February 2011

Exclusive Opening for Central Texas College of Fine Arts Alumni

On Tuesday, April 5th, the College of Fine Arts will host its annual alumni reception in the new Visual Arts Center (VAC), located in the Art Building. Come and enjoy a private opening of the VAC’s latest exhibitions, featuring 2011 MFA students and graduating seniors.

Landmarks Video presents Felix in Exile by William Kentridge

South African artist William Kentridge gained the attention of the art world in the 1990’s with short, haunting, animated films based on charcoal drawings about his homeland. Felix in Exile (1994) examines survival in post-apartheid South Africa from the artist’s personal perspective. Both personal and political, it suggests that art is central to keeping memories alive and to fostering growth, even in the presence of unspeakable acts of injustice.

Landmarks Video introduces students and the general public to the most highly regarded and influential works of video art from the past five decades. Click here to view the schedule of upcoming works.

Prominent Choral Director Morris Beachy Dies at 82

Choral director and University of Texas Professor Emeritus Morris Beachy died in his sleep on February 6th due to complications of Alzheimer’s disease.

Beachy joined the faculty of the university in 1957, and over the next 36 years, developed one of the largest university choral programs in the country, noted for its diversity and high standards. He founded nine ensembles, including the UT Chamber Singers, the Longhorn Singers and the University Chorus.

“Dr. Beachy was a consummate musician who set an extraordinarily high standard of choral performance and profoundly impacted choral conductors and singers not only in Texas, but throughout this country,” said James Morrow, director of choral activities and associate professor of choral conducting in the Butler School of Music. “His choirs always sang with a gorgeous tone and with a highly refined and expressive delivery of the text. He loved words and loved creating vocal colors that captured the complexities of their meanings. The choral art has lost one of its most exquisite interpreters, to be sure. I’m immensely grateful I had the opportunity to be his student.”

James Taylor and His Legendary Band at Texas Performing Arts

James Taylor and his band are coming to Bass Concert Hall on Saturday, April 23rd for one intimate and memorable night!

Tickets can be purchased at www.texasperformingarts.org all Texas Box Office outlets; or call 1-800-982-2386.

The legendary James Taylor has earned 40 gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards and 5 Grammy Awards for a catalog running from 1970’s Sweet Baby James to his Grammy Award-winning efforts Hourglass (1997) and October Road (2002), to his Grammy Award- nominated Covers, his last solo release. Above all, there are the songs: “Fire and Rain,” “Country Road,” “You’ve Got A Friend,” “Mexico,” “Shower The People,” “Your Smiling Face,” “Carolina In My Mind,” “Sweet Baby James,” and many more.

Come spend an unforgettable night with America’s iconic singer-songwriter James Taylor.

Professor Robert Duke Receives Career Award Recognizing Lifetime Achievement in Music Scholarship

Robert Duke, the Marlene and Morton Meyerson Centennial Professor and Head of Music and Human Learning in the Butler School of Music, has received a career research award from MENC: The National Association for Music Education. The MENC Senior Researcher Award is “meant to recognize a sustained record of significant scholarly achievement related to music teaching and learning.” One of his nominators wrote, “To say that he has been a consistently productive scholar across a long career in higher education seems to understate the amount of activity in research and teaching he has maintained, the quality of that research and teaching, the positive influence he has had on students and colleagues, and the professional contribution he has made by shaping a research agenda that serves as a model for our discipline.” The award was presented at the organization’s biennial meeting in Anaheim, California, in March 2010, where Professor Duke delivered an invited address as the award recipient. During the meeting, he also presented results of his recent research on cognition in improvisation together with UT alumnus Martin Norgaard (PhD, 2008) and doctoral candidate James Fidlon.

The Class of 1961 Reunion is Coming

Join the College of Fine Arts and the Texas Exes on April 28th for the Class of 1961 50th reunion! Renew old friendships, tour your college and see firsthand the many treasures the university has to offer. For more information, visit the Texas Exes’ site.

