Modfest, now in its 14th year, is Vassar College’s celebration of 20th and 21st century arts with a series of programs and performances, January 28-February 12, 2016

Now in its 14th year, Modfest is a series of performances and presentations in dance, drama, visual art, film, literature, poetry, and music taking place January 28 to February 12. Participants in Modfest 2016 include guest artists, Vassar students, faculty, and alumnae/i, as well as students from Poughkeepsie area schools. All events take place on the Vassar campus, and a full list of events is included below.

Some Modfest highlights this year include:

•          An evening of performances by middle and high school students from arts programs in the Mid-Hudson Valley: Mill Street Loft’s LitClub, an outreach program for girls in the Poughkeepsie Middle School, the Vivace ensemble of the Stringendo Orchestra School of the Hudson Valley, and dancers from the New York Academy of Ballet. (1/28)

•          Noted soprano Lucy Shelton will perform a work composed by Vassar faculty member Susan Botti. (1/30)

•          A master class/concert in cabaret performance technique. (1/30)

•          “Music in the Prisons,” a lecture by violist Nathan Schram who heads MUSICAMBIA, an initiative working toward establishing music programs in U.S. jails and prisons, which is active in Sing Sing Correctional Facility. (2/5)

•          The acclaimed Attacca Quartet will play music by Richard Wilson, also of the music department, as well as by John Adams. (2/7)

Adene Wilson, a Vassar alumna from the class of 1969, organizes Modfest. “I see this festival as a way to celebrate the arts at Vassar and in the Hudson Valley and bring some much-needed light to the winter,” she says. “Modfest events are a great way for people of all ages to access the arts, including celebrating new works and initiatives.”

A full list of Modfest events can be found below.

Vassar College strives to make its events, performances, and facilities accessible to all. Individuals with disabilities requiring special accommodations must contact the Office of Campus Activities at least 48 hours in advance of an event, Mondays-Fridays, at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space/and or assistance may not be available. For detailed information about accessibility to specific campus facilities, search for “campus accessibility information” on the Vassar homepage (

Directions to the Vassar campus, located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, NY, are available at

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

JANUARY 28 – FEBRUARY 12, 2016

All events are open to the public. Events are free, except cabaret night on February 5 (details are included below). No reservations necessary unless otherwise noted. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Note that all events are subject to change. For additional information, call (845) 437-5370 or visit

Ongoing Exhibits at Vassar during MODFEST

January 26–May 8

Exhibition: Fluid Ecologies: Hispanic Caribbean Art from the Permanent Collection
Fluid Ecologies features works on paper by nine twentieth-century artists including Wifredo Lam (Cuban, 1902–1980), Marisol (French, b. 1930), Rafael Ferrer (Puerto Rican, b. 1933), Luis Fernando Roldán (Colombian, b. 1955), and José Bedia (Cuban, b. 1959).
Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center Focus Gallery
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

January 28 – February 14

Exhibition: Notes in Passing is an exhibition of work by photographer Julie Mihaly, this show features images taken with a point-and-shoot camera and printed in a large-scale format. Artist’s reception Thursday, February 4, 5:00-7:00pm.

James W. Palmer Gallery, Main Building

January 29– April 17

Exhibition: American Stories 1800–1950
When the art museum at Vassar College was founded in 1864, its strength lay primarily in its American paintings. That part of the collection has grown greatly over the years, but many important works are seldom seen owing to limited viewing space. This exhibition will explore some of the riches found in the museum’s vault.  Among the artists featured are John Singleton Copley, Benjamin West, Sanford Gifford, George Inness, William Merritt Chase, Maxfield Parrish, Arthur B. Davies, Robert Henri, Ernest Lawson, Arthur Dove, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Ben Shahn.  The exhibition is supported by the Friends of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center Exhibition Fund.
Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Temporary Exhibition Galleries

