Home » Music


Calendar Customer Code: 

Long String Instrument Installation

Celebrated artist and musician Ellen Fullman is in residence at Grinnell College Nov. 4 -14, building, rehearsing, holding workshops and performing her Long String Instrument installation.

For nearly 30 years, Fullman has been exploring the acoustics of large resonant spaces with her Long String Instrument. The installation, at least 53 feet long, is comprised of approximately 100 precisely tuned wires strung across a room. Its strings are tuned very low so that when played, the Long String Instrument sounds similar to an organ.

Fullman's performance, which is free and open to the public, will start at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13, in Main Hall Quad Dining Hall. Although admission is free, tickets are required. They will be available beginning Tuesday, Nov. 10, at the Box Office in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

Fullman has received numerous awards, commissions and residencies including:

  • A 2015 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists award,
  • Two Center for Cultural Innovation Grants (2008 and 2013),
  • A Japan/U.S. Friendship Commission/National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Japan (2007), and
  • A DAAD Artists-in-Berlin residency (2000)

Throughout her career, Fullman has recorded extensively with the Long String Instrument and has collaborated with numerous artists. The Wire selected two of her releases, "Ort" and "Fluctuations," among the top 50 recordings of 2004 and 2008.

Sponsoring the installation and related events are Artists@Grinnell, the Center for the Humanities, Department of Music, and Public Events Series.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations and Events.

Pro Arte String Quartet in Concert with Eugene Gaub on Piano

Pro Arte Quartet, with Eugene Gaub on piano, will performing Mozart’s String Quartet in E-flat Major, Anton von Webern’s Langsamer Satz, and Antonín Dvořák’s Quintet for Piano and Strings No.2 in A Major in a concert at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, in Sebring-Lewis Hall, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

The Pro Arte Quartet (PAQ) is one of the world’s most distinguished string quartets. Founded by conservatory students in Brussels in 1912, it became one of the most celebrated ensembles in Europe in the first half of the 20th century and was named Court Quartet to the Queen of Belgium. Its world reputation blossomed in 1919 when the quartet began the first of many tours that enticed notable composers such as Milhaud, Honegger, Martin, and Casella to write new works for the ensemble. In addition, Bartók dedicated his fourth quartet to the PAQ (1927), and in 1936 PAQ premiered Barber’s Op. 11 quartet, with the now-famous “Adagio for Strings” as its slow movement.

The concert is sponsored by the Department of Music as part of the Noyce Master Class series. Artists in the series teach master classes for Grinnell students, as well as perform on campus.

Models of Collaboration: Dance, Art, and Music

Professors Juliet Bellow and Julia Randel will discuss models of collaboration in dance, art, and music at 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 6, in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101. Each will present a 20 minute talk. Bellow will present “Working Simultaneously: Robert and Sonia Delaunay and the Ballets Russes,” and Randel will present “Pas de deux of music and dance: Balanchine’s Stravinsky ballets.”

Duo EStrella will present a concert that complements the discussion. The duo, pianists Svetlana Belsky and Elena Doubovitskaya, will perform Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Debussy’s Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, in Sebring-Lewis Hall, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

Both events are free and open to the public.

The talk is sponsored the Center for the Humanities as a part of this year's theme, "Sites of Creativity: Streets, Salons, Studios, and Schools." The concert is sponsored by the Department of Music.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

Juliet Bellow

Juliet BellowsBellow is associate professor of modern European art history at American University. Her scholarly research concerns intermedial modernism, with a focus on the relationship between art and dance in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her 2013 book, Modernism on Stage: The Ballets Russes and the Parisian Avant-Garde, is a study of set and costume designs by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Sonia Delaunay, and Giorgio de Chirico for Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes troupe.

She has consulted for the National Gallery of Art’s exhibition "Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes: When Art Danced with Music," and will be a resident fellow at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University in the 2015-16 academic year.

Julia Randel

Julia RandelRandel is associate professor and chair of the Department of Music at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. She is currently researching a project on the relationships between music and choreography in George Balanchine's ballets to Igor Stravinsky's music.

