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Sarasota Orchestra World Premiere of “Two Nights on the River” by Hermitage Artist and Greenfield Prize winner Eve Beglarian

“Two Nights on the River” was inspired by composer Eve Beglarian’s four-month trip by kayak down the Mississippi.

Eve BeglarianOn Saturday, March 26 come experience the world premiere of a chamber music composition by the first Greenfield Prize recipient in Music, Eve Beglarian. A renowned composer, Beglarian has been working with musicians from the Sarasota Orchestra to present her original musical piece inspired by a four-month journey she took by kayak down the entire length of the Mississippi River. The performance will be at Holley Hall in the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center beginning at 8:00 pm. Tickets begin at $15 and can be obtained through the Sarasota Orchestra box office at 941-953-3434.

The piece is “Two Nights on the River” in two movements: “Waiting for Billy Floyd” and Early in the Morning. Eve’s inspiration for “Waiting for Billy Floyd” included Eudora Welty’s short story “At the Landing”.

Date and time: 8:00 pm, March 26
Place: Holley Hall in the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center
Price: $15

Missy Mazzoli Making Music

The Hermitage Artist Retreat, in partnership with New College of Florida, invite the public to meet one of America’s most talented composers, Missy Mazzoli, on Wednesday, March 16, 2001, 4:00 – 5:30 pm, at the Mildred F. Sainer Art & Music Pavilion in Sarasota. There is no charge for this program.

Missy Mazzoli

The Hermitage Artist Retreat, in partnership with New College of Florida, invite the public to meet one of America’s most talented composers, Missy Mazzoli, on Wednesday, March 16, 2001, 4:00 – 5:30 pm, at the Mildred F. Sainer Art & Music Pavilion in Sarasota. There is no charge for this program.

Mazzoli will perform “Orizzonte,” an original piece for piano and electronics and will play recordings of her orchestra music “Victoire,” and the opera she is working on at the Hermitage, “Song From The Uproar.” The audience will have the opportunity to dialogue with the award-winning composer as she discusses the many different but related musical projects on which she is working.

“Blithly ignoring boundaries of genre and style, Missy Mazzoli composes music that speaks to a wide and discerning audience. Her musical vision is bold, large and inclusive,” states Stephen Miles, Director of New Music at New College and the moderator for the event.

Mazzoli’s music has been heard throughout the world in performances by many of the leading orchestras. She has been a featured composer at several prominent music venues and was commissioned to create new pieces by such organizations as the Whitney Museum and Carnegie Hall. Mazzoli studied music composition at the Yale School of Music, the Royal Conservatory of the Hague and Boston University. She is a recipient of a Fulbright Grant to the Netherlands and has won the 2007 and 2008 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award and a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is currently the Executive Director of the MATA festival of New Music in New York City, which is dedicated to promoting new works by young composers. An active pianist, Mazzoli performs with her quartet that is dedicated exclusively to her own compositions. According to Bruce E. Rodgers, Hermitage’s Executive Director, “Missy is one of America’s newest music superstars. Her talent is extraordinary as her compositions range from complex symphonies to those that were performed at the Bang-On-A-Can New Music Marathon. The Hermitage is pleased to offer this artist-in-residence a quiet place to compose her newest piece – an opera.”

Tony-award winning theater director Oskar Eustis discusses his film “Theater of War”

In partnership with New College, the Asolo Repertory Theatre, and The Gulf Coast Foundation, the Hermitage presents a screening of “The Theater of War,” a documentary about the making of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage, as produced by NYC’s Public Theater in Central Park. Oskar Eustis, Tony-award winning artistic director for NYC’s Public Theater, will be at the screening to talk about the making of the play, and enter dialogue with the audience.

In partnership with New College, the Asolo Repertory Theatre, and The Gulf Coast Foundation, the Hermitage presents a screening of “The Theater of War,” a documentary about the making of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage, as produced by NYC’s Public Theater in Central Park. Oskar Eustis, Tony-award winning artistic director for NYC’s Public Theater, will be at the screening to talk about the making of the play, and enter dialogue with the audience.

