News & Announcements

Prayers for Christchurch, from Chautauqua

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Dear Chautauquans,

We stand with Muslims around the world in grieving the acts of hatred and murder in Christchurch, New Zealand. Chautauqua Institution remains steadfast in its commitment to interfaith dialogue and engagement that build bridges and foster understanding across difference. Interfaith understanding doesn’t just happen — it takes work and study and face-to-face interactions with Muslims. That is why Chautauqua, through its Department of Religion, strives to bring leading Muslim voices to our 2 p.m. Interfaith Lecture Series and our Interfaith Fridays series. Ours is an emphasis on interfaith learning and respect that has gone on at Chautauqua for more than two decades.

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Board of Trustees Extends President Michael E. Hill’s Contract

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Hill to Pursue Doctoral Degree

The Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees has extended President Michael E. Hill’s appointment for three years, through Dec. 31, 2021, following its annual review of presidential and institutional performance last month. Hill, who was appointed in 2016 and began his work at Chautauqua on Jan. 1, 2017, is the 18th president of the nearly 150-year-old Institution.

“Michael has met or exceeded all of our expectations in his first two years of service, and he has outlined an ambitious agenda for the future of our beloved Institution,” said James A. Pardo Jr., chair of the Board of Trustees. “The Board approved his contract extension with great excitement and anticipation for the future.”

Hill and others currently are in the final stages of a comprehensive and collaborative strategic planning process that is outlining the Institution’s priorities over the next five to 10 years. As part of this process, Hill’s vision to expand Chautauqua’s impact beyond the summer assembly season and beyond the grounds of Chautauqua’s historic campus has been tested and reaffirmed. The plan is scheduled to be approved by the Board in May and released to the community in June.

“It has been a true honor to engage with the Chautauqua community and to understand its aspirations and potential in the world,” Hill said. “I am thrilled by the Board’s confidence in my leadership and vision, and I look forward to building on the extraordinary experiences and conversations that we convene here on the grounds during the summer months and to also bring them to a world that is calling for Chautauqua’s multidisciplinary brand of positive, action-oriented dialogue and engagement.”

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Chautauqua School of Art and Pratt Institute Announce Groundbreaking Partnership

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Inaugural Pratt/VACI Fellowship in Pedagogy a First-of-its-kind Opportunity

Chautauqua Institution’s School of Art this week announced a series of new and reconfirmed partnerships designed to increase awareness of the renowned summer program and to provide its students with more attractive financial aid packages. Spearheaded by Sharon Louden, Sydelle Sonkin and Herb Siegel Artistic Director of the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution (VACI), the new partnership initiative features as its centerpiece the inaugural Pratt/VACI Fellowship in Pedagogy, an innovative collaboration developed by Pratt Fine Arts Department, the Center for Teaching and Learning at Pratt Institute and VACI.

“As I’ve traveled and visited with many artists, educators, students around the country, it’s become clear to me that there’s a gap in our education system for artists who would like to teach— artists don’t often learn how to teach when they are in college seeking a MFA,” said Louden, an artist, educator, advocate for artists, and editor of the Living and Sustaining a Creative Life series of books. “My hope in partnering with Pratt on this groundbreaking fellowship is to provide a model for how we might educate the next generation of artists to teach as well as give direction on how to apply, interview, negotiate and secure a teaching job, where to apply our skills to teach outside of higher education, and actively encourage artists to participate in explorations around new pedagogies.”

This first-of-its-kind fellowship, which is fully-funded, enables a Pratt Institute Fine Arts graduate student to attend the summer program and to teach a course through the training of VACI core-faculty member Hasan Elahi, who will teach the “Art of Pedagogy” component within the residency program. Elahi is an artist, associate professor at the University of Maryland and board member of Creative Capital. After the summer residency concludes, the fellow will return to Pratt Institute and share their new knowledge with Pratt Institute students and faculty.

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Chautauqua School of Art Announces Partnerships with Renowned Art Schools

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Agreements to Provide Increased Financial Assistance to Students of Summer Program

Chautauqua Institution’s School of Art this week announced a series of new and reconfirmed partnerships designed to increase awareness of the renowned summer program and to provide its students with more attractive financial aid packages. The partnerships, spearheaded by Sharon Louden, recently appointed as the Sydelle Sonkin and Herb Siegel Artistic Director of the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution (VACI), represent a number of reaffirmed and completely new relationships for Chautauqua’s visual arts program with celebrated higher-education programs around the United States.

“I’m incredibly excited to announce these new partnerships, and grateful to these schools for their commitment to their students and affirmation of the value of VACI’s program,” said Louden, an artist, educator, advocate for artists, and editor of the Living and Sustaining a Creative Life series of books. “To provide the students who attend these schools and Chautauqua’s School of Art residency with extra financial resources is a gift that will assists artists who would never have the opportunity to attend, and allow them to more deeply experience their time in our program.”

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Joseph Gerace Named Director of Campus Security and Safety

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Former Chautauqua County Sheriff Will Also Become Institution's Chief of Police Upon Alan Akin's Retirement Later This Year

Chautauqua Institution this week announced the appointment of Joseph Gerace as Director of Campus Security and Safety. Gerace, the highly respected former Chautauqua County sheriff, is responsible for enacting recommendations from the Institution's recently established Security Master Plan, and will take command of the Institution's police department upon the planned retirement of longtime chief Alan Akin in the fall of 2019. 

As sheriff, Gerace played a foundational role in forming and maintaining the Sheriff's Office's close partnership with Chautauqua Institution, where campus police personnel are officers who hold appointments as special deputy sheriffs.

