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Saturday, Jun 25, 2022

Performing Arts Spotlight: Dawn Upshaw

As the semester comes to a close, you may be looking for ways to center yourself before digging into finals.

“I think that quieting oneself to listen is a lovely way to close out the last day of classes, especially for those who miss being sung to at night,” said Gloria Breck ’18, a physics major at the College.

Coincidentally, the closing event of the 2016–17 Middlebury College Performing Arts Series provides the perfect opportunity for students to slow down their fast pace of life and fully relax in the rhythm of music. On Friday, May 12 at 8 p.m. in the Mahaney Center for the Arts’s Olin C. Robinson Concert Hall, soprano Dawn Upshaw, a five-time Grammy Award winner, will give a traditional song recital with her regular duo partner, pianist Gil Kalish, featuring works by Schubert, Janáček, Ravel, Clarke, Bartók and Bolcom. There will be a post-concert reception for the audience.

The morning following the concert, at 10 a.m. in Robison Hall, five lucky Middlebury College students will participate in a master class with Upshaw. Baritone Kahari Blue ’19, mezzo-sopranos Victoria Isquith ’19 and Mandy Kimm ’17 and sopranos Eleanor Mayerfeld ’19 and Miranda Seixas ’20 will each receive individual coaching from this world-class artist. Observers are welcome.

As the Pioneer Press described, “Upshaw’s instrument has the kind of power, clarity and pure beauty that can transfix a listener.”

Combining her rare natural warmth with a fierce commitment to the transforming power of music, Upshaw is a world-class vocal artist with concert repertoire ranging from the sacred works of Bach to the freshest sounds of today. With an extraordinary ability to reach the heart of music and text, Upshaw was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2007 and was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2008.

Kalish, the concert’s pianist, is also greatly renowned for his talents. According to The New York Times, Kalish “painted Messiaen’s bursts of solo piano writing in bright hues and with sharply defined edges.”

“Leading a musical life of unusual variety and breadth, Kalish has a profound influence on the musical community as an educator and as a pianist,” Kalish’s biography praises. “His myriad performances and recordings has established him as a major figure in American music making.”

Gloria Breck ’18 is a music lover and a piano student of Diana Fanning who has presented solo piano recitals in Robison Hall before. She is looking forward to going to the Upshaw/Kalish concert.

“I grew up hearing both names separately but frequently over the local classical music station (104.9, KDFC), so to have them materialize at Midd is a dream,” she said.

Student tickets are $6 and can be purchased at go/boxoffice.