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Staller Center for the Arts

Alto Jazz saxophonist and composer Charlie Parker broke all the rules of Jazz when he recorded two albums entitled Charlie Parker with Strings, works that attempted to bridge the gap between Jazz and classical music. Nothing like Strings had ever been done before. History has proven Parker’s instincts correct, as these works are now universally recognized as masterpieces.

Jazz enthusiasts will have three opportunities to catch performances of the iconic Charlie Parker with Strings on Thursday, April 4 and Saturday, April 6 at The Jazz Loft, 275 Christian Avenue in Stony Brook; and on Friday, April 5 at The Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook. All three concerts will begin at 7 p.m. and will be featuring Chris Donohue and Dayna Sean Stephens, both on alto saxophone.

Parker fans can also take in The Jazz Loft’s new Charlie “The Bird” Parker collection of more than 50 memorabilia items from the Jazz great. The collection includes master acetates from some of his most important recording sessions; a personalized instrument case; his union card; numerous notes, letters and correspondence; and his Birdland contracts. Some of the correspondence documents his challenge with the union as he often had his union card revoked for drug offenses. The letters, from him, his agents, promoters, and friends, show Parker’s struggle to stay clean and work. Parker struggled with a heroin addiction and died at the age of 34.

The items were purchased at a Christie’s of London auction which showcased a vast collection of music memorabilia belonging to the late Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts. Watts, who had been a beloved member of the Stones since 1963, passed away in August 2021.

Ticket prices for all events are $40 for adults; $35 for seniors; $30 for students and $25 for children.

For more information and tickets to The Jazz Loft or The Staller Center shows, visit https://www.thejazzloft.org/tickets or call 631-751-1895.

A scene from a previous production of ‘The Nutcracker.’ Photo from Dimitri Papadakos

The Seiskaya Ballet’s Nutcracker, a perennial holiday favorite on Long Island, returns to Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts Main Stage, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook for a five-performance run from Dec. 15 to 17. This classical ballet rendition has earned praise from critics and audiences alike. 

Seiskaya Ballet principal dancer Madeleine Martufi

The cast will be led by guest artist David Wright, dancing the dual roles of Cavalier/Nutcracker, a featured artist with the Dance Theater of Harlem. Seiskaya Ballet’s award winning principal dancers Vivian Ye, Madeleine Martufi, Nina Zhang and Kaede Urso plus returning principal dancers Brianna Jimenez, Eva Pyrros, Diana Atoian and Lara Caraiani.

Seiskaya Ballet’s Nutcracker is truly an international collaboration beginning with Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s most famous score.  Sets and several costumes were designed by Poland’s Margaret Piotrowska whose highly respected work in Polish television and stage productions has garnered wide praise. Directed by founder Joseph Forbes, scenery was executed by Scenic Art Studios which has been credited with painting over 300 Broadway shows.  The imaginative and unusual sculptures utilized in the Seiskaya Ballet’s production were the brainchild of creative artist Matt Targon. Choreographed by celebrated Russian-born Valia Seiskaya, this acclaimed production is imbued with bravura dancing, energy and endearing charisma.

Performances will be held on Friday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tickets are $45 for adults, $38 children and seniors. To order, call 631-632-ARTS (2787) or visit www.nutcrackerballet.com.

The Emerson String Quartet performed its final concert at the Staller Center for the Arts to a packed house on October 14, signaling the end of the quartet’s nearly 25-year-long history as Artists in Residence at Stony Brook University. They were rewarded with four standing ovations from the sold-out 1,000-member audience.

The program featured Beethoven String Quartet in Bb Major and Schubert String Quintet in C Major. Special guest and former Emerson cellist David Finckel joined the ensemble — including cellist Paul Watkins, Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer on violin, and Larry Dutton on viola — for the Schubert piece.

Following the concert, a reception for the group and honored guests was held in the Zuccaire Gallery, with remarks from Stony Brook President Maurie McInnis; Alan Inkles, director of the Staller Center for the Arts; former Provost Robert McGrath; Gilbert Kalish, professor in the Department of Music; Judith Lochhead, professor and former chair of the Department of Music; and Christina Dahl, chair of the Department of Music.

