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8/22/13

By Virginia Terhune, Gazette.Net

Martin Wollesen plans to bring the same inventiveness to his new job as executive director of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in College Park that he did to his previous job in California.

“I’m really excited about making the move,” said Wollesen, who succeeds Susie Farr on Oct. 1,

Farr is retiring after 14 years as executive director of the arts center at the University of Maryland,

Wollesen will be working with the UMD School of Music and also the School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies. He will also be overseeing the visiting artists’ program, raising funds and finding new ways to connect students and the public to the arts at the university.

For the past nine years, Wollesen has been director of events and artistic director for ArtPower!, the program for visiting artists at the University of California in San Diego.

During his years there, he earned a reputation for innovation as a way to engage both nonperforming students and general audiences in music, dance, and film programs.

Read more here

 

6/27/13

By Anne Midgette, Washington Post

So let’s talk Stravinsky. Heard anything about Stravinsky lately? The centennial of “The Rite of Spring” this year seems to me to have occasioned more tributesspin-offs, and homages than I can remember seeing since the last Mozart year (2006) and Bach year (2000). Forget Verdi, forget Wagner (both of whom are having bicentennials this year); we’ve seized on “Rite” as a watershed moment in the development of contemporary music, and it’s being feted as the gateway to modernity around the world. (I may have been reactionary in pointing out in the Washington Post some weeks ago that Diaghilev, who commissioned the piece, was in the business of creating commercial as well as artistic successes.)

The New York Philharmonic got its “Rite” stuff in at the start of this season. Tonight, it’s closing out the season with another look at Stravinsky ballets called “A Dancer’s Dream”: a multimedia puppet-choreography-video production of “The Fairy’s Kiss” and “Petrushka,” overseen by director Doug Fitch, known to Philharmonic audiences for “Le Grand Macabre” and “The Cunning Little Vixen” in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

What the website doesn’t tell you, though, is that this “Petrushka” originated at the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra in 2008, where Fitch was an artist in residence. (The Philharmonic does credit James Ross, UMD’s director of orchestral activities, as the “music consultant.”)

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6/6/13

By Mark Wilson, Fast Company

Pink is for girls. Blue is for boys. Of course our society allows exceptions now and again, but imagine showing up to a boy’s baby shower with a pink bib and matching pink shoes. There would be whispers that either you’re nuts or you must not have seen the ultrasound on Facebook.

But things weren’t always this way. Jo B. Paoletti, historian and author of Pink and Blue: Telling the Girls From the Boys, has found that pink and blue designations are extremely recent phenomena. Around the turn of the century, both sexes wore easily bleached white dresses up to age 6, meaning that gender neutral clothing was the norm. Then things slowly shifted.

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5/14/13

By Kathy Park, WJLA

University of Maryland students took over public space in the Long Branch neighborhood and put a spotlight on an area that may soon get even more attention with the Purple Line.

baseline">Hands-on work takes on new meaning for Fox. She spent the semester along with other classmates using the Long Branch community as their canvas.

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baseline">“This piece is called Thirsty for Change,” says Kristen Fox, a graduate student at the University of Maryland. Her piece consists of 3,444 plastic bottles.

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baseline">“My favorite thing to do is watch the kids,” says Fox. “You’ll see as soon as they get off school they immediately run in and run around the tree here.”

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baseline">The two-week public art display aims to connect the neighborhood while showcasing what the area has to offer.

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baseline">“This temporary work is part of thinking about the longer term vision,” says Ronit Eisenbach, a professor at the University of Maryland.

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baseline">Part of the future plans includes the highly-anticipated and controversial Purple line, a light rail system proposed to go through Long Branch.

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4/22/13

By Paul Voosen, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Sean Pue had an Urdu problem. An assistant professor of South Asian literature at Michigan State University, Mr. Pue was searching for a way to automate his analysis of classical Urdu's internal meter. As an adherent of the small but growing digital humanities movement, he had some coding proficiency, but not enough: Urdu poetry is not based on stress, but on contextual patterns of syllables. His program ran slow, and the problem proved to be, in computational argot, "combinatorially explosive"—the variables piled up, bogging it down.

While at his daughter's ballet class, Mr. Pue mentioned his difficulties to Tracy K. Teal, a microbial ecologist and postdoc at the university. The two had never seen each other on campus, but their girls, best friends, brought the families together. Ms. Teal began to see analogies between how the information in DNA causes proteins to form and the chain of transformations Mr. Pue used to extract Urdu's scansion. Perhaps, she offered, she could help?

