An integral part of student life on the main Storrs campus of UConn is the wide array of performances made available through the School of Fine Arts. A new program will now extend that reach to UConn’s regional campuses.
The Ensemble-in-Residence Program, funded by a Provost’s Academic Plan Grant, launches this month with performances by the Symphony Orchestra in Stamford and, in November, by the Collegium Musicium and Chamber Singers at Avery Point and the Jazz Ensemble in Hartford. Another program in Waterbury is now being planned. All performances will be offered free of charge.
“Every UConn student is a School of Fine Arts student, since the arts should be a part of every student’s experience,” says Anne D’Alleva, dean of the School of Fine Arts. “The Ensemble-in-Residence program makes the unique experience of attending a concert performed by fellow UConn students available to everyone, and shares the ensemble traditions of the Department of Music with our regional campuses and communities across the state.”
The first concert will occur on Oct. 24, at 8 p.m. at the Palace Theatre in Stamford, with the UConn Symphony Orchestra conducted by Harvey Felder, associate professor of music and director of orchestral studies. The program will include Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto, Op. 35 in D major,” Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony, “Coronation March from The Prophet” by Giacomo Meyerbeer, and “United Artists for Orchestra” by UConn composer Kenneth Fuchs. The featured soloist is Solomiya Ivakhiv, assistant professor of violin and viola and coordinator of strings at UConn.
Every UConn student is a School of Fine Arts student, since the arts should be a part of every student’s experience. — Anne D'Alleva
The program at the Avery Point campus on Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. in the campus auditorium will feature the Collegium Musicum conducted by Eric Rice, head of the Department of Music and director of the ensemble, and the Chamber Singers conducted by Jamie Spillane, associate professor of music and director of Choral Studies. The performance will include Thomas Tallis’s 40-part motet “Spem in Alium,” Queen’s “Somebody to Love” by Freddie Mercury, and music by Heinrich Schütz. At the end of the program, the UConn choirs will be joined by students from local high schools.
On Nov. 14 at 8 p.m., the internationally renowned saxophonist Dick Oatts will perform with the Jazz Ensemble in the auditorium of the Hartford campus. Oatts has performed with Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and Mel Tormé, and recorded with Luther Vandross and James Taylor.
“This is outreach directed at the students, faculty, and the communities where our regional campuses live,” says Alain Frogley, professor of music history and associate dean of graduate studies, research, and creative practices in the School of Fine Arts, who is leading the implementation of the program. “It will include high schools, educational groups, arts groups, and the general public.”
He says the program will draw from UConn’s 14 student ensembles, that also include the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Women’s Choir, Marching Band, and Concert Choir. The ensembles are high-caliber musical groups that have performed recently at Carnegie Hall and the Ukrainian Institute in New York City; gone on international tour in Ireland and Germany; and garnered prestigious national awards and reviews for their recordings.
“While the ensembles are based in the Department of Music, most of our ensembles have non-[music] major students in them. They are very important to those groups,” says Frogley. “It’s not just showcasing music talent, but the efforts of students across the campus in those ensembles.”
Under the program, a major ensemble performing in Storrs will be designated as “in residence” for a specific regional campus. The ensemble then will perform the same program at the regional campus, accompanied by creative programming such as a conductor talk, pre-concert lecture, open rehearsal, or a shared meal for the student musicians and select regional campus students. One concert per year will include outreach to area high schools and an opportunity for high school music students to perform and interact with the UConn ensemble.
The Ensemble-in-Residence program will also provide practical experience for a graduate assistant in the Arts Administration curriculum, currently MFA student Caitlin Healy. The assistant is responsible for organizing each event as they would for a professional venue, including creating and scheduling programming, taking care of all related logistics, working with area high schools, and coordinating workshops, rehearsals, and other events for the designated concert.