McGrath, Kalish and Lochhead, along with former Stony Brook President Shirley Strum Kenny, were instrumental in bringing the group to campus as Artists in Residence.

Following the remarks, Inkles awarded the group members with trophies in recognition of their years performing as a group in the Staller Center. Despite a busy touring schedule over the past two decades, the group members have always made time to serve on faculty committees and to be available for music students.

Dahl described to the group a recent faculty meeting in which Setzer participated in a faculty meeting on a Sunday evening while he was on tour in Milan, where the time was 12:30 am.

 “T​​hey come to faculty meetings, serve as lecturers and advisors and sit on dissertation committees,” Dahl said. “The rest of the world sits in on their concerts, but one of the most remarkable things about their long association with the department is that they never stood on ceremony, or acted as if they deserve special consideration.”

President McInnis looked toward the future with the group members as they continue to serve as faculty within the Department of Music. 

“Through the Emerson String Quartet Institute in the Department of Music, group members Eugene Drucker, Lawrence Dutton, Philip Setzer and Paul Watkins, along with the quartet’s ex-cellist, David Finckel, will remain at Stony Brook to coach and mentor student string quartets,” she said.

President McInnis continued, “It was such an honor to be in the audience to celebrate the Emerson String Quartet’s nearly 22-year-long history as Artists in Residence at Stony Brook University and the Grand Finale Concert of what has been nearly 100 sold-out concerts held in the Staller Center on our campus. While it is bittersweet to join together for the final farewell Staller Center concert for the Quartet, we are grateful they will remain as colleagues in Stony Brook’s Department of Music where they will uphold their legacy, sharing their gifts with our students in the Emerson String Quartet Institute.”

The free event will be held on Oct. 30 at 4 p.m. at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, Theater Two, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook.

By Daniel Dunaief

Want to hear characters from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein discussing artificial intelligence? Or, perhaps, get an inside look at an interaction between a scientist studying penguins and a potential donor? Maybe you’d like something more abstract, like a thought piece on aspects of memory?

You can get all three at an upcoming Science on Stage performance of three one-act plays written by award-winning playwrights that feature the themes of cutting edge research from Stony Brook University.

Ken Weitzman Photo courtesy of SBU

On October 30th at 4 p.m. at Staller Center for the Arts’ Theater Two, which holds up to 130 people, professional actors will read three 10-minute scripts. Directed by Jackson Gay, topics will include research about artificial intelligence, climate change in Antarctica and collective memory. Audience members can then listen to a discussion hosted by Program Founder and Associate Professor of Theater Ken Weitzman that includes the scientists and the playwrights. The event is free and open to the public.

Funded by a grant from the Office of the Provost at Stony Brook University and supported by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, the performances are an “amuse-bouche,” or an appetizer, about some of the diverse and compelling science that occurs at Stony Brook University, said Weitzman. 

“The hope is that [the plays] generate interest and get people to want to ask the next question or that [the plays] stick with audience members emotionally or intellectually and makes them want to discover more.”

The upcoming performance features the writing of two-time Tony Award winning playwright Greg Kotis, who wrote Urinetown; Michele Lowe, whose first play made it to Broadway and around the world; and Rogelio Martinez, whose plays have been produced around the U.S. and internationally.

The short plays will feature the scientific work of Nilanjan Chakraborty, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Heather Lynch, Professor of Ecology and Evolution, and Suparna Rajaram, Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science in the Psychology Department.

“It’s a good example of what we are doing and the opportunities for us as we continue to put funding in the arts and the humanities and also in the intersection of that from an interdisciplinary perspective,” said Carl Lejuez, Stony Brook Provost, in an interview. This kind of collaborative effort works best “when it’s truly bi-directional. Both sides benefit.”

Lejuez credits President Maurie McInnis with setting the tone about the importance of learning the humanities and the sciences. Lejuez said McInnis talks during her convocation speech about how she had intended to become a physician when she attended college, but took an art history course that was part of a general education curriculum that changed her life. The sixth president of Stony Brook, McInnis earned her PhD in the History of Art from Yale University.

