp was named a “comedian to watch” by Time Out New York in 2014. Brooklyn magazine named Richardson one of “Brooklyn’s 50 Funniest People.”

“Fans of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me will enjoy this presentation,” says Tom Pacio, Interdisciplinary Arts Coordinator. “We’re thrilled to be hosting this show which showcases the best of how the arts and sciences can intersect in fascinating ways.”

Jose Perillan, Assistant Professor of Physics and Science, Technology and Society, echoes this sentiment. “I’m confident that Duffy and his crew of comedians will make us laugh and, in the process, help humanize science.”

You’re the Expert was created by Duffy, a standup comedian and improviser who has performed at numerous colleges and festivals. Duffy, who also hosts the program, created the program for WBUR in Boston. A former fifth grade teacher and a writer whose work has appeared in the Boston GlobeWag's Revue, and Makeshift Magazine, Duffy is also a staff writer for National Geographic TV.

This event is sponsored by Creative Arts Across Disciplines (CAAD), the Asprey Center for Collaborative Approaches to Science (ACCAS), and the Henry Grillo Science Fund.

Layer Chiffon

April 8

"Layer Chiffon" is a hands-on interactive installation by artist Courtney Starrett, inviting viewers to explore a sampled history of food, materials, and, gender roles in mid-20th Century America. Custom silicone Bundt "jello-like" forms will invite the viewer to touch or press on the jello-y forms. Sensors detect the pressure of the viewer interacting with the form and activate a video projection assigned to it. Each form has a unique video that is associated with the data input of the design. When each form is pressed individually the assigned video will project, when the viewer touches two forms at a time a different video will project allowing the viewer to navigate the videos creating a custom experience or narrative. Academic discipline connections in this piece include Digital Humanities, Computer Science, Marketing, History, Animation, and Art. 

The forms are designed by data set inputs in three-dimensions. The digital workflow also includes computer-aided design and computer-assisted manufacturing processes to produce the molds. Each mold is later hand-finished and cast.

More about the artist: 
Courtney Starrett is assistant professor of fine and digital art at Seton Hall University in New Jersey and co-owner of Plural Studios. She previously held the rank of associate professor at Winthrop University, visiting lecturer at SUNY New Paltz and assistant professor at Kendall College of Art and Design. She has presented her research and writings internationally. Her creative work has been exhibited across the U.S. as well as in England and Germany. Her work is included in the permanent collection at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, OR and the Mint Museum Uptown in Charlotte, NC. Starrett's works have been published in Metalsmith Magazine, How Design Magazine, Taiwan Craft Magazine, Art Jewelry Magazine, two of the Lark Books 500 series and featured on the cover of the August 2008 Metalsmith Magazine's Exhibition in Print. Starrett lives the Hudson Valley of New York with her husband and two toddlers. 


Script: Franco is Still Dead

May 3

SPECERE LAB (interdisciplinary artist Ann Burke Daly and musician and writer Álvaro Marcos) are bringing Script: Franco is Still Dead, a multi-channel sound and video installation, to Vassar College for one evening. The installation will be on display in the Aula of Ely Hall, on Wednesday, May 3, 8:00-9:30pm.

The installation uses sound and video projection integrated with the architecture of the space. It includes political speeches, archival film and music, with their original sound, video, and writing for the piece. The scenes of Script: Franco is Still Dead look at the silent presence of a repressed past in contemporary Spain. The project seeks to contribute to the ongoing questioning of the hegemonic mythical narrative of the exemplariness of the Spanish transitional process from dictatorship to democracy after Francisco Franco’s death in 1975. By reflecting on its silences, shadows and distracting noises and by making visible what has remained buried but continues to haunt Spain today—such as mass graves and unmarked former torture centers—the work intends to create what French historian Pierre Nora called “places of memory.” The project also raises questions about the relationships between memory, history, power, justice, and identity, as well as about the ways individual, collective and national narratives are built and can be potentially re-signified.

Modfest 2017

Engage! The Artist's Voice

January 24-February 5, 2017

Old Bookstore, College Center

An exhibit of historical and contemporary printed works of protest, vision, and social engagement by artists for the greater good. The exhibition features works from 1945 to now, highlighting national and global issues such as World War II to the Civil Rights Movement, from Environmental Sustainability to Economic Equality. The bold and powerful collection of works should incite dialogue around our contemporary climate, asking each of us how we might...SPEAK UP.

Curated by Rick Jones, Earth Science.


The World After January 20, 2017: Works by Contemporary Artists and Poets

February 2-16

The Palmer Gallery, College Center

Opening Reception on Thursday, February 2, 2017 5-7 pm

Poetry, political cartoons, documentary photography, drawings, paintings, and more that address, reflect, and comment on what the first 100 days of the Trump presidency might mean. Artists and poets include Gerardo Castro, Monica d. Church, Michaela Coplen VC'18, Judith Nichols, Peter Steiner, Virginia Lavado, Sam Vernon, and others

Modfest 2017 Opening Night Concert and Reception

January 26

Chapel. Thompson Library, Jade Room in Taylor Hall, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

Join us for an exciting and moving opening night for Modfest 2017. At 7pm, begin your journey in the Vassar Chapel, from there a short walk will find you in the Main Library, and finally the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. Along the way enjoy performances by the Vassar College Women’s Chorus and string quartet presenting “How to Survive Winter” by American composer Jocelyn Hagen and poetry by Julia Klatt Singer, musical offerings featuring students from various groups and our chamber music ensembles as well as members of the Vassar College Choir. The evening ends with a preview of the new exhibit, “The Art of Devastation: Medals and Posters of the Great War” and an opening night reception.