January 27-ongoing

Music Library Display: Modfest
The Vassar College Music Library presents a display highlighting Modfest music activities and musicians, curated by Sarah Canino, music librarian.  Open daily.
Skinner Hall of Music, first floor




Presentation: Teen Music, Dance and the Spoken Word
Features middle and high school students from arts programs in the Mid-Hudson Valley: Mill Street Loft’s LitClub, an outreach program for girls in the Poughkeepsie Middle School, the Vivace ensemble of the Stringendo Orchestra School of the Hudson Valley, and dancers from the New York Academy of Ballet.
Main Building, College Center, Villard Room


Presentation: Robinson McClellan ’99
The composer discusses his career ‘after Vassar,’ including ComposerCraft, his seminar for young composers at the Kaufman Music Center; his online theory course at Rutgers; and the online music notation company Noteflight, where he works developing the notation editor and helping composers and teachers to use the software. Co-sponsored by the Career Development Office.
Skinner Hall of Music, Music Library Listening Classroom, first floor

Concert: Vassar Jazz Combos
The student ensembles present a colorful variety of jazz styles. James Osborn, director of the jazz groups.
Main Building, Villard Room, second floor


Master Class: The Art of Cabaret Performance
Jennie Litt and David Alpher coach student performers in the art of cabaret performance, with a particular focus on microphone technique, subtext, intimacy, authenticity, patter, and the conventions of cabaret as distinct from classical singing, pop, and musical theater.
Main Building, Villard Room, second floor

Concert: Music by Vassar Composers--Plus
Vocal works by Susan Botti, Richard Wilson and Igor Stravinsky along with piano works by David Alpher, Yehudi Wyner, Bernard Rands, and Claude Debussy, will be performed by singers Lucy Shelton and Eric Brenner ’92 and pianists Gregg Michalak and Todd Crow.
Skinner Hall of Music

SUNDAY, January 31

Concert: Vassar College Percussion Ensemble Debut
Vassar faculty members Frank Cassara  and Trey Files join Lauren Workman ’17, Robert Nikolai ’19, and Ilan Korman ’19, in this newly formed group to present music by John Cage, Henry Cowell, Steve Reich, Askell Masson and James Romig.
Skinner Hall of Music

WEDNESDAY, February 3


Readings: Translation as an Art
Readings of Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Hebrew, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish texts in their original tongue and in translation by Vassar students. Translations and performances have been prepared with the help of the language fellows from the participating departments led by Lea Espinoza and Yaroslava Abramova.  Presented by the departments and programs of foreign language study at Vassar. Hosted and coordinated by Lioba Gerhardi, adjunct assistant professor of German and coordinator of the Self-Instructional Language Program
Main Building, Villard Room, second floor


Late Night at the Lehman Loeb, with Gallery Conversation & Late Night Anniversary Celebration
Come celebrate with cake and coffee as Late Night at the Lehman Loeb marks nine years of creative happenings on Thursday evenings at the Art Center.
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

Nathan Schram: Music in the Prisons
A presentation by violist Nathan Schram about MUSICAMBIA, a New York-based initiative working toward establishing a network of music programs within prisons and jails in the United States. The program is currently active in Sing Sing. Co-sponsored by the departments of Education, Hispanic Studies, Music, Political Science, and Sociology, as well as the Africana Studies Interdisciplinary Program, the Career Development Office, and the Office of the Dean of Faculty.
Sanders Classroom Building, Spitzer Auditorium (room 212)

Cabaret Night
Members of the Vassar College Choir, Women's Chorus, and Madrigal Singers hold a Cabaret Fundraiser to benefit their upcoming March 2016 tour to Cuba. Among the attractions are a silent auction, tasty food, and outstanding  musical theater, jazz, and piano music. For tickets, please contact Mary Lesher at or (715) 441-3789.  Reserved ticket prices: Adults (18+)-$25; Seniors (65+)-$20; Children (Under 18)-$10; Students (with ID)-$10. Prices higher at the door.
Main Building, Rose Parlor and Villard Room, second floor



