The Arts at Rowan shares student, faculty, guest artist work with campus, regional communities

The Arts at Rowan shares student, faculty, guest artist work with campus, regional communities


As the year continues for the College of Performing Arts and Rowan University Art Gallery, the campus community and patrons from across the region have access to nearly every area of artistic expression as presented by students and faculty. Incorporated into this programming is the added benefit derived by chances to see and engage with visiting artists.

Each of the disciplines - dance, music, theatre and visual art – continue to create important collaborations with guests from each genre in an effort to expand the opportunities and styles offered to audiences, both academically and through public presentations.

The Spring 2018 schedule builds on these efforts, after a fall season that included (among others) visits from internally-acclaimed Brazilian dancer and choreographer Christiane Matallo to co-create the Department of Theatre & Dance production, House of Murals; Grammy Award-winning musician Jeff Coffin, one-time member of both Bela Fleck & the Flecktones and The Dave Matthews Band, giving masterclasses and talks for music students; and vocalist/beatboxer Butterscotch merting with various groups on campus on issues from music to life in addition to her concert appearance.

The gallery’s season is in full swing now with the Department of Art’s 2018 Artist-in-Residence Sidney Mullis exhibiting Legs Together now through February 24, with a reception and gallery talk on February 8 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. in the gallery. An element of Mullis’ time here has included open studio sessions and interaction with students as she developed work for this exhibit.

Environmental artist Diane Burko explores the confluence of art and science in Vast and Vanishing, on display in the gallery from March 8 – April 18. A reception takes place on March 15 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. and a panel discussion, presented in collaboration with the School of Earth & Environment, is set for Thursday, April 5 from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. in the Student Center’s Eynon Ballroom. The season concludes with the gallery hosting the prestigious New Jersey State Arts Annual Exhibition, Navigating Elements, from April 28 – July 31. The public reception is April 28 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Moving on to music, the many concerts and recitals from the Department of Music this year include the 48th Annual Rowan Jazz Festival’s closing night concert, A Tribute to Oliver Nelson, which features the acclaimed African-American composer’s son, Oliver Nelson, Jr. on Friday, February 16 at 8:00 p.m. in Pfleeger Concert Hall. Nelson, Jr. joins the program to honor his late father’s historic but often forgotten 1967 recording, “The Kennedy Dream,” which commemorated the life and words of the late John F. Kennedy. The concert caps a three-day education-based, non-competitive festival (February 14 – 16) which brings middle school and high school bands from throughout the state and beyond for adjudication sessions, clinics, and performances.

The thematically-linked events comprising the “Music of Social Justice” series continue this semester with the goal of exploring topics of gender and racial inequality, poverty, trafficking, human rights, and other significant social justice issues through music. Violinist Timothy Schwarz is featured in a Faculty Spotlight recital on February 7: “From the Underground,” with Schwarz and pianist Daniel Weiser performing works by minority composers in Boyd Recital Hall. In Pfleeger Concert Hall, the Concert Band, Percussion & Chamber ensembles join forces on March 1 at 8:00 p.m. for "Coalition of Sound: Music of Labor Equality"; The Concert Choir offers "Mother Earth & Her People" on March 3 at 8:00 p.m.; The Wind Ensemble presents “El Muro: The Walls that Divide Us, the Music that Brings Us Together" on March 5 at 8:00 p.m. with a new piece by faculty member Denis DiBlasio; "Thinking (WAY) Outside The Box" features the Rowan String Ensemble on April 21 at 7:00 p.m. joined by the Concert Choir, a high school ensemble, and the 2018 String Ensemble Concerto Competition winner; and the Concert Choir and Wind Ensemble get together for the culminating event of the series on April 28, with guest soloists, narrators, and composers. To learn more about these programs, click on the “Music of Social Justice” link at

That is not all the music to be found in the concert venues and recital halls this semester. The Faculty Spotlight Series returns on January 31 at 8:00 p.m. with soprano Marian Stieber giving a recital/lecture along with organist David Christopher in Pfleeger Concert Hall; while the jazz faculty are showcased on April 11 at 8:00 p.m. in Boyd. Music programs over the next few months also include jazz ensembles large and small; percussion performances; a variety of bands; orchestral evenings; and concerts showcasing student vocalists in a variety of styles and groupings.

A highlight of the spring is the Rowan Opera Company’s double bill: La Serva Padrona by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (sung in English and directed by Jon Garrison) paired with Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell (sung in English and directed by Marian Stieber). Accompanied by the Rowan University Orchestra, the performances are in Pfleeger Concert Hall on April 13 & 14 at 8:00 p.m. and April 15 at 2:00 p.m.

For more information on Department of Music performances and tickets, visit

Among the offerings on the campus’ other stages, the Department of Theatre & Dance concludes its 2017-2018 mainstage offerings with two distinctive productions examining the season-long theme of “Home.”

Visiting Estonian/British theatre artist Elina Manni collaborates with faculty member/choreographer Paule Turner and a student cast to bring the devised work Under the Hood to the stage. This original piece created here offers a clever and evocative exploration of the themes and meanings behind the “Little Red Riding Hood” fairy tale. Performances are February 22, 23 & 24 at 8:00 p.m. and February 25 at 2:00 p.m. The season concludes with Marc Blitzstein’s controversial 1936 musical The Cradle Will Rock, which tells a bleak tale of corruption, lies, and deceit broken only by the fervent passion of service workers revolting against an oppressive system in Steeltown, USA. Performances are April 5, 6 & 7 at 8:00 p.m. and April 8 at 2:00 p.m. Both shows are presented in Tohill Theatre.

The department also presents the student-run Lab Theater, this semester featuring Molly Jo Gifford’s original piece, It’s Happening at Home on February 8, 9 & 10 at 8:00 p.m.; and This is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan, directed by Charlie Barney, on April 12, 13 & 14 at 8:00 p.m. Both are presented in the Lab Theatre space, the Studio/Room 159 in Bunce Hall. Visit the “Production Season” tab at for more information.

For information on the programming offered by Rowan University Art Gallery, visit or call 856-256-4521. Admission is free and open to the public.

For more information on performances and programming presented by the College of Performing Arts, call the box office at 856-256-4545, or email For ticketed events, call the box office or visit

Admission to music and mainstage theatre performances is always free for Rowan students with valid ID, based on availability. Student tickets cannot be reserved online, but by calling the box office or visiting the box office starting one hour before the performance.

Programming at Rowan University Art Galleries is made possible by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.