Event date: Sunday, March 27 at 1:00 pm

Price: FREE, but reservations are required. Seating is limited. Call the Asolo Theatre reservation line 941-351-9010 x 4710.

Location: The Sainer Pavilion at New College, 5313 Bay Shore Road Sarasota, Florida 34243

Poems written at the Hermitage will be read at Bookstore 1

Hermitage Fellow Robert Cording will read poems written at, and some inspired by the Hermitage Artist Retreat along with poems from his new book “Walking with Ruskin” at Bookstore 1 on Thursday, March 10 at 6:00pm. (1359 Main Street, Sarasota)

Robert CordingHermitage Fellow Robert Cording will read poems written at, and some inspired by the Hermitage Artist Retreat along with poems from his new book “Walking with Ruskin” at Bookstore 1 on Thursday, March 10 at 6:00pm. (1359 Main Street, Sarasota)

A Poem from Robert Cording

Poet Robert Cording reads his poem 1964 at the Historic Asolo Theatre in Sarasota – January 6, 2011

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Poet Robert Cording reads from his work on the stage of the Historic Asolo at the John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota. He shared the stage the evening of January 6, 2011 with writer and pianist Lisa Weiss and composer Laura Kaminsky. It was a magical evening and Bob’s poem, 1964 gives you a good idea why.

An Afternoon With Arthur Kopit

Playwright Arthur Kopit will be reading from his latest work and answering questions on Monday, February 7 at 2pm in a free program at New College’s Sainer Pavillion in the New College Campus.

Don’t miss the chance to spend an hour with celebrated American playwright Arthur Kopit. On Monday, February 7, 2011 the Hermitage Artsit Retreat , New College of Florida, and the Asolo Repertory Theater will sponsor a free program featuring the author of Chamber Music, Wings, Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung You in th Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad, and the book to the musical, Nine. Kopit is a 3-time Tony Award nominee for Indians, Wings, and the book to the musical, Nine. Mr. Kopit will read from his latest work, and Asolo Rep producing artistic director Michael Donald Edwards will moderate questions and answers following the reading.

The program will take place at 2pm at the Sainer Pavillion on the New College campus. Admission is FREE.

And the Winner is: Playwright John Guare

Hermitage Artist Retreat and the Greenfield Foundation are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2011 Greenfield Prize has been awarded this year in Drama to Playwright John Guare. The award will be presented at a Celebration dinner on Sunday, March 27th at Michael’s on East in Sarasota. Oskar Eustis, Tony-award winning artistic director of New York’s Public Theatre, will be the keynote speaker.

John Guare
Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik
Hermitage Artist Retreat and the Greenfield Foundation are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2011 Greenfield Prize has been awarded this year in Drama to Playwright John Guare. The award will be presented at a Celebration dinner on Sunday, March 27th at Michael’s on East in Sarasota. Oskar Eustis, Tony-award winning artistic director of New York’s Public Theatre, will be the keynote speaker.

“Our prestigious jury has done it again,” remarked , executive director of the Hermitage Artist Retreat. “John Guare is one of America’s great playwrights. We are thrilled that over the next two years, he will be working on a new play for American theaters that will be created at the Hermitage Artist Retreat and have its first public introduction in Sarasota in 2013.”

John Guare is an award-winning playwright well known to many regular theater-goers. Among his most recognized plays are Lydie Breeze; A Free Man of Color; Bosoms and Neglect; and The House of Blue Leaves, which won an Obie and NY Drama Critics Circle Award for the Best American Play of 1970-71 and four Tonys in its 1986 Lincoln Center revival. Six Degrees of Separation received the NY Drama Critics Circle Award in 1991 for its LCT production and the Olivier Best Play Award in 1993. Additionally, Guare wrote the lyrics and co-authored the book for the 1972 Tony-winning Best Musical, Two Gentlemen of Verona. His screenplay for Louis Malle’s Atlantic City earned him an Oscar nomination. In 2003 he won the PEN/Laura Pels Master Dramatist Award; in 2004, the Gold Medal in Drama from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; in 2005 the Obie for sustained excellence. He is a council member of the Dramatists Guild and co-editor of The Lincoln Center Theater Review.

