Renowned String Quartet Brings New Perspective to Study of Language at Allegheny College

Works by Mozart, Beethoven and Bartók, performed by the award-winning Alexander String Quartet, resounded in a third-floor classroom on a recent morning in Allegheny College’s Ruter Hall.
But the students taking in the performance weren’t attending a music course. Instead, they were studying German language and literature.
The students listened as the San Francisco-based quartet played selections from the classical, romantic and contemporary eras. “Much of the quartet’s repertoire is written by German-speaking composers,” said Peter Ensberg, Allegheny professor of German and the course’s instructor. “The music relates to certain philosophical and artistic points of view that we also can find in other art forms. It’s always possible to connect musical voices to verbal and visual forms of expression. Language and communication take many forms.”
The Alexander String Quartet has traveled to Allegheny for a short residency annually since 1990. During its time on campus, the group works with classes in many disciplines and performs a public concert.
Besides the quartet, Ensberg’s class also welcomed another group of special guests: six students from Meadville Area Senior High School and their teacher, Wilma Dunkle. She selected students in an advanced German course who also had shown strong interest in music.
“We spent time before the class learning about typical characteristics of classical music from three different eras,” Dunkle, a 2005 Allegheny graduate, said. “Having the Alexander String Quartet perform pieces from each of the three targeted eras breathed life into those studies.”
As the musicians played, expertly gliding their bows and plucking strings, the college and high school students looked on, some gently tapping their toes or bobbing their heads to the rhythm. But in between pieces the audience took center stage as students shared their reactions.
Those interactions started with a simple question — “How did that piece make you feel?” — and grew into deeper discussions. The students, instructors and musicians delved into the music’s structure and tone as well as the culture and politics of the period in which it was composed.
Topics ranged from the beginnings of the European middle class in Mozart’s era to Beethoven’s penchant for defying musical conventions to the rise of fascism that forced Bartók to leave Hungary in the early 1940s.
Ensberg said the quartet’s performance will help his students gain perspective on the literature they’re reading and analyzing, “to question things, get new ideas and build connections.” And Dunkle said she plans to have follow-up discussions with her students on their understanding before and after the performance.
The class marked the first time Dunkle brought her students to Allegheny. The visit resulted from a conversation she had earlier this year with Julia Ludewig, Allegheny assistant professor of German, and Ensberg, who was faculty advisor for Dunkle’s senior comprehensive project while she was an Allegheny student.
Dunkle said she hopes that the collaboration continues. Her school’s languages department recently hosted a World Cultures Week that included presentations by two international exchange students from the college. “I look forward to working with Allegheny more in the future,” Dunkle said.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Renowned String Quartet Brings New Perspective to Study of Language at Allegheny College

Works by Mozart, Beethoven and Bartók, performed by the award-winning Alexander String Quartet, resounded in a third-floor classroom on a recent morning in Allegheny College’s Ruter Hall.

But the students taking in the performance weren’t attending a music course. Instead, they were studying German language and literature.

The students listened as the San Francisco-based quartet played selections from the classical, romantic and contemporary eras. “Much of the quartet’s repertoire is written by German-speaking composers,” said Peter Ensberg, Allegheny professor of German and the course’s instructor. “The music relates to certain philosophical and artistic points of view that we also can find in other art forms. It’s always possible to connect musical voices to verbal and visual forms of expression. Language and communication take many forms.”

The Alexander String Quartet has traveled to Allegheny for a short residency annually since 1990. During its time on campus, the group works with classes in many disciplines and performs a public concert.

Besides the quartet, Ensberg’s class also welcomed another group of special guests: six students from Meadville Area Senior High School and their teacher, Wilma Dunkle. She selected students in an advanced German course who also had shown strong interest in music.

“We spent time before the class learning about typical characteristics of classical music from three different eras,” Dunkle, a 2005 Allegheny graduate, said. “Having the Alexander String Quartet perform pieces from each of the three targeted eras breathed life into those studies.”

As the musicians played, expertly gliding their bows and plucking strings, the college and high school students looked on, some gently tapping their toes or bobbing their heads to the rhythm. But in between pieces the audience took center stage as students shared their reactions.

Those interactions started with a simple question — “How did that piece make you feel?” — and grew into deeper discussions. The students, instructors and musicians delved into the music’s structure and tone as well as the culture and politics of the period in which it was composed.

Topics ranged from the beginnings of the European middle class in Mozart’s era to Beethoven’s penchant for defying musical conventions to the rise of fascism that forced Bartók to leave Hungary in the early 1940s.

Ensberg said the quartet’s performance will help his students gain perspective on the literature they’re reading and analyzing, “to question things, get new ideas and build connections.” And Dunkle said she plans to have follow-up discussions with her students on their understanding before and after the performance.

The class marked the first time Dunkle brought her students to Allegheny. The visit resulted from a conversation she had earlier this year with Julia Ludewig, Allegheny assistant professor of German, and Ensberg, who was faculty advisor for Dunkle’s senior comprehensive project while she was an Allegheny student.

