CFA’s School of Visual Arts hosts Contemporary Perspectives Lecture with Painter, Writer, Activist
Boston, MA – The School of Visual Arts at the College of Fine Arts (CFA) at Boston University welcomes Carrie Moyer as the first artist of 2014 in the Contemporary Perspectives Lecture series.
Contemporary Perspectives Lecture: Carrie Moyer
Dates and Events: Tuesday, January 28, 6:30pm
Location: Jacob Sleeper Auditorium (871 Commonwealth Ave)
All Contemporary Perspectives Lectures are Free and Open to the Public
Carrie Moyer, painter, writer and activist, melds hard graphic shapes with biomorphic forms in expertly handled acrylic, or in the artist’s words “the ugly step-child of oil paint.” Her work simultaneously recalls Surrealism, 70s counterculture graphics and abstract expressionism, fused with an expressly feminist bent and an interest in alternative cultural histories.
“Moyers work is especially appealing because she melds different historical periods within her work, while working between abstract and representational styles,” explains Lynne Allen, Director, Boston University School of Visual Arts. “Having written essays for Art in America and other notable art publications, she is the type of intelligent and committed artist that is the perfect mentor for aspiring young artists at Boston University.”
Queer and feminist activism has been woven throughout Moyer’s artistic career. In 1991 Moyer cofounded
Dyke Action Machine! (DAM!), and has worked with and designed agitprop graphics for Queer Nation, the Lesbian Avengers, the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization (ILGO) and the New York City Anti-Violence Project.
Moyer is also a noted writer with works appearing in Art in America, Artforum, Modern Painters, The Brooklyn Rail and other publications, and her essays have also been included in a range of anthologies—from Queers in Space: Communities, Public Spaces and Sites of Resistance to The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists.
In 2006, the School of Visual Arts at CFA launched the Contemporary Perspectives Lecture series to provide the opportunity for students to work in both lecture and studio settings with artists who offer diverse and multicultural perspectives. Through this series, CFA students benefit from exposure to artistic diversity, and engaging to contemporary artists in dialogue about the art-making process, individual studio visits, and critiques.
2013–14 Visiting Artists
Jan. 28, 6:30pm
Carrie Moyer: Contemporary Perspectives Lecture
Jacob Sleeper Auditorium 871 Commonwealth Ave
Feb. 24, 6:30pm
Jerry Saltz + Roberta Smith: Contemporary Perspectives Lecture
Apr. 27, 4:30pm
Miranda July: The Hamill Lecture
Boston University College of Fine Arts Center of New Music hosts guest artist-in-residence CEPROMUSIC
Marks ensembles first residency outside of Mexico
Boston, MA – Boston University College of Fine Arts to welcome CEPROMUSIC (Center of Experimentation and Production Music Contemporary) as guest artist-in-residence. Introduced to Boston University via College of Fine Arts’ Dean Benjamín Juárez, the Mexican ensemble will be in-residence in BU Center of New Music in late January.
“CEPROMUSIC is the first world-class group dedicated to contemporary music in Mexico. Their visit will offer a rare window on contemporary works, not by Mexican expats, but by the vibrant community of composers that lives and works in Mexico,” explains Joshua Fineberg, Boston University School of Music Professor and Director of the Boston University Center for New Music.
The group’s residency at Boston University marks their first outside of Mexico and is a unique opportunity for students to engage with these musicians and bring international context to the works.
“Dean Juarez’s links to Mexico have created this amazing opportunity to be the first outside of Mexico to hear and interact with this incredible ensemble. We are very grateful for the support offered by the Mexican government to make these exceptional events possible,” adds Fineberg. “This is a unique opportunity for our students and the greater Boston community.”
CEPROMUSIC residency at Boston University includes the following events free and open to the public:
Tuesday, January 28, 12:30-2pm
BU College of Fine Arts, Concert Hall
Public lecture/demonstration dealing with new music in Mexico today.
Wednesday, January 29, 12-2pm
BU College of Fine Arts, Concert Hall
Reading/recording session featuring BU student composers.