The Greenfield Prize winner is selected each year by a panel of experts in the arts discipline for that year’s award, which rotates annually through three arts areas, drama, music, and an open “wild card” year. This year’s category was drama, making John Guare the second playwright to receive the Greenfield Prize. Guare was selected from a pool of over 30 playwrights, nominated by a prestigious jury, three voting and three non-voting. Voting jurors were Michael Bigelow Dixon, chair and current assistant professor of theater at Goucher College, former literary manager at the Guthrie Theatre and Actors Theatre of Louisville; Carey Perloff, artistic director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco; and Eduardo Machado, playwright currently writing for HBO television, and past artistic director of INTAR in New York City. Non-voting members included Bruce E. Rodgers, executive director of the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Joni Greenfield, representing the Greenfield Foundation and Michael D. Edwards, producing artistic director of Asolo Rep.

“We are grateful to the Greenfield Foundation for making it possible to inspire new works of art from America’s most important artists,” Rodgers continued. “The Greenfield Prize is contributing to the artistic legacy of America at this time and will continue to contribute into the future. The Hermitage Artist Retreat is proud to play a central role in this process.”

The Greenfield Prize was established in 2009 by longtime Sarasota residents Bob and Louise Greenfield through the Philadelphia-based Greenfield Foundation. The prize is a means by which a groundbreaking, enduring work of art will be created each year at the Hermitage Artist Retreat. The Prize consists of a $30,000 commission of an original work of art, a residency at the Hermitage, and a partnership with a professional arts organization to develop the work, and assistance in moving the work forward into the American arts world. A distinguished six-person panel consisting of some of the most highly respected authorities in American art select each Greenfield Prize recipient. Three voting members on each jury are joined by representatives of the producing partner, the Greenfield Foundation and the Hermitage Artist Retreat. Since its inception, past prize winners include playwright Craig Lucus, composer Eve Beglarian and visual artist Sanford Biggers.

Hermitage Fellow, composer Lera Auerbach comes up for air

The last time Hermitage fellow Lera Auerbach was in her North Port residence, she hardly came up for air, she was so busy working on the score for her new string sextet “Seraphim Canticles .
Today she sent it into the world – to the publisher (Sikorski Musikverlag), to the commissioner (Music Accord) and to the performers (Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center). The World Premiere will be in April in Lincoln Center, New York.

The last time Hermitage fellow Lera Auerbach was in her North Port residence, she hardly came up for air, she was so busy working on the score for her new string sextet “Seraphim Canticles .

Today she sent it into the world – to the publisher (Sikorski Musikverlag), to the commissioner (Music Accord) and to the performers (Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center). The World Premiere will be in April in Lincoln Center, New York.

Remembering Romulus

Young artists literally sat at his feet here at the Hermitage.

While at the Hermitage, Romulus wrote about another Hermitage Fellow, writer and scientist, Meg Lowman in his play, The Flower Gatherer.
We shouldn’t have favorites, but here at the Hermitage, we can’t help ourselves. Sadly, one of our favorite artists died yesterday. Romulus Linney, a father of American playwriting, spent a month with us two years ago. Over a hundred people lined the beach, entranced and delighted as Romulus read one of his Appalachian plays. But when the crowd was gone, Romulus was at his best. Young artists, composers and writers literally sat at his feet here at the Hermitage. He shared a lifetime of wisdom filtered through his brilliant mind. How lucky we were to be in his presence.

Romulus Linney – Losing One Of Our Own

Playwright Romulus Linney passed away yesterday. Like Tennessee Williams, he too was a writer’s writer. Romulus wrote every day. And for 42 of those days he wrote at the Hermitage. One of the plays he worked on while with us was Love Drunk, mentioned in today’s New York Times obituary to which we have a link below.