Her work has been supported by fellowships from the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel, Switzerland; the Harvard Theatre Collection; the Great Lakes College Association; and the Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University. She has presented her work at national meetings of the American Musicological Society, Society of Dance History Scholars, Feminist Theory and Music, and Congress on Research in Dance; and at symposia of the Harvard Theatre Collection.


Bolstering the Arts

Chris Bulbulia ’10 came to Grinnell College as a Posse Foundation scholar interested in theatre. He wanted to become a professional actor, but a wealth of support and experience combined with intellectual flexibility honed at Grinnell opened up an even richer path of discovery.

Two short years after leaving Grinnell, Bulbulia had already climbed from post-graduate intern to a full-time development assistant at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. One night at the urging of a friend he journeyed across town to see Congressional Chorus perform its annual cabaret at the historic Atlas Performing Arts Center. It changed everything.

“I’d seen ballet and opera. I’d seen lots of shows at the Kennedy Center,” Bulbulia says. “But I saw this show and my jaw fell to the floor. I was like, whoa, what is this? There was such a range of genres — a cappella singing, bands and dancing, soloists and ensembles. It was a wonderful production.

“I fell in love with Congressional Chorus the first time I saw the cabaret,” Bulbulia says. “I feel very proud to be part of the organization today.”

Congressional Chorus and American Youth Chorus — its full name — is a family of five choruses devoted to American choral music. It performs a full slate of concerts and special appearances each year in Washington, D.C., including The White House and Capitol Hill occasions.

Bulbulia became a Congressional Chorus singer in 2013. He quickly transitioned to become the organization’s director of marketing, production, and development.

“We have a performance style for everyone,” Bulbulia says. “You’re not going to get the same thing every time you come to a show, which really lends to a dynamic season that people enjoy.”

Building relationships

Far from being overwhelmed by his multi-faceted job, Bulbulia is energized by the integration of functions he came to appreciate as a theatre major at Grinnell, as a freelance fundraiser for non-profit groups, and as an intern and employee at the Kennedy Center.

“There is a whole other side to the arts besides being a performer,” Bulbulia says. “I’ve come to understand that relationships need to be built in order to sustain organizations. This job incorporates all of the elements that allow Congressional Chorus to be healthy.”

Posse support

Bulbulia grew up in Maryland and Washington, D.C. He arrived at Grinnell as a Posse scholar through the College’s partnership with the Posse Foundation in his hometown. The Posse Foundation’s model is based on the idea that a small, diverse group of talented and carefully selected students can serve as a catalyst for individual and community development. It worked especially well for Bulbulia. 

“I had a great experience at Grinnell because of my Posse’s support system, and also because the Posse Foundation correctly decided that I would be a great fit for Grinnell,” he says.

Bulbulia’s activities at Grinnell included two years with the Grinnell Singers. His participation with the Student Publications and Radio Committee (SPARC) gave him insights into fundraising, allocations, and non-profit relationships.

Shortly after graduation, Bulbulia worked as an overhire stagehand in and around D.C. while “doing the struggling actor thing.” He even went to bartending school. The plan shifted, he says, when opportunities at the Kennedy Center refocused his attention on arts management.

“The arts are in need of people who can bolster the craft and provide good representation for artists themselves,” Bulbulia said. That includes helping artists make sound financial decisions and building their marketing and technical skills to assist in the creation of their best productions and performances.

Bringing people together

Bulbulia continues to work in support of community organizations such as Afromoda Dance Theater, City at Peace, D.C. Public Library’s Punk Archive, and Funk Parade. He is a member and officer in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, which is dedicated to the principles of friendship, love, and charity.

He also manages events and partnerships for the city’s largest online music magazine, DCMusicDownload.com, which provides in-depth coverage of the local music scene and hosts major music events at prestigious venues like 9:30 Club, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Howard Theatre.

