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Asian Arts and Asian American Arts and Culture Program
This season, we celebrate 28 years of our Asian and Asian American Arts and Culture Program, with a mission to present the artistic and cultural heritages and living practices of Asia (broadly defined) and the Asian American experience as a lens to promote cultural awareness, intercultural dialogue, and social justice. Through performances, educational outreach, community engagement, and residencies by artists, scholars, and other experts, we serve learning communities and audiences at UMass and the Five Colleges and greater western Massachusetts region, as well as nationally and internationally through virtual programs. We have presented such world-class artists as Kodo, Cloud Gate Dance Theater, Amjad Ali Khan, and Sankai Juku, contemporary innovators like Takao Kawaguchi, Kristina Wong, and Kadri Gopalnath, traditional masters such as Zakir Hussain and Sidi Goma, and many others.
Global Arts Performances for Schools
Global Arts features the best in national and international performing arts events through the Fine Arts Center for school audiences. Whether you are looking for theater, dance, music or visual arts experiences, we have the right events for students and teachers. Every performance is carefully selected to meet the highest artistic standards while complementing your school's curriculum, and all performances meet the Curriculum Frameworks as established by the Massachusetts Department of Education. The performances present a world view of the arts and augment curricula in the areas of geography, history, science, social studies, language studies, and fine and performing arts.
The ¡GUITARRA! series brings the rich harmonic beauty of the classical guitar to a broader audience, presenting some of the leading exponents of the instrument and a new generation of talented guitarists, including some from our region. Their interpretive skills delight in concert, and their articulate teaching skills inspire in the workshop environment. In addition to our live presentations this season, we invite you to enjoy the selection of clips below from some of our past ¡GUITARRA! artists. We look forward to sharing the beauty of live music with you in person again soon!
Jazz in July
Jazz in July has always been a summer oasis for the performance and study of jazz improvisation. Every July, musicians from surrounding communities and around the world bear witness to the fact that Jazz in July is a special place where jazz history is created and studied. Because programs run at the same time, high school, college and adult participants are able to join together for combined lectures, master classes, jam sessions and performances.
This season, we conclude the Magic Triangle Jazz Series, which presents improvised music across a broad range of styles and traditions in intimate venues at an affordable price. Founded and curated by Glenn Siegel (recently retired from UMass) for three decades, Magic Triangle has presented artists at all stages of their careers, including some of the most celebrated musicians in jazz history: Andrew Hill, Lester Bowie, Sam Rivers, Milford Graves, Yusef Lateef, Roscoe Mitchell, Von Freeman, Anthony Braxton, Cecil Taylor and Randy Weston. We have also presented younger artists like Vijay Iyer, Mary Halvorson, Amir ElSaffar, Joshua Abrams, Rudresh Mahanthappa and Tyshawn Sorey, who are charting new directions in jazz. All of the hundreds of fabulous musicians we have brought to the University of Massachusetts have had something profound to say and made lasting impacts on creative music.
Valley Jazz Network
The Valley Jazz Network (VJN) is an outreach arm of the Fine Arts Center focused on preserving the legacy of jazz. VJN achieves this through its programming designed to offer patrons a more intimate interaction with jazz and jazz artists. We serve as a network to promote jazz in the Pioneer Valley through programs and partnerships. We produce small concerts called “informances,” educational programs, and listening parties in various community venues in Amherst, Greenfield, Holyoke and Springfield.
Founded in 2020 as a response to the twin crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuing epidemic of racism across the USA and beyond, our Reimagine Residencies program works with both nationally-recognized and regional artists, and is dedicated to addressing contemporary social issues through performance, education, and outreach activities. More deeply, artists are asked what it means to be engaged with their art form, community, and the public in this historical moment, and to allow that inquiry to serve as the impetus behind their residency. Past artists include Sandglass Theater Company, Miwa Matreyek, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and Emily Johnson. Reimagine Residences are supported by Applewood & Loomis Communities.
Begun in 1975, this series was one of the two original programs of the Fine Arts Center (along with the University Gallery, now UMCA). Center Series endeavers to offer the finest in world culture through an international performing arts series covering dance, jazz, chamber music, orchestras, popular events, and Broadway.