Finally, ‘tis the season! The Stanford community is anticipating a very special holiday season this year with Bing Concert Hall's grand opening in January of 2013. Single tickets went on sale on November 16th. In this article, Wiley Hausam, the new Executive Director of Stanford Live and Bing Concert Hall, talks about performances and programs for upcoming year as well as his thoughts on the future of performing arts.
Q. You have spent significant time of your life at the East Coast, as a theater producer, educator of arts program in a university, opera consultant, and others. What made you fly to the West Coast and settle down at the Farm? What was the most exciting part that you had anticipated with your job at the University?
In the 21st century, performing arts is facing a crisis of faith and general public’s desire for the arts has been declining. At some point, I was eager for “new ways of thinking and doing arts.” Although I was amazed by the commitment that Stanford has made to the arts and the campaign for building the new concert hall that was quiet impressive, what attracted me was beyond that.
Apparently, Stanford is one of the most innovative universities in the U.S. that has immense resources of creativity and brilliance. Stanford was an ideal place for me to explore desire for innovation in arts. It has actively encouraged and promoted innovation and is full of creativity so that we can try an innovative and inspiring ways of directing and showing arts to the public. This was very attractive to me.
Q. How does the design of the new building embody mission and philosophy of Stanford Live and the University?
WH: Bing Concert Hall is very spacious but at the same time, the space creates very intimate and unique relationship between performers and the audience. It has fairly high ceiling but we only have 842 seats arranged in a “vineyard” format and they are close to the stage. Moreover, the center-section seating is located at the same level as the stage. As a result, the distance between the stage and audience is quite close but there is still sufficient space that opens up the inside area.
Another unique thing about the building is that it focuses both on artists as well as audience. We have beautifully equipped and spacious dress rooms for performers and the rehearsal studio is almost as big as the main stage. The hall is also equipped with sophisticated devices that create the best quality sound for its audience.
Q. It seems that the concert hall will accommodate lectures, panel discussion, and workshops other than musical performances. Who will be invited to these events and what will they talk about?
WH: Various performances and programs will be performed by and for Stanford students. We will encourage students to showcase their own performances, probably a little smaller scale in a studio. We are especially excited to provide the Student Engagement Program that actively engages Stanford students. There’s also the Student Curator Program - a student introduces one’s art on the stage including a film or music that is highly interdisciplinary and experimental.
Q. Any interesting upcoming events at the Bing Concert Hall you would like to share with Stanford community?
WH: There are only so many interesting performances that we are planning in 2013. We are inviting world-renowned classical performers including Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, and the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet. We will also invite the famous jazz band, Mingus Big Band and Vusi Mahlasela, a distinctive songwriter from South Africa and operas. Our schedule for next year is full of diverse and interesting performances. You can find detailed schedules at Stanford Live. Tickets for students will be $10 and there will be a big discount on staff and faculty as well.
Q. Are you planning to collaborate with other units on campus on any projects?
WH: We do collaborate with a lot of different units on and off campus. First of all, the Bing Concert Hall is a shared facility with the Department of Music. There will be two or three ensembles in residence and they rehearse three nights a week. We are also performing the Beethoven Project with the Department of Music, and there will be a premiere of two short operas in collaboration with the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA, pronounced “karma”), which portrays musical exploration of brain. There will be approximately 43 performances between January and mid-June collaborating with different units across and outside of the University.
Q. How do you anticipate that the new concert hall will contribute to Stanford’s global presence and the university’s diversity?
WH: By nature, art is global because people can communicate without language and with the same reason, artists' performances have global impacts. Stanford Live will invite so many talented and inspiring artists from all over the world to the Farm and share their art with the community. We will also open our stage to emerging artists and local musicians as well as talented students. This would be one of the most enjoyable and inspiring ways to connect the University to the world as well as ours local community that goes on and on throughout the year. Without doubt, there is a world of possibility how the new concert hall contributes to Stanford’s global presence and diversity going down the road.
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