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THE ART OF MIGRATION: Dance, theater, music and more

By Dave Jones on January 18, 2013 in University News

Learning about migration in a book is one thing. Now the campus community has an opportunity to see it and hear it — in art, dance, theater and music, plus a panel discussion, during a five-day festival, Jan. 30-Feb. 3.

The learning portion comes from reading The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, the Campus Community Book Project for 2012-13 (the author’s visit is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 12).

The festival part is Worlds of Discovery and Loss: The Art of Migration, featuring Korean "p'ansori" (storytelling by a singer with a barrel drum); and concerts by the university's Empyrean Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra, as well as the visiting Calder Quartet. All three groups are set to perform works by UC Davis students selected as Art of Migration fellows.

Free events include a noontime concert (with the Calder Quartet, the Rootstock Percussion Trio and Mayumi Hama on marimba), a night of M.F.A. students' choreography and theater, and a late night of European cabaret.

The festival is a collaboration of the departments of Studio Art, Music, and Theatre and Dance; the Performance Studies program; the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts; the Davis Humanities Institute and the Department of Sociology.

The thinking, said music lecturer Sam Nichols, one of the organizers, is that “migration takes many forms” and that its impact, and the process itself, manifests itself in several ways.

The festival, according to its mission statement, “looks at the creative worlds generated by migration, and tries to locate various boundaries, both real and imagined.”

Drawings and 'p'ansori'

Opening day features the unveiling of an art exhibition that will run through Feb. 28 in the Mondavi Center’s Yocha Dehe Grand Lobby. Drawing on Migrations, curated by art professor Robin Hill, comprises works by Lisa Rybovich Crallé, Alan Hopkins, Chau Huynh and Meredith Tromble.

“Artists are a migratory species,” Hill said. “Artists who begin a work of art purposefully, not knowing where it will take them, who require a sense of being lost in order to arrive somewhere, are also performing a kind of migration.”

The exhibition’s opening is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30. The evening program continues at 8 with Chan E. Park’s “p’ansori” performance in Korean and English.

Park, associate professor of Korean language, literature and performance studies at Ohio State University, performs in Korean and English, also is scheduled to participate in the festival’s panel discussion on Thursday, Jan. 31.

A focus on recent works of art

The festival focuses mostly on recent works of art, not necessarily art from historically significant migratory periods. Many of the works, in fact, are new for the festival.

In particular, student composers are working with composer-in-residence Lei Liang (a Chinese-born American) and the Calder Quartet, which collaborates with artists across genres, spanning the ranges of the classical and contemporary music world, as well as rock, dance and visual arts, and in venues ranging from art galleries and rock clubs to the Carnegie and Walt Disney concert halls.

The Calder Quartet is scheduled to perform three times: at the free noon concert Thursday, Jan. 31), and in concerts with tickets required, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 2 and 3. Tickets also are required for the Empyrean Ensemble's concert, Friday, Feb. 1, and the orchestra's concert, Sunday, Feb. 3.

Theater, dance and a night of cabaret

Master of Fine Arts candidates present two choreographies and two scenes from a full-length play, in Migration and Other Projects, Thursday, Jan. 31.

The night of European cabaret, Stranger, Beware ..., is scheduled to begin at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, featuring Professor Bella Merlin of the Department of Theatre and Dance, accompanied by Michael Seth Orland, piano.

See the complete, detailed schedule for Worlds of Discovery and Loss: The Art of Migration, along with information on a panel discussion and the author's visit in the Campus Community Book Project.

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Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,