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Penn Live Arts Blog / January 2021

5 Questions with Samara Joy & Pasquale Grasso

Posted January 28, 2021

Penn Live Arts Debuts Jazz Virtual Stage

She just won the prestigious Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. His guitar technique has garnered high praise from jazz great Pat Metheny. Together, with astonishing talent that belies their youth, Samara Joy and Pasquale Grasso will make their Annenberg Center debut on February 4. In this special double edition of our 5 Questions series, let’s learn more about Samara and Pasquale.

Samara Joy:

1. Name a few artists you love that everyone should check out.

Everyone should check out Sarah Vaughan, Phineas Newborn, and Ben Webster, just to name a few.


Remembering Julia Lang Mally W’83

Posted January 26, 2021

Ed Mally, W’83, and sons, David Mally, ENG’15, GEN’16 (center), and Adam Mally, ENG’13, GEN’14, GR’25 (right)
As we move into 2021 and look towards a brighter future with in-person performing arts, we are also reflecting on where we were at this time last year: all together, in our Zellerbach Theatre. One year ago, on January 31, 2020, we gathered with our board member Ed Mally W’83, along with a group of his family and friends, to honor the memory of Ed’s late wife on her birthday. The evening was the official dedication of the Julia L. Mally, W’83 Stage, and a prelude to Spanish Harlem Orchestra’s performance on the newly named stage. Since then, we have presented many more artists on the Julia L. Mally, W’83 Stage, from before we temporarily closed our doors for the COVID-19 pandemic through now, as we continue to stream live, real-time performances. Read more...

Join Pilobolus to connect through balance

Posted January 20, 2021


Balance is an important aspect of our daily lives. Most people don’t notice an issue with balance until they fall, but it begins to decline between the ages of 40 and 50. There are simple, accessible exercises you can use now to maintain and even improve your balance and stability before it becomes a problem.

There are several reasons to begin balance training:

  • Age-related loss of balance – Falls are the leading cause of injuries in older adults, and most don’t think about balance until they fall. Improving balance increases independence and quality of life.
  • Recovering from injuries – Rebuilding balance is an often overlooked but crucial component in recovering from injury.
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle –Too many of us sit all day staring at screens, dissociating from our creativity and body. Read more...

Adapting and optimizing live performance for the virtual stage

Posted January 15, 2021

Dance Music Virtual Stage World Premieres

Pam Tanowitz Dance performing Annenberg Solos: Sites 1-4 in the empty Zellerbach Theatre
Last September, when we first announced our fall digital season, I was overjoyed that after months without live performances, the Annenberg Center would be joining the world of livestream events. Within our line-up, I was especially interested in what Pam Tanowitz Dance, a company known for its “fascinating uses of stage space” (The New York Times), would do with our completely empty Zellerbach Theatre. Tanowitz did not disappoint with her fascinating world premiere of Annenberg Solos: Sites 1-4. The piece featured four solos performed in unconventional areas of the theatre such as backstage and the wings or alongside empty audience seats. Even the audio for the piece was interesting as it included moments of silence, discordant “soundscapes” rather than actual music and the sounds of Tanowitz herself calling out stage cues, intentionally patched into the livestream as part of the work. One might argue that it was a piece built only for livestream and only for an empty theatre, which made me consider the art of a livestream performance and explore creative ways that venues and artists have adapted spaces for other uses. Many, like Tanowitz, have even optimized their work specifically for digital viewing. Read more...