Thursday, January 30, 3-6pm
BU College of Fine Arts, Concert Hall
Reading/recording session featuring BU student composers.
Friday, January 31, 8pm
BU College of Fine Arts, Concert Hall
CEPROMusic concert featuring works by Mexican composers Julio Estrada, Javier Álvarez, and Jorge Torres, French composer Philippe Leroux, and American composer and BU School of Music professor/Director ad interim Richard Cornell.
Saturday, February 1, 8pm
BU College of Fine Arts, Concert Hall
CEPROMusic concert featuring works by Mexican composers Victor Ibarra, Georgina Derbéz, and Ignacio Baca Lobera, French composer Tristan Murail, and American composer Joshua Fineberg.
ABOUT BOSTON UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR NEW MUSIC
The Boston University Center for New Music, located at the heart of a thriving music school, enhances the presence of cutting-edge music within the curriculum while encouraging awareness of new music within the BU arts community. To widen the conversation among the greater university, the Center hosts lectures, demonstrations, and performances that are open to the public, providing a forum for broader interdisciplinary involvement. To that end, the Center also hosts several institutional collaborations, including its partnership with the Boston-based contemporary music sinfonietta [sound icon], and selected concerts presented at off-campus venues.
The Center is honored to host a number of artists-in-residence for its second season. Lauded composer Joan Tower will take residence three times during the year. Other residencies include variety of visiting artists and ensembles, include Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth, pianist Marilyn Nonken, CEPROMUSIC ensemble and the Arditti Quartet, who will all be performing and working with students. The Boston-based, new music sinfonietta, [sound icon] will also hold two concerts this season at the university. The Boston University School of Music at the College of Fine Arts is proud to offer this slate of events that place innovation and creation as cornerstones of the musical experience for the BU community.
Boston University College of Fine Arts Presents Cullen Washington Jr.: Land Before Words and Lightning Speed of the Present
808 Gallery at Boston University Presents Two Concurrent Exhibitions – Opening January 23
Boston, MA – The School of Visual Arts at the College of Fine Arts (CFA) at Boston University is proud to present Cullen Washington Jr.: Land Before Words and the group exhibition Lightning Speed of the Present.
Dates and Events: Thursday, January 23 – Friday, March 30, 2014
Opening Reception with the artists: Thursday, January 23, 6-8pm
Exhibition and Gallery Events are Free and Open to the Public
Cullen Washington Jr.: Land Before Words
In his first solo exhibition in Boston, Cullen Washington Jr. brings together a selection of new and recent work created between 2009 and 2013.
In his sizeable canvases, Washington Jr. employs strategies of collage and assemblage that incorporate found objects, discarded scraps from the studio floor, and urban detritus.
The resulting irregular shaped and unstretched canvases, which the artist attaches directly to the wall and in some cases the floor, demonstrate a shift in Washington Jr.’s formal approach towards the politics of representation. Earlier works, such as Dyno-mite in My Room, 2008, and Caped Crusader, 2011, rely on more “legible” image cues to articulate a perspective of African American life. In later paintings, seen most emphatically in Untitled #1, 2012, Washington Jr. forays into abstraction through the use of grids and irregular patterns to convey a more universalized experience. Together, the works in the exhibition demonstrate a strategic rejection of straightforward pictorial conventions in favor of a practice that cultivates a highly personal visual language. Curated by Lynne Cooney in collaboration with the artist.
About Cullen Washington, Jr.
Cullen Washington Jr. received his BA from Louisiana State University and his MFA from Tufts University/School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. A 2013 Artist in Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, Washington Jr. has exhibited his work widely in group and solo shows nation-wide and abroad including The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA; Hammonds House Museum, Atlanta, GA; and the Jack Bell Gallery, London, UK among other arts venues. Reviews and critical essays of his work appear in Art: 21 Magazine, The New York Times, The International Review of African American Art, The Boston Globe, Art New England and the exhibition catalogue Fore published by the Studio Museum.
