DAM Opens Its Doors to the Academy

Denver Art Museum

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One of the Academy’s most treasured community partners, the Denver Art Museum offers our participants an unparalleled, intimate, insiders’ look at the museum’s newest and permanent exhibits every term.  Board member Joanne Mendes has created several
DAM Great Art courses, each with a focus on a different area.  This fall’s Art Sampler at the Denver Art Museum (co-hosted by Dr. Joan Bub) will focus on various parts of the DAM, including the new textile exhibition.  The exhibition, called Spun, is actually a dozen exhibits, all variations on the theme, and it is designed to address a chronic problem at museums: getting visitors to look at their permanent collections. Longtime and first-time fans of this series fill the small class quickly, so register now!

But don’t wait until fall to savor DAM’s current exhibitions. Visit one or all of these great shows—

  • Figure to Field: Mark Rothko in the 1940s
  • Passport to Paris, “bringing together the rock stars of the art world”—Monet, Degas Pissaro, Toulouse-Lautrec and other masters from more than three centuries of French art
  • Spun: Adventures in Textiles, featuring historic and contemporary textiles from an array of cultures

You’ll also want to explore one of the DAM’s best-kept secrets, the Wednesday and Friday Nooner Tour series, available with your general admission ticket. Each tour, from 12:00 to 12:30, focuses on a tempting appetizer from the museum’s 5-star menu of art collections. For upcoming topics in the series, go to the Denver Art Museum’s website.

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Lamont School of Music: Community Partner

Lamont School of Music

2-Newman-CenterThe Academy enjoys its most versatile community partnership with the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver. Outstanding Lamont students and faculty have developed and led numerous innovative courses at the Academy, in addition to offering special free concerts and discounts for events at Lamont’s splendid home, the Newman Center for the Performing Arts on the DU campus.

In our latest collaboration with Lamont, about one hundred Academy members and their guests attended the June 26th chamber concert performed as part of Lamont’s pre-college summer camp for aspiring musicians aged 14 to 18. This event has become a summer tradition for the Academy, as well as a welcome opportunity for Academy participants to hear burgeoning musicians mentored by college faculty.

Lamont’s faculty and graduate students–all accomplished professional instrumentalists, singers and composers—are also key to the Academy’s exciting music curriculum. In spring 2012, Lamont instructor Conrad Kehn, an award-winning composer, tailored a music composition course especially for the Academy —a rarity among lifelong learning institutes. Thanks to Conrad’s expert direction and the assistance of musicians from his Playground chamber ensemble, Academy registrants completed a musical composition, which was then performed in a final concert open to the entire Academy; dozens attended, many surprised and all delighted at the achievements of their fellow students.

It is no surprise that, with an enrollment of 300 music majors and a packed calendar of superb public concerts, the Lamont School of Music was recognized by the City of Denver with the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, in 2005. For more information on Lamont’s free and affordable concerts, go to http://www.du.edu/ahss/schools/lamont/events or search keyword Lamont School of Music.

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Kehn Plays Around with the Playground

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2-Playground-DenverAn award-winning performer, composer, and founding Director of The Playground Ensemble, Conrad Kehn teaches music theory, composition, and music technology at DU’s Lamont School of Music.  He also taught one of the Academy’s most innovative courses, a composing workshop.

Many of Conrad’s Academy classes have featured musicians from and concerts by The Playground, adding to the rich musical experience Conrad brings to all of his courses.

Comprised of Lamont faculty, alumni and area professionals, The Playground performers are dedicated to presenting classical music as a living art form–vibrant, adventurous and relevant to the world we all live in. Their goal is to provide stimulating performances, expand common perceptions of both contemporary music and the chamber ensemble, and nurture a supportive community for this music.

In addition to an annual concert season showcasing recognized composers, they cultivate a thriving local music-composition community and conduct dynamic educational programs for people of all ages.

Now in its sixth year, The Playground’s Colorado Composers Concert series has featured 49 works by 39 different Colorado-based composers including a number of K-12 composers. The ensemble has also performed at many notable venues and festivals, including the Arvada Center, the Denver Art Museum, the International Society of Improvised Music Annual Conference, the National Performing Arts Convention, the Mile High Voltage Festival, and the Denver Music Summit.

In spring 2011 The Playground released its debut CD, Dreams Go Through Me. Key to the project were a number of Colorado-based composers and supporting organizations, such as the Newman Center and Colorado Public Radio.

To alert any composers you know to the opportunity to participate in the Colorado Composers Concert series, or to get involved in other ways, write to The Playground at playground@playgroundensemble.org.

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