Displaying items by tag: Class of 2020

By Emeri Fetzer 

As members of the Michie Jazz Quintet, premier jazz chamber ensemble here at the University of Utah, reached their second and final year in their unique configuration, it seemed the right moment to mark their time spent playing together with something lasting, something tangible. 

Supported through an endowment generously made by the James R. and Nanette S. Michie Foundation, the group's five members had many wonderful opportunities to collaborate in a laboratory setting, and maintained a rigorous public performance schedule during the school year. As a result,  Anaïs Chantal Samuels (vocals), Evan Taylor (trumpet), Tony Elison (piano), Alicia Wrigley (bass, vocals), and Matt Wilson (drums) cultivated a unique and synergistic sound. 

“The thing that was the most powerful to me was to have a recurring group of people I love and trust and that we had the opportunity to have an ongoing journey over a long period of time...I really felt like I grew alongside Evan, Anaïs, Tony and Matt. I will miss that experience so much” 
- Alicia Wrigley 

 “As their coach this year, I encouraged them to document the sound and style of the group that they had forged together, as well as create recordings that can serve as samples for auditions, publicity, and for posterity," explained John Petrucelli, visiting assistant professor in the U School of Music.  

Before they all graduated (and before COVID-19 drastically changed their final semester), they came together to record. “My favorite part of recording the EP was being able to share that space with my friends during our final year at the University of Utah. We've all worked really hard to get to where we are musically and it was really nice to see that all come together and to have something documented that demonstrates our passion for music,” vocalist Anaïs Chantal Samuels reflected. 

As Petrucelli describes it, the Michie Quintet's EP is a study in contrast. "In the span of three compositions, the ensemble moves between multiple styles, meters, and soloists. Anais Chantal Samuels voice is featured on a wonderful old ballad entitled "Till There Was You," while Evan Taylor's arrangement of "Bloomdido" nods to the cutting edge contemporary jazz approach of Rudresh Mahanthappa and Adam O'Farrill. Alicia Wrigley and Matt Wilson have a wonderful rhythmic dialogue throughout "April in Paris," while Tony Elison's piano playing plays provocateur throughout the session," he said. 

“We had to set up a mad labyrinth of sound panels as we tried to minimize bleed between microphones. It felt like the adult version of building a blanket fort, and will be a mental image I’ll always remember,” described bass player Alicia Wrigley.

The experience not only resulted in a strong final product, it also taught them valuabe things about the music business. “I hope that our students have learned that at the heart of recording is the craft of negotiation. Between musicians, producers, composers, arrangers, studio engineers, photographers, videographers, we convene spontaneously and improvise the process as we go. Recordings highlight strengths and reveal weaknesses, leaving a remembrance of ourselves in a particular time, place and feeling, pointing to future musical ideas and passageways,” Petrucelli said.

Undoubtedly, the Michie Quintet shaped its five committed members beyond the classroom, bringing high level professional experience, and friendships to boot. 

“I can honestly say that being in this program has shown me how to act as a professional in music. I started this program in my second year and had no idea what I was doing or how to go about a career in music. From that I learned the business side of things which I now take on when working on gigs that I've booked outside of school,”  Samuels explained.

“Socially, I have to say that the Michie group has been the highlight of my college career. When I first joined this group, all of the members in the band were older than me and took me under their wings to show me all the things music has to offer and helped me build my confidence as a vocalist which was something I really struggled with. Two years ago before performances my stage fright would get the best of me and I really doubted myself but through time I was able to value myself.”

“The thing that was the most powerful to me was to have a recurring group of people I love and trust and that we had the opportunity to have an ongoing journey over a long period of time," Wrigley added. "So much of the work that we do is with pick-up groups—it both showcases our versatility and pays our bills. But playing with a recurring group, having a musical home to come back to and experiment in, that was special. I really felt like I grew alongside Evan, Anaïs, Tony and Matt. I will miss that experience so much” 

Check out "The Michie Sessions" here! 

Published in Finer Points Blog

By Marina Gomberg 

When you study at University of Utah College of Fine Arts, you’re not just introduced to some of the finest faculty members on the planet. You oftentimes also get to enjoy the benefits of those faculty members’ vast and esteemed networks, too.   

This was the case with the graduating seniors in the University of Utah Department of Theatre’s Actor Training Program (ATP), who got to have one final guest artist experience with assistant professor, Rob Scott Smith’s graduate school buddy — oh, and Emmy and Golden Globe winner — Jim Parsons

Smith wanted to provide something really special to the ATP students who are graduating during this global pandemic, and a visit with Parsons was his Big Bang Theory (har har), especially because the two of them had their own experience graduating during a particularly challenging time. 