“I have strong commitment to community and to bringing people together through fellowship,” Bulbulia says. “That is why I’ve been a part of all these organizations — to help communities grow and enjoy life together.”

Professor's Fellowships Lead to Taiwan

Craig Quintero, associate professor of theatre and dance, has been named the Frank and Roberta Furbush Faculty Scholar for the 2015-16 academic year. Quintero has also received a Fulbright Scholar Award and an Academic Enterprise Leave grant, funded by a grant made to the College by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to support his research and creative work in Taiwan during his sabbatical year.

As a Frank and Roberta Furbush Faculty Scholar, Quintero will direct his new production Rice Dreams at the Avignon Off Festival in France this summer as well as his multi-media performance Dreaming David Lynch at Taiwan’s National Experimental Theatre in November. During the fall he will also teach a class on site-specific art at Taipei’s National University of the Arts as a Fulbright Scholar. In the spring, Quintero will study filmmaking with Taiwanese director Hung Ya-yen and produce his first short film.

Quintero has spent more than ten years in Asia and has worked to forge cultural exchanges between Grinnell College and Taiwan.

As the artistic director of Riverbed Theatre, he has staged his image-based productions in Germany, Taiwan, France, Macau, Singapore, and Japan. Last year, Quintero collaborated with Professor John Rommereim, music, and six Grinnell students in staging an adaptation of Richard Wagner’s opera Das Rheingold in Taipei. The production was nominated for Taiwan’s prestigious Taishin Arts Award.

The Frank and Roberta Furbush Faculty Scholarship was established in 2000 by the late Roberta Stanbery Furbush in appreciation for the influence of Grinnell College upon the lives of her and her husband, Frank. Both Frank and Roberta were highly active in the Des Moines community, and both enjoyed theatre, art, and music.

Mozart's Requiem

John RommereimGrinnell community members and college students will join forces to sing Mozart's "Requiem" in a free public performance by the Grinnell Oratorio Society, Grinnell Singers, and Grinnell Symphony Orchestra at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 26, in Herrick Chapel.

The program will begin with two concertos featuring student soloists: Grace Bell ’17 and Kirsten Gillis ’18 will play Domenico Cimarosa's Concerto for Two Flutes. Katie Krainc ’17 will play Camille Saint-Saëns's Violin Concerto No. 3. The feature performance of Mozart's Requiem Mass in D minor comprises the second half of the concert.

The Requiem, written by Mozart in 1791 and left unfinished upon his death, is comprised of 14 movements for choir, orchestra and soloists. The Grinnell Oratorio Society, open to all members of the Grinnell community, has been working on the piece since January and will join forces with the Grinnell Singers in its performance.

John Rommereim, Blanche Johnson Professor of Music at Grinnell, will conduct the Requiem. Singing the solos will be Rachel Joselson, soprano; Katherine Eberle, mezzo-soprano; Dennis Willhoit, tenor; and Nicholas Miguel, baritone.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Bucksbaum Center for the Arts has accessible parking in the small lot south of the building off Sixth Ave. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

Ancient to the Future

Nicole Mitchell — a leading flutist, composer, and improviser — will present a lecture recital, “Ancient to the Future," at 4:15 p.m. Friday, April 24, 2015 in Herrick Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

Mitchell lives at the intersection of improvisation, composition, education, and community leadership. In her lecture recital, she will share her perspective on what it means to live a life in music, how music can change communities and how communities can change the world.

Mitchell, a native of Chicago, is a professor of music at the University of California at Irvine, where she teaches in the newly established Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology program. She was elected first female president of the iconic Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). Chicago Tribune named her 2006 Chicagoan of the Year. She has received numerous other honors, including the prestigious 2011 Alpert Award in the Arts.

As the founder of Black Earth Ensemble, Black Earth Strings, Ice Crystal and Sonic Projections, Mitchell has been repeatedly honored by DownBeat Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalists Association as Top Flutist of the Year for the last four years.