Open Rehearsal: Mahagonny Ensembles
Conducted by Jaylin Remensperger ’17 and Joseph Sopchak ’16. Composer Robinson McClellan ’99 coaches the student-run contemporary groups in the preparation of his new work entitled Abraham and Isaac.
Skinner Hall of Music

Concert: ChoralFest
Cappella Festiva Treble Choir performs in a joint concert with the Vassar College Women’s Chorus in a celebration of music for treble voices.  Music of Jim Papoulis, Eleanor Daley, Carson Cooman, and the regional premiere of a new work by Moira Smiley.  
Skinner Hall of Music

Concert by the Vassar Ensembles
The Vassar College Orchestra performs music by Norman Dello Joio, Charles Ives, and Prokofiev. The Mahagonny Ensembles perform a première by alumnus Robinson McClellan ’99. Eduardo Navega, Jaylin Remensperger ’17 and Joseph Sopchak ’16, conductors.
Skinner Hall of Music


Concert: Attacca Quartet
The prize-winning, internationally acclaimed young ensemble in works by Haydn, Richard Wilson, and John Adams.
Skinner Hall of Music


Presentation: Music, Words, Dance and Images
Dance, featuring students of Alessia Santoro, adjunct instructor in dance; chamber music by students from the classes of Eduardo Navega, lecturer in music and director of the program in chamber music; and readings of original prose and poetry by students of Jean Kane, Paul Kane and Michael Joyce, professors of English. A display organized by Sam Schwamm ’16 and Lucas Kautz ’17 will present work by students from Phocus, Vassar College’s photography club. A reception with food accompanied by jazz provided by students of Peter Tomlinson, adjunct artist in music, will give the audience time to view the exhibit.
Main Building, Villard Room, second floor


Late Night at the Lehman Loeb
For description, see February 4

Modfest Presentation at Late Night at the Lehman Loeb
Chamber music and readings of original prose and poetry by Vassar students from the classes of Eduardo Navega, lecturer in music and director of the program in chamber music, and Jean Kane and Michael Joyce, professors of English.
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center


Presentation: A Screening of Original Short Films
Vassar Filmmakers Club and the Film Majors’ Committee present a selection of student short films from the Vassar film community. Student filmmakers will be present for a Q&A afterward. Hosted by Vassar Filmmakers Club and the Film Majors’ Committee. Organized by Adam Ninyo ’17, Reid Antin ’16, Anna La Roche ’17, Ashley Hoyle ’18, Nick Mennona ’18, Anna Rose Iovine ’16, and Samantha Smith ’16.
Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film, Rosenwald Theatre, Room 109

Exhibition Special Event: Lecture & Reception
Anna O. Marley ‘96, “Exhibiting America: Art Institutions and National Identity 1805–1913”
Anna O. Marley, curator of historical American art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia, has written extensively on American art and material culture from the colonial era to 1945. At PAFA she has curated many exhibitions. She holds a BA in art history from Vassar College, an MA in museum studies from the University of Southern California, and a PhD from the University of Delaware.
Exhibition: Taylor Hall, Room 203
Reception: The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center Atrium

Performance: Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre
With Steve Rooks as acting director, VRDT will feature selections from Sean Curran’s Social Discourse to a score by Thom Yorke; Miriam Mahdaviani’s as yet untitled new work to the music of Jeff Beal;  Katherine Wildberger's new work entitled Home to a commissioned score by Vassar adjunct artist Howard Kilik; and Abby Saxon’s work Smooth Over to music by Ella Fitzgerald and The Orchestra from New York, New York.  Student choreography will also be included.
For free Modfest tickets please write to and put Modfest in the subject window. For information please call the Dance Office at (845) 437-7470.
Kenyon Hall, Frances Daly Fergusson Dance Theater

Posted by Office of Communications Tuesday, December 22, 2015