 

“I think the thickest common thread of our experience to this experience is that it forces you to realize your commitment to what it is you want,” Parsons said, as he reflected on how the world’s uncertainty made him surer of his own drive and passion as an artist. 

 

“We finished our graduate work from the University of San Diego after 9/11,” Smith noted. “So, I thought the students might uniquely benefit from hearing how he faced life after school in what felt like a pretty uncertain world.” 

In an intimate and invite-only Zoom meeting, Smith and Parsons bantered back and forth about their time together in school, and Smith posed questions to Parsons from the personal to the professional.  

“I think the thickest common thread of our experience to this experience is that it forces you to realize your commitment to what it is you want,” Parsons said, as he reflected on how the world’s uncertainty made him surer of his own drive and passion as an artist. 

The two spoke about life in quarantine, protecting art in the dollar-driven business of artmaking, Parson’s work producing the series “Special,” and his works on Broadway, navigating between playing to a camera versus a live audience, the value of being prepared, and handing life when it all feels like trial by fire. 

He opened up genuinely about his own personal writing practices, the discovery of his aversion to the business side of the work, and how he overcomes his own doubts and fears.  

“I do think that’s a big part of it, is to understand that fear and uncertainty are the companions — they’re always in the side car. And when you quit fighting them — for me at least — they become smaller, for lack of engaging with them as much. But they also offer their own excitement and mystery, and you learn, sometimes, to let that be the joy.” 

After about 45 minutes of what felt like watching two longtime friends catch up in their living room (which even included the recipe for Parsons’ apparently famous Velveeta chip dip), Smith opened the session to student questions, which ranged from the more pragmatic and tactical to philosophical and lofty. Each of the questions, though, was paired with profuse gratitude for the opportunity to hear from Parsons and pick his brain. 

It was a big bang, indeed. 

Parsons sent one final thought after the call for Smith to share with the students: "YOU ARE ENOUGH. I think it’s THE most CRUCIAL information I ever received and it means something new and deeper to me with each passing year but, as an actor, I HIGHLY advise saying it to yourself as often as you can remember to do so and until you believe it!"

Published in Finer Points Blog

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2020! 

Your journey to this moment was herculean even before the pandemic, and that you made it to the finish line in spite of this life-changing reality makes you our heroes.
So, don your capes, turn up your volume, and enjoy this special graduation address from Dean John W. Scheib.  

Below it, you’ll find even more to celebrate, including a list of our students who are graduating with honors degrees, acknowledgement of our retiring and emeritus faculty members, and announcement of our esteemed Faculty and Staff Excellence Award recipients and a University of Utah Distinguished Teaching Award.

To each and every one of you: thank you for all you bring to the University of Utah College of Fine Arts. And congratulations to our graduates!

Honors degrees 

The Honors College is celebrating another record-breaking academic year in terms of number of students graduating with an Honors Bachelor degree. Below are the College of Fine Arts students receiving honors degrees who contributed to the overall success:

Abigail Bowe

Department of Film & Media Arts
Tehua Clark

Department of Film & Media Arts
Morgan Cox

Department of Film & Media Arts, Entertainment Arts & Engineering 
Tony Elison
School of Music
Roxanne Fitzwilliam

Department of Film & Media Arts 

Erin Jackson
Department of Art & Art History
Sydney Porter Williams
Department of Art & Art History
Severin Sargent-Catterton
School of Dance
Michal Tvrdik
School of Music
Bryce Wallace

Department of Film & Media Arts, Entertainment Arts & Engineering 


Retiring and Emeritus Faculty

Ellen Bromberg
School of Dance

Distinguished Professor Ellen Bromberg is a choreographer, filmmaker, mediadesigner, curator and educator. A former dancer and choreographer with Utah’s Repertory Dance Theater, she has received numerous awards for her work including a Guggenheim Fellowship, three Bay Area Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, a Bonnie Bird American Choreographer Award, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and the George Soros Foundation, among others. She has also been honored with a Pew National Dance/Media Fellowship, a UC Berkeley Townsend Humanities Fellowship, and two UC Davis Granada Artist-in-Residence Awards. Ellen’s screen works havebeen presented on public television stations, online channels, and at numerous national and international dance film festivals including Lincoln Center’s Dance on Camera Festival,Cinedans Amsterdam, VideoDanza, Buenos Aires, and Dance Camera West, Los Angeles, to name a few. Recent work focuses on the integration of media in performance and she has designed video for stage and installations in her own work and in collaboration with other choreographers including Della Davidson, Zvi Gotheiner, Pat Graney, Deborah Hay, Stephen Koester, Victoria Marks, Douglas Rosenberg, Doug Varone among others. Ellen is a recipient of a 2012 Distinguished Innovation and Impact Award and is the founding director of the Universityof Utah International Screendance Festival, which began in 1999. Ellen has also designed the first Graduate Certificate in Screendance, in collaboration with the Department of Film & Media Arts, which is now in its seventh year.