Lightning Speed of the Present
This group exhibition, on view concurrently, explores the ephemeral transformation of experience into histories, memories, and narratives. The exhibition considers the way in which the transient nature of experience—both individual and collective—is recorded, translated, interpreted, described, transcribed and ultimately visualized through form and material. Whereas the selected artists use varied media and distinct artistic approaches, commonly shared is a sustained and empirical interest in the fragments of the everyday. Hence, the archive serves as an organizing framework in which to record or organize these fragments into cohesive narratives.
From Jacolby Satterwhite’s use of family photographs and his mother’s drawings to explore personal identity to Danica Phelps’ drawings that document the income and expenses related to the sale of her art, the participating artists use or refer to the archive to construct new subjectivities and aesthetic configurations.
Participating artists are Ben Berlow, Dineo Seshee Bopape, Georgina Lewis, Danical Phelps, Jacolby Satterwhite, Sandrine Schaefer, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Rachel Perry Welty, and August Ventigmilia. Curated by Lynne Cooney.
In conjunction with The Lightning Speed of the Present, participating artist Sandrine Schaefer presents Accumulation, a series of performance events that will take place in the 808 Gallery every Wednesday at 7 pm throughout the run of the exhibition. All evidence from the artists’ actions is left behind, challenging the following artists to incorporate these remnants into their own work. Any materials that come into the space remain until the exhibition closes. Created and curated by Sandrine Schaefer.
January 29: Sandrine Schaefer
February 5: Philip Fryer
February 12: Kelly Hunter & Dan DeRosato
February 19: Shannon Cochrane & Márcio Carvalho
February 26: Shannon Cochrane & Márcio Carvalho
March 5: Mehdi-Georges Lahlou
March 19: Jeffery Byrd
March 26: Creighton Baxter
Also as part of Lighting Speed of the Present, is an auxiliary book project comprising nine custom-printed books produced for the exhibition’s nine artists. Composed of Wikipedia articles selected by the artists, these volumes further expand the idea of the archive by shedding light on the ideas and artifacts that the artists accumulate in their individual practices. Organized by Evan Smith.
About 808 Gallery at Boston University
The 808 Gallery at Boston University is located at 808 Commonwealth Avenue. The gallery is located on the Boston University campus (BU West T stop on the “B” Green Line.) Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday from 11:00am–5:00pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 1:00pm–5:00pm. For more information, visit bu.edu/cfa.
Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Music, Opera Institute, and School of Theatre present Florencia en el Amazonas
Daniel Catán’s opera about love, redemption, and transformation, February 20-23
Boston, MA – Boston University College of Fine Arts presents Florencia en el Amazonas, the second opera composed by Daniel Catán. Produced by BU School of Music, Opera Institute, and School of Theatre, the production runs February 20-23, 2013 at the Boston University Theatre.
FLORENCIA EN EL AMAZONAS
Composed by Daniel Catán
Libretto by Marcela Fuentes‐Berain
William Lumpkin, Conductor
Nic Muni, Stage Director
A work of great beauty and power, Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas is the composer’s second opera. Loosely inspired by Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, the opera follows the story of Florencia Grimaldi, an aging opera singer who embarks upon a steamboat journey down the Amazon River. As the journey progresses, the boat is beset by pink rain, foul waters, and the threat of a cholera epidemic. As Florencia and her fellow travelers are carried deeper into the jungle, they experience various revelations, until finally the diva’s spirit is transformed into a vast, emerald butterfly.
Boston University Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston
Thursday, February 20, 7:30pm
Friday, February 21, 7:30pm
Saturday, February 22, 7:30pm
Sunday, February 23, 2pm
“While rooted in the operatic tradition of Puccini, Catán’s opera evokes the exotic world of the Amazon jungle where Florencia has come to face her past and her future,” explains William Lumpkin, conductor of the production and Artistic Director of Boston University Opera Institute.
Boston University College of Fine Arts soprano, Katrina Galka, playing the role of “Rosalba” in Florencia en el Amazonas, was recently awarded Second Place Winner 2014 in the New England Regional Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Boston University is hosting two special guests in the days preceding the performances. Andrea Puente, the widow of Daniel Catán, and Marcela Fuentes-Berain, the librettist for the opera, arrive to Boston University on Monday, February 17. Puente and Fuentes-Berain will host a discussion about Catán and his opera on Wednesday, February 19, 4:00pm-5:30pm at the Opera Institute, 808 Commonwealth Avenue.
