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Piano superstar Nareh Arghamanyan to perform Sunday

Posted on Jan 3, 2011

Nareh Arghamanyan is described by Musical America writer and fellow pianist Harris Goldsmith as a “major, major, major talent” who places audiences under the “spell of (her) magnificent artist(ry).” On Sunday, Jan. 23 at 3 p.m., Union will host a performance by this 21-year-old Armenian musician. Her program includes selections by Rameau, Brahms, Rachmaninov and Liszt.

Pianist Nareh Arghamanyan

A recognized talent from an early age, Arghamanyan was eight when she began her studies with Alexander Gurgenov at the Tchaikovsky Music School for Talented Children. She was also the youngest student ever to be admitted to the University for Music and Performing Arts Vienna, entering in 2004.

Arghamanyan has performed with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Mont Blanc Symphony France and the Armenian Philharmonic, with planned appearances this season from Vienna to Vancouver. Winning the Montreal International Music Competition in 2008 further confirmed her place as one of today’s finest young pianists. Arghamanyan had previously earned first place wins at the 2007 Jose Roca International Competition in Valencia and the 2005 Josef Dichler Piano Competition in Vienna.

A participant at the 2009 Marlboro Music Festival, she will return again this year. Arghamanyan is no stranger to second appearances; a debut at the San Francisco Performances last season was followed by another invitation to their “Young Master Series” in 2011.

The Analekta label recently released Arghamanyan’s highly praised recording of the Rachmaninov 2nd sonata and Liszt B minor sonata. 

The show is open to the public and free to members of the Union community. General admission tickets are $20, though area students may attend for $8. For a complete list of this season’s concerts, click here.

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Photo invitational features distinctive portraits

Posted on Jan 3, 2011

From “Echolalia,” a photo project by Schenectady native Timothy Archibald that has drawn national attention

Images from the acclaimed “Echolilia,” a recent project of photographs and limited edition book from Schenectady native Timothy Archibald that directs the lens on his son’s autism, will be featured in the Photography Invitational Exhibition 2011, opening today, Jan. 3, at the Burns Arts Atrium in the Visual Arts Building.

Also included are works by Clarissa Amaral ’11 and Raymond Felix of Troy.

The show was conceived and curated by professor Martin Benjamin, with installation by Frank Rapant, Union exhibition technician.

“My feeling of utter frustration and powerlessness started this project,” Archibald told New York Times writer Jane Gross, who recently featured “Echolilia” in an article titled “Son and Father Pierce Autism’s Veil.”

Echolilia is the technical term for the copying of sounds and sentences common in verbal children who suffer from some form of autism.

An award-winning commercial and editorial photographer who graduated from Penn State, Archibald worked closely with Benjamin while visiting Union photography classes when he was in middle and high school. His brother, James, Class of 1981, worked as the photo lab tech.

Archibald’s portfolio includes work for Discover and Time magazines as well as such corporate clients as Apple and Skittles. His book, published in June by Echo Press, is a result of many hours of collaboration with his son, Elijah, in their family’s home outside San Francisco. “He has always fetishized objects,” Archibald said in the Times.“They are iconic to him.’’

“It’s always great to connect with Tim, whose ‘Echolilia’ project I’ve been following through his blog,” said Benjamin. “Now it’s getting national attention, so it is very fortunate timing for Union to have and host his work.”

James, Union student and Watson Fellowship Recipient '10
┬ęClarissa Amaral '11
from the project Union Faces

A native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Amaral created “Union Faces,” a series of close-up portraits of Union staff, students, faculty and administrators, conceived during a color digital photography class. Benjamin produced the large-scale prints specifically for this installation.

Amaral is an interdisciplinary major in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and visual arts, with minors in French and film studies. Her interest in photography grew from her intrigue with pictures taken by her stepfather, a professional submarine photographer. Amaral cites lighting and retouching as the tools to translating close-up everyday expressions into images that appeal to “the 21st century eye.”

An image by Troy photographer Raymond Felix

Felix, who teaches at the University at Albany, is exhibiting a series of self-portraits, titled “Self-Evidence,” addressing issues of likeness and identity.