Kathy Pope
School of Music 

Professor Kathy Pope has been active musically in the Salt Lake area for many years as a teacher, clinician, adjudicator, and performer. Professor Pope was the Principal Clarinetist for Ballet West and also performed frequently with the Utah Symphony. She has played with the Opus Chamber Orchestra, Utah Chamber Artists, and has been a soloist with the Salt Lake Symphony. She is the National Clarinet Repertoire Consultant for the Music Teachers National Association. Her compact disc recordings, "From Bach to Gershwin," "Clarinet Kaleidoscope," and "A French Soirée" have all received critical acclaim. The American Record Guide cited her most recent CD, "A French Soirée," as “absolute perfection” and The Clarinet said, “this recording is very worthy of anyclarinetist’s library.” Ms. Pope has been very active in the International Clarinet Association including soloing at theconventions in Stockholm, Salt Lake City and Washington D.C. She was the conference coordinator for the 2003 Clarinet Association convention at the University of Utah. She has served as coordinator for the Orchestral Audition and High School Competitions, and is the Utah State Chair. Ms. Pope is an artist-clinician for both Buffet Crampon USA and Rico International.

Steve Roens

School of Music 

Dr. Steve Roens holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology from Swarthmore College, a Master of Fine Arts degree in music theory and composition from Brandeis University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from Columbia University. He studied composition with Seymour Shifrin, Martin Boykan, Arthur Berger, Chou Wen-Chung, Jack Beeson, and Mario Davidovsky. He is the recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Composers' Conference, and a former visiting assistant professor at Wellesley College. Roens's writing is freely atonal, rhythmically fluid, and spare. It has been called by one critic, neo-Webernian. Primarily for chamber groups of varying sizes and soloists, pieces have been commissioned by the Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players, the Nova Chamber Music Series, the Intermezzo Chamber Music Series, and pianists Jason Hardink, and Rebecca La Brecque. His music is published by the Association for the Promotion of New Music and is available on the Centaur label. As a teacher of composition, while his background and practice are informed by the literature of atonal music, Roens’s approach to teaching helps students find their own voices and originality in whatever direction their stylistic predilections evolve. In addition to teaching music theory andcomposition, during his 30 year career at the University of Utah Dr. Roens took on a variety of administrative positions, serving at different times as Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts, as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, as Director of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, and as Head of the School of Music Composition Area. Roens enjoyed dividing his time between teaching and his administrative duties and believes that these differenta ctivities can support each other in a variety of ways.He is also an avid photographer, amateur astronomer, and hiker.

 

CFA Faculty Excellence Awards 2020

Faculty Excellence in Research 

Jane Hatter
School of Music 

"Since her research transcends the field of Music and crosses over into Art and Culture, Dr. Hatter has an excellent record of engagement with scholars in the field of musicology as well as scholars in other research areas of Medieval and Renaissance Studies. In 2019 she presented her work at the Medieval-Renaissance Music Conference in Switzerland, the 25th Annual Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and Medieval Association of the Pacific Joint Conference, and at an International Symposium at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.  In past years she also presented at conferences that are more broadly aimed at medieval and renaissance scholars, such as the conference of the Renaissance Society of America (in 2017 and 2018), and at the Medieval Association of the Pacific 50th Annual Conference (2016). She also has presented her work at important musicology conferences, such as the North American British Musical Studies Association (2018), and the Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society (2018), which is the most prestigious U.S. annual meeting for musicologists."
- Faculty nominator 

Faculty Excellence in Teaching 

Carol Sogard 
Department of Art & Art History 

"Professor Sogard offers students a space to explore design in ways that they’ve yet been able to imagine, and helps them find the independence they need to become confident designers...Carol makes a point to teach her students that their work has an impact on the world around them. Her approach in the classroom is focused on connection and community building, and she makes a point to educate her students about important issues in or society, while also giving us the tools that allow us to use our design practice to create discussion and positive change. Her passion for sustainable design has been inspiring, and her efforts have helped my classmates and myself educate not only ourselves, but those around us."
-
Graphic Design student nominator 