Sung in Spanish with English supertitles, Florencia en el Amazonas is a featured event of the Boston University College of Fine Arts Keyword Initiative, now in its third year. The 2013–2014 initiative, focusing on the KEYWORD: Transformation, will explore profound shift and change in individuals and society through a series of performances and events that tap into diverse perspectives, and create dialogue that inspires humanity and breeds critical thinking that leads to solutions.
Tickets now on sale: $20 general admission; $15 BU Alumni, WGBH members, Huntington Subscribers, senior citizens; $10 CFA Membership; $5 Students with valid ID; two free tickets with BU ID at the door, subject to availability.
Tickets available on BostonTheatreScene.com
Sherman Gallery at Boston University Presents Boston-based Artist Fusing Painting and Sculpture in Solo Exhibition – Opening January 16
Boston, MA – The School of Visual Arts at the College of Fine Arts (CFA) at Boston University is proud to present Susan Metrican: Wavy Panes recent paintings and mixed-media works.
Susan Metrican: Wavy Panes
Dates and Events: Thursday, January 16 – Friday, March 7, 2014
Opening Reception with Susan Metrican: Friday, January 17, 6-8pm
Exhibition and Gallery Events are Free and Open to the Public
Susan Metrican: Wavy Panes presents new and recent work by the Boston-based artist that seeks to bridge the gap between the surface of the eye and the surface of the object. Metrican uses the conventions of painting in which to create hybrid objects that are both painting and sculpture. She often incorporates three-dimensional elements or protrusions that extend and jut into space and theatrical framing devices, such as stylized curtains, to upend a straightforward experience of viewing.
Cinema from 2013, for example, is a velvety blue hued canvas that depicts a rudimentary expanse of sky. Metrican attaches sculpturally articulated ears to the edges of two canvas curtains that frame the center picture, complicating a fixed sensory response to a two-dimensional image by proposing another. Cinema, and other works such as Chorus (2013), a lush azure painting with cut-out shapes also set between framed curtains, are more than mere exercises in optical effects and retreats from illusionistic space. Rather, Metrican’s paintings use humor and play to explore the psychic and corporeal effects of perception and to challenge how the work of art is to be read and viewed.
About Susan Metrican
Metrican received her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA in 2012 and her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO in 1999. She has shown her work in group and solo exhibitions nationally and locally in such venues as Proof Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts, Laconia Gallery, Beehive and the Boston University 808 Gallery. Working as both an artist and curator, Metrican curated the exhibition Hung Jury at Fourth Wall Project in 2012 and co-organized Me Time at Laconia Gallery in 2013. Also in 2013, she established the experimental project space Kijidome with Sean Downey, Carlos Jiménez Cahua, and Lucy Kim. In 2013, she was also an Artist-in-Residence at sübSamson at Samsøn, Boston, MA.
University musicians to perform at BU/UMaine Hockey Game on Saturday, January 11
Boston, MA – The Boston University Pep Band will be traveling to Fenway Park this Saturday, January 11, to support Boston University Hockey as the Terrier team faces off against University of Maine. The event, part of Boston University’s Winterfest, is a Frozen Fenway feature.
The BU Pep Band is an integral part of the game day experience at all BU Hockey home games. With a song list of over 100 classic and current tunes, the Pep Band is a high-energy, powerful ensemble.
“As a band we always love getting to participate in off campus events and getting the chance to see other bands,” says Cameron Anstey (COM ’15), who plays trombone and is one of two managers for the BU Pep Band. “Although it might be cold, we are excited to have the opportunity to play at Fenway Park and represent BU. Hopefully our team can continue the success we had when the event started a few years ago.”
In the first-ever Frozen Fenway in 2010, the Boston University Terriers beat the Boston College Eagles 3-2 during a memorably frigid match-up.