Her music celebrates African American culture while reaching across genres and integrating new ideas with moments in the legacy of jazz, gospel, experimentalism, pop and African percussion through albums such as “Black Unstoppable,” “Awakening,” and “Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute to Octavia Butler.”

In addition to presenting her lecture recital, Mitchell will lead an improvisation workshop at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 23, in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, Room 103. The event is free and open to the public. Attendees are invited to bring instruments or their voices, and be prepared to make music.

Grinnell's Center for the Humanities, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Department of Music are cosponsoring the events.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

Reclaiming an Untouchable Drum

Zoe Sherinian, associate professor and chair of ethnomusicology, University of Oklahoma, will present two free public events about the reclamation of an untouchable drum, the parai.

Sherinian has conducted extensive research on the Dalit, a class of people in South India who were once called "untouchables." When conducting Hindu and Christian rituals, the Dalit use a frame drum, the parai. Sherinian's most recent research focuses on this drum and how its status in South India has changed over time.

This is music! Reclaiming an Untouchable Drum: An Ethnomusicological Documentary by Zoe Sherinian, poster of three drummers around fire, forest in background

The events are:

Film screening: This Is a Music: Reclaiming an Untouchable Drum
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Alumni Recitation Hall, Room 302
Sherinian will show her feature length film "This is A Music: Reclaiming an Untouchable Drum." The 74-minute film follows the story of a group of Dalit drummers who form a professional drum ensemble, and shows how they reconstruct their performance for urban audiences
Meaning And Performance of the Dalit Drum: A Lecture Demonstration
4:15 p.m. Thursday, April 9, 2015
Alumni Recitation Hall, Room 302
Sherinian will give a lecture on the meaning and performance of the parai drum. Sherinian will discuss the musical meaning derived from performance of the drum, and the ethnomusicology techniques she uses in her fieldwork.

The events are co-sponsored by Grinnell College’s Center for the Humanities, Center for International Studies, and the English, music, and religious studies departments.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Alumni Recitation Hall is wheelchair accessible and has an elevator at the south end of the building and accessible restrooms on the third floor. Outside entrances with automatic door operators are located on the southeast and southwest sides of ARH. Several accessible parking spaces are available along Park Street. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

Grinnell Singers Spring Tour

The Grinnell Singers, the premier choir of Grinnell College in Iowa, will perform in six Midwest cities during a spring concert tour that runs from March 14-20. All of the concerts are open to the public.

Each concert will include a repertoire of music spanning five centuries, with works by Rachmaninoff, Whitacre, Handel, and Lassus.

The Grinnell Singers also will perform Thomas Tallis’ 40-part Renaissance motet “Spem in Alium,” a masterful work in which each singer has a unique part. The grandeur of this work, and the vast musical landscape it evokes, has stood as an unrivaled artistic monument — a cathedral in sound — for more than four centuries.

Under the direction of John Rommereim, Blanche Johnson Professor of Music, the Singers have toured to Finland, Estonia, Russia, and Turkey. The choir has produced two recordings, including a CD of Rachmaninoff's “All-Night Vigil,” which was praised for its “consummate artistry” by Iowa Public Radio.

The concerts will take place:

7:30 p.m Saturday, March 14
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 2730 E. 31st St., Minneapolis, Minn.
Free will offering collected at the door.
7:30 p.m. Monday, March 16
First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1609 University Ave., Madison, Wis.
$15 for adults. $10 for students and seniors. Children are free. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online.
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 17
St. John Cantius Church, 825 N. Carpenter St., Chicago, Ill.
Free and open to the public.
UPDATE: Listen to a recording the Chicago concert performance of "Idumea." Austin Morris, tenor solo, Sasha Middeldorp, soprano saxophone.
7 p.m. Wednesday, March 18
St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, 808 N. Mason Road, Creve Coeur, Mo.
Free and open to the public.
7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19
Boston Avenue United Methodist Church, 1301 Boston Ave., Tulsa, Okla.
Free and open to the public.
7:30 p.m. Friday, March 20
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 127 Seventh St., Oklahoma City, Okla.
Free and open to the public.