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Graul Chair in Arts and Languages

Past Events

The following past events were presented by the fifth Graul Chair in Arts and Languages:

Presented by the Fifth House Ensemble as a part of their residency at the University of Dayton.

In Spring Term 2019, members of Fifth House Ensemble visited the University of Dayton for a three-day residency composed of interactive workshops, engagement activities presented at Dayton-area schools and partnering community organizations. This visiting quartet is comprised of instrumentalists including: Melissa Ngan, flute; Stefan Hersh, violin; Herine Coetzee Koschak, cello; and Jeremy Vigil, piano. They visited the Stivers School for the Arts and Ruskin Elementary School to work with students in masterclasses, side-by-side rehearsals, and workshops, presenting an afternoon performance at each school. They also interacted with University of Dayton music students in individual settings and in a large group ‘deep listening’ session.

Culminating Performance

The residency culminated in a full-length evening performance at Sears Recital Hall on March 10. We extend a special welcome to the Stivers Chamber Choir, under the direction of Paula Powell, who will open the program by singing an a cappella introduction to the first selection. The performance brings together the familiar and the unexpected, from well-known American folk-tunes and jazz inflections to the distant geological time explore in George Crumb's Vox Balinae. There will be time for a 'talk-back' immediately following the concert.


This engagement is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Ohio Arts Council and the Crane Group.Additional funding comes from the University of Dayton Graul Chair in Arts and Languages and the Department of Music.

About the Performance

Chicago composer Stacy Garrop’s Silver Dagger opens the concert, a piece based on the Appalachian folk song of the same name. Inspired by the beautiful simplicity of the melody and the cautionary tale of its lyrics, Garrop began researching the song’s history. What she found were dozens of variants, each with slight nuances in text and musical content. All of these songs revolve around the same Romeo and Juliet premise, with different endings. Garrop’s Silver Dagger incorporates three of the most prominent examples and weaves them into a compelling new work.

Fifth House Ensemble will be joined by choral students from Stivers School for the Arts to open the work with a new setting of original folk tune, arranged by Dan Visconti.Dan Visconti’s Lonesome Roads was inspired by memories of long, cross-country car trips and the rumbling, uneven grooves that underscore a constantly-shifting landscape. Beginning from the faintest murmurs, the music evokes a vast space that can be alternately lonely, hypnotic, or hard-driving and rhythmic. Across several brief, fragmentary movements, the initial melodic murmurings assemble themselves into wild, aggressive riffs colored with raw textures and powerful rhythms characteristic of rock and beat-driven music.

Soundings “grows from primal sounds to a celebration of sound itself, a joyous and universal expression that explores the depths contained in the most simple and familiar sounds. Seven short movements alternate between ensemble pieces and cadenzas for each of the trio members—virtuosic outbursts where all three musicians produce sound by ganging up on one instrument and banging out a racket that could never be achieved by two hands unassisted. A series of auxiliary devices are explored as the instruments are probed and sounded in a series of offbeat episode involving rubber balloons, tuning pegs, and ping-pong balls.” - Dan Visconti

In the words of Paul Schoenfield: “The idea to compose Café Music first came to me in 1985 after sitting in one night for the pianist at Murray’s Restaurant in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Murray’s employs a house trio that plays entertaining dinner music in a wide variety of styles. My intention was to write a kind of high-class dinner music – music which could be played at a restaurant, but might also (just barely) find its way into a concert hall. The work draws on many of the types of music played by the trio at Murray’s. For example, early 20th-century American, Viennese, light classical, gypsy, and Broadway styles are all represented. A paraphrase of a beautiful Chassidic melody is incorporated in the second movement.”

Inspired by recordings of humpback whale song, George Crumb traces the passage of earthly time using the eponymous creature as a sort of narrator in Voice of the Whale. Five variations trace the geologic periods of time, each becoming increasingly agitated and conflicted as the life forms become more complex before giving way to the Sea Nocturne (...for the end of time), which re-imagines the opening Sea Theme in an undulating, serene, underwater environment. The piece’s expansive treatment of time reminds us that even momentous historic events are mere blips in the grand continuum of evolution.


Students and faculty from the departments of Music and Global Languages and Culture collaborated to present a lively, mixed program of song, guitar and piano music, poetry and literature from a variety of Spanish-speaking countries. Inspired by the performance and residency of Fifth House Ensemble earlier in February, this presentation was highlighted with hyphenated identities, experiences and cultures.

Attendees of this event drew broadly from music and texts in Spanish, English and Spanglish. Text excerpts included, among others, Versos sencillos by Jose Marti, Nuyorico by Caridad de la Luz, Hair by Elizabeth Acevedo, A Forgotten Spot by Lin-Manuel Miranda etal., and El mar y tú by Julia de Burgos. Music composers included Alberto Ginastera, Fernando Obradors, Isaac Albeniz, Manuel de Falla, Hector Campos Parsi, and Ernest Lecuano.

Faculty performers from the Department of Music included: Dr. Minnita Daniel-Cox, soprano; Dr. Ryu-Kung Kim, mezzo-soprano; Dr. Andrea Wells, soprano; Dr. David Sievers, tenor; Dr. Andrea Arese-Elias, piano; and Professor Jim McCutcheon, guitar. Faculty readers from the Department of Global Languages and Cultures included Dr. Francisco Penas-Bermejo, Dr. Christina Baker and Dr. Kathleen Costales, as well as Professor Stefanie Acevedo from the Department of Music. A Salsa dance break took place mid-way through the program.