Staff Excellence Award 


Penny Caywood
Artistic Director, University of Utah Youth Theatre 
Department of Theatre 

"Penny Caywood's years of service to the College of Fine Arts via her leadership of Youth Theatre at the U has inspired thousands of young people and families via the unique and robust educational programming and performance opportunities she directs year-round. Mrs. Caywood’s positive energy, genuine approach to teaching and directing K-16 as well as her ability to adapt theatre teaching core content to meet the needs of diverse learners and students is truly remarkable. Her ability to sustain and create new community engaged partnerships across the college, campus, and state is impressive. She is an amazing asset to the college for providing high quality arts experiences for young people, which in turn creates a direct recruiting pipeline for the college and university as a whole."
- Nominator 

University of Utah Distinguished Teaching Award 

Beth Krensky 
Department of Art & Art History 

"Dr. Krensky has shown deep, enduring commitment to the development and implementation of cutting edge arts education curricula that pushes our arts teaching students to think inclusively and globally in an effort to forward the field of arts education. Presently, the community-based arts education research she is conducting is providing opportunities for select undergraduate and graduate students to experience the simultaneous ability to empower communities through art-making collaboration and partnership. These student researchers, through Dr. Krensky’s mentorship, are making important contributions to the field as they investigate global issues via art education, art-making, and community engagement. Dr. Krensky’s classes empower our arts teaching students to work authentically alongside young people and to utilize the community’s experiences as the inspiration for the creative work."
- Nominator 


Make sure you check out all our other Convocation 2020 virtual content:

 
Videos from our student convocation speakers, Jae Weit and Sydney May here
 CFA's Outstanding Seniors and Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher
 Don't miss out on an opportunity to share your memories, photos, and thank you's at our online message board!
We'll be cheering for you. Stay connected at @uofucfaalumni! 
 

Published in Finer Points Blog

Normally, the presence of our graduating seniors would be personified by one student on the stage of Kingsbury Hall, with wisdom, memories and gratitude echoing through the iconic theatre and into our collective consciousness. 

But this year is anything but normal. 

So instead, to accommodate the changes in our world, we’re bringing you the voices of two students speakers, each who have powerful, compelling, gracious, thoughtful remarks about their time here studying in the University of Utah College of Fine Arts and their hopes for the future.  

Without further ado, it is our pleasure to welcome to the main digital stage: graduates Sydney May from the School of Dance, and Jae Weit from the Department of Theatre.

 

Sydney May
School of Dance, Class of 2020

 

Jae Weit
Department of Theatre, Class of 2020



*Check back tomorrow for an official address from Dean John W. Scheib!*

Published in Finer Points Blog

Welcome to the Class of 2020 Message Board!

Leave a message.
Share a picture. 
Thank a mentor.
Give a shout out.

Think of this live message board as a virtual Kingsbury Hall lawn, where students, faculty, staff, families and friends join together in celebration. Although we can't be together this year for convocation, use this space to share your appreciation, memories, and farewells.

Whether grad, parent, educator, alumni, or valued supporter -- you can leave your love here

1. Click the pink plus sign
2. Leave your message, photo, link, or video (or all of the above!) 
3. Sign your name! If you are a graduate, let us know your school or department. 
4. Read the messages from others!

Our remarkable graduates, here's to you! We couldn't be prouder. 

Made with Padlet
Published in Finer Points Blog

We are about to graduate a class of brilliant, creative and remarkably resilient students during a global pandemic. This is a first. And it’s not without sincere disappointment and loss. While this moment presents unique challenges, as artists, we are no strangers to creative thinking, and the leadership of the College of Fine Arts is undeterred in our drive to celebrate the momentous achievements of the graduating class of 2020!   

What will make these celebration powerful is if you participate — as students, faculty, family and friends.
We will be rolling out a full week of celebrations starting on 4/27 on our blog, our social media, and via email.  

To our graduating class, if you haven’t already, please send us a photo or video of your favorite moment, people, or place at the U.
Upload your memory to this UBox or send to this email address by Monday, 4/20 to be included in the virtual celebrations.
Click 'Join Folder' on the top menu bar to access the 'Upload' feature.
Please include a brief description of your memory when you upload your file. Descriptions can be added under “File Properties” section on the righthand side of the window once your file is uploaded.

You have been making us proud for years now, and we can’t wait to see how you continue to shine.

Published in Finer Points Blog