ARTS PREVIEW: February 16 – 22, 2017

Morgenstern Piano Trio
Named after a 19th-century German poet, the Morgenstern Piano Trio has been lauded by the Washington Post for “unanimity, polished technique, and musical imagination.” This young trio will perform at the Mahaney Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22 as part of the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series.
The concert program will include Germaine Tailleferre’s ravishingly beautiful Piano Trio, initially written in 1916–1917, and revised six decades later; Maurice Ravel’s Baroque-inspired Piano Trio in A minor; and Vermont composer Pierre Jalbert’s Piano Trio No. 2, written specifically for the Morgenstern Trio.
Trio members Catherine Klipfel (piano), Stefan Hempel (violin), and Emanuel Wehse (cello) first met as students at the Folkwang Conservatory in Essen, Germany. After only two short years of working together, the trio emerged with top prizes and awards including the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio Award in 2010. This prize catapulted them onto the United States music scene, with performances in Washington’s Kennedy Center, New York’s Carnegie Hall, and further concerts across the country.
Tickets are $20; call 802-443-MIDD (6433), or go online to The Mahaney Center is located at 72 Porter Field Road, just off Route 30 south/S. Main Street.

Broadway prodigy
Thirteen-year-old Broadway sensation Brandon Niederauer will join the Joey Leone Trio at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 at The Foundry for a special one-night-only appearance. Niederauer appeared in Killington with Leone back in 2014, then a 10-year-old talent.
The young guitarist and vocalist with the nickname “Taz” has already built up a solid reputation in the music world playing alongside some of the most prominent musicians of our time. Inspired by his father’s record collection, Brandon took up guitar at the age of 8. Just four years later, he was cast in the principal role of guitarist Zack Mooneyham in the Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical “School of Rock.”
“To say Brandon at his age is a real guitar player is an understatement,” says Leone. “Seeing a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon like this in an intimate setting will be a memory for life. If it sounds like I’m excited? You’re right.”
The Foundry at Summit Pond is located on the Killington Road. For information, call 802-422-5335, or go online to

Shoot the Moon
Shoot the Moon Theater Company opens its 2017 season at the Hooker-Dunham Theater with a two-weekend run of “The Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise.” Show times are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Feb. 17 – 18 and 24 – 25.
This dramatic comedy by Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada had its New York City premiere in 2014 with an English translation by Aya Ogawa. Time-Out New York awarded it four stars, and The New York Times praised it as “a war on boredom.”
Artistic Director Joshua Moyse likens the play to absurdist classics such as Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot,” for its unconventional structure and brand of humor. “It’s very dreamlike, and then a punch in the gut,” he says. “It has wonderful insights into what it means to be alive and how to be a better human being.”
Admission is $12; call 802-254-9276. The Hooker-Dunham Theater & Gallery is located at 139 Main St. More information is available at

Michele Fay Band
The Michele Fay Band, a captivating ensemble featuring original and Americana music from Vermont, performs at Brandon Music at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18.
The band’s repertoire brings forth a comfortable groove of folk, swing and bluegrass-influenced music. Kalev Freeman on fiddle; Michael Santosusso on upright bass; and Fay’s husband, Tim Price, on mandolin and guitar complete the band. The Rutland Herald says the Michele Fay Band presents “a mature performer who knows how to write strong songs and deliver them entertainingly.”
Tickets are $20 (pre-concert dinner is available for $25; reservations are required); call 802-247-4295, or e-mail Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Road.

‘Title and Deed’
Next Stage Arts Project’s theater company in residence, Apron Theater, presents “Title and Deed,” by Will Eno, Feb. 17 – 19. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.
“We all have a funny little map in our head that divides the world into home and away.” So we are told in award-winning playwright Will Eno’s one-character drama. The character speaking is a recent arrival on our shores, disoriented from culture shock and homesickness, and he is struggling to illuminate both sides of that map with a torrent of words: absurd, tragic, stinging, hilarious words. Featured is Michael Fox Kennedy as the unnamed exile; Christopher Emily Coutant is director.
The New York Times described “Title and Deed” as “a haunting and often fiercely funny meditation on life as a state of permanent exile.”
Tickets are $15; call 802-387-0071, or email

Artist Renée Bouchard
An exhibit of new paintings and sculptures titled “We the People” by artist Renée Bouchard is now on display at Southern Vermont College’s Burgdorff Gallery through April 7. A reception honoring Bouchard, who is currently artist-in-residence at the college, will take place 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, free and open to the public.
Bouchard’s mixed-media new works range from large-scale paintings created domestically with children, to sculptures and collages using recycled materials to inspire provocative messaging. The artist likes to use titles such as “Small New Universes,” “Gallantly Cowboys Stride,” and “Planned Parenthood (I Miss You)” to constrain the viewer within the ambiguity of her abstract representational work. The exhibit also includes an unfinished painting hanging in the exhibit that anyone from the community is invited to work on, using provided materials.
For more information, visit

Ten writers/artists
The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) is honoring 143 teenagers from across Vermont with the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for their exceptional artistic and literary talent. Their award-winning artwork and writing will be exhibited at BMAC Feb. 18 – March 5, culminating in an awards ceremony at noon Sunday, March 5. The awards ceremony is free and open to the public. Roberto Lugo, professor of ceramics at Marlboro College, will deliver a keynote address.
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is a national recognition program for aspiring visual artists and writers. Each year, students in grades 7-12 are invited to submit art and writing in dozens of categories, including ceramics, digital art, painting, photography, poetry, science fiction, personal essay/memoir, and more. Submissions are judged on a statewide level, and then some are considered for national awards, including college scholarships, museum exhibitions, and publication opportunities. National awards will be announced by the end of March.
A list of all Vermont award winners appears on the BMAC website,

‘Prelude to Spring’
Artists often focus on the elegance and beauty of plants and flowers, depicting them in a spectrum from abstraction to the minute, scientific detail of botanical illustration. Through the centuries, botanical art has combined precise observation of plant life with the balance and beauty of original compositions.
“Prelude to Spring: Botanical Art in Vermont,” a new and distinctly different exhibit opening at the Compass Music and Arts Center Feb. 17, presents the work of three of Vermont’s finest botanical artists. Bobbi Angell, Susan Bull Riley and Stephanie Whitney-Payne create watercolor paintings and etchings derived from careful observation of plants and flowers. The exhibit opens with a reception 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, and runs through April 1.
The Compass Music and Arts Center is located in Park Village at 333 Jones Drive; for information, go online to

‘NER Out Loud’
In the tradition of Public Radio International’s “Selected Shorts,” students from Oratory Now will read selections from the New England Review (NER) literary magazine in this third annual live performance of “NER Out Loud,” at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts. The event will be followed by a “S’more Readings” reception with representatives of several student literary magazines, who will read from their work. Both events are free and open to the public. Sign language interpretation will be offered.
Editors and contributors to the student literary magazines Blackbird, Frame, MiddGeo, and Translingual will also be on hand at the post-show reception to discuss their publications and give sample readings from their pages. Attendees will be invited to enjoy s’more-themed treats while listening to the readings in the lobby.
Admission is free; call 802-443-MIDD (6433), or go online to