“Mega-Ditties,” Music by Retiring Professor Lewis Spratlan, at Amherst College Feb. 19

January 31, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—“Mega-Ditties,” a selection of pieces by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lewis Spratlan, who is retiring as the Peter R. Pouncey Professor of Music at Amherst College after 36 years, will be performed at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb.19, in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center at Amherst. The concert, and a reception following in the Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons, are free and open to the public.

The program will include “Mega-Ditty” for percussion duo, with Eduardo Leandro and Ricardo Bologna, percussionists; “Toccapsody” for piano, with Eric Wubbels; “Piccolosophy” for piccolo and piano, with Ellen Redman, piccolo, and Clifton J. Noble, Jr., piano; “Ophélie” for soprano and piano, with Melinda Spratlan, soprano, and Gary Steigerwalt, piano; and “Streaming” for piano quartet, with Yvonne Lam, violin, Margaret Dyer, viola, Susie Yang, cello and Gilbert Kalish, piano.

A recent review in The New York Times noted that Spratlan’s “style, though challenging, is lucid, engrossing and vibrantly imaginative.”

Spratlan has taught at Amherst College since 1970, when he founded and conducted the Amherst-Mount Holyoke Orchestra. A native of Miami, he studied with Mel Powell and Gunther Schuller at Yale University and the Yale School of Music, and also has taught and conducted at Tanglewood and the Yale Summer School of Music and Art. His compositions have won many awards and prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize for Life Is a Dream, Opera in Three Acts: Act Two, Concert Version, which had its world premiere at Amherst in 2000.

Spratlan’s recordings include Two Pieces for Orchestra (Opus One Records), Night Music (Gasparo) and most recently When Crows Gather and Other Works (Albany), performed by the New York Ensemble Sequitur, which The New York Times named one of the top five classical recordings of 2005. His music has been performed in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Pittsburgh, Miami, London, Moscow, Montreal, Toronto and, perhaps most significantly, Boston, where he has received commissions and premieres from the Boston Musica Viva, Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble, soprano Karol Bennett and pianist John McDonald. Other New England-based ensembles, including the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, the Lydian String Quartet, the Windsor Quartet and Ancora have performed his works as well. He is the recipient of Guggenheim, NEA, Massachusetts Artists Foundation and MacDowell Fellowships.

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Theologian Michael J. Buckley, S.J. To Speak on Atheism at Amherst College Feb. 2

January 30, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Michael J. Buckley, S.J., University Professor of Theology at Boston College, will speak on “The Dialectical Progress of Modern Atheism” at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2, in the Cole Assembly Room (Red Room) in Converse Hall at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Newman Club at Amherst College and the Willis D. Wood Fund, Buckley’s talk is free and open to the public.

Michael J. Buckley, S.J. delivered the D’Arcy Lectures at Oxford University last year on the progress of modern atheism. His talk at Amherst will explore the beginnings of this atheistic development in the 18th century, when an articulate, self-confessed atheism emerged for the first time. Over the centuries that followed, this disbelief with its attendant rejections came to influence first the educated intellect of Europe, then those countries touched by the European mind, and finally, great movements and civilizations throughout the world.

Buckley is the author of Denying and Disclosing God: The Ambiguous Progress of Modern Atheism (2004); Papal Primacy and the Episcopate: Towards a Relational Understanding (1998); The Catholic University as Promise and Project: Reflections in a Jesuit Idiom (1998); and At the Origins of Modern Atheism (1990). He has published extensively in systematic theology, philosophy, spirituality, science and theology and the history of ideas.

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Calvin O. Butts To Celebrate the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King at Amherst College Feb. 10

January 24, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York and president of the State University of New York College at Old Westbury, will lead the annual interfaith service in celebration of the life of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10, in Johnson Chapel at Amherst College. The service will include music performed by Amherst College students, readings from King’s writings and an address by Butts, known as a stirring speaker. The public is invited to arrive early to listen to recorded speeches of King at 6:30 p.m. in Johnson Chapel.

A powerful preacher and native New Yorker, Butts received a B.A. degree in philosophy from Morehouse College, a Master of Divinity in church history from Union Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry in church and public policy from Drew University. He has taught in the African Studies Department at City College, New York, and Fordham University. Butts is the president of the Council of Churches of the City of New York, chairman of the National Affiliate Development Initiative of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (BLCA) and has served as president of Africare New York City.