“It was so cold at the 2010 Frozen Fenway that, despite precautionary measures, most moving parts on the band’s instruments froze, rendering them very difficult to play in the sub-freezing temperatures,” says Aaron Goldberg, Director of Athletic Bands.
While forecasts call for a low of 40 on Saturday, Goldberg adds that the band will take added precautionary measures this year.
“The sport of hockey was originally played outdoors, so this is a nice throwback to that era,” says Goldberg.
Boston University College of Fine Arts mourns the passing of Dr. Marvin Rabin, former Professor of Music in BU School of Music and founding Music Director of Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras (BYSO). Dr. Rabin passed away on Thursday, December 5th in Wisconsin at the age of 97 after a brief illness.
Dr. Rabin founded Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, now known as BYSO, shortly after joining Boston University faculty in 1958. From its inception, the youth symphony orchestra was recognized for its high artistic standards and for its model as a music education organization. Upon invitation from late President Kennedy in 1962, Dr. Rabin conducted a performance for the President and Mrs. Kennedy on the South Lawn of the White House.
Dr. Rabin spoke to The Boston Globe in October 1958 about the youth symphony founded at Boston University: “The policy is the general benefit of the student. What will help the student will be done, and the emphasis will be upon the musical progress of students and less upon the aim of merely working up concerts for purposes of display.”
“Dr. Rabin leaves behind an amazing legacy. Not only was he a beloved Professor of Music at BU School of Music, he was the visionary behind one of the most celebrated and emulated youth symphony orchestras in the country,” says Benjamín Juárez, Dean of Boston University College of Fine Arts. “We celebrate his legacy and the incredible work that BYSO continues today.”
BYSO is dedicating the January 19th semi-staged performance of Puccini’s “Tosca” to the late Dr. Rabin. A memorial service will be held on December 29 at the Unitarian Meeting House in Madison, Wisconsin.
Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre presents Pacific Overtures by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman
This exploration of Japan’s Westernization comes to the Calderwood Pavilion, December 13-19
Boston, MA – Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre is pleased to present Stephen Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures, running December 13 through December 19, 2013 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, Wimberly Theatre.
Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures
Dates and Times: Friday, December 13 & Saturday, December 14, 8:00 pm
Sunday, December 15, 2 p.m.
Tuesday, December 17, 7:30 p.m. (ASL Interpreted & Talk-Back) Wednesday, December 18 & Thursday, December 19, 7:30 p.m.
Program: Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by John Weidman
Additional Material by Hugh Wheeler
Orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick
Directed by Jim Petosa
Music Direction by Matthew Stern
Choreography by McCaela Donovan and Stephen Ursprung
Venue: Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, Wimberly Theatre
Tickets: $12 general public; $6 CFA Membership; FREE with Boston University ID at the door, subject to availability.
Box Office: bostontheatrescene.com | 617.933.8600
Opening Friday, December 13, Boston University School of Theatre stages the Sondheim classic that follows Japan’s Westernization. From the authors of Assassins, the production is told through the story of two friends caught in the inevitable winds of change as Sondheim blends elements of Kabuki theatre with the con¬ventions of the Broadway musical.
Directed by Jim Petosa, the run includes ASL Interpretation and Talk-Back provided at the December 17 performance. Pacific Overtures is a featured event of the Boston University College of Fine Arts Keyword Initiative, now in its third year. The 2013–2014 initiative, focusing on the KEYWORD: Transformation, explores profound shift and change in individuals and society through a series of performances and events that tap into diverse perspectives, and create dialogue that inspires humanity and breeds critical thinking that leads to solutions.
“Following its productions of Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along and Assassins, the BU School of Theatre has taken on another seldom seen Sondheim musical, Pacific Overtures,” says Jim Petosa, Director of the Boston University School of Theatre. “This remarkable and theatrical rendering of the opening of Japan to the West in the 19th century is provocative and challenging while possessing all the wit and poignancy that we have come to expect from Sondheim and his collaborators.”
