Penn Live Arts Blog / November 2023

Cappella Pratensis and Salamone Rossi educational engagements

Posted November 21, 2023

For Rutgers musicologist Rebecca Cypess, who spoke at our recent roundtable on the music of Italian-Jewish Renaissance composer Salamone Rossi, there is something strange about Psalm 137. Though the text describes the Israelites rejecting music in the face of mourning – “there on the poplars we hung our lyres” – and though that custom persists in certain Jewish communities, she noted that the psalm has been set to an astonishing variety of melodies, including Rossi’s own. It’s almost as if, she noted at her talk’s conclusion, the poem presents a challenge: to sing even in times of distress. Read more...

Celebrating Excellence: Our board members shine at Homecoming

Posted November 17, 2023

Richard D. Feintuch and Katherine Stein Sachs. Photo courtesy of Penn Alumni.
In a celebration of dedication and unwavering commitment to the University, two outstanding Penn Live Arts board members and distinguished Penn alumni were honored at the Alumni Award of Merit Gala over Homecoming Weekend.

Richard D. Feintuch, Wharton Class of 1974, received the prestigious Alumni Award of Merit, recognizing his exceptional contributions to the University community and his remarkable dedication to the performing arts. As the longest-serving member on our board, Rick Feintuch has been a pillar of support for the arts at Penn, contributing his time, expertise, and passion to advance the cultural landscape of the University. Read more...

The Negro Ensemble Company connects with students

Posted November 7, 2023

During the week of October 16, the Negro Ensemble Company (NEC), our 23/24 season artist-in-residence, prepared to perform No Policy, No Justice, an evening of world premiere one-act plays by Mona Washington (Elevator Not Necessary) and Cynthia Grace Robinson (Breathe) that addressed how mourners process deaths of loved ones lost to gun violence. Penn theatre arts, creative writing and English classes hosted NEC artists throughout the week leading up to the performances, beginning with director Ralph McCain in August Wilson and Beyond, the Academically Based Community Service course, co-taught this semester by Margit Edwards and Suzana Berger. McCain found clear connections between Wilson’s legacy of writing about Black communities and the emotional exploration of the aftermath of violence in the plays, and he exchanged stories with students about the frightening grip gun violence has on everyday American life. Read more...

Doug Varone brings his latest masterwork, Somewhere, to Philadelphia

Posted November 1, 2023

Expect the unexpected when the award-winning Doug Varone and Dancers burst onto our stage with the Philadelphia premiere of Somewhere, an inventive plotless take on Leonard Bernstein’s memorable score for West Side Story. Founder Doug Varone’s signature style is acclaimed for its fluid athleticism, painterly musicality, speed, naturalism and emotional depth that speaks to the human spirit. “This is a company of master dancers, performing masterly choreography.” (Newsday) It is no wonder the company is an 11-time Bessie Award recipient with performances in 125 cities worldwide. Read more...