Lejuez highlighted a number of interdisciplinary efforts at Stony Brook University. Stephanie Dinkins, Professor in the Department of Art, bridges visual art and Artificial Intelligence. She has focused her work on addressing the shortcomings of AI in understanding and depicting black women.

The Simons Center for Geometry and Physics has an arts and culture program, while the Collaborative for the Earth has faculty from numerous disciplines. They are starting a new Tiger Teams to develop key areas of study and will offer seed funding for interdisciplinary work to tackle climate change.

Lejuez plans to attend Science on Stage on October 30th.

“I feel an almost desperation to learn as much as I can about all the aspects of the university,” he said. Not only is he there to “show respect for the work and give it gravitas, but it’s the only way [he and others] can do [their job] of representing and supporting faculty and staff” in science and the humanities.

An enjoyable experience

The participants in Science on Stage appreciate the opportunity to collaborate outside their typical working world.

Heather Lynch, who conducts research on penguins in Antarctica and worked with Lowe, described the experience as “immensely enjoyable” and suggested that the “arts can help scientists step out of their own comfort zone to think about where their own work fits into society at large.”

Lynch explained that while the specific conversation in the play is fictionalized, the story reflects “my aggregate angst about our Antarctic field work and, in that sense, is probably more literally true than any conversation or interaction with any real life traveling guest.”

Lynch believes the play on her work is thought provoking. “Science is a tool, what matters is what you do” with that science, she said.

Lynch was thrilled to work with someone new and believes Lowe probably learned about Antarctica and the challenges it faces.

Bringing talent together

The first iteration of Science on Stage occurred in 2020 and was available remotely in the midst of the pandemic. Weitzman had reached out to scientists at Stony Brook to see who might be willing to partner up with playwrights.

He  is eager to share the diverse combination of topics in a live setting from this year’s trio of scientists. “I did some nudging to make sure there were a variety” of grand challenge topics, he said.

Weitzman explained that bringing the humanities and arts together in such an effort generated considerable enthusiasm. “There’s such incredible research being done here,” he said. “I want to engage for this community.”

He hopes such a performance can intrigue people at Stony Brook or in the broader community about science, theater writing or science communication.

While the plays are each 10 minutes long and include actors reading scripts, Weitzman said the experience would feel like it’s being performed and not read, particularly because professional actors are participating. 

He also hopes one or more of the playwrights sees this interaction as an opportunity to create a longer piece.

“I would love it if [this experience] encourages a playwright to think it justifies a full length” script, Weitzman said.

Lynch wrote a pilot screenplay herself called “Forecast Horizon” that she describes as an intellectual exercise. If Netflix calls, however, she’s “definitely interested in having it live on,” she said. Writing the screenplay gave her a “better appreciation for how much more similar science is to the arts than I would have thought. Both involve solving puzzles.”

As for future funding, Lejuez suggested that the University was still figuring out how to allocate available funds for next year and in future years.

He would like to see how this first time in person goes. Depending on the interest and enthusiasm, he could envision a regular source of funds to support such future similar collaborations.


Some of the ways SBU combines arts and humanities with science

By Daniel Dunaief

The southern flagship State University of New York facility, Stony Brook University seeks ways to bring the best from the arts and humanities together with science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Provost Carl Lejuez. Photo from SBU

Indeed, the school provides a home for the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, where researchers tap into famed actor Alda’s improvisational acting skills, among other techniques, to connect with their audiences and share their cutting-edge work and discoveries.

In addition to the October 30th Science on Stage production at Staller Theater 2, Provost Carl Lejuez recently highlighted numerous additional interdisciplinary efforts.

This past spring, the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics presented artwork by Professor of Mathematics Moira Chas. Chas created artwork that combines yarn and wire, clot and zippers to illustrate mathematical objects, questions or theorems.