Stephen Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for Saturday Night (1954), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Anyone Can Whistle (1964), Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), The Frogs (1974), Pacific Overtures (1976), Sweeney Todd (1979), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Into the Woods (1987), Assassins (1991), Passion (1994), and Road Show (2008) as well as lyrics for West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), and Do I Hear A Waltz? (1965), and additional lyrics for Candide (1973). Anthologies of his work include Side By Side By Sondheim (1976), Marry Me a Little (1981), You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow (1983), Putting it Together (1993/99), and Sondheim on Sondheim (2010). He composed the scores of the films Stavisky (1974) and Reds (1981) and songs for Dick Tracy (1990) and the television production Evening Primrose (1966). His collected lyrics with attendant essays have been published in two volumes: Finishing the Hat (2010) and Look, I Made A Hat (2011). In 2010 the Broadway theater formerly known as Henry Miller’s Theatre was renamed in his honor.
John Weidman wrote the new book for the 2011 revival of Anything Goes. He wrote the book for Pacific Overtures (Tony nominations, Best Book and Best Musical), score by Stephen Sondheim, produced and directed on Broadway by Harold Prince. He co-authored, with Timothy Crouse, the new book for Lincoln Center Theater’s revival of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes (Tony Award, Best Musical Revival; Olivier Award, Best Musical Production). He wrote the book for Assassins, score by Stephen Sondheim, directed Off-Broadway by Jerry Zaks and in London’s West End (Drama Critics Award for Best Musical) by Sam Mendes. Happiness, score by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie, direcred and choreographed by Susan Stroman; and Take Flight. He wrote the book for Big (Tony nomination, Best Book), score by Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire, directed on Broadway by Mike Ockrent, and co-created with choreographer/director Susan Stroman the musical Contact (Tony nomination, Best Book; Tony Award, Best Musical). Bounce/Road Show, score by Stephen Sondheim, direction by Harold Prince, premiered at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. He is currently completing a screen adaptation of Contact for Miramax. Since 1986, he has written for Sesame Street, receiving more than a dozen Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Children’s Program. From 1999 to 2009 he served as president of the Dramatists Guild of America.
PACIFIC OVERTURES is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).
All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.
421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212‐541‐4684 Fax: 212‐397‐4684
Music Theatre International (MTI) is one of the world’s leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting schools as well as amateur and professional theatres from around the world the rights to perform the largest selection of great musicals from Broadway and beyond. MTI works directly with the composers, lyricists and book writers of these shows to provide official scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to over 60,000 theatrical organizations in the US and in over 60 countries worldwide.
Boston University Opera Institute, Chamber Orchestra, and Women of the Chamber Chorus present an evening of Holiday Masterworks, Saturday, December 7
Boston, MA – Boston University Opera Institute, Chamber Orchestra, and Women of the Chamber Chorus announces an evening of Holiday Masterworks to be presented Saturday, December 7 at Boston University’s Marsh Chapel. The free performance includes the holiday classic, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols.
Date: Saturday, December 7, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
Ceremony of Carols, Benjamin Britten, composer; Steven Seigart, conductor
Amahl and the Night Visitors, Gian Carlo Menotti, composer & librettist; William Lumpkin, conductor; Nathan Troup, stage director
Location: Boston University Marsh Chapel (735 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston)
Free Admission. Open to the Public.
“We are very pleased to bring these seasonal traditions to the Boston University community and to share them with the public,” says Benjamín Juárez, Dean of Boston University College of Fine Arts. “This should be a very special evening.”
Composed in 1942, Ceremony of Carols is a choral piece penned by Benjamin Britten in celebration of Christmas. Amahl and the Night Visitors, the story of a young crippled boy and the miracle that cures him, was commissioned by NBC as the first opera written specifically for television in America.
Last summer, BU students Courtney Miller, a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate and Ceylon Mitchell (CFA BM ’13, MME ’14) were pondering how to attract new audiences to classical music. It’s not unusual for music videos on YouTube to go viral, but would it work in their genre? And how could it work? Courtney and Ceylon looked to Boston for inspiration. What if they set their favorite scenes of the city and Boston University to music? In just six weeks, Courtney and Celyon’s video has had nearly 800 hits.
