Make way for Modfest at Vassar

Photo of Stringendo by Gabriel Schuster

Chill winds and bright, keening skies, weird political signs from the edges and this rising inner need to hunker down and keep the mind’s wheels turning fast: time for the tenth annual Modfest. Vassar College’s midwinter celebration of the radical arts of the 20th and 21st centuries is set to include performances of a chamber opera, new compositions, dramatic works, exhibitions, lectures, readings and more on the Vassar College campus from January 18 through February 4.

Founded in 2003 by alumna Adene Wilson and her husband Richard Wilson, a composer and professor of Music at Vassar since 1966, Modfest is designed to “foster a better coordination among the many artistic activities on the Vassar campus,” placing special emphasis on contemporary arts and showcasing the various departments of the college and “the interrelationships among music, dance, film, prose and poetry and visual arts in the 20th and 21st centuries.”

This year, participants in Modfest ’12 will include Vassar students, faculty, alumnae/i and guest artists, along with students from Poughkeepsie-area schools. Among its highlights will be a performance by the critically acclaimed JACK Quartet; a performance of Salvatore Sciarrino’s avant-garde chamber opera Vanitas; an event focused on recent winners of Vassar’s prestigious W. K. Rose Fellowship in the Creative Arts, including composer Alexandra Gardner, photographer Serge J-F Levy and writers Carol Ann Davis and Andrew Porter; a reading of Paula Vogel’s The Baltimore Waltz; an evening of new poetry in translation by current Vassar students; a New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater play-reading; a program of short films by current students; and a cabaret evening devoted to the Great American Songbook with songs by Gershwin, Kern, Porter, Berlin, Rodgers, Sondheim and others.

“Each year we find that Modfest provides a special opportunity for students in each of the disciplines to share their work with one another,” noted Adene Wilson, who coordinates the annual events series.

Modfest events will be held at the beautiful Vassar campus’ Chicago Hall, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Kenyon Hall, Main Building, James W. Palmer III Gallery, Rockefeller Hall, Skinner Hall of Music and the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film. Prepare yourself for the new, the eternally modern. For additional information, call (845) 437-5370 or visit




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