The Office of the Provost has also provided several grants to support interdisciplinary work. This includes two $25,000 grants that promote the development of new research teams to explore interdisciplinary areas of scholarly work and address challenges such as Digital Futures/ Ethical Artificial Intelligence, Sustainability, Critical health Studies/ Health Disparities, Global Migration, and other areas.

Additionally, the Collaborative for the Earth brings together faculty from the arts, humanities and social sciences with behavioral science and STEM faculty. The university is starting a new Tiger Teams that will develop key areas of study and offer seed funding to tackle climate change. The funding will explore ways to create solutions that policy makers and the public can adopt, as well as ways to address disparities in the impact of climate change and ways to support people who are disproportionately affected by this threat.

SBU added interdisciplinary faculty. Susannah Glickman, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, has interests such as computing, political economy, 20th century US and world history and the history of science.

Matthew Salzano, IDEA Fellow in Ethical AI, Information Systems and Data Science and Literacy, meanwhile, has a joint appointment with the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Communication. He studies rhetoric and digital culture, emphasizing how digital technology, including artificial intelligence, impacts and interacts with social justice.

Through course work, members of the university community can also address interdisciplinary questions. Associate Professor in the Department of Art Karen Lloyd teaches an Art and Medicine course, while  Adjunct Lecturer Patricia Maudies, also in the Art Department, teaches Art + The Brain. Both of these courses bring in guest lecturers from STEM and medicine.

Stony Brook also hosts centers aimed at interdisciplinary research, such as the Institute for Advanced Computational Science (IACS).

One of the current goals and objectives of the IACS strategic plan is to advance the intellectual foundations of computation and data, with high-impact applications in engineering, in the physical, environmental, life, health and social sciences, and in the arts and humanities.

The 28th annual Stony Brook Film Festival, presented by Island Federal Credit Union, wrapped up with a Closing Night Awards Ceremony on July 29.  The evening recognized the outstanding new independent films screened at the festival, which was held at Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University from July 20 to 29.

With hundreds of artists creating 36 films from 26 countries, the Stony Brook Film Festival became a hub for some of the best filmmakers working today, a meeting ground for favorite actors and rising stars, and a showcase of new masterpieces. Of those 36 films, 11 received awards. 

Yes Repeat No, a challenging and engaging meta masterpiece, won the Jury Award for Best Feature. Director Michael Moshe Dahan was in attendance for both the screening and to receive his award. “Thank you to all of the people who believe in human rights and democracy all over the world … and to all the people who want to make difficult material all over the world because finding the questions to ask is sometimes harder than getting the answers,” Dahan said in his acceptance speech. 

Two feature films won the audience’s hearts, resulting in two winners for this year’s Audience Choice Award for Best Feature: The Grandson, a charged thriller that boasts “revenge is a dish best served old,” and First Snow of Summer, a masterfully shot and magical romance in a whimsical setting, came out on top. 

The Grandson‘s director Kristóf Deák could not be at the Festival to accept his award but remarked, “I couldn’t be happier that The Grandson won the audience award at this year’s Stony Brook Film Festival. I feel a special connection to U.S. audiences since my short film Sing won the Academy Award in 2017. That film’s festival journey also began with audience awards, and for a filmmaker like me who makes his films for audiences, first and foremost, it remains the most important praise.” 

“Because it may lead to discussions about how we treat the elderly in our society, I hope [The Grandson]is a testament to how we should never ‘write them off’ as useless. I want to thank my wonderful cast, crew, co-writer, and wife for making this film with me,” said Deák

First Snow of Summer, in its North American premiere, was another beautiful and poignant film from German Sales Team, Picture Tree International. Festival Founder and Director Alan Inkles has been working with Founder/Co-Managing Director of Picture Tree, Andreas Rothbauer, for several years and this is the second consecutive year one of their films has won the Audience Choice Award, with last year’s biting dark comedy, Contra, taking home the same prize. 

“You can feel the warmth and genuineness of this new German film, and the audience in our full house screening of First Snow of Summer obviously agreed … the film has a ‘fantasy-like Amelie’ feel to it, and is ripe for a U.S. theatrical run,” said Inkles after the awards ceremony. “One of our goals with the Festival is to get these independent films in front of distributors to help reach larger audiences throughout America,” he added, and said he plans to continue working with Andreas to make that happen.

