Chautauqua Institution News & Announcements

Leland Lewis Named General Manager of Chautauqua Hotel Company, Inc.

Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill today announced the appointment of Leland M. Lewis as general manager of Chautauqua Hotel Company, Inc., which includes the historic Athenaeum Hotel and all of the Institution’s dining and lodging services, effective Nov. 12. An experienced senior executive in the hospitality industry, Lewis has served as interim general manager since August.

As general manager, Lewis is responsible for all aspects of the Chautauqua Hotel Company’s operations, including delivery of an exceptional guest experience. In partnership with Chautauqua Institution leadership, and in support of and service to the Chautauqua mission, he serves as the primary strategic business leader while directing and mentoring a team to assure the highest level of service and performance. In the interim role, Lewis had already made a number of operational and strategic changes at the Athenaeum Hotel, including experimenting with regular fall hours at the hotel’s new lobby lounge and enhancing the building’s physical aesthetic and amenities. He also was charged with leading searches to hire for several key leadership positions within the hotel’s staff.

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Chautauqua Opera Company's Steven Osgood Awarded Two-year Contract Extension

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General and Artistic Director’s Agreement Comes as Company Plans 90th Anniversary Celebration

Chautauqua Institution today announced a two-year contract extension for Steven R. Osgood, general and artistic director of the Chautauqua Opera Company. The extension follows Osgood’s standout first three seasons with the company, and ensures that he will remain at its helm through the 2020 season. The announcement comes as Osgood prepares to conduct three performances of The Turn of the Screw with the Juilliard Opera in the coming days, and as the Chautauqua Opera Company prepares to celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2019, featuring the Beaumarchais Trilogy Weekend.

“We are so pleased with the evolution and continued vibrancy of the Chautauqua Opera Company under Steven Osgood’s leadership,” said Deborah Sunya Moore, vice president of performing and visual arts. “Steve’s infectious passion for opera is evident in all that he does, and he has quickly endeared himself to fans of both classical and contemporary opera in our community. At the same time, he has re-energized opera as an art form at Chautauqua, making it accessible to entirely new communities and generations of arts lovers.”

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Chautauqua Institution Launches 2018 Winter Village at Chautauqua

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Continuing a new tradition launched last year, Chautauqua Institution will host the 2018 Winter Village at Chautauqua on selected weekends starting Nov. 23 through New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31. The festivities will highlight on-grounds shopping and dining, and include special events such as musical performances, wine and food pairing dinners, Breakfast with Santa, horse-drawn carriage and sleigh rides, and other seasonal activities.

The 2018 Winter Village kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 23, when the holiday lights and displays on Bestor Plaza will be illuminated for the first time of the season. On-ground shops and restaurants will be invited to stay open late that night, and holiday music will fill the plaza. Santa will arrive on a horse-drawn carriage to signal the launch of Chautauqua’s Winter Village and the holiday season. Highlights of opening weekend include wine tasting and small plates, Holiday Story Time at the Smith Memorial Library and Lloyd’s Food Truck and holiday beer selections.

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Chautauqua Institution Participates in Carnegie Hall's Link Up Program

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Music Education Program to Culminate with Interactive CSO Concert 

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. – In collaboration with Carnegie Hall, Chautauqua Institution Arts Education and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra are participating in Link Up, a music education program provided by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI), during the 2018–2019 season. Chautauqua County students participating in Link Up attend a culminating concert on Sunday, June 30, 2019 at the Chautauqua Amphitheater, where they sing and play the recorder or the violin with the orchestra from their seats. This performance often serves as students’ first concert experience and provides them with the opportunity to apply the musical concepts they have studied.   

“We’re thrilled that Chautauqua Institution can now include an experience that celebrates Chautauqua County young musicians as special guests with our Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra,” said Deborah Sunya Moore, vice president of performing and visual arts at Chautauqua Institution. “Our current arts education offerings include field trips to Chautauqua, residencies in the schools and professional development for teachers; Link Up will tap into each of these elements. To partner with local schools on a program and curriculum designed by Carnegie Hall is a dream come true. We believe that the culminating concert during the 2019 summer season will provide a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students, teachers, families and visitors alike.” 

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Shannon Rozner Named Chief of Staff, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives

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CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. — Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill today announced the appointment of Shannon Rozner to the position of chief of staff and vice president of strategic initiatives, effective Jan. 1, 2019. Currently the president of the financial planning practice Financial-360, LLC, which she co-founded, Rozner is an experienced executive in the fields of law and finance.

In appointing Rozner, Hill elevated the existing role of chief of staff — last held by Matt Ewalt, recently appointed as vice president and Emily and Richard Smucker Chair of Education — to the vice president level, with additional responsibility for internal coordination of the Institution’s strategic plan. Rozner will be a key member of the Institution’s executive leadership and a close adviser to Hill in helping to implement Chautauqua’s vision and goals, in addition to responsibilities for facilitating, coordinating and leading of a broad set of organization-wide initiatives.