Chapel. Thompson Library, Jade Room in Taylor Hall, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center


Raising Healing Voices

January 27

The Rosenwald Film Theater, Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film

With a focus on creative healing, a panel of guests with varied experiences will discuss how they use music, therapy, and narratives in their work. Christine Radman, an accomplished opera singer, health attorney, and speech pathologist whose private practice focuses on, "the diagnosis and treatment of vocal problems experienced by professional voice users" will be joined by clinical social worker, Shanna Richey, and Vassar College student, Joseph DeGrand ‘17. The panel will be moderated by Vassar’s own Michael Jones, a former music therapist who currently serves as the Assistant Director for Alumnae/i Outreach and Partnerships in the Office of Career Development.


Raising Professional Voices

January 28


Join us for a professional development workshop for young people in the arts. Learn from Vassar’s experienced performers and artists how to begin to market your skills as you transition from college student to young professional. Representatives from the Art, Dance, Drama, and Music departments will share their experience and expertise. Bring your resume to this workshop!

Participants will include:

Miriam Mahdaviani, Dance

Robert Osborne, Music

Samantha Vernon, Art

Tom Pacio, CAAD

First Honorary Adene and Richard Wilson Concert

February 2

Skinner Hall of Music

To celebrate Dee Wilson’s inspired direction of Modfest and professor emeritus Richard Wilson’s 50 remarkable years of teaching and making music at service to Vassar College, the Music Department is honored to host its first annual “Adene and Richard Wilson Concert.” This concert features music by Vassar composers including Sylvia Songs and the Jitterbug Waltz by Susan Botti, Duo Variations for double bass and harp by Jonathan Chenette, Annea Lockwood’s I Give You Back, and Richard Wilson’s Dithyramb for Oboe and Clarinet and Gnomics for Flute, Oboe, and Clarinet. Performers include the first Affiliate Chamber Ensemble of Carnegie Hall, Decoda, and guests including Sooyun Kim, flute, Stuart Breczinski, oboe, Moran Katz, clarinet, Anna Elashvili, violin, Siwoo Kim, violin, Yves Dharmaraj, cello, and Brian Ellingsen, bass. Vassar faculty members include Susan Botti, soprano, Ashley Jackson, harp, and Mary Nessinger, mezzo-soprano.

An Afternoon with Audra McDonald

January 29

Skinner Hall of Music

Featuring Haydn’s Sonata in C Major, Beethoven’s Sonata in C minor, Op. 111, selections from Hans Abrahamsen’s Études, and Stephen Harke’s Sonata.


Music, Words, Dance and Images

February 1

Villard Room, Main Building

A tradition since 2010, students of the Music, English, and Art Departments come together to present poetry, photography, and chamber music, featuring compositions by David Alpher, Jacques Ibert, and Derecskei Andras.  



Connecting Voices

February 2

Old Bookstore, College Center
New York artist Ann Daly will discuss her ongoing collaboration with Spanish musician Álvaro Marcos. Marcos has been instrumental in connecting Daly with Spain and Madrid's political landscape and independent music scene after the 15M-Indignados social movement of 2011 (similar to Occupy), which triggered an ongoing political and cultural shift that both echoes and problematizes the one following Dictator Franco's death in 1975. Daly has been exploring the unrest of the transition to Democracy from Fascism in 1978 and the urban youth movement of La Movida, through filming conversations with Spanish friends who came of age during the late 70s. The pair will be speaking about the nature of their creative collaboration and the many successes and challenges that come from solidarity building with strangers. This talk will be moderated by Professor of Music Justin Patch and Professor of Political Science Katherine Hite, who is collaborating with the artistic duo in her upcoming seminar, “The Politics of Memory.” 
Afterwards, workshop members will be invited to find their own collaborative partners for the semester to think about solidarity and collaboration at Vassar. Thinking to campus, community, national, and transnational conflict and movements–we hope this evening will provide insight on how creative activism can look at Vassar.

Dance Performance, VRDT

February 3

Frances Daly Fergusson Dance Theater, Kenyon Hall

Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre performs works selected from the current repertory, created by faculty members, Steve Rooks, Kathy Wildberger, and Abby Saxon, as well as guest choreographer David Dorfman. The evening will also feature student choreography. For reservations write to dancetix@vassar.edu or call the Dance office at (845) 437-5541.


Concert by Vassar Ensembles

February 4

Skinner Hall of Music

The Vassar College Orchestra performs “A Child’s London” by Professor Emeritus Richard Wilson. The Madrigal Singers perform settings of “Ubi caritas” by Duruflé, Mealor, and Gjeilo, “There are some men” by Philip Glass with text by Leonard Cohen, and Ysaye Barnwell’s “Wanting Memories. Conducted by Eduardo Navega and Drew Minter. 

Cabaret Night

February 4

Skinner Hall of Music 

Students from the Music Department perform classics from the American Songbook. An intimate exploration of songs by the Gershwins, Ellington, Porter, Sondheim, Berlin, Bolcom, Ahrens and Flaherty, Stephen Schwartz, and more. David Alpher, piano and Jennie Litt, director.

An Afternoon with Audra McDonald

February 5

Skinner Hall of Music

Audra McDonald, soprano, Mia Mask, Professor of Film on the Mary Riepman Ross ‘32 Chair

Broadway superstar Audra McDonald visits Vassar for an afternoon of music and reflection. The versatile National Medal of Arts winner is one of the country's most decorated performers, and her vast talent, insight, wit, and outspokenness about the human condition make her a beloved figure to a wide audience.  Ms. McDonald will perform some of her favorite works with music director, Andy Einhorn, and later sit down with faculty member, Mia Mask, for a conversation on some of her most passionate causes.

Please note: this is a reserved seating program. Online reservations are required. Visit the Music Department website for additional information and a link to Tix.com. Reservations will be open on January 16, 2017.