What prompted the project? What was the goal?
Courtney: Well, if I really like a pop song, then I will probably go to YouTube and check out the music video. With this project I wanted to show classical music in settings outside of the concert hall and to create a music video that people can watch and enjoy. And to be totally honest, to have a little fun in the process!
Ceylon: Courtney and I have been colleagues and friends at BU CFA School of Music for the last few years. This past summer we worked in the School of Music admissions office together. During that time, Courtney talked with me about multiple music projects she was interested in starting. One of the unique projects was creating “classical music” videos that would make this genre of music accessible, fresh, and entertaining for all audiences. Courtney approached me with the idea and I was thrilled to participate!
What inspired you to frame your music with images of Boston and BU and your interaction with scenes of the city?
Ceylon: Courtney made it clear to me that she wanted audiences to see her personality and love for Boston in these videos. During our musical studies at BU, this city has become our second home. My goal as the videographer was to make sure we captured and conveyed this emotional connection with music and iconic scenes that speak to our experiences as Boston University music students.
Courtney: I want to give Ceylon a serious shout out in regards to this question. We shot most of the video together at BU Central and around Boston, and then he had a stroke of inspiration/genius and did a second video shoot with rooftop views. This added footage adds so much beauty and perspective to the video!
What has been the reaction? Are you building new audiences with this approach?
Courtney: The reaction has been positive, which is really encouraging. I think that we are building new audiences and I hope to continue to do so. The YouTube analytics reveal that I’ve had views from all over the world, including places that I don’t have a personal connection with such as, countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and South America.
Ceylon: The first video has been well received from a number of friends, colleagues, and BU faculty members. Even my non-music major friends have been very impressed and entertained by such a unique project. Internet views have been increasing on a daily basis.
How important is it for a musician today to interact with and relate to everyday life?
Courtney: It is a necessity! One of my personal missions as a classical musician is to connect with listeners in as many ways as I can. I want them to see that behind the formal settings in which we often perform and the crazy amount of practicing and work we do, that we are totally approachable and very down to earth.
Ceylon: Essential. Our constant job as musicians is to communicate with today’s audiences as well as make our music relevant and accessible to their experiences in life. Using visual means to convey musical ideas is a great idea of integration that only helps to further this communication.
Do you find that this idea of reaching new audiences is part of your approach as you focus on your career and new projects?
Courtney: Absolutely. People can’t listen to you if they don’t know you exist.
Ceylon: For myself, the answer is clearly yes. The more I can connect with new audiences, the stronger my network will be and the more fulfilling my life as a musician will be.
As you launch your career, what has surprised you the most?
Ceylon: The music world is very, very small.
Courtney: To add to what Ceylon said, it is pretty amazing that you see the same faces now that you did when you went to a summer festival back in high school. In many ways I think we are very fortunate because our career actually keeps us in contact with friends. It might take a few years, but odds are you are going to see them or play with them again in some professional setting.
What advice would you give young classical musicians?
Courtney: It is really important to enjoy your music. The art of music making calls for perfection and constant improvement, it can be easy to get lost in the many challenges and demands that you face. I think finding joy in playing your instrument and music is key.
Ceylon: Be open to learn and work with other colleagues. Take risks and try new musical ventures. You will only learn from these experiences.
What are you working on now?
Courtney: Finishing my Doctorate at BU is definitely a current project.
I recently signed a contract with Centaur Records to release my debut CD titled Modern Fairy Tales. In order to help prepare for this recording, I have several recitals planned, the first of which is Sunday Dec. 8th at 2:30 pm at BU in The Marshall Room.
Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Ceylon and I have a couple more innovative music videos up our sleeve.
Ceylon: I am finishing the last semester of my Master’s degree in music education at Boston University and am currently student teaching at Boston Latin School near BU. I also direct the BU Flute Ensemble, teach private lessons and freelance. I am currently applying to graduate school for a second Master’s degree in flute performance for next fall 2014.
For more about Courtney and her projects, please visit www.courtneymilleroboe.com