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Piano Program is Focus of New Endowment

Clarkson DonorGeorge Heintzelman and Margaret Clarkson have endowed the position of Artistic Advisor and Artist-in-Residence in Chautauqua’s Piano Program, currently held by Alexander Gavrylyuk. Gavrylyuk’s position has been named the Heintzelman Family Artistic Advisor of the School of Music Piano Program, as he continues to work closely with co-chairs of the program, Nicola (Nikki) Melville and John Milbauer. The Heintzelman family’s gift is also supporting an extension of the program from five to six weeks beginning in 2019.

George Heintzelman has been coming to Chautauqua on a nearly annual basis since the summer of 1982. “I remember my parents and my two sisters came for a week when I was 12,” he said, “and we often stayed with our grandparents here.” In 2010, Heintzelman and Clarkson, who live on Long Island, bought a house on Warren Avenue, and George’s parents, his two sisters, and their children began coming together as a family for two weeks each summer. 

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2019 Chautauqua Janus Prize Announcement

CHQJanusPrize Sticker BW webChautauqua Institution today announced that it will begin accepting entries for the Chautauqua Janus Prize, now in its second year and boasting a doubled prize amount of $5,000. The Institution’s newest literary prize celebrates an emerging writer’s single work of short fiction or nonfiction for daring formal and aesthetic innovations that upset and reorder readers’ imaginations. In addition to receiving the $5,000 award, the winner will give a lecture on the grounds during the 2019 summer season and appear in a forthcoming issue of the literary journal Chautauqua. The prize is funded by a generous donation from Chautauquans Barbara and Twig Branch.

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Prayers for Pittsburgh, from Chautauqua

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Dear Chautauquans,

We were all shocked and horrified by the shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh this past Saturday. A faith community, a city and a nation mourn and grieve and, as a community, all at Chautauqua stand with them and you in prayer and togetherness. To our Jewish brothers and sisters and our Pittsburgh neighbors: May you feel the warm, global embrace of your Chautauqua family as together we seek out a path for healing. And as we remember the lives lost and begin to heal from this unthinkable tragedy, all too common in these troubled times, let us renew our collective commitment to sowing more love, kindness and compassion in our neighborhoods and world.

May the names of those who have lost their lives be long remembered …

Shalom,
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Michael E. Hill
President

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Community Update on Chautauqua Lake Conservation Efforts

Dear Chautauqua Institution Property Owners and Other Interested Citizens:

Thank you for your continued attention to and concern for the health of Chautauqua Lake, which is fundamental to the livelihood of Chautauqua Institution, our community and our neighbors all around the lake shore. I write today to share the latest developments in our efforts to ensure responsible conservation of the lake.

At a hearing on Oct. 25 in Erie County, State Supreme Court Justice Donna M. Siwek asked attorneys for Chautauqua Institution, the Town of Ellery and Chautauqua Lake Partnership to encourage their clients to pursue mediation as a potential means of resolving the litigation regarding the Chautauqua Lake Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). Justice Siwek suggested the mediation involve representatives of the named parties, their counsel and mutually agreed upon legal and technical consultants to attempt to work through the disagreements on the content and sufficiency of the SEIS. Attorneys for Chautauqua Institution immediately indicated willingness to participate in mediation.

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Chautauqua Lake Advocates Learn from the Lake George Experience

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In order to benefit from the lake and watershed conservation experience of another lake community in New York, Chautauqua Lake stakeholders including representatives of Chautauqua Institution, SUNY Fredonia, and Chautauqua County government earlier this month visited Lake George, New York, where an innovative new model for lake and watershed management is working to save and maintain one of New York’s most famous lakes. Lake George has faced similar environmental concerns as Chautauqua Lake and most of New York’s fresh waters, including the negative impacts of human activity in its watershed and infestations of aquatic invasive species.

The Chautauqua group on Oct. 10 spent a full day with the leaders and researchers of the Jefferson Project, a public-private partnership that uses sound, validated science to spur decisions that have greatly improved the lake’s health and water quality.

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The Nonprofit Crystal Ball: What Does the Future Hold?

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Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill addressed the annual Nonprofit Networking Day conference hosted on Oct. 17, 2018, by the Cattaraugus Community Foundation at St. Bonaventure University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. His remarks as prepared for delivery, with light edits, are provided below.

Good morning. It’s a pleasure to be with you for this gathering of some of the most important leaders in our region. The nonprofit sector is not only an important economic and social driver in communities across our nation, but I believe this sector also represents the heart and soul of our communities.

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Matt Ewalt named Vice President, Emily and Richard Smucker Chair for Education

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Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill announced the appointment of Matt Ewalt to the position of vice president and Emily and Richard Smucker Chair for Education, effective Sept. 24. Ewalt has served Chautauqua in various capacities since 2006, most recently as chief of staff. 

In his new role, Ewalt continues to lead the Institution’s 10:45 a.m. Amphitheater lecture platform, and now also oversees education, youth and literary arts programs. The change comes as part of a leadership reorganization to, in part, better resource the lecture platform and work related to developing the weekly program themes for Chautauqua’s summer season.

