OFA News: Learning From Performers, a visiting artist program sponsored by the Office for the Arts at Harvard, invites students and the community to interact with professionals in all artistic disciplines for master classes, workshops, lectures and other educational forums. Here’s a preview of what’s in store for 2015-2016.
PUSHING BOUNDARIES: “I don’t take on a project unless it requires me to push the boundaries of my art,” says Janet Echelman ‘87 in the November 2014 edition of Smithsonian Magazine. Creator of numerous public art projects, Echelman will lead a site visit on September 29 to her latest creation, “As If It Were Already Here,” a 600-foot sculpture reconnecting downtown Boston to the waterfront at the head of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway on Summer St. near Atlantic Ave. in the vicinity of South Station. Accompanying Echelman will be Greenway public art curator Lucas Cowan and project manager Laura Jasinski.
VOCAL ROYALTY: Tenor Placido Domingo has been at home on the world’s opera and concert stages for over half a century: as of the end of 2013, he had sung 3,687 performances of 144 roles, in addition to having conducted 526 performances and made numerous recordings. Under the auspices of Harvard’s Office of the Dean of Humanities with support from Learning From Performers, Domingo will discuss his life and lengthy career during a public conversation at Sanders Theatre in October.
AFRO-POP POWER: Praised as “the undisputed queen of African Music” (Daily Telegraph), Angélique Kidjo has released ten albums, including last year’s Grammy Award-winning Eve. She will deliver the Louis C. Elson Lecture sponsored by the Department of Music on November 17, and lead a master class for student singers the following day (November 18), both at John Knowles Paine Concert Hall in the Music Building.
FINE HOME: Enrolled at Barnard College intending to enter the medical field, composer and arranger Jeanine Tesori soon changed her plans after teaching music at a summer camp—and the world of musical theater has gratefully embraced and rewarded her ever since. Winner of a 2015 Best Original Score Tony Award (shared with lyricist Lisa Kron) for the groundbreaking musical Fun Home, Tesori will discuss her career and creative process as part of January’s Wintersession, co-sponsored by Boston’s SpeakEasy Stage Company.
MIXING IT UP: Called a “one-man cultural Cuisinart” by the New York Times, Gabriel Kahane is a singer/songwriter, instrumentalist, and a composer for symphony orchestras, smaller ensembles, and musical theater. His 2014 release on Sony Masterworks, The Ambassador, hailed as “one of the year’s very best albums” by Rolling Stone, was adapted for the stage; upcoming theater projects include commissions from the Public Theater (New York) and Signature Theater (Virginia). Kahane will discuss his career and influences on his work during a conversation on February 4 co-sponsored by Celebrity Series of Boston. He will also appear in concert at Sanders Theatre with Brooklyn Rider on February 5.
WHICH WITCH? When Saturday Night Live alum Ana Gasteyer steps up to the mic, she evokes the swagger of an era when a lady ruled a nightclub and an audience knew they were in for a good time. Acclaimed for her stint as Elphaba in the long-running Broadway hit Wicked, Gasteyer will lead a master class for student singers on February 5—followed by a concert at Sanders Theatre on February 6—co-sponsored by Celebrity Series of Boston.
WINNER AT LAST: At this year’s Tony Awards, all of Broadway lit up with the news that Kelli O’Hara—a six-time nominee—finally won the Best Actress in a Musical prize for her turn as Mrs. Anna Leonowens in Lincoln Center Theater’s current revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I. Learning From Performers is thrilled and honored to present O’Hara leading a master class on February 28 co-sponsored by the Celebrity Series of Boston. She performs in concert at Sanders Theatre that evening.
Other artists will be announced; for up-to-date information, go to ofa.fas.harvard.edu/lfp. Learning From Performers posts announcements in the OFA’s weekly email arts digest, “The Beat,” as well as calendar listings in the Harvard Gazette. Visit us on Facebook at Learning From Performers, and follow us on Twitter @LFPerformers. For more information, call 617.495.8676.