Dunkle said she hopes that the collaboration continues. Her school’s languages department recently hosted a World Cultures Week that included presentations by two international exchange students from the college. “I look forward to working with Allegheny more in the future,” Dunkle said.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny College to Present International Film Festival

The 2017 International Film Festival, sponsored by the Department of Modern & Classical Languages at Allegheny College, kicks off Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. at The Movies @ Meadville with “After Spring,” a feature-length documentary that focuses on the Syrian refugee crisis.

With the Syrian conflict entering its sixth year, millions of people continue to be displaced. This is the story of what happens next. By following two refugee families in transition and aid workers fighting to keep the camp running, viewers will experience what it is like to live in Zaatari, the largest camp for Syrian refugees. Filmed on location in Jordan by directors Steph Ching and Ellen Martinez, “After Spring” made its World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016. (In Arabic with subtitles. Not rated. 101 minutes.)

The International Film Festival continues Wednesdays through March 15 with screenings at 7 p.m. at The Movies @ Meadville, 11155 Highline Drive, Meadville. All films are free and open to the public.

The schedule includes:
February 22: “The Mermaid” (China, 2016), directed by Stephen Chow. Rated R.
March 1: “The Innocents” (France, 2016), directed by Anne Fontaine. Rated PG-13.
March 8: “Victoria” (Germany, 2015), directed by Sebastian Schipper. Not rated.
March 15: “Neruda” (Chile, 2016), directed by Pablo Larrain. Rated R.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny College to Present International Film Festival

The 2017 International Film Festival, sponsored by the Department of Modern & Classical Languages at Allegheny College, kicks off Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. at The Movies @ Meadville with “After Spring,” a feature-length documentary that focuses on the Syrian refugee crisis.

With the Syrian conflict entering its sixth year, millions of people continue to be displaced. This is the story of what happens next. By following two refugee families in transition and aid workers fighting to keep the camp running, viewers will experience what it is like to live in Zaatari, the largest camp for Syrian refugees. Filmed on location in Jordan by directors Steph Ching and Ellen Martinez, “After Spring” made its World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016. (In Arabic with subtitles. Not rated. 101 minutes.)

The International Film Festival continues Wednesdays through March 15 with screenings at 7 p.m. at The Movies @ Meadville, 11155 Highline Drive, Meadville. All films are free and open to the public.

The schedule includes:
February 22: “The Mermaid” (China, 2016), directed by Stephen Chow. Rated R.
March 1: “The Innocents” (France, 2016), directed by Anne Fontaine. Rated PG-13.
March 8: “Victoria” (Germany, 2015), directed by Sebastian Schipper. Not rated.
March 15: “Neruda” (Chile, 2016), directed by Pablo Larrain. Rated R.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Hernandez article published in Colombian journal

“De La quinta Dayana a Cheila, una casa pa’ maíta”, an article dealing with the representation of transsexuality in a recent Venezuelan film, by Associate Professor of Spanish Wilfredo Hernandez appeared in the journal Cuadernos de Literatura del Caribe e Hispanoamérica, which is published twice a year by the University of Barranquilla, Colombia.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Hernandez article published in Colombian journal

“De La quinta Dayana a Cheila, una casa pa’ maíta”, an article dealing with the representation of transsexuality in a recent Venezuelan film, by Associate Professor of Spanish Wilfredo Hernandez appeared in the journal Cuadernos de Literatura del Caribe e Hispanoamérica, which is published twice a year by the University of Barranquilla, Colombia.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Reeck presents at London conference

Associate Professor of French Laura Reeck gave a paper at the Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies’ annual conference in London. The paper, “The Post-Migratory Moment in Contemporary France, and its implications for Francophone Postcolonial Studies,” previewed the 2018 annual publication for the Society that she is co-editing.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Reeck presents at London conference

Associate Professor of French Laura Reeck gave a paper at the Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies’ annual conference in London. The paper, “The Post-Migratory Moment in Contemporary France, and its implications for Francophone Postcolonial Studies,” previewed the 2018 annual publication for the Society that she is co-editing.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Riess’ book wins Best Work of Fiction in Translation

Associate Professor of Spanish Barbara Riess’ book “An Address in Havana/Domicilio habanero” ( won the prize for Best Work of Fiction in Translation (Spanish to English) at the 2016 International Latino Book Awards Ceremony in California on Sept. 8. A review of the book appeared in the latest edition of Letras Femeninas, the journal of women & gender studies in Hispanic literatures and cultures. The author, María Elena Llana, gave a reading from the work with Riess at Allegheny College in the fall of 2015 as part of Unión Latinx’s Hispanic Heritage Month.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Riess’ book wins Best Work of Fiction in Translation

Associate Professor of Spanish Barbara Riess’ book “An Address in Havana/Domicilio habanero” ( won the prize for Best Work of Fiction in Translation (Spanish to English) at the 2016 International Latino Book Awards Ceremony in California on Sept. 8. A review of the book appeared in the latest edition of Letras Femeninas, the journal of women & gender studies in Hispanic literatures and cultures. The author, María Elena Llana, gave a reading from the work with Riess at Allegheny College in the fall of 2015 as part of Unión Latinx’s Hispanic Heritage Month.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research