He received his BFA in painting and photography from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and an MFA from UAlbany. His work is included in several collections, including the Albany Institute of History and Art and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

The Atrium Gallery show is sponsored by the Department of Visual Arts and runs through March 11.





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Brennan achieves beyond the pool

Posted on Dec 22, 2010

Annora Brennan '11, a member of the women's swim team, was featured in a column in the Times Union for her acoomplishments outside the pool.

A theater major, Brennan is writing a play which will be performed on campus during the winter term.

To read the column, click here.


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College mourns Prof. Hugh Allen Wilson

Posted on Dec 20, 2010

Prof. Hugh Allen Wilson

Hugh Allen Wilson, professor of music emeritus and an internationally known organist, harpsichordist and conductor, died Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010 at his home, Allenhurst, on Lake George in Bolton Landing. He was 85.

Wilson taught at Union from 1962 to 1996. He began as a part-time associate professor of music and organist-in-residence, and later became a full professor, director of the Union College Choir and the Men’s and Women’s Glee Clubs, and Chairman of the Department of Arts.

On June 28, 1977, he conducted the Men’s Glee Club in a performance at the White House for Jimmy Carter’s first State Dinner, honoring Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez. Earlier that year, the group had toured Venezuela to much acclaim. He also brought the Union College Choir on a tour to Greece and Crete in 1989.

He received the Faculty Meritorious Service Award from the Alumni Council in 1974.

Throughout his career, he gave more than 1,000 public performances as organist, harpsichordist and conductor.

Besides his work at Union, he was music director emeritus of the First Presbyterian Church in Glens Falls, conductor emeritus of the Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra, and past president of the Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum in Bolton Landing.

He was founder and co-conductor of the Bolton Festival of Music in 1948, founder and first dean of the Adirondack chapter of the American Guild of Organists; co-founder of the Adirondack Studio of Song in 1951 (which later became the Lake George Opera Festival). He was a member of the Kraeuter Trio, the Festival Orchestra, the Princeton Chamber Orchestra, the Paschler-Wilson duo, and concertized with violinist/composer George Green. He performed as harpsichord soloist and continuo player with several principal chamber orchestras including the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra with Karl Munchinger, the Princeton Chamber Orchestra, the Boston Classical Orchestra and the Soviet Emigre Orchestra.

Other performances included the dedicatory recital of the Loening Organ at St. Thomas Church in New York City in 1971, and a recording for the Ford Foundation of 17th and 18th century music on the Loening Organ that same year; the inaugural Connoisseur Concerts series at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in 1972; Honneger’s King David Symphony at Alice Tully Hall in New York with narrator John Houseman in 1975, and at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., in 1983; the debut of an organ concerto written for him by Union Professor Edgar Curtis in 1966; a series of concerts with members of the National Symphony Orchestra and flautist David Barg in 1982; and the Mozart Requiem and Coronation Mass with the Glens Falls Symphony in 1990.

Born on Feb. 17, 1925, he was the only son of Clarence Edway Wilson and Anna Allen Wilson. His mother was an accomplished pianist; Wilson said he grew up thinking everyone’s mother played all the Brandenburg concerti from memory. Through her, he became involved in the musical community of Bolton Landing and Lake George. His first professional position was as choir director-organist for the St. James’ Episcopal church in Lake George when he was just 14.

He attended Yale College, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude in 1946. At Yale, he studied organ with H. Frank Boyzan, theory with Paul Hindemith and musicology with Leo Schrade. He attended Yale Graduate School, where he studied musicology from 1947 to 1949. He also studied organ with Marcel Dupre in France and harpsichord with Gustav Leonhardt in Holland.

Besides his musical pursuits, he enjoyed gardening at his lifelong home on Lake George.

He is survived by many loving friends, colleagues in the musical world, and his longtime companion Marshall Ford of Bolton Landing.

Memorial donations may be sent to the Hugh Allen Wilson Choral Music Endowment Fund at Union College, 807 Union Street, Schenectady, N.Y. 12308.