Romulus Linney listens to playwright Dennis Green read from his work in the Hermitage House

When playwright Tennessee Williams died at age 71 in 1983 reporter Mike Wallace delivered a most moving tribute to him in a radio eulogy. In this essay, Wallace described a writer (Williams) whose greatest gifts had long ago been exhausted but in spite of all that had happened to him, in spite of repeated public failure and public rejection, he described a writer who got up every morning, and wrote. Every morning. He was a writer’s writer. Writing wasn’t what Tennessee Williams did, it was who he was.

Playwright Romulus Linney died yesterday. Like Tennessee Williams, he too was a writer’s writer. Romulus wrote every day. And for 42 of those days he wrote at the Hermitage Artist Retreat. One of the plays he worked on while with us was Love Drunk, mentioned in today’s New York Times obituary to which we have a link below.

In the spring of 1990, Romulus Linney gave me one of my seminal theatrical experiences – one of the three or four experiences in the theatre, which I will never forget. It was at the Humana Festival of New Plays, produced by Actors Theatre of Louisville in Louisville, KY. The play was simply named “2.” It was the story of Hermann Goering, Hitler’s number 2 man, and it was set during the Nuremburg Trials. Florida Studio Theater subsequently produced the play in 1997.

My experience seeing “2” was transformational – I had never seen a play affect an audience, and felt a play affect me in quite the same way. At the end of the play, the audience finds itself in a very different place, from the place it expected to be. The play transforms from an artifact of history – the tale of what happened to a certain (monstrous) person at a certain time in history, to a visceral connection between the audience and the monster we have seen on stage. And the connection is made in a stunning, theatrical moment at play’s end. Breathtaking. When I asked him about the play during his Hermitage residency, he gave the credit to his Louisville actor, William Duff-Griffin. He said something like “When you have someone like Bill Griffin in the role, you just get out of the way.”

Generosity of spirit was characteristic of this southern gentleman. He was a committed believer in artist communities, and a former board member of Yaddo, where he often went to write. “Artist communities, writer’s colonies, save lives,” he told more than one Sarasota County audience, “they saved mine.” At a low point in his young career, he went to Yaddo, an artist community in Saratoga Springs, NY, where he found the encouragement of fellow writers restored his confidence and resolve. It fed him what he needed to go on. So he did.

Romulus was an unpretentious man with unlimited intellectual gifts, and down-to-earth tastes. He loved diner food. While at the Hermitage, he was a regular at the Hungry Hound Café, a hole-in-the-wall hidden in a strip mall in Englewood, Fl. As far as I know, once he found it, he took every evening meal there. He took everyone else he could get to go with him, too. When he left the Hermitage for the last time, we gave him a Hungry Hound T-shirt.

The generosity, which defined Romulus at the Hermitage, was most evident with how he interacted with some of the younger artists who shared their time with him. Both composers and painters sat at his feet, anxiously seeking his opinion and advice, which he gave honestly but with care.

When asked about his creative process, we would say with the twinge of a southern lilt, “I tell my subconscious that I plan to be at my desk at 8am, and I invite it to meet me there.”

As his New York Times obituary observes, Romulus never achieved the household recognition of a Neil Simon or a David Mamet. His one Broadway play closed in five days. But he was universally admired by his peers for his craftsmanship, scholarship, and his prodigious ability to mine the deep humanity of his characters. He loved history and used it often to write about his time.

“When this is all over, my writing will add up to the sum total of me,” he said in an interview quoted in the Times. “The choices I make with my writing have a lot to do with myself as an unfolding personality, so that in the end your writing is really your destiny. It’s a question of finding that central thing that’s yours to say and yours alone.”

Like Tennessee Williams, writing wasn’t what he did, it was who he was. He was a talent of our time, and his loss is shared by us all.

The full New York Times obituary can be found at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/15/arts/16linney.html?ref=arts