e-Conversation. the newsletter of the School of Arts and Humanities at The University of Texas at Dallas

Spring of Creativity

Arts and Humanities Dean Dennis Kratz

An upcoming lecture in our series Creativity in the Age of Technology has the provocative title "Creativity is a Decision." We have decided that nurturing disciplined creativity is an essential part of education. The School of Arts and Humanities is committed to an educational environment that fosters the productive interaction of creative with analytical thinking and of theory with practical application.

This spring that commitment is particularly evident. In addition to the major series of lectures sponsored by our Center for Values in Medicine, Science and Technology, we are offering special undergraduate and graduate seminars devoted to the study and informed practice of the creative process.

Meanwhile, the Performing Arts continue to flourish. This spring nearly 750 undergraduate students are participating in courses emphasizing performance in music, drama and dance. On January 29 a concert by members of our Music faculty attracted a standing-room-only audience to the University Conference Center. And the trend continues: how often does a university have to cope with crowd control at an arts event twice in the same week? On February 3, over 75 people had to be turned away for the Gregory Crewdson lecture at the Dallas Museum of Art, and on February 6, over 300 were turned away for the Chinese New Year celebration!

Our students also have the opportunity to perform with internationally renowned artists. Last year I wrote to you about the extraordinary interaction of our dancers with the Lily Cai Dance Ensemble. This fall, they performed with the distinguished Israeli dancer and choreographer Renana Raz.

On February 19, our Chamber Singers shared the stage of the Eisemann Center with The King's Singers, who offered a master class on campus.

In March, as part of the 9th Annual International Guitar Festival, students from our burgeoning Guitar Studies program will join with other area players to form the Festival Guitar Orchestra that will perform Shingo Fujii's "Concierto de Los Angeles" with guest soloist William Kanengiser. Past artists who have worked with our guitar students include Angel Romero, Pepe Romero and members of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.

This spring our students will perform in two major dramatic productions. Twilight: Los Angeles and the musical drama Side Show.

We are blessed with a faculty of outstanding artists and teachers. A recent article in the Dallas Morning News chronicled not only Professor Fred Curchack's brilliance as a creator and performer but also his impact as a mentor to his students. Robert Xavier Rodriguez' compositions are performed by orchestras and ensembles around the world. Michelle Hanlon and Micki Saba are building an exciting dance program. The energy, charisma and talent of our newest faculty member, Dr. Winston Stone, has sparked a surge of interest in our wind ensembles - and the creation of the university's first Pep Band. I am especially grateful to Jeff Stover for assuming overall responsibility for guiding the expansion of the drama program.

For the past twelve years, Kathryn Evans has been an invaluable asset to the arts, the School of Arts and Humanities and the greater community. In addition to teaching and leading the Chamber Singers, she has been my partner in planning the enhanced public arts program. To her, along with Professor Enric Madriguera, Russell Cleveland Professor of Guitar Studies and director of our Guitar Studies program, belongs the credit for suggesting and then implementing that program and the international festival that emerged from it.

Yes, creativity is thriving at UT Dallas. Make the decision to join us for some (or all) of this spring's events to see and hear for yourself.

Dennis Kratz, Dean
School of Arts and Humanities