The SMU Meadows School of the Arts will present its 20th annual benefit concert, “The 2013 Meadows at the Winspear,” at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 1 in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. in Dallas. The concert will feature the critically acclaimed Meadows Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Paul Phillips, and the Meadows Dance Ensemble, composed of top students from the Meadows School’s nationally respected dance program. The evening includes ballet, jazz and modern works, culminating in a new version of The Rite of Spring by award-winning Dutch choreographer Joost Vrouenraets, created especially for Meadows students in honor of The Rite’s 100th anniversary.
The benefit concert, held each spring, also honors a community leader, and this year’s honoree is noted arts and civic patron Sara Martineau. The 2013 event chairs are Amy Meadows and Jennifer Altabef, and the honorary chairs are Carolyn and David Miller.
The program opens with George Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie (or “fantasy waltz”), a short, classical ballet piece set to the music of Mikhail Glinka, Russia’s first national composer. It is followed by a pas de deux from Meadows Visiting Artist-in-Residence Adam Hougland’s work Watershed, set to the music of Friandises by composer Christopher Rouse; the work premiered in 2006 as part of The Juilliard School’s centennial celebration and was broadcast on the PBS production Live From Lincoln Center. Rounding out the first half of the concert is In the City by nationally known jazz choreographer and Meadows faculty member Danny Buraczeski, based on “Three Dance Episodes” from Leonard Bernstein’s popular musical On the Town. The lively work celebrates the youth, optimism and vibrant new energy that the Dallas Arts District has brought to the city.
The second half of the program is devoted to The Rite of Spring, which premiered in 1913 in Paris to greater storms of controversy than any other ballet in history. It was the most significant declaration of Modernism up to that time, with a score by Stravinsky that is still considered revolutionary and choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky that was an anthology of creative innovation in dance. While the original ballet evoked a primitive Slavonic ritual glorifying the rites of spring, concluding with a human sacrifice, Vrouenraets says his new version is “more of a mirror for the 21st century.” He has envisioned a contemporary, universal and timeless tribal ritual, inspired by myriad symbols and representations of our high-tech, restless, multi-focused and voracious global culture. In this Rite, a 21st century tribe of young virgins are moved by their desire to manipulate, control and reproduce; they secretly and ritually create a new being – represented by an enigmatic golden puppet – which, in order to become fully realized, seeks an encounter with a pure soul chosen by the group.
“The annual Meadows gala is one of our most important events of the year,” said José Bowen, dean of the Meadows School. “It is the principal fundraiser for our Meadows Scholars program, which enables us to bring some of the most talented students from around the world to Dallas. The Dallas arts population is growing, and Meadows is a major contributor to that. This year, what we present will be important both locally and globally. For only the second time at the Winspear, Dallas patrons will be able to attend a performance of dance with full orchestra – the first time was when we presented a concert there in 2010. What’s more, there will be two world premiere works at the concert, including a tribute to the Dallas Arts District by our renowned jazz professor Danny Buraczeski, and a new Rite of Spring by one of the world’s great choreographers, Joost Vrouenraets, which will travel to Europe after it debuts in Dallas.”
Event honoree Sara Martineau is a longtime supporter of the Dallas community and of the Meadows School of the Arts. She has served as chair of the Crystal Charity Ball and as Dallas division chair of the Texas Society of the March of Dimes. She is also a past president of Charter 100 and the Foundation of the Callier Center. She has served on the executive committee of the Dallas Opera and chaired both the Dallas Opera’s Women’s Board and the Opera Ball. She is a supporter of the Dallas Arboretum, board member of the Dallas Summer Musicals, sustaining member of the Junior League of Dallas and a member of the President’s Research Council of UT Southwestern Medical Center. At SMU, Martineau has been a member of the Meadows School executive board since 1999 and has served on the University’s Second Century Campaign Steering Committee for the past five years. She chaired the “Meadows at the Meyerson” gala in 2002, and it was her vision to transform the annual event into a fundraiser for the Meadows Scholars program in 2008.
The Meadows Scholars program was inaugurated in 2008 to recruit the brightest and most talented students nationwide to the Meadows School of the Arts, and is targeted to applicants who are accepted to Meadows and who meet both stringent academic and artistic/leadership criteria. While such high achievers automatically receive SMU academic scholarship awards, many of them are still unable to afford full tuition. The Meadows Scholars program offers an additional annual scholarship, plus an exploration grant that can be used anytime during their years at Meadows for a creative project, providing a significant incentive for them to choose SMU and Dallas. The program has greatly helped SMU compete successfully against such schools as Northwestern, Juilliard and Yale for top creative talent.
Tickets to the “Meadows at the Winspear” concert are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $20 for students and SMU faculty and staff. They are available at the AT&T Center for the Performing Arts box office at 214.880.0202.
Patron and corporate sponsorships with special benefits and seating packages are available from $1,500 – $10,000. In addition, the Meadows Scholars level recognizes those who either permanently endow a Meadows Scholar at $150,000 or who make a $30,000 commitment to fund an individual Meadows Scholarship over four years. For more information, call the Meadows Development Office at 214-768-4189.