The Spirit of Independent Filmmaking is awarded to filmmakers that utilize a uniquely indie lens to bring their incredible stories to life. A first in the Festival’s history, this category was awarded to two different features: Friends From Home, a quietly hilarious cross-country odyssey by New York filmmakers, and Where the Road Leads, a Serbian film about a sleepy village brought to life with subtle humor and masterfully directed. 

“If you told us we would be watching our film on a 40-foot-screen, we wouldn’t have believed you, and this was awesome,” said Mike Koslov of Friends From Home. “We just tried to make a film as honest and close to the heart as we could,” said Joe Blank, co-writer and director of the film. Both flew in from LA for their screening and the awards ceremony. 

Director Nina Ognjanovic traveled from Serbia to be here in person for her screening of Where the Road Leads and for the awards ceremony. Ognjanovic praised the film festival at the ceremony for showing her film to over 400 attendees and for recognizing her work.

The Jury Award for Best Short went to Chipper, while the Audience Award for Best Short went to Stuck. 

Director and lead actor of Chipper, Shaun MacLean, and Jayson Warner Smith, respectively, were both in attendance at the awards ceremony, with Shaun attending earlier during the Festival for his screening and leading a lively Q&A. Shoval Chiprut and Daniel Brushin from Stuck flew in from Israel and were present for both their screening and the awards ceremony. 

Opening Night Feature Award went to Sea of Time; Closing Night Feature Award went to Divertimento; Open Night Short Award went to The Red Suitcase and The Basics of Love received an for  Closing Night Short.

In addition to Island Federal’s generous support as presenting sponsor, additional sponsors for the Stony Brook Film Festival included Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP; Suffolk County; Altice Media; and WLIW/PBS.














During the Festival, the Staller Center announced its exciting Fall 2023 Live Performing Arts season which kicks off on Sept. 5 with Corinne Bailey Rae, Pat Metheny on Sept. 23, Tara McNeill and Alexander Bernstein on Sept. 30, Disney Pixar Coco Live-to-Film concert on Oct. 9, Emerson String Quartet’s farewell concert on Oct. 14, Ballet Hispanico on Oct. 21, Jessica Vosk on Oct. 28, Evan + Zane on Nov. 3, iLuminated on Nov. 5, Tom Segura on Nov. 11, LeAnn Rimes on Nov. 18, Cat Kid Comic Club Musical on Nov. 19, Starry Nights chamber music concert on Nov. 29, Isaac Mizrahi on Dec. 1, Jane Monheit on Dec. 9, and concludes with GALA 2024 on March 9 with special guest Leslie Odom, Jr. For tickets and more information, visit www.stallercenter.com.

Stony Brook University Symphony Orchestra
Free event to highlight kid compositions and musical surprises

By Melissa Arnold

Music has a way of moving us both physically and emotionally. Regardless of culture, language or age, the right song can make just about anyone smile.

For more than 20 years, the Stony Brook University Symphony Orchestra, an all-student ensemble featuring undergraduate and graduate music majors as well as qualified non-music majors, has put on a special Family Orchestra Concert, aiming to instill an excitement for music in children while bringing generations together. The free event returns to the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University on Tuesday, Feb. 28. 

Featured soloist violinist Elvina Liu will perform the opening movement of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4.

Conductor Susan Deaver works hard each year to dream up a fun and creative theme for the performance. Some are obvious — recent concerts have focused on contrasts or weather, to name a few — but others are more subtle.

This year’s theme, “Musical Surprises,” will challenge the audience to listen for something unexpected in each piece.

“Everybody likes surprises, right?” joked Deaver, who’s been with the university since 2000. “There are a few ways we’ve included surprises in this show. For example, we have two [portions] from Sir Edward Elgar’s ‘Enigma Variations,’ which offer surprising changes in mood and tempo. There’s also ‘Thunder and Lightning’ [by Johann Strauss II], which reflects the surprise of being caught in a sudden thunderstorm.”

