The Arts Research Center (ARC) at UC Berkeley, a think tank for the arts, has recently announced its 2013 Fellowship recipients. This year a new Undergraduate Fellows program was initiated to award seniors for exemplary arts-related honors research. Among them is music major Rio Vander Stahl, whose honors thesis explores audience responses to modern concert music, as well as broader questions of audience engagement with arts institutions. Vander Stahl, an undergraduate senior and cellist, is an accomplished chamber musician. Last year he assisted the Arts Research Center in developing the Opera at Berkeley program with Professor of Music Mary Ann Smart. This year, he launched Celli, an ensemble made up of 10 cellists from the University Symphony Orchestra that commissions new works for cellists from composers both at UC Berkeley and abroad.
He has recently performed at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) to precede their L@TE series exhibition “Silence.” His performances highlighted the concept of silence in chamber music in various respects. For “Silence,” Vander Stahl performed three different programs. The first, a collaboration with violinist Alia McKean and dance company known as the Defiance Project, formed interdisciplinary connections between dance, music, and the exhibition. The second was performed with the Schumann Quartet. Lastly, Vander Stahl performed with Celli, featuring the premiere of a piece by graduate student composer, Michael Nicholas.
In addition to his involvement with the aforementioned ensembles, he will also perform Schumann’s String Quartet No. 1, Op. 41, and Shostakovich’s Two Pieces for String Octet Op. 11 with other members of the University Symphony Orchestra, as part of the 60th Anniversary Noon Concert series this Friday, May 3rd.
In response to receiving the honor, Vander Stahl writes: “Becoming one of the Arts Research Centers’ Undergraduate Fellow has been a wonderful experience. It’s been invaluable to not only have a place to share my own research, but to see other art forms’ research process. So often we tunnel into a small field of research and forget that there are other things out there! Some of the most rewarding exchanges for me this semester happened when themes of my own research coincided with the themes of one of the other fellows in Art Practice.”
For more information on Celli, which will continue to expand next year including more at least two new world premieres and education outreach, visit here.