Robin Moore Receives National Grant to Study Latin American Dance Form

Robin Moore, professor of Ethnomusicology, together with Alejandro Madrid, associate professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at University of Illinois Chicago, have been awarded a Collaborative Research Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. The award provides funding for a year-long sabbatical to allow Moore and Madrid to complete work on their upcoming book Danzón: The History and Practice of a Transnational Music. The book is a study of the Danzón, a nineteenth-century dance genre that became popular throughout Latin America and beyond, eventually influencing the development of early jazz. The grant will also help fund their research by providing funds for travel to Mexico, Cuba, and New Orleans. The book project was one of only six awards, from a national pool of more than seventy applicants.

Texas Exes Launch The Alcalde Blog

Alumni now have another way to stay in contact with the university. Through the new The Alcalde Blog, the Exes will sift through everything coming from the university, delivering the “can’t miss” news, as well as a few fun facts, here and there. Subscribe directly to the blog, or get an email delivered to you whenever there is a new post.

Department of Theatre and Dance Announces Retirement of Professor Robert Schmidt

Professor and former Department Chair Robert Schmidt retired on January 31st. With unanimous support of the executive vice president and provost and the faculty of the Department of Theatre and Dance, Schmidt has been granted emeritus status as the Frank Erwin Jr. Centennial Professor in Drama, effective February 1st.

“The college and Department of Theatre and Dance are deeply indebted to Bob for his remarkable and indelible contribution to our students and programs and to the leadership of the department,” said College of Fine Arts Dean Douglas Dempster. “He has accomplished great things for his department over nearly 30 years of service. I offer my congratulations and best wishes for his continued success in all his endeavors.”

Explore UT Includes Horns Homecoming for Alumni and Families

On Saturday, March 5th (from 11am-2pm), start your day of exploration with a welcome event exclusively for alumni at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center on the UT campus. Map your route and reconnect to your alma mater with refreshments, balloon artistry, face-painting, and photo opportunities with Hook’em. Hosted by the Texas Exes and the 1883 Council.

To search for COFA events during Explore UT, click here and search by College/School/Unit.

Writer and Storyteller of NPR Fame Visits Campus

Humorist, playwright and storyteller Kevin Kling, best known for his popular commentaries on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, visited campus recently to teach a graduate-level class and perform for a group of students and faculty.

A friend of Kling’s, Steven Dietz, a professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance, asked Kling to visit the university and talk with students about new theatre and storytelling.

“Kevin Kling is an American theatre success story,” said Dietz. “Twenty-five years of making his living as a playwright and performer at major theatres across the country – and who has, of late, turned his considerable gifts to the mastery of storytelling.”

This Event Will Change Your Future: The Arts Internship and Networking Fair

The Spring 2011 Arts Internship and Networking Fair is on March 8th from 11:30 am- 1:30 pm in the Co-op Fine Arts Student Center (DFA 1.103). This event brings together talented students and great opportunities from the Austin arts community. Employer registration is now available until February 25. A list of participating organizations is also updated as registrations come in. This event is open to current students and alumni and is a great way to make a personal connection that could change your future!

Students Recognize Faculty and Teaching Assistants

Since 1982, the Texas Exes have named an outstanding professor and teaching assistant from each college, awarding them with the student-nominated and student-selected Texas Exes Teaching Award. This year’s COFA honorees are Andrew Dell’Antonio (Professor of Musicology in the Butler School of Music) and Cassidy Browning (Assistant Instructor in the Department of Theatre and Dance). Congratulations Cassidy and Professor Dell’Antonio!

Studio Art Alums Barna Kantor and Young-min Kang’s Solar Tree Public Art Project Unveiled

Barna Kantor (Lecturer in Transmedia; MFA in Studio Art, 2005) and Young-min Kang (MFA in Studio Art, 2004) were commissioned by the City of Austin Art in Public Places program in 2008 to create the Solar Tree, a public artwork in front of the Dittmar Recreation Center in South Austin. Proposed as a functional work that combines architecture, sculptural aesthetics, and education about sustainable energy, the Solar Tree retains some of the functions of a tree through generating and using energy, and acting as a landmark for people to meet and gather. Local news outlet KXAN recently covered the unveiling of the project.