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Athenaeum Hotel Hosts Farm-to-Table Culinary Getaway Weekend, Oct. 19-21

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Package Includes Meals, Demonstrations and Workshops Showcasing Fall in Chautauqua County and Region

The Athenaeum Hotel at Chautauqua Institution is pleased to announce its 2018 Farm-to-Table Culinary Getaway Weekend, Oct. 19–21. Food and fall lovers are invited to spend the weekend at the Athenaeum Hotel and enjoy exquisite locally sourced cuisine, hands-on workshops and the beauty of Chautauqua Institution and Chautauqua County in the fall.

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Matt Ewalt Named Vice President in Institution Leadership Reorganization

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Matt Ewalt, who has served Chautauqua as chief of staff at Chautauqua Institution since 2017, has been named vice president and Emily and Richard Smucker Chair for Education. In this role, Ewalt will continue to lead the 10:45 a.m. lecture platform and theme development work, and will also oversee education, youth, and literary arts programs.

The change comes as part of a reorganization to, in part, better resource the lecture platform and theme development work. David Griffith’s contract as vice president and Emily and Richard Smucker Chair for Education ended as part of this reorganization.

“Following a thorough organizational analysis, which included input from members of the Board of Trustees as well as outside organizational experts, it was determined that we needed to change the way Chautauqua Institution is staffed at the executive level to address a number of priorities,” said Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill. “We are grateful to David Griffith for his service over the past year, during which we achieved increased engagement in youth programs and exciting new partnerships and programs in education and the literary arts.”

The Institution will seek to fill the now-vacant chief of staff position, responsible for implementation and monitoring of the Institution’s strategic plan, and will be creating a new position to oversee development of youth programs, under Ewalt’s leadership.

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President Michael E. Hill Delivers Annual Closing Three Taps of the Gavel Address

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Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill addressed Chautauquans gathered for the season's final Sacred Song Service with the traditional Three Taps of the Gavel to close the 2018 Chautauqua Assembly. His remarks as prepared for delivery, with light edits, are provided below.

Tonight we share an evening surrounding a Pilgrim’s Hymn. As pilgrims, immigrants all to this sacred place, please pray with me:

Eternal Friend,
grant me an ease
to breathe deeply of this moment,
this light,
this miracle of now.

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Chautauqua Institution Presents Weeklong Food & Film Festival, Aug. 19–24

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Chautauqua Institution is pleased to host the Chautauqua Food & Film Festival from Sunday, Aug. 19, through Friday, Aug. 24, the second consecutive year Chautauqua has paired a weeklong food festival with its final week of summer programming. Film and food lovers will gather with filmmakers for a festival featuring screenings, conversations, and great food and craft beverages throughout the grounds. The Institution’s town square, Bestor Plaza, will once again come alive with a daily roster of food- and drink-themed events, from cooking demonstrations and competitions to interactive experiences and tastings prepared by the best regional restaurants, farms, wineries and breweries.

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President Michael E. Hill Delivers the President’s Address to the Bestor Society

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Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill addressed a gathering of the Bestor Society on Aug. 5, 2018. The President's Address is traditionally the highest-profile speech the Chautauqua president delivers during the Chautauqua season. His remarks as prepared for delivery, with light edits, are provided below.

My heartfelt thanks to each of you for spending your Sunday afternoon here and for representing some of Chautauqua’s truest friends.

It is an honor to gather with you in this magical environment with this picturesque view of our beloved lake behind us, in the shelter of this tent to shade us from the sun, and serenaded by the exquisite sounds of a chamber ensemble that exemplifies the promise of Chautauqua and of the future of artists and artistry.

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President Michael E. Hill Delivers Remarks at the 10th Anniversary Rededication of the Everett Jewish Life Center at Chautauqua

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Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill addressed a gathering of Chautauquans on July 31, 2018, at the rededication and 10th anniversary celebration of the Everett Jewish Life Center at Chautauqua. His remarks as prepared for delivery, with light edits, are provided below.

It’s a joy to be here with this esteemed group of speakers and all of you. A very special thank you today to Rich and the board of the Everett Jewish Life Center, to my friend and predecessor Tom Becker, and with an abundance of gratitude to Edith Everett and your family for bestowing on the Institution this incredible gift, which has nourished our community for the past decade and stood as a symbol of welcome.

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‘As One’ Community Day at Chautauqua: Works and Life Story of Filmmaker and Librettist Kimberly Reed Highlighted Through Film, Forums, Opera

Works by celebrated documentary filmmaker and librettist Kimberly Reed take center stage for three days at Chautauqua, starting with As One Community Day, Sunday, Aug. 5.

The Aug. 5 half-day program starts at 12:30 p.m. with a free presentation of Reed’s acclaimed autobiographical documentary Prodigal Sons at Chautauqua Cinema, located at 25 Wythe Ave. on Chautauqua’s grounds.

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Sharon Louden Named Artistic Director of Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution

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Chautauqua Institution today announced the appointment of Sharon Louden as the artistic director and Sydelle Sonkin and Herb Siegel Chair of its resident visual arts program, VACI (Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution). In this capacity, Louden will oversee a dynamic department composed of the Chautauqua School of Art, Strohl and Fowler-Kellogg Art Centers, an artist lecture series and growing education and community engagement programs. Louden succeeds Don Kimes, who announced in November his intention to step down following the 2018 Chautauqua season.

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