Vice President of Performing and Visual Arts Deborah Sunya Moore today announced changes in her areas of responsibility that will further highlight chamber music and arts education at Chautauqua Institution.
Through the generosity of Sarah Hagen McWilliams, Chautauqua will present an expanded offering of chamber music under the moniker of Chautauqua Chamber Music, which will be composed of two series, doubling the professional chamber offerings at Chautauqua during its summer seasons: the Guest Artist Series on Monday afternoons and a new Resident Artist Series on Saturday afternoons, both in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall. Additionally, Chautauqua Chamber Music will include more access to artists with new class offerings for the general public on Tuesdays mornings. Music School Festival Orchestra Music Director Timothy Muffitt will serve as adviser to the Resident Artist Series. The first concert in this series will feature three prominent faculty: pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk, violinist Aaron Berofsky and cellist Arie Lipsky.
Within Chautauqua’s renowned pre-professional arts programs, Muffitt has been appointed as Artistic Director of the Chautauqua School of Music, in addition to his role with the MSFO. Sarah Malinoski-Umberger, who has served Chautauqua for nearly 14 years as coordinator of student services, has been promoted to the position of Manager of Chautauqua Schools of Performing and Visual Arts. Her responsibilities include those of the previous manager of the Chautauqua School of Music, Oliver Dow, who completed 22 years of service at the close of the 2017 season. During his tenure, he contributed significantly to the reputation and growth of the School of Music.
Also with philanthropic support, a new position, Director of Arts Education, has been created to support the growth of Chautauqua’s outreach to regional schools and community organizations. Suzanne Fassett, who served Chautauqua during the 2017 season as manager of the crew that coordinated performances and rehearsals in School of Music venues, has accepted this appointment. Fassett recently relocated to Western New York after serving for more than 20 years as a music educator and professional musician, most recently as director of bands and music instructor at Olney Central College. Previously, she served as a K–12 music teacher and band director in two Illinois districts. Fassett’s professional career as a musician primarily included serving as member of the percussion section in the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra since 1995. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education from the University of Evansville and the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, respectively.
The Director of Arts Education position further demonstrates Chautauqua Institution’s commitment to being a year-round arts education resource for the youth, teachers and families of Chautauqua County and neighboring communities. Through national partnerships with organizations such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Florida Studio Theatre, Chautauqua fosters relationships with local educators and schools to provide enriching and best practices arts educational opportunities. Current programs include the Young Playwrights Project, Battle of the Books, gallery field trips, arts integrated residences for exceptional learners, and professional development for area teachers offered through the Kennedy Center Partners in Education comprising the Institution, Chautauqua Lake Central School and Jamestown Public Schools. These offerings will expand to include opera and dance in 2018. Chautauqua’s programs in 2016–17 served 1,306 students and 225 educators; with Fassett’s appointment the Institution expects to serve more than 3,000 students and 325 educators in 2017–18.
“I’m pleased to welcome Suzanne to our team and to recognize Tim and Sarah’s many gifts and dedicated service with these elevated roles. I also want to thank Oliver Dow for his many years of service on behalf of our talented students,” Moore said. “We’re so excited to further expand and enhance Chautauqua’s artistic offerings both within our nine-week summer season and throughout the year in regional schools. These changes will raise the profiles of our amazing resident faculty and students, strengthen Saturday programming, and further demonstrate to the students and families of this region that Chautauqua Institution belongs to them.”
“With these additions and changes we further cement Chautauqua’s pivotal role as one of this country’s premier centers for artistic expression and innovation, for students, professionals and audiences alike,” said Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill. “Music and the arts are essential components of our ongoing exploration of the best in human values and the enrichment of life. I’m proud that Chautauqua continues to make investments in our arts programming and grateful to those members of our community who have provided these transformative gifts. In a special way, I’m also excited that our expanding arts in education program will further allow Chautauqua to transform its ‘gates into gateways’ for the young people we now can better serve through an expansion in our arts education programs.”