What an exciting year we've had at the Learning from Performers program and at the Office for the Arts. During the 2017-2018 school year, we presented and/or partnered with many offices, departments and divisions on exciting, engaging and interactive programs. It's exciting to think back on the year -- the artists we've met and the artists we hope we've nurtured among our students. Beatboxing, jazz, playwriting, musical theater, hip hop and so much more. We hope you enjoy this look back -- and we look forward to seeing you during the academic year 2018-2019. A special thanks and big congrats to the Class of 2018 -- and to the many student artists who attended, participated, performed, produced and discovered the arts through our programming. Make art!
Jaclyn Backhaus (playwriting)
Partners: SpeakEasy Stage, The Women’s Center, Office of BGLTQ Student Life
Students participated onstage in a reading/workshop with Backhaus, whose play Men on Boats was staged at SpeakEasy Stage last fall. Student were fascinated by how the play re-imagined history by casting all sexual identities except cis-gendered males in a play about...cis-genedered males.
Chesney Snow and Rick McKeown (beat boxing and musical theater)
Partners: Northeastern Crossing, Harvard Ed Portal
In addition to offering workshops on beat boxing, Chesney Snow spoke with students about his work for the musical In Transit on Broadway. Snow is a great example of a multifaceted career in the arts.
Carla Harris (business administration and gospel music)
Partners: Office of Career Services, Harvard Alumni Affairs and Development
Carla Harris '84, HBS '87 -- vice chairman and managing director at Morgan Stanley -- talked with her classmate Anne Ackerley '84, HBS '88 -- managing director of BlackRock -- about best business practices. Harris also sang one of her gospel tunes. Business and music -- we love it.
Jeff Watts with students from the Harvard Jazz Band, in conversation with Bill Zildjian (jazz)
Partners: Office for the Arts Jazz Program
As part of a week-long residency, students in the Harvard Jazz Band prepared tunes for jazz drummer Jeff Watts and then participated in a conversation led by Bill Zildjian of the cymbal dynasty.
Paul Deo (visual art)
Partner: Harvard Ed Portal
Harlem-based visual artist Paul Deo visited Harvard three times in the course of the year to talk about his work as a muralist and to create a mural onsite at the Harvard Ed Portal, where you can see it as public art outdoors for the next year.
Charles Overton (harpist)
Partners: Signet Society, Arts in Education Program
Charles Overton, harpist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and touring musician, crossed the river with this trio to play music and talk about his life as an artist
Hanane Hajj Ali (playwright and actor)
Partners: Harvard Radcliffe Dramatic Club and Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization
Hanane Hajj Ali traveled from Lebanon to see an HRDC production of Jogging, a play about female Muslim identity (directed by Melissa Nussbaum Freeman). Hajj Ali worked with the students and also spoke to a class taught by Professor Ali Asani.
Kaitlin Hopkins and Paige Price (musical theater)
Partners: Harvard Radcliffe Dramatic Club and Office of Career Services
Two Broadway stars. Ten Harvard musical theater students. You know this was fun.
Stefan Jackiw '07 (chamber music)
Partners: Celebrity Series, Parker String Quartet
Three chamber ensembles. One superstar violinist from the classical music world. You know this was fun, too.
Timeless Portrait and Dreams: A Tribute to Geri Allen (jazz)
Technically, we were simply a partner on this major symposium celebrating the too-short life of jazz great Geri Allen. But we'll take any opportunity to pause and remember her life. She was a friend of Harvard, and we remember her with respect and gratitude. You can read about the event here.
Arturo O’Farrill (global music and immigration policy)
Partners: Graduate School of Education and Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership
A musician of deep social conscience, Arturo O'Farrill writes music with a person, cause or community in mind. He debuted his latest project is Little Tiny Walls featuring student musicians from Harvard, Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory. A talk-back during the evening focused on DACA.
American Modern Opera Company (artists residency)
Partners: Department of Music, Harvard Ed Portal, Office of Career Services, Harvard Dance Center, Harvard iLabs, American Repertory Theater, Theatre, Dance and Media, Schlesigner Library, Athletic Department.
AMOC embedded at the university for nine days, exploring music, dance, composing and writing in a transparent format that allowed students to watch, participate and collaborate. Many of the company's performers are alums, such as violinist Keir GoGwilt '13, pictured here with dancer/choreographer Julia Eichten.
Lin Manuel Miranda (musical theater and Latinx culture)
Partner: Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership
Yep, Lin Manuel "Hamilton" Miranda visited the Kennedy School as keynote speaker for the conference America Adelante, which drew Latinx students from throughout the university. We partnered on this, or as we like to say, we were in the room. You can read more about Miranda's visit here
Singer/songwriter Angélique Kidjo, playwright Ifeoma Fafunwa, humanitarian Aubrey Doyle (arts activism)
Partners: Office for the Arts Jazz Program, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership, Harvard College Women’s Center
Where the Girls Are: Arts activism around the globe was a public conversation with three powerhouse thinkers on arts activism and three talented student performers. The group is pictured here: Aubrey Doyle, Claire Townsend ‘18, Angélique Kidjo (2018 Harvared Jazz Master), Cherline Bazile '18, Mirielle Wright ‘21 and Ifeoma Fafunwa.
Sickamore (music industry business and hip hop)
Partners: Division of Arts and Humanities, Quad Sound Studio Board, Hiphop Archive and Research Institute
Randall "Sickamore" Medford has been heralded as the new generation’s favorite A&R, the music industry's term for a person who finds talent for labels, coaches artists and directs music projects. He gave us wisdom. We gave him talent in the form of student performances during a master class with: Ava Brignol '18 (Bava), Michael Annor Aduboffour (MJangles), Eden Girma ’18, Lincoln Hart and host Marcelo Hanta-Davis '20 (Philharmonik).
ARTS FIRST 2018
Produced by: The Office for the Arts at Harvard
Our annual festival that celebrates student and faculty artmaking -- and our larger community of artmakers and arts lovers -- was a big hit this year. By our count: 15,000 participants. We had close to 50 performance and exhibition venues and, on Saturday (which includes non-stop artmaking nearly all day), upwards of 1,000 students made some kind of art at one of those venues. Excitingly, the festival expanded to Allston for one day (Sunday) for the first time -- with concerts, public art, lots of activity at the OFA Ceramics Program and a historic closer to the weekend with a production of Antigone in Harvard Stadium. Save the date for next year. AF19 is May 2-5. See you there!
Colson Whitehead '91 (writer)
Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad and Pulitzer Prize winner, is the 2018 Harvard Arts Medal recipient. His conversation with actor John Lithgow '67, ArD '05 kicked off the four-day ARTS FIRST festival and reminded us that the past is always with us. Sanders Theatre in Memorial Hall, built after the Civil War, was a potent reminder of that past.
André Watts (pianist)
The legendary pianist came to town to pick up the Luise Vosgerchian Teaching Award, Harvard's prestigious music prize, and to perform Beethoven's Emperor Concerto with the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, under the direction of Federico Cortese. The word some audience members were tossing about was: "magical." Agreed.
And a final word!
No round-up of the year would be complete without mentioning the outstanding work of our OFA Ceramics Program colleagues who hosted a seemingly endless lineup of world-class artists offering master classes and workshops and beauty in all sorts of magical shapes and forms and materials across the bridge in Allston. And on the other side of campus up at the Quad, our Harvard Dance Center colleagues who also hosted world-class artists in master classes, workshops, residencies, community cyphers and three world premieres performed by the Harvard Dance Project.