The Abyssinian Baptist Church, led by Butts, is committed to a Christian mission in the community. Butts was a founder of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, a community-based organization responsible for more than $100 million in housing and commercial development in Harlem. The Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change, a public intermediate and high school, is a project of the Abyssinian Development Corporation. Butts has led several boycotts against racist policies and employment discrimination in New York and a campaign that eliminated negative billboard advertising in Harlem and communities elsewhere in the city. This “billboard whitewashing” campaign helped to sensitize the country to the evils of drug abuse and exploitive advertising, and Butts also has raised the issue of rap lyrics that target women and praise violence.

President of SUNY Old Westbury since 1999, Butts has reinvigorated one of the most diverse public college campuses in America. Under his leadership the college has increased its enrollment, added full-time faculty and expanded the services it provides to support and aid students, embarking on an ambitious program of building.

Butts has received numerous awards, including “Man of the Year” from the Morehouse College Alumni Association, the William M. Moss Distinguished Brotherhood Award and the Louise Fisher Morris Humanitarian Award. Butts has been recognized as a Living Treasure by the New York City Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Butts currently delivers a weekly sermon each Sunday, on KISS Radio (98.7 FM in New York).

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Dutch Masters of the 17th Century at Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

January 24, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—As part of the regional cultural event GoDutch! and to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Rembrandt’s birth, the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College will present “Dutch Masters of the Seventeenth Century,” a selection of works on paper from the permanent collection, from Saturday, Jan. 28 through Sunday, Aug. 20. Joel Upton, a professor of fine arts at Amherst, will speak about the 1667 painting “Interior of the New Church, Delft,” by Hendrick Cornelisz. van Vliet, in a lecture titled “Waiting’ with Hendrick Cornelisz. van Vliet (1611-1675): A Contemplative Encounter” at 4:30 p. m. on Thursday, March 16, in the Green Teaching Gallery at the museum. Admission to the museum and all events is free and open to the public.

“Dutch Masters of the Seventeenth Century” will feature several etchings by Rembrandt, including the “Triumph of Mordecai,” a recent gift from Albert Barnett (Amherst College Class of 1952). Landscape, portraiture, genre, religious and mythological subjects will be on view, reflecting the wide thematic range of Dutch art of the period. In addition to Rembrandt, artists will include Nicolaes Berchem, Hendrik Goltzius, Pieter van Laer, Paulus Moreelse, Jacob van Ruisdael and Geertruydt Roghman, one of the rare women printmakers active in Holland in the 17th century.

Related GoDutch! exhibits will take place at the Smith College Museum of Art, the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, Historic Deerfield, the University Gallery (University of Massachusetts) and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. This collaborative project of the Museums10 consortium is supported in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

The Mead Art Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Thursday evenings until 9 p.m. Additional information is available on the museum’s Website or by calling the museum at 413/542-2335.

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Amherst College Students and Faculty Travel to New Orleans to Clean Up

January 23, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Seven Amherst College students and two professors joined a clean-up trip to New Orleans earlier this month, working with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Pat O’Hara, the Thalheimer Professor of Chemistry at Amherst, who was one of the organizers of the trip, says they worked for five days in the devastated city clearing debris and gutting homes so that rebuilding could begin. “We slept on the floor, cooked our meals in the church kitchen, and really felt that we were able to make a big difference in the lives of the elderly and disabled homeowners with whom we worked,” says O’Hara. “Everyone we met had their own story, and hearing these stories was just as important as getting the work done so that these people could begin to put their lives back together. We also made sure to visit the downtown French Quarter and heard some great jazz and blues and ate great Cajun food.”

For Chanel Clarke ’09, this was the first trip home to New Orleans since she and her family arrived at Amherst College for first-year orientation on the day Katrina destroyed their home. “Seeing this through her eyes was particularly powerful,” says O’Hara. Clarke remained in New Orleans after the rest of the group left, working with “Common Ground” another relief agency in the lower Ninth Ward. She was able to ensure that her family home was placed on the list of houses that UMCOR will help to rebuild.

The other Amherst College students on the trip were Sara Barmettler ’08, Cameron Lang ’08, Aeri Park ’09, Meg Ray ’08, Carolyn Shea ’08 and Lucy Sheehan ’08. They joined two students from UMass, Matthew Janko and Erik Walker, and Saera Park, a student at Rutgers University. The students were accompanied by Lyle McGeoch, a professor of computer science at Amherst College, Rich Blatchly of Amherst and his and O’Hara’s 13-year-old daughter Rebecca Blatchly. Local volunteers on the trip were Sandra Boston, Gerry Harvey, Kent Higgins, Mary Koncel, Irene Michaud, Louise Minks and Pat Larson.

