Highlights from 2022-23

Scroll Down

Earth on Fire

Brooklyn Rider and ASU Symphony Orchestra collaborated on a concert and pre-concert display of artwork and exhibits. “Earth on Fire” was part of Brooklyn Rider’s yearlong residency at ASU focused on the four elements through works symbolizing earth, air, fire and water. Participating artists and scholars included ASU faculty and students from the School of Sustainability in the College of Global Futures, the School of Molecular Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the School of Art and The Design School, both in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Learn more about the collaboration.

Kill Move Paradise

ASU Theatre presented “Kill Move Paradise” by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright James Ijames. As part of the production, the School of Music, Dance and Theatre hosted a panel discussion with keynote speaker Reverend Warren H. Stewart and other Black community leaders in Arizona to discuss important issues surrounding this work and celebrating Black history in Arizona. Read more about the production

Above “Transitions : Liminality”
Feb. 10–11, 2023

Reimagining “Hey Jealousy”

The J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute and the School of Music, Dance and Theatre’s Popular Music program hosted Jesse Valenzuela, founding member of the Gin Blossoms, during the fall semester for several events at Fusion on First in downtown Phoenix, including storytelling and feedback sessions with the artist and entrepreneur. Popular Music students were invited to reimagine the Gin Blossoms’ 1989 hit song “Hey Jealousy.” For the “Hey Jealousy” project, each student recreated the song and then received feedback from Valenzuela. As the winner of the project, Cassidy Peterson recorded her version of the song with Valenzuela and is now hoping that it will eventually get released. 

Fulbright Scholar: Theater research in Ireland

Alum Esther Almazán, who earned her MFA in dramatic writing in 2020 from the School of Music, Dance and Theatre, spent a year researching and writing in Galway, Ireland, as a Fulbright Scholar. Her work focuses on studying the intersectionality between Native Americans and Native Irish. A culmination of her Fulbright research project, a theatrical piece titled “A Yaqui and Béal: Yoeme and Irish in Conversation,” was presented at the O’Donoghue Theatre as part of the Galway Theatre Festival. Learn more about her research project.

Dance and science

Keith Thompson, assistant director of the dance program and associate professor at ASU, collaborated with the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) and Wharton Center for the Performing Arts at Michigan State University to create an interactive, multimedia project that educates the community on the intersection of art and science. The program involved graduate students, physicists, dancers and a cast of diverse youth. Read more about the work.

The future of opera

Celebrated opera singer Gordon Hawkins, professor in the School of Music, Dance and Theatre, played the role of Preacher Man in  “The Walkers,” with a music score by Herberger Institute Professor Daniel Bernard Roumain and a libretto by renowned playwright Anna Deavere Smith. “The Walkers” addresses gun violence and is part of “Proximity,” a trio of operas commissioned by the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Listen to an interview with Hawkins and read a Q&A with Hawkins, Roumain and Smith about the work.

Industry conference

The Popular Music Program presented the inaugural Popular Music Career Conference that featured both local and national industry professionals from New York City to Los Angeles. The conference create opportunities for students to interface with the industry and have interactions that are not strictly classroom-based, where students can practice their soft skills, have conversations and make connections with people who will remain contacts once they leave ASU. 

Awards and recognitions 

Several faculty members received awards, published books and garnered recognition. Some of those include Jamal Duncan, the American Prize in conducting wind bands/ensembles; Micha Espinosa, Victoria Foundation Award winner; Karen Schupp, Susan W. Stinson Book Award; Peter Smeltz, ASCAP and AMS awards for his book  “Sonic Overload: Alfred Schnittke, Valentin Silvestrov, and Polystylism in the Late USSR” (Oxford University Press, 2020); and Christi Jay Wells, Society for Ethnomusicology award for their book “Between Beats: The Jazz Tradition and Black Vernacular Dance” (Oxford University Press, April 2021).

Earth on Fire photo Pixabay stock photo. 
Kill Move Paradise photo by Tim Trumble. 
“Transitions : Liminality” photos by TKKreations.
Fulbright Scholar photo courtesy of Esther Almazán. 
Dance and science photo courtesy Harley Seeley.
The future of opera photo courtesy of Lyric Opera of Chicago.