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Research and Scholarly Work


By Julie Scharper, Baltimore Sun 

A rumpled pile of sheets. A Bloody Mary on an airline tray. Bags of mustard greens from a Korean grocery store. Gas station pumps, battered street signs, a steamed crab.

These are among the everyday images encountered by artist and University of Maryland, College Park professor Hasan Elahi. For the past decade — since he was detained by the FBI at an airport — Elahi has meticulously compiled tens of thousands of photos of each stop he makes in his day.

Rather than shy from government attention, Elahi embarked on a self-surveillance project. He maps his location on a website, along with photos of beds on which he has slept, lots where he has parked and meals he has eaten.

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By Katherine Boyle, The Washington Post

The Ghost in “Hamlet” was once a simple creation: a white sheet or some smoke was enough to depict a dead king. The audience, of course, cooperated with these primitive displays, since imagination was required of theatergoers.

But if 20th-century technology — aviation, space travel, doomsday bombs — conquered the extremes of our own universe, modern science is more concerned with the virtual world, weaving in and out of daily life without drawing attention to itself. That is the challenge that Jared Mezzocchi, a video projection designer, confronts every time he looks at a stage. How does one infuse elements of this virtual world into the age-old art form that we call “live” theater?

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Area students explore music technology and career opportunities at the School of Music FAME summer camp. 

By Kelsi Loos, Office of Communications

A roomful of young students tap on samplers and edit keyboard melodies on software they just learned how to use. A few sing softly into microphones.  A teacher walks around, answering questions. It should be chaotic, but it isn’t. Everyone is focused and completely absorbed by their projects. This is the FAME Music Technology Program.      

The program gives area students grades 8 through 12 a chance to explore cutting edge recording software and music composition. Even more importantly, said Toni Lewis of the Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education (FAME), it gives students a glimpse of educational and career opportunities in music and prepares them to take advantage of those opportunities.

With funding from the United Way and The Community Foundation for Prince George’s County, FAME, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting music education to youth, offers the program free of charge and provides lunch.

The two-week summer camp was founded last year when School of Music graduate Mike Maddox suggested that Professor Bill Evans collaborate with FAME .

Maddox and Evans had worked together teaching at Sherwood High School and Maddox knew that Evans was already planning a music camp of his own.  

They joined forces with FAME and started building a curriculum while FAME began contacting area schools for student nominations.

The course was based on Evans’ MUSC463 “Applications of Music Technology” class which teaches students to use the recording software Pro Tools, Sibelius and Garage Band. Students also learn songwriting skills, music theory and how to share and promote their music online.

Students can record in the piano lab or jazz ensemble room and edit their compositions in the computer lab. For most of the students, it was their first chance to work in a professional studio.

Evans and Maddox were also sure to include lessons on the music industry as a business.  Composer Robin Hodson from SoundTree, the educational division of Korg, was invited to speak to the students and share his career experiences.

“They’re actually getting a little bit of college curriculum,” Evans said, adding later that it demonstrates to the students, “ok, college is something I could do.”

Destiny Williams, 18, a recent Oxon Hill High School graduate said the program “most definitely” prepared her for a college career in music.

The response from the students and the community has been very positive and the number of students rose from 16 last year to 19 this year and the number of applicants doubled, Lewis said.  The program also expanded from one week to two weeks. FAME hopes to further expand the program to a month-long summer program next year.

“From day one, I was hooked on it,” said David Dixon, 16, a student at Eleanor Roosevelt High School.

To hear student work, please visit soundcloud here or here

See a Youtube video promoting the camp.

TDPS explores the cross-cultural possibilities of "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

By Beth Cavanaugh, Terp Magazine

How would Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” sound if performed in two countries by a cast speaking two languages? Like a unique cultural exchange, say organizers in the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies.

Two dozen Maryland faculty and students are collaborating with peers at the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts to put on the play, first on campus in September, then in Beijing. They’ve been working out the challenges of a production with double sets and locations, along with the language barrier and 7,000-mile distance between participants.

 “Splitting a production in two—it sounded impossible. We really had to sit down and figure out how you do it,” said theatre Professor Mitchell Hébert, who is co-directing the production with Yu Fan Lin in China.

Noted costume designer and Professor Helen Huang first shared the idea for a co-production while teaching a master class at the National Academy and quickly won the support of faculty there.

Emails, Skype meetings, translators and visits in both Beijing and College Park facilitated the process, and by February 2011, the group decided it could be done.

Maryland faculty and students will design and construct the costumes and set, and play the parts of the fairies and mechanicals. Their Chinese counterparts will build a duplicate set in Beijing and take on the roles of the court, lovers and supernatural characters. Shared responsibilities include directing and technical aspects, such as lighting.

All actors will perform in their native language. Audiences in both countries will read translations through supertitles.

Laree Lentz, a master of fine arts student who helped design the costumes, worked closely with the Beijing academy students to develop ideas that represented both cultures. “Through this process of two cultures coming together,” she says, “we realized that no matter how different we seemed to be, we are actually similar in so many ways."


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