Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Fine arts departments welcome new professors

The performing arts around campus just got a facelift with three new professors joining the Whitman team. Coming to us from around the country and the world, these gentlemen will have plenty to contribute to the campus.

Alumnus Jimmy Maize ’02, recipient of the Pete Reid Award for Young Alumni in 2010, is returning to campus as a visiting theatre professor. Here for the semester, he offers a lot to students interested in pursuing performance and production with his paired experience and approachability.

After graduating from Whitman, Maize moved to New York, where he began working with famed director Moisés Kaufman and his Tectonic Theatre Company. Over the past ten years, he has worked as a dramaturg on Kaufman’s Tony Award-winning play “33 Variations,” assisted in the creation and direction of “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later,” and assembled and directed the 100-cast-member production “Spoon River Anthology,” based on the book of poems by Edgar Lee Masters. Make sure to check out the Harper Joy Theatre’s final fall production, “Camino Real” by Tennessee Williams, which he will be recomposing and directing.

Florida native Dr. Paul Luongo has lots of excitement and ambition for his first year at Whitman. The assistant professor of music, orchestra conductor and french hornist comes to us from a teaching position at Valencia College in Orlando, where he not only instructed in music but also humanities.

He hopes that with his time at Whitman he will be able to bring a heavier focus to the historical and cultural side of music in the department’s classes.

“Music can get a bit compartmentalized. Musicians say, ‘this is performance’ or academics say, ‘this is music history,'” Luongo said. “But performance is really the application of theory, history and literature. If you’re doing one without the other, you’re missing half the story. I feel like that really fits with the Whitman mentality.”

He encourages the student body to come support their peers in the Fall Orchestra Recital on Nov. 8, where they will perform under their new leader for the first time.

Idalee Hutson-Fish’s retirement left a large hole in the dance department. However, her replacement, Peter de Grasse, whom she recommended, will be a wonderful addition to the school. Born in Walla Walla, de Grasse studied at Juilliard in New York before moving to Germany to perform in the company of the Tanztheater des Staatstheater Darmstadt. De Grasse’s love for dance actually started at Whitman, with a childhood performance in Harper Joy. Recommended to try dancing, he was taken under Hutson-Fish’s wing and soon discovered his passion. He returns to us with hopes of instructing students in the European mentality and style of dance as well as classical American.

“Whitman is an incredible place, and it’s remarkable for the talent and the intelligence of the students that are here,” de Grasse said. “But what is almost overwhelming to me as a teacher is that there are these big groups of people, they are so open and courageous, and they are so willing to learn. Right now, I am trying to rise to the level of the students that are in the room each day.”

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