"We are elated to welcome Joe to our year-round staff. His leadership as sheriff ensured the safety and security of multiple generations of Institution residents and visitors, and this community is fortunate to benefit now even more directly from his experience and service," said John Shedd, the Institution's vice president of campus planning and operations. "Through Joe's leadership, our security personnel will continue to provide the delicate balance of enforcement, preventive security tactics, and exceptional community relations acumen cultivated for decades under Al's command. We are grateful for Al's dedicated service to Chautauqua, and we look forward to celebrating his many contributions throughout the coming months.”

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Chautauqua Golf Club Receives National Accolades from Golf Advisor


Golf WebLake Course Named to Top Five U.S. Publicly Assessible Courses Rated by Playing Conditions

The Chautauqua Golf Club’s Lake Course has been named one of Golf Advisor’s Best of 2018, ranking No. 5 in the website’s listing of the publicly accessible courses that delivered the best playing conditions. The national recognition, released at GolfAdvisor.com earlier this month, is based on feedback from the website's community of reviewers. In its listing of Chautauqua Golf Club, Golf Advisor highlights one review from a golfer who praises each of the club’s 18-hole courses, the Lake Course and the Hill Course, stating, "Both courses [were] in excellent shape, and I don't mean for a public course. They would presently rival most country clubs in the Buffalo area right now." Many other reviews posted at GolfAdvisor.com also specifically applaud Chautauqua Golf Club’s excellent playing conditions.

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Seasons Greetings from Chautauqua, 2018

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Dear Chautauquans,

Many of you know that as President I am incredibly fortunate to work from an office that overlooks Bestor Plaza. This is a grand vantage point in any season, and especially as night falls late in the year, when the Winter Village lights paint our picturesque town square in the colors of the season. I’m reminded of the first stanza of “Day is Dying in the West,” a staple of our summertime Sacred Song Services: 

Day is dying in the west,
Heav’n is touching earth with rest,
Wait and worship while the night
Sets her evening lamps alight
    Through all the sky.


Today is the winter solstice here in the northern hemisphere, and as we approach the longest night of the year, it’s comforting to celebrate and appreciate anew that which brings light to our lives.

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Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra Announces 90th Anniversary Season

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Music Director Rossen Milanov Signs Five-Year Contract

Chautauqua Institution today announced the repertoire and highlights of the upcoming 90th anniversary season of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, including 22 Chautauqua Amphitheater performances over the course of eight weeks of the Institution’s 2019 summer season. The CSO season announcement accompanies news that Maestro Rossen Milanov, who in 2019 enters his fifth season as CSO music director and principal conductor, has agreed to a new five-year contract that ensures his well-regarded tenure at Chautauqua will continue through at least the 2024 season.

“The CSO is truly the musical heartbeat of Chautauqua Institution and our celebratory 90th anniversary season focuses on themes that propel us into the future as we strive to be musically excellent, intergenerationally relevant, culturally connected and artistically collaborative,” said Deborah Sunya Moore, Chautauqua Institution vice president of performing and visual arts. “We’re particularly grateful for the visionary leadership of Rossen Milanov, who has proved to be a perfect fit for this community and this unique collection of talented musicians. I’m elated that he has accepted our invitation to make a long-term commitment to Chautauqua, and build upon four seasons of astonishing work.”

The CSO’s 2019 season begins on June 27, with a program featuring celebrated pianist Daniil Trifonov performing Scriabin’s Piano Concerto, and concludes on Aug. 20, in a joint performance with renowned trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. The full season program is available at cso.chq.org. Appearances from other internationally recognized soloists include Chautauqua favorites pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk (July 2, Brahms’ First Piano Concerto) and violinist Augustin Hadelich (Aug. 1, Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto).

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Toys for Tots Accepted at Chautauqua Bookstore, Colonnade

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Chautauqua Institution is pleased to support the 2018 Chautauqua County Toys for Tots campaign, led by our neighbors at The Resource Center in Jamestown. Chautauquans and visitors to the grounds are encouraged to drop off unwrapped children’s toys at the Chautauqua Bookstore (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily) or the Colonnade lobby (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Winter Village weekends).

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Chautauqua Institution to Celebrate Giving Tuesday with Special Match Opportunity, Sweepstakes

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On Tuesday, Nov. 27, Chautauqua Institution joins individuals, families and non-profit organizations from all 50 states and in countries around the world for Giving Tuesday. This growing, global movement celebrates the collective gifts shared in community with one another. At Chautauqua, these are gifts of artistic expression, lifelong learning, multi-generational experiences, and treasured moments that lift up the best of human values.

Throughout the day on Giving Tuesday, the Institution invites the community to join an online celebration. On its social media channels, namely Facebook at facebook.com/chq1874, there will be a series of special video announcements, and updates on educational and community engagement initiatives for Chautauqua County students.

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A Message of Thanksgiving from Chautauqua

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Like many of you, I look forward tomorrow to gathering around a table with loved ones — for me at the President’s Cottage at Chautauqua — to share and partake in a most cherished tradition. At many Thanksgiving gatherings it is customary to begin the meal with a brief prayer or blessing, to “say grace,” as we put it at my table. It is a simple act, but one that is so profound: an expression of thanks for a nourishing meal, for those who prepared and share in it, and any number of the countless blessings in our lives.

I’ve been thinking a lot about grace lately, and not just in the Thanksgiving context. It’s the reason we have a whole week devoted to it in 2019. The description for that theme begins: “Be it emotional, physical or spiritual, grace takes many forms. It exists in the way we treat one another, the way in which we move through the world, and the way in which we use our gifts, our grace, to lift up others.”

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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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