Many of these people are members of the Amherst United Methodist Church. Higgins, who is a campus minister with United Christian Foundation at the University of Massachusetts, helped the group make contacts with St. Matthew’s Church in New Orleans, the local center for UMCOR.

Partial funding for this trip was provided by the Amherst College Outreach Office and President’s Office. Almost $3,000 was raised in donations, most of which was given to New Orleans homeowners as gift cards for rebuilding their homes. Some of the funds will provide financial assistance for students on future trips. O’Hara says trips are planned again during the college spring break in March, during the local high school break in April and perhaps next year again in January.

The Amherst College students will be giving public talks about the experience in the coming semester.

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Patricia Williams Will Deliver McCloy Lecture at Amherst College Feb. 16

January 23, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Patricia Williams, the John J. McCloy ’16 Professor of American Institutions and International Relations at Amherst College and a professor of law at Columbia University School of Law, will give a talk titled “‘Gender, Genes and Genesis,” on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 4:30 p.m. in the Cole Assembly Room (Red Room) in Converse Hall at Amherst College. The talk will be free and open to the public.

The Alchemy of Race and Rights: A Diary of a Law Professor (1991), Williams’ first book, was an autobiographical work that challenged what many take for granted in our society, particularly with regard to cultural constructs of race and gender. One reviewer praised Williams for her ability to “meld sophisticated legal scholarship, memoir and allegory.”

Williams, who joined the Columbia Law School faculty in 1991, received a B.A. from Wellesley College and a J.D. from Harvard University. She served as a deputy city attorney (1976-1978) in the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office; staff attorney (1978-1980) for the Western Center on Law and Poverty in Los Angeles; assistant professor (1980-1984) and associate professor (1984-1985) at Golden Gate College; and associate professor (1984-1988) at the City University of New York in Queens.

Her other works include The Rooster’s Egg: On the Persistence of Prejudice (1995) and Seeing a Color-Blind Future: The Paradox of Race (1997), among many others. Her most recent book was Open House: On Family Food, Friends, Piano Lessons and The Search for a Room of My Own (2004.) Williams also writes a column for The Nation and received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2000.

The John J. McCloy ’16 Professorship was established at Amherst College in 1983 to honor John J. McCloy and his outstanding career of service and accomplishment in American politics and international diplomacy. Williams’ visit is hosted by the Department of Political Science at Amherst College.

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Artist in Residence Wendy Ewald to Exhibit Work in Eli Marsh Gallery at Amherst College Jan. 30 - Feb. 19

January 19, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Wendy Ewald, internationally recognized photographer and artist in residence at Amherst College, will present an exhibition of her work in the Eli Marsh Gallery in Fayerweather Hall at Amherst College from Monday, Jan. 30 until Sunday, Feb. 19. Ewald will give a lecture on her work in Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 6. Ewald’s lecture is free and open to the public.

For more than 30 years, Ewald’s work has challenged the traditional and cultural ideas of the photographer and the photographed. By encouraging her subjects, often children, to actively participate in the photographing and developing processes, Ewald continually redefines the concept of who makes the image. After working with children in collaborative projects in Raquira, Colombia and Gujarat, India, Ewald founded the Literacy through Photography program in Durham, N.C., which fosters youth expression of personal visions and aspirations through the photograph.

Ewald studied photography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Minor White and received her B.A. degree in fine arts from Antioch College in 1974. Ewald has had solo exhibitions at the International Center of Photography in New York, the Centre for Photography as an Art Form in Bombay and Nederlands Foto Instituut in Rotterdam. Her many honors include a MacArthur Fellowship, and grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Andy Warhol Foundation and the Fulbright Commission.

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Bernstein and Wilbur’s Candide at Amherst College Feb. 2, 3 and 4

January 19, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Amherst College Department of Music will present a fully staged 50th anniversary production of the 1956 Broadway hit Candide, with songs by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Amherst College alumnus and former U.S. Poet Laureate Richard Wilbur ’42 at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2, and Friday, Feb. 3, and at 2:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4, in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center at Amherst College. General admission is $5, but the show is free to Amherst College students. Reservations are recommended; e-mail candide@amherst.edu .