The concert includes both recognizable and lesser-known pieces, but the majority are short to provide as much variety as possible. And the program is just an hour long, helping to keep the littlest concertgoers happy while getting everyone home at a decent time. It is a school night, after all.

A surprising new addition to the program this year are mini-melodies composed by young orchestra students in the community.

Elementary school musicians from the Hauppauge Public School District have attended the concert for the past several years as a nighttime field trip. Interest in the concert continues to grow, and this year, Deaver approached music teacher Timerie Gatto with an exciting idea.

“There are three elementary schools in Hauppauge, and each one has an orchestra. We started with each child bringing one parent to the concert, so that they could all see what a future in music can look like if they work at it. Now we are also involving younger siblings,” Gatto said. 

“Susan Deaver is fantastic, she interacts with the audience and does whatever she can to help the kids develop a greater appreciation for music. This year, she asked if my students would make up melodies for the orchestra to play!”

With the help of classroom iPads, students were able to compose, hear and perform their own one-line melodies.

“It’s been an impressive experience for me, watching them develop their own titles and musical ideas. Some kids even put groups of notes into chords and developed more complex syncopated rhythms,” Gatto said.

The orchestra is comprised of about 75 university students from diverse backgrounds and fields of study. Among them is 20-year-old Elvina Liu, a senior music major from Auckland, New Zealand. Liu is also the orchestra’s concertmistress — a lead violinist who serves as liaison between the orchestra and conductor.

Liu will perform a solo from Mozart’s “Concerto No. 4 in D Major,” which she said can be surprising in its own way.

“I think classical works, such as this Mozart concerto, are commonly perceived as pieces that don’t allow for a lot of freedom in interpretation. A lot of teachers and musicians believe that there are certain elements that have one “correct” way of being played, which is a pretty outdated way of tackling these pieces in my opinion,” Liu explained. “I do make a great effort to respect Mozart’s writing and stylistic ideas, though I admit that I enjoy testing the limits and boundaries when I play. Sometimes I surprise myself in the moment as well!”

Liu and Gatto agreed that music provides children opportunities for development, self-expression and community in a way little else can.

“Music is one of those things where it doesn’t matter how bright, strong or fast you are. It’s accessible to all kinds of people regardless of their ability, and it offers the chance to connect with others in a nonverbal way,” Gatto said.

Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook will host the annual Stony Brook Family Orchestra Concert on the Main Stage on Tuesday, Feb. 28  from 7:30 to 8:30  p.m. Admission is free and tickets are not required. Children of all ages are welcome. For more information, call 631-632-7330 or visit at www.stonybrook.edu/music.

From left, principal dancers Maya Butkevich as Sugar Plum and Madeleine Martufi as Clara in a scene from the show.

The Seiskaya Ballet’s The Nutcracker, a perennial holiday favorite on Long Island, returns to Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts Main Stage, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook for a five-performance run from Dec. 17 to 19. This classical ballet rendition has earned praise from critics and audiences alike. 

 Hailed as Long Island’s most lavish “Nutcracker,” the Seiskaya Ballet production of the classic holiday ballet is truly an international collaboration beginning with Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s most famous score. Sets and several costumes were designed by Poland’s Margaret Piotrowska whose highly respected work in Polish television and stage productions has garnered wide praise. 

Directed by founder Joseph Forbes, scenery was executed by Scenic Art Studios which has been credited with painting over 300 Broadway shows. The imaginative and unusual sculptures utilized in the Seiskaya Ballet’s production were the brainchild of creative artist Matt Targon. Choreographed by celebrated Russian-born Valia Seiskaya, this acclaimed production is imbued with bravura dancing, energy and endearing charisma.

The cast will be led by leading dancer of Orlando’s United Ballet Theatre and Butler University graduate standout, guest artist, Max Lippman (Cavalier) and Seiskaya Ballet’s award winning principal dancers Maya Butkevich, Vivian Ye and Madeleine Martufi plus returning principal dancers Brianna Jimenez, Diana Atoian and Eva Pyrros.