This symposium brought together scholars, teachers, students and performing artists to explore and experience the innovative African American Funk music movement that put Dayton on the map in the 1970s and 1980s, leading to its identification as the World Capitol of Funk. This event was linked to the 2018 First Year Experience theme of Power and Vulnerability because of the way Dayton Funk was a product of the historical, cultural, and educational situation in Dayton when it started and as it faded with the area's loss of industry and related income.

The symposium featured lectures and roundtable discussions with faculty from the University of Dayton, as well as several scholars, writers, activists and artists from across the United States, including Dayton's own Willis "Bing" Davis. On the first day of the event, free passenger shuttles transported participants to guided tours of the Funk Music Hall of Fame & Exhibition Center in Dayton. A well-attended Funk Dance Party featuring the male vocal quartet Touch, the Dayton Funk All-Stars Band and the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company was held in the evening of Sept 13.

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Read UD Magazine article about this event >

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A Celebration of Paul Laurence Dunbar 

Featuring soprano Dr. Minnita Daniel-Cox, singing settings of Paul Laurence Dunbar texts; collaborative pianist John Benjamin; Emeritus English Professor Herb Martin in dramatic recitations of Dunbar poetry; and interpretations of the poetry through dance by the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Debbie Blunden-Diggs, Artistic Director.

An arts and diversity presentation featuring Melissa Snoza, Executive Director and flutist with Fifth House Ensemble, an innovative contemporary chamber music group based in Chicago. Snoza will share her unique life story of growing up as the child of a Brazilian mother and a Cambodian father, who were married in the U.S. and then granted resident alien status after the Khmer Rouge regime took over the Cambodian government and her father could not return. Snoza’s story includes the many challenges she faced on her way to a professional music performance career.

Co-sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Department of Music.


Hosted by Bluegrass historian Fred Bartenstein and featuring Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, with the Centerville High School Alternative Strings and the University of Dayton's World Music Choir.

The following events were connected to the Humanities Commons Course and the First-Year Experience at the Dayton Opera production of Gian-Carlo Menotti's The Consul.

Exhibit of Selected Heinrich Boll Materials from the University Library Collection

A notable display in the exhibit, “It Is Time to Effect a Revolution: Selections from the Rose Rare Book Collection and University of Dayton Collections,” is a selection of Heinrich Böll materials from the University Library collection. The Graul Chair in Arts and Languages joins with Professor Emeritus Robert Conard to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the author’s birth by highlighting this display along with other relevant campus events. In the context of the conference theme "Rhetorics, Rights, (R)evolutions,” Böll’s work asks us to consider the role of literature and the arts as a force for change.

Family Weekend Mass

Including two sections of a Liturgical Mass by Gian-Carlo Menotti, with the Chapel’s Liturgical Choir and the University Chorale.

Menotti and More Voice Recital

Featuring five singers from the Dayton Opera cast of Gian-Carlo Menotti’s The Consul, including Tyler Alessi, Minnita Daniel-Cox, Ryu-Kyung Kim, Kara Shay Thomson, and Andrea Chenoweth Wells, with David Sievers, tenor; John Benjamin, piano; Jeffrey Powell, piano; and Patrick Reynolds, narrator. This recital will include examples of Gian-Carlo Menotti as a librettist and a composer of other operas, as well as selections from The Consul. In addition, selections by Alan Louis Smith and Gene Scheer related to the first-year theme of Hospitality-Welcoming the ‘Other’ will also be part of the program.

Edith L Bartley currently serves as a chief advocate for American diplomatic families and victims of state sponsored terrorism. She is the spokesperson for the American families of the 1998 American Embassy bombing in Nairobi, Kenya. She is also a partner with the Lafayette Consulting Group and has twenty years of extensive public policy and advocacy experience working for both the non-profit and private sectors. Her issue areas include education, affordable housing, STEM and foreign affairs. She served as an advocate for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for nearly a decade. Bartley worked as the vice president of government affairs for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF). As a member of TMCF’s executive leadership team, Edith led the Government Affairs division and secured valuable federal resources for HBCUs and students. Bartley left TMCF in early 2017 to focus full time on her advocacy for victims of international terrorism and to complete several projects connected to the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya as the 20th Anniversary approaches. Bartley is currently writing a book related to her advocacy for diplomatic families and victims of state sponsored terrorism. Prior to TMCF, she worked as the director of government Affairs for UNCF, representing private HBCUs. She also worked as a member of the Government Affairs team for Thelen Reid and Priest law firm.

Bartley also worked in several Congressional offices as a speechwriter and legislative aide. On August 7, 1998, Al Qaeda bombed the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Edith’s father, Julian Bartley, Sr. and brother, Julian Bartley, Jr. were killed in the terrorist attack. Since 1998, Bartley has continually worked as an advocate for victims of international terrorism raising the sensitivity to this issue in both chambers of the U.S. Congress. During the 114th Congress, Bartley successfully worked with a bi-partisan group of members, led by former Senator Barbara A. Mikulski(D-MD), and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), to establish a benefits and compensation package for families of American Diplomats, CIA personnel and other Embassy personnel killed in terrorist attacks while working abroad. This was one of several legislative efforts she spearheaded for families of American diplomats killed in the line of duty by terrorism.

Bartley was honored by the American Foreign Service Association in recognition of her advocacy for diplomatic families. She has appeared on numerous national and international news networks including CNN, NPR, MSNBC, FOX, Al Jazeera, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Bartley graduated from the University of Missouri, School of Law and attended Georgetown Law Center as a visiting student. She has a BA from Hampton University. She is an alumna of the Harvard Kennedy School-Executive Education Women and Power program. Edith is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She serves on the selection committee for the Council’s International Affairs Fellowship program. She is married to Stephen M. Rice. 


Graul Chair in Arts and Languages

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300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1549