Pulitzer-Winning Composer Mario Davidosky to Be Spotlighted in Vassar "Modfest," the College's Fourth Annual Showcase of Contemporary Music, Dance, Poetry, and Art (January 27-February 5, 2006)

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Mario Davidosky, The Mannes Trio chamber ensemble, the Vassar Repertory Dance Theater, violinist Curtis Macomber, Broadway sound designer Mark Bennett, the new a cappella choir Ensemble in Flore, as well as student music ensembles, poets, and artists, will highlight Vassar College's fourth annual "Modfest", on two successive weekends beginning Friday, January 27. ModFest will once again spotlight music, dance, poetry, and art of the past hundred years — much of it created during the past decade — and will incorporate performances, workshops, exhibits, and artist conversations. All programs are free and open to the public, and for more information call (845) 437-7294 or go to

Modfest also coincides with the exhibition "Presses, Pop, and Pomade: American Prints Since the Sixties," opening January 13 at Vassar's Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, which will feature works by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Helen Frankenthaler, and Jasper Johns, among others (845) 437-5632,

Mario Davidosky is best known for his "Synchronisms" compositions that weave acoustic instruments and recorded electronic music, and his piece "Synchronisms 6" earned the Argentine-American composer the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for music composition. Three separate Modfest programs will explore Davidosky's work: an opening night recital featuring pieces by several contemporary composers; violinist Curtis Macomber's performance/workshop of Davidosky's "Synchronisms 9"; and a live conversation between Davidosky and Vassar professor Richard Wilson, a fellow renowned composer.

Weekend one of Modfest opens Friday evening January 27 with Vassar piano professors Maria Rivera White and Thomas Sauer, and guest violinist Rolf Schulte, performing works by Davidosky, Sir Michael Tippett, Harold Meltzer, and Richard Wilson. The weekend will also include Vassar alumnus Mark Bennett's Saturday morning workshop on theatrical sound design, a Saturday afternoon joint presentation by Vassar student musicians, poets, and visual artists, the Saturday evening premier of the contemporary voice choir Ensemble In Flore, and a Sunday afternoon performance by the violin/cello/piano ensemble The Mannes Trio, one of the nation's oldest continuous chamber music groups.

Works in progress by the Vassar Repertory Dance Theater — including Pascal Rioult's "Wien" choreographed to Maurice Ravel's "La Valse" — will kick off weekend two of Modfest on Friday, February 3 at 8:00 p.m. The Modfest celebration of composer Mario Davidosky will continue Saturday morning February 4, with violinist Curtis Macomber's performance/workshop on Davidosky's "Synchronisms 9", followed Saturday afternoon by the composer's on-stage conversation with Vassar's Richard Wilson.

Later Saturday afternoon at the college's Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, a reception for the new exhibit "Presses, Pops, and Pomade: American Prints Since the Sixties" will feature performances by Vassar student musicians and poets, immediately followed by art critic Donald Kuspit's exhibition talk. Concerts showcasing top music department student ensembles — the College Choir, Women's Chorus and Mahagonny Ensemble on Saturday evening, and the Wind Ensemble, College Orchestra and Mahagonny Choir on Sunday afternoon — will round out the 2006 Modfest.

All Modfest programs will be held at the college's Skinner of Hall of Music auditorium, unless otherwise indicated:

Modfest 1/Concert Friday, January 27, 8:00 p.m. Skinner of Hall of Music auditorium Vassar faculty members Maria Rivera White and Thomas Sauer, piano, and guest Rolf Schulte, violin. Works by Mario Davidovsky, Sir Michael Tippett, Richard Wilson, and Harold Meltzer.

Modfest 2/Workshop Saturday, January 28, 10:30 a.m. Thekla Hall, Skinner Hall of Music Award-winning sound designer Mark Bennett will discuss the challenges of a career in theatrical sound design on Broadway.

Modfest 3/Concert-Reading-Exhibit Saturday, January 28, 3:00 p.m. Villard Room, College Center A presentation of music, poetry and artwork by students of Vassar College.

Modfest 4/Concert Saturday, January 28, 8:00 p.m. Skinner of Hall of Music auditorium Ensemble In Flore The new 12-member choral group conducted by Vassar professor Christine Howlett, presents "Points of Departure," a program of contemporary a cappella music.

Modfest 5/Concert Sunday, January 29, 3:00 p.m. Skinner of Hall of Music auditorium The Mannes Trio, featuring Hiroko Yajima, violin, Wilhelmina Smith, violoncello, Thomas Sauer, piano. Program to include "Four Movements for Piano Trio" by Bright Sheng, "Sindbad" by Harold Meltzer (story by Donald Barthelme), and the premiere of a new work by Suzanne Sorkin.

Modfest 6/Dance Recital Friday, February 3, 8:00 p.m. New Hackensack Studio Theatre (in the former Poughkeepsie Day School Building) Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre The troupe's performance of works in progress will include Pascal Rioult's "Wien" choreographed to Maurice Ravel's "La Valse."

Modfest 7/Performance-Workshop Saturday, February 4, 10:30 a.m. Thekla Hall, Skinner Hall of Music. Violinist Curtis Macomber presents a performance and workshop devoted to Mario Davidovsky's "Synchronisms 9"

Modfest 8/Artist Conversation Saturday, February 4, 2:00 p.m. Thekla Hall, Skinner Hall of Music. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Mario Davidovsky discusses his work with Vassar professor Richard Wilson.

Modfest 9/Art Reception and Lecture Saturday, February 4 4:00 p.m. (reception), Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. A reception for the art exhibition "Presses, Pops, and Pomade: American Prints Since the Sixties" will feature poetry and music performances by Vassar students. 5:00 p.m. (lecture), Taylor Hall room 203 Art critic Donald Kuspit will discuss "Art Since Warhol: Media-Derived Contra Anti-Media," in conjunction with the exhibition "Presses, Pops, and Pomade: American Prints Since the Sixties"

Modfest 10/Concert Saturday, February 4, 8:00 p.m. Skinner of Hall of Music auditorium The Vassar College Choir, Women's Chorus and Mahagonny Ensemble. Christine Howlett and Ian Garvie '07, conductors. Program will include works by Benjamin Britten, Morten Lauridsen, and Lana Walter.

Modfest 11/Concert Skinner of Hall of Music auditorium Sunday, February 5, 3:00 p.m. Vassar College Wind Ensemble, Orchestra and Mahagonny Choir. James Osborn, Eduardo Navega, and Lidiya Yankovskaya '08, conductors.

All Modfest programs are free admission and open to the public. For more information contact the department of music at 845-437-7294, or go to

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Wednesday, January 4, 2006