Performances will be held on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. Dec. 18 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Monday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $40 for adults, $34 children and seniors. To order, call 631-632-ARTS (2787) or visit www.nutcrackerballet.com. 

Port Jefferson School District students with violinist Caroline Campbell (center), Port Jefferson orchestra teacher Vanessa Salzman (left) and Paul Newland, outreach director at Stony Brook University (right). Photo courtesy PJSD

In a partnership with Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, Port Jefferson music students experienced a nearly sold-out performance by renowned violinist Caroline Campbell.

Accompanied by Port Jefferson orchestra teacher Vanessa Salzman, the close-to-home musical collaboration engages students with innovative performances, as this concert highlighted. “She is quite a violin superstar, so this was a very special event for us,” Salzman said. 

Campbell, along with pianist Carlos Avila, was an engaging presence on stage and had the audience enthralled with her spectacular performance of virtuoso violin showpieces, from Hollywood film melodies to the music of Sting.

Port Jefferson orchestra students and their families are invited to attend concerts each year at the university, arranged by Salzman and Paul Newland, outreach director at Stony Brook University. Tickets are provided courtesy of Staller Center Outreach Endowment.

“We are extremely grateful to Mr. Newland and the director of The Staller Center, Mr. Alan Inkles, for providing our student musicians this incredible opportunity,” Salzman said, adding, “We were most appreciative of the time [Campbell] took following the performance to interact with our students and share inspiration to continue pursuing their musical journeys.”

The Staller Center’s Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery recently opened a new exhibition entitled Revisiting 5+1, developed in conjunction with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s current feature exhibition, Frank Bowling’s Americas.

Examining a critical moment at the junction of abstract art, racial and gender politics, and student activism at Stony Brook University, Revisiting 5+1 is a reflection on the historic 1969 exhibition of abstract art 5+1, presenting works by the original artists, alongside a new selection of major works by Black women working in abstraction.

Revisiting 5+1 features work by the six artists in the 1969 exhibition (curated by and including artist Frank Bowling) each of whom created vivid experimental abstract paintings and sculptures. Alongside Bowling, the show presents major work by Melvin Edwards, Daniel LaRue Johnson, Al Loving, Jack Whitten, and William T. Williams, showcasing their early practices of the 1960s and ‘70s. In collaboration with Distinguished Professor of Art Howardena Pindell, Revisiting 5+1 adds a related yet distinct group of six Black women artists, who were also trailblazers in abstraction. Alongside Pindell, the exhibition features works by Vivian Browne, Mary Lovelace O’Neal, Betye Saar, Alma Thomas, and Mildred Thompson, including a never before shown 1971 film by Saar.

Photographs of the 1969 exhibition by Adger Cowans and Tina Tranter and original archival research present new findings on 5+1, while university records and photographs provide contextual history of the concurrent Black Student Movement taking place on campus. The 1969 exhibition coincided with the first semester of courses in a new Black Studies Program, created in response to student activism.

Revisiting 5+1 provides new insight into the significance of the dynamic university context, demonstrating the important history of university-based exhibitions organized by Black artists. At a time when Black artists working in abstraction encountered barriers in both the White mainstream art world, which valued works in abstraction but not those by Black artists, and the Black Arts Movement, which rejected abstract art as apolitical, university galleries provided a unique platform outside the confines of the mainstream art world for engaging with ongoing debates around the relation between art and racial politics.

The accompanying catalog includes archival photographs of 5+1 by Adger Cowans and from the Frank Bowling Archive, four scholarly essays, and profiles of artists included in the exhibition, an interview with Howardena Pindell, as well as a tribute to Pindell’s achievements by Lowery Stokes Sims.

This exhibition honors Howardena Pindell’s four decades of working with art students at Stony Brook University on the occasion of her retirement from teaching. The artistic excellence and social activism that mark her own career have also informed her teaching, setting an example for students and faculty alike. Colleague Katy Siegel says of Pindell’s tenure, “The university has been extraordinarily fortunate to have Howardena’s brilliant presence over the years; she has brought in peers including Maren Hassinger and Kay WalkingStick, and taught generations of younger artists like Athena LaTocha with extraordinary generosity.” After the current academic year, Pindell will become a Toll Professor, leaving full-time teaching but remaining a student mentor.