The duo were soon in for a surprise, though. The central dogma of biology—that DNA makes RNA makes protein—had nothing on the ballads of Mirza Asadullah Khan. "As we discussed it further," Ms. Teal said, "we actually realized that Urdu poetry is a lot more complicated."

That revelation was one of many packed into a small, two-day meeting at the University of Maryland at College Park that brought together, for the first time, scholars engaged in the digital humanities with scientists from the data-heavy trenches of computational biology.

Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Institutes of Health, among others, and held by the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, the symposium, titled "Shared Horizons," sought to present the fields together as equals. In application, though, it offered lessons to digital humanists from biology, a field that has already gone through its own, sometimes painful, computational revolution.

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3/22/13

By Michael O'Sullivan, The Washington Post 

There’s an ambivalence to a lot of the art in “Network of Mutuality: 50 Years Post-Birmingham.” If there’s a commonality among the civil-rights-themed works by 21 contemporary artists at the University of Maryland’s Art Gallery, it might be this sentiment: We’ve come far since the infamous 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., that killed four girls, but we still have a long way to go.

That friction between aspiration and reality creates, at times, heat.

Archie Boston’s posterlike digital print “We’ve Come Too Far” charts the evolution of terms used by whites to describe blacks, from “slave” to “colored” to “African American,” with other names in between (including a notoriously offensive one). The last item on the list, however, isn’t a word at all but an image commonly used on handbills announcing fugitive slaves.

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2/20/13

Department of English 

Our own Kari Kraus was one of the featured participants on The Kojo Nnamdi Show as Kojo moderated a terrific conversation about the digital humanities on "Tech Tuesday."  The discussion also included Brett Bobley, director of the Office of Digital Humanities at the National Endowment for the Humanities and Benjamin Schmidt, a visiting graduate fellow at the Cultural Observatory at Harvard and a graduate student at Princeton.

To listen to the conversation, please click here. A transcript of the show is also available here.

 

2/27/13

By Nelson Pressley, The Washington Post

An ambitious National Civil War Project will be unveiled Thursday at Arena Stage as major universities and flagship theaters in four cities team up to create new performances and campus programming.

The partnerships represent a “radical collaboration,” says Arena artistic director Molly Smith. Arena is working with George Washington University. The announcement is scheduled to include “artistic demonstrations” of the kinds of theater, dance, music and scholarship likely to emerge from this large-scale initiative...

Baltimore’s Centerstage and the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, a pod that has already initiated a notably big project. The Kronos Quartet has been commissioned for a piece composed by jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard; the performance will involve a 500-voice choir and spoken word by 2011 National Book Award winner Nikky Finney. The result, “At War With Ourselves,” will be performed at a historically significant site.

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1/31/13

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - University of Maryland Professor Philip Resnik's React Labs is partnering withFrank N. Magid Associates this Sunday to take a comprehensive, real-time look at how consumers engage with the Super Bowl and its advertising. The research will use React Lab's innovative mobile technology - developed at the University of Maryland - to measure how engaged viewers are, their reaction to the Super Bowl and its commercials, and if they plan to buy any of the products advertised.

The React Labs technology utilizes a mobile app that enables users to react to an event moment by moment. The new real-time polling platform captures viewer engagement with what they're watching, while simultaneously collecting temporally fine-grained, interpretable data about their responses.

"React Labs harnesses the potential of mobile technology to tap into people's immediate, unmediated responses to what they're seeing and hearing," says Professor Philip Resnik, founder of Bethesda-based React Labs.

Resnik holds joint appointments at Maryland in the Department of Linguistics and at the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS).

"Our goal for this project is to build a platform that seamlessly integrates with how consumers watch and react to major media events like the Super Bowl," he says.

The technology was last used to judge reactions during the presidential debates at the University of Maryland and other colleges and universities across the U.S.

This is the first time it has been used with a Super Bowl.

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1/28/13

By Tom Jacobs, Pacific Standard

Back in the 1990s, advocates for arts education were thrilled by the final wording of the “Goals 2000: Educate America Act.” According to those federal education guidelines, which were signed into law in 1994, fourth, eighth and 12th-graders were expected to demonstrate “competency over challenging subject matter” in a variety of fields, including—for the first time—the arts.

Newly published research reveals that their inclusion had more than just symbolic value. In many schools, elevating the arts to core-subject status made a real difference.

Kenneth Elpus of the University of Maryland reports that Goals 2000 did not significantly increase the number of unique music courses offered in American high schools. However, he writes in the Arts Education Policy Review, “high schools were more likely in the post-Goals 2000 era to require arts course for graduation, and to increase the number of courses needed to satisfy these requirements.”

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