Candide, based on the sardonic 1759 Voltaire novella, features a title character who struggles to remain an “eternal optimist” as he traverses the globe and suffers calamities and misfortunes in search of his childhood sweetheart, Cunegonde.

The Amherst College production, the third annual musical staged as part of the college’s January Interterm, will present the 1989 Scottish Opera production, which reflects Bernstein’s final thoughts on the score, with libretto by Hugh Wheeler and additional lyrics by Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Lillian Hellman and others.

The Five College student cast is directed by New York City Opera director A. Scott Parry, with musical direction by Mark Lane Swanson and Rob Lane ’05, technical direction and lighting design by Ed Ahern and choreography by Zoe Block. Parry also conceived the sets and costumes for this production. As in last year’s popular La Cage aux Folles, the Amherst College Orchestra will be in the pit. This production is funded by the Amherst College Department of Music, the Association of Amherst Students and the Office of Student Activities.

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Amherst College Professor Nicola Courtright is New President of College Art Association

January 17, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Nicola Courtright, a professor of fine arts at Amherst College, has been elected president of the College Art Association for a two-year term, beginning in May.

A member of the Amherst faculty since 1989, Courtright earned a B.A. degree in art history at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, an M.A. at Yale University and a Ph.D. at the New York University Institute of Fine Arts. A specialist in the art and architecture of early modern Europe, she is the author of The Papacy and the Art of Reform in Sixteenth-Century Rome: Gregory XIII and the Tower of the Winds in the Vatican (2003). Courtright also has published in the Grove Dictionary of Art, Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte and The Art Bulletin. A Fulbright Fellow, a fellow of the American Academy in Rome and a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, Courtright recently organized an international conference at Amherst College on the latest subject of her research, the expression of political ideologies of rule for early modern French queens in the art and architecture of their palaces. Her recent sabbatical was supported by the American Association of University Women.

Courtright has been a member of the College Art Association Board of Directors since 2000 and served as vice president for publications from 2004 to 2006. Founded in 1911, the CAA promotes excellence in scholarship and teaching in the history and criticism of the visual arts and in creativity and technical skill in the teaching and practices of art. Its members include more than 13,000 artists, art historians, scholars, curators, collectors, educators, art publishers and other visual arts professionals. Another 2,000 university art and art history departments, museums, libraries, and professional and commercial organizations hold institutional memberships.

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Duane Michals: Photography and Reality at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College Jan. 20 through April 16

January 17, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College will present Duane Michals: Photography and Reality from Friday, Jan. 20 to Sunday, April 16. Duane Michals will speak about his work at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16, in Stirn Auditorium. The exhibition, talk and a reception in the museum are all free and open to the public.

Since the late 1960s, Duane Michals’s influential photographs have depicted staged events and celebrity portraits, as well as literary, autobiographical, philosophical and erotic themes, with humor and emotional honesty. For this exhibition, co-curators Justin Kimball, a visiting assistant professor of fine arts at Amherst College, and Jill Meredith, the director of the Mead Art Museum, have selected excerpts from recent projects. These include sequences of small-scale gelatin silver prints that reveal the unfolding of an event or multiple views of a single subject. In this exhibition, Michals offers meditations on such universal themes as love, death, family and nature. Through the use of accompanying texts, often his own prose or poetic epigrams, Michals explores the resonance between single and sequential images, as well as the interplay of the verbal and the visual. These photographs evoke the dream world and idealism of children, as well as adult pragmatism, desire, memory and loss.

Born in McKeesport, Pa. in 1932, Michals graduated from the University of Denver and pursued graphic design and photography in the late 1950s. His extensive career has included one-person exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art (1970) and the George Eastman House (1971), as well as more recent solo shows at the Odakyu Museum, Tokyo (1999) and the National Gallery of Canada, Ontario (2000). This exhibition, organized by the Mead with the participation of the artist, includes work from his monographs: Nature of Desire, Now Becoming Then, Questions Without Answers, Eros and Thanatos and Salute, Walt Whitman. Also included is a new series, Ukiyo-e: Pictures from the Floating World (2005), Michals’s first fine art photography project using color.

Support for this exhibition has been provided by the Richard Templeton (Class of 1931) Photography Fund. The artist’s lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of Fine Arts.
The Mead Art Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Thursday evenings until 9 p.m. Additional information is available on the museum’s Website or by calling the museum at 413/542-2335. Admission and all events are free and open to the public.

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