The original 5+1 artists include Frank Bowling, Melvin Edwards, Daniel LaRue Johnson, Al Loving, Jack Whitten, and William T. Williams. Revisiting 5+1 also presents the work of Vivian Browne, Adger Cowans, Mary Lovelace O’Neal, Howardena Pindell, Betye Saar, Alma Thomas, and Mildred Thompson.

Revisiting 5+1 is curated by Stony Brook University Art History PhD candidates Elise Armani, Amy Kahng, and Gabriella Shypula in consultation with Distinguished Professor of Art Howardena Pindell and under the guidance of Katy Siegel, Distinguished Professor and Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Endowed Chair in Modern American Art, and Karen Levitov, Director and Curator of the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery. The exhibition is supported by a grant from Stony Brook University’s Office of the President. Additional support is provided by a Humanities New York grant. A generous donation is provided by Hauser & Wirth Gallery, with additional funding from Garth Greenan Gallery, New York. Support is also provided by the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Stony Brook University College of Arts and Sciences, Humanities Institute of Stony Brook, Art Department, and Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. The Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery’s 2022–2023 schedule is supported by a generous grant from the Paul W. Zuccaire Foundation.

Revisiting 5+1 is presented in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in conjunction with the exhibition Frank Bowling’s Americas, on view at the MFA Boston from October 22, 2022 – April 9, 2023, and traveling to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from May 13 – September 10, 2023. A digital component and display case are presented in collaboration with the MFA Boston and the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Please check back for the digital component.

Hours: Monday-Friday 12-4pm and evenings of Staller Center performances and films. Email ZuccaireGallery@stonybrook.edu to schedule a visit outside of regular hours.

For further information, please call the Zuccaire Gallery at (631) 632-7240 or email ZuccaireGallery@stonybrook.edu. The Gallery website is: http://ZuccaireGallery.stonybrook.edu. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ZuccaireGallery.

Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook welcomes the Peking Acrobats featuring The Shanghai Circus on the Main Stage on Friday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. Combining time-honored Chinese music and groundbreaking special effects to create an environment that mirrors the festive pageantry of a Chinese Carnival, The Peking Acrobats are set to deliver a once-in-a-lifetime evening of exuberant entertainment. Fun for the whole family! Tickets range from $39 to $68. To order, call 632-2787 or visit www.stallercenter.com.


“If daring and dexterity turn you on, this is a show that will probably twist you around in your seat. It’s amazing and exciting!”

~ New York Post
“All 26 members of this troupe are amazing athletes with grace and charisma in addition to their razor-sharp precision-everything entertainment should be!”

~ Dance Insider
“Amazing! Zounds! The vocabulary of exclamation seeks expression as the medium of awed and surprised reaction to the wondrous feats of THE PEKING ACROBATS! In their graceful efforts, these brightly costumed tumblers, acrobats, cyclists, jugglers, and clever clowns provide 90 minutes of family fun that infuses springtime in New York with an extra measure of joy.”

~ New York Times
“Tumblers, contortionists, jugglers…OH MY! The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra wrapped up its Pops series with a show of dazzling athleticism and jaw-dropping beauty Friday night, courtesy of world-renowned PEKING ACROBATS! ”

~ Winnipeg Free Press, Canada
“…At no time have we seen anything like the Peking Acrobats. Feats of clowning, dexterity, grace, strength and coordination rippled from the stage in a series of pleasurable waves. One was left waterlogged in wonder.”

~ Chicago Tribune
“…’A’ is for acrobats and astounding, amusing, audacious and accomplished, accurate and attractive and admirable, all of which describe, though not completely, The Peking Acrobats.”

~ Variety
“…Nearly everything The Peking Acrobats did last night was amazing – and stunning and breathtaking and WOW!”

~ Seattle Times
“…The Peking Acrobats regularly passed from the seemingly impossible to the virtually unbelievable.”

~ Los Angeles Times