Variety of performances color Artswego season

dance imageThe 2006-07 Artswego lineup at SUNY Oswego will feature a diverse repertoire of performers in dance, music, visual arts and multimedia in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

The series will start in September with a residency by the MASS Ensemble. The group of musicians, artists, composers and choreographers combine music, dance and visual art in “Critical MASS,” a show that, according to the Alaskan Design Forum, “looks like sculpture, sounds like Zappa, kicks like Jackie Chan.”

At 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16, the strings of the Earth Harp, an instrument created by the group, will turn Waterman Theatre into a giant instrument, producing a sound that CNN says “tends to evoke heavenly associations.” “E=MC2 Closesound: A Musical Exploration by MASS Ensemble” will show from Sept. 5 to Oct. 9 in Tyler Art Gallery.

Jazz guitarist Mike Stern will bring his genre-blending sound to Oswego as part of the Jazz Guitar and More Festival at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11. Stern made his debut on guitar at age 22 with Blood, Sweat and Tears. Stern played with jazz legend Miles Davis on three recordings: “Man With The Horn,” “Star People” and “We Want Miles.” He has also performed with Jaco Pastorius, Al Foster, Bill Evans, Marcus Miller and the Brecker Brothers. Phil Freeman of JAZZIZ calls Stern “a great guitar player . . . funky, rocking, occasionally bluesy and totally mesmerizing.”

A cappella group Blue Jupiter will perform a holiday-themed show, “Scattered Flurries,” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29. In the show, the recent winners of Oreo’s “Milk’s Favorite Jingle Contest” and headliners for VH1’s Save the Music offer traditional carols and up-tempo arrangements of contemporary holiday pieces with sketches, bits of humor and dramatic moments. Their debut album, “Ear Candy,” was nominated for best contemporary album of the year by the Contemporary A Cappella Society.

At 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 8 and 9, Waterman Theatre will host a version of Carl Orff’s classic “Carmina Burana” that combines the traditional story with the high-energy kinetics of nicholasleichterdance and SUNY Oswego’s College Choir and Festival Chorus. Leichter’s blend of hip-hop, modern dance and contact partnering seeks to highlight the underlying themes of religion, love, drink and frivolity found in Orff’s work. “Mr. Leichter,” The New York Times said of the choreographer, “hears the beat of the moment, and renders it into hot but human modern dance.”

Choreographer and dancer Vincent Mantsoe collaborates with South African composer Anthony Caplan to produce a celebration of African dance and music in “Men-Jaro: Friendship.” Mantsoe and his ensemble of dancers share the stage with five musicians from the African Music Workshop Ensemble in a show The Star of South Africa calls “five multi-racial dancers . . . connected by an invisible thread of rhythm, a shared membrane of humanity,” adding: “Africa has rarely looked and sounded as intriguing as it does in Men-Jaro.” The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31.

The Hungarian State Folk Ensemble will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 14. The group, with over 30 dancers and both folk and gypsy orchestras, performs Hungarian folk music, utilizing traditional costumes and instruments. The ensemble was formed in 1951, has performed in 44 countries and is widely regarded as one of the dance treasures of Eastern Europe. The appearance in Oswego is part of the group’s first international tour in 15 years.

Closing the Artswego series will be the Miro Quartet, a chamber group that has been featured on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today” and Minnesota Public Radio’s “Saint Paul Sunday,” as well as numerous international radio networks. The group, which is the faculty string quartet-in-residence at the University of Texas in Austin, has won both the Naumburg Chamber Music Award and first prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition.

According to Britain’s Gramophone Magazine, Miro’s sound finds “a balance that allows the music’s sense to come over with the greatest clarity.” The Miro Quartet will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 11, and comes to Oswego as part of the Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series.

The Artswego program also works with a variety of grant agencies to host residencies for the visiting artists to share their knowledge with the campus and community in admission-free settings.

For a season brochure with more information, contact Tyler box office at 312-2141 or

- END -

PHOTO CAPTION: Fancy footwork—“Men-Jaro: Friendship,” a collaboration of choreographer Vincent Mantsoe and South African composer Anthony Caplan, is part of the diverse 2006-07 Artswego Performing Arts Series at SUNY Oswego. The series brings several dance, music, multimedia and visual art events to Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre and supports residencies for the visiting artists. For a brochure with more information, contact Tyler box office at 312-2141 or (Photo credit: John Hogg)

CONTACT: Mary Avrakotos, 312-4581,

(Posted: Jul 27, 2006)