A spring memorial service is being planned.

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Small setting, significant sound: ECCO returns to perform

Posted on Dec 20, 2010

Seventeen young and exceptionally talented string musicians, many Marlboro-trained, will take to the stage on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 3 p.m. in Memorial Chapel. This is the third Concert Series appearance for the East Coast Chamber Orchestra, better known as ECCO.

In a unique blend of orchestral ensemble power and chamber music intimacy, ECCO will perform selections by Ginastera, Shostakovich, Janacek and Corelli/Geminiani (arr. M. Wianko).

ECCO (East Coast Chamber Orchestra)

ECCO was founded in 2001 by soloists, principals in major orchestras and chamber musicians of the younger generation. All are graduates of top conservatories and music schools, including Curtis, Juilliard and the New England Conservatory, and many are Young Concert Artists and Concert Artists Guild winners.

Operating without a conductor, ECCO was built on democratic principles with a focus on pure music-making. The members’ novel approach, commitment and passion have created one of the most exciting orchestral ensembles in the world today. “These youthful players are helping form classical music's future,” according to the Washington Post.

The ensemble’s inaugural U.S. tour in 2006, including an appearance at the Kennedy Center, was received with standing ovations and high accolades. ECCO began touring internationally in 2007 with a performance at the Seoul Music Festival and Academy in Korea. This season will mark another milestone as the group makes their first commercial recording.

The show is open to the public and free to members of the Union community. General admission tickets are $20, though area students may attend for $8. For a complete list of this season’s concerts, click here.

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College mourns Prof. Raymond Rappaport

Posted on Dec 17, 2010

Prof. Raymond Rappaport

Raymond Rappaport, professor of developmental biology emeritus, died on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010 at his home in Bar Harbor, Maine. He was 88.

Rappaport, who mentored generations of Union students in his speciality, animal cell division, taught from 1952 until his retirement in 1987.

Throughout most of his time at Union and during retirement, he was an active researcher and administrator at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, which is devoted to the study of marine and non-marine organisms. Besides his scientific role, he served the laboratory as president, vice president, trustee and director. He designed a number of buildings on the research campus. A research laboratory there is named for him.

He wrote “Cytokenisis in Animal Cells,” published by Cambridge University Press in 1996, along with over 50 journal articles and several book chapters. His research work took his family to California, Hawaii, Japan and France. He mentored a number of Japanese scientists who wished to publish in English.

In January 2004, his work was recognized in the Journal of Experimental Zoology in the article “Ray Rappaport Chronology: Twenty five years of Seminal Papers on Cytokenisis,” describing his work as so important that his strategies and ideas strongly influence current research on cell division. (Read the article here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jez.a.20000/pdf)

He had a number of grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health.

He was noted for his creative experimental techniques, designed to reveal the basic mechanisms of mammalian cell division. He devised many hand-crafted surgical tools so that he could operate on single cells. One of his most effective was an extremely accurate cutting device fashioned from the hair saved from his son Peter’s first hair cut.

Rappaport arranged a number of student and class visits at the laboratory on Frenchman’s Bay near Bar Harbor, an area well known for its diversity of marine life including the sea urchin, which Rappaport studied.

“He did remarkable work in the manipulation of cells, particularly in the process of mitosis or cell division,” recalled colleague Carl George, professor emeritus of biology.

Rappaport was diversified in his interests, George recalled. With this wife, Barbara, he collected art from Japan, a favorite destination.

He hosted a number of students and colleagues, said George, who taught courses in marine biology that Rappaport had arranged for MDIBL. Rappaport also frequently lectured during the course, George said.

He was well respected as a teacher and lecturer, George recalls, and commanded large classes in embryology.

Born in North Bergen, N.J., he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bethany College, a master’s in zoology from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in zoology from Yale University.

He served in the Army medical corps during World War II.

Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Barbara; and three children, Peter, Jean and Ann.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Mount Desert Island YMCA, the Jesup Memorial Library or the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory. A memorial concert is being planned for early summer.

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