Campus & Community

Fall arts preview: Music, art and theater on campus

The Israeli Vertigo Dance Company performs Oct. 17 as part of the Newman Center Presents series. Photo: Gadi Dagon

The Israeli Vertigo Dance Company performs Oct. 17 as part of the Newman Center Presents series. Photo: Gadi Dagon

As classes begin again, so do a host of concerts, plays and art exhibits at venues around the University of Denver campus. Here’s a look at what’s happening in the DU arts scene this fall.



On the south side of campus, the Newman Center for the Performing Arts hosts performances from touring artists around the globe, as well as showcasing the talent of faculty and students from DU’s own Lamont School of Music.

The Newman Center Presents concert series brings a number of dancers and musicians to the venue this fall, including modern dance pioneer Twyla Tharp, celebrating her 50th anniversary in dance (Sept. 24–25); the Israeli Vertigo Dance Company (Oct. 17); Great American Songbook interpreter Michael Feinstein (Oct. 22); a cappella ensemble Anonymous 4, performing songs from the American Civil War (Nov. 15); and a special holiday show with the Boston Brass (Dec. 2).

The highlight of the Lamont School’s schedule is fall musical “Guys and Dolls,” featuring singers from the opera program and the musicians of the Lamont Symphony Orchestra (Nov. 5–8). The free Flo’s Underground series, featuring student musicians and singers from the Lamont jazz program, starts at 5 p.m. Fridays, Oct. 23–Nov. 13, in the Williams Recital Hall.

Other fall concerts at Lamont include the Lamont Symphony Orchestra with new faculty members Matthew Zalkind, cello, and Matthew Plenk, tenor, on Oct. 13; a faculty recital featuring jazz composer, trombonist and Lamont faculty member Steve Wiest and his new jazz combo, Phröntrange, on Oct. 21; and guest artist Percunova, a percussion-heavy world music ensemble, on Oct. 22.

A quarter-ending series of free concerts showcases student musicians in the Lamont Jazz Orchestra (Nov. 9); the Lamont Percussion Ensemble (Nov. 10); Lamont String Chamber Ensembles (Nov. 11); the Lamont Chorale, Lamont Women’s Chorus and Lamont Men’s Choir (Nov. 12); Lamont World Music & Dance, featuring songs from India and West Africa (Nov. 13); the student new music ensemble Modern Hue (Nov. 14); and the Lamont Steel Drum Ensemble (Nov. 16).

The Lamont Composers Series Concert (Nov. 15) features works composed by Lamont students, while the Lamont Symphony Orchestra’s Salute to Shakespeare (Nov. 19) spotlights two works inspired by Shakespeare plays: Antonín Dvořák’s Othello Concert Overture, Op. 93, and the Dmitri Shostakovich score from the 1964 film “Hamlet.”

The Newman Center also is host on Sept. 19 to TEDx Mile High’s fall event, titled “Ideas at Play.” Three DU alumni — Kristen Race, founder of Mindful Life, which provides “brain-based solutions” for schools, businesses, children and families; Camp Bow Wow founder Heidi Ganahl; and Eric Kornacki, co-founder of local food-justice nonprofit Re:Vision — are on the speaker list, along with musicians, poets, designers, scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs and more.



The primary venue for visual art at the University of Denver is the Vicki Myhren Gallery in the Shwayder Art Building, which hosts two major exhibits this fall.

Recent Gifts to the University Art Collections (Aug. 27–Sept. 27) celebrates recent gifts to the University Art Collections, including one of the largest and most ambitious paintings by modern art legend and former DU art school leader Vance Kirkland; an anonymous Hudson Valley School landscape dating from around 1850; and a selection of Southwestern and Native American works donated by the late Helen Driscoll. Newly conserved English landscape watercolors donated by alumna Elaine Long also will be on view, along with prints by Thomas Nast, James McNeill Whistler and Andy Warhol.

Annabeth Rosen, who currently holds an endowed chair at the University of California-Davis, will be working with DU students as the Hamilton Visiting Artist for 2014–15. The Myhren Gallery show Annabeth Rosen: The whole is equal… (Oct. 8–Nov. 15) will feature a series of her bundled and collected ceramic handmade “found” objects, along with one large piece and a selection of large-scale drawings.

Educational and history-focused exhibits are on display this fall at the Anderson Academic Commons (AAC), among them a pair of related exhibits focusing on the performing arts in Denver. “Arthur & Hazel Oberfelder: Diversifying the Performing Arts in Denver” features a selection of photographs, autographs, concert programs, show posters and family papers that detail the lives and achievements of the show-business duo who brought touring stage productions to Denver for 30 years, starting in the early 1920s. “A Spotlight on Dance in Denver” spotlights the many acclaimed national and international dance groups that Arthur Oberfelder assembled for performances in Denver in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s.

Another pair of connected AAC exhibits focuses on Jewish life in Colorado: “Blazing the Trail: Colorado Jewish History” traces the central role of Denver’s early Jews in the city’s growth and prosperity; while “From Haven To Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life” examines the Jewish experience in the United States through the prisms of “Haven” — the ideals of freedom that attracted Jewish immigrants — and “Home,” the uniquely American Jewish religious movements, institutions and associations created by diverse groups of Jewish immigrants who settled in the United States.

“Eradicating Hate: A Paper Trail of Nazi Practice,” a special three-day exhibit running Oct. 7–9 in the AAC, features a collection of artifacts related to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, including an envelope Nazis made out of a Jewish Torah scroll and counterfeit money printed in the Warsaw Ghetto. The curator of the collection will be on hand to give 30-minute presentations on the exhibit throughout its run.

DU’s Museum of Anthropology, housed in Sturm Hall, has two exhibits on display this fall. The museum’s current exhibition, running through Sept. 18, is “Connecting the Pieces: Dialogues on the Amache Archaeology Collection,” featuring objects and artifacts from the World War II Japanese-American internment camp in Granada, Colo. Some of the items in the exhibit come from participants in Associate Professor Bonnie Clark’s archaeology field school, a four-week intensive program held every two years at Amache.

Opening Oct. 8 in the museum is “Histories Beyond Homeland,” a contemporary art show by Diné artist Melanie Yazzie that will run in conjunction with the Denver Indigenous Film and Arts Festival.



Offerings from the University’s theater department this fall include “Columbinus” (Sept. 25, Byron Theatre), a staged reading of Stephen Karam and PJ Paparelli’s play sparked by the April 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.; “Bad Jews” (Oct. 15–25, JMAC Studios), a dark comedy about three cousins battling over a family heirloom the night after their grandfather’s funeral; and “Two Rooms” (Nov. 5–15, Byron Theatre), a drama about the imagined conversations between an American teacher held hostage in a dark room and his wife, who is holding a vigil for him in an empty room in their house.



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