Visual and Performing Arts
The arts programs at Hotchkiss are substantive, rigorous, and inspiring. The Department of Visual and Performing Arts thrives on the collaborative energy of five distinct disciplines â€“ Dance, Music, Photography, Theatre, and Visual Art. At the heart of the Arts Department is a curricular program that is both broad and deep. We offer courses designed to engage and support the curious beginner, as well as courses designed to challenge and refine the skills of students well-versed in the discipline of serious arts study and commitment. The arts are the foundation of expression in every culture, and at the heart of our department is a curricular program that produces authentic self-expression, confidence to jump into the unfamiliar and strange, and the ability to be self-aware and self-critical. We celebrate multiple perspectives and emphasize the connectedness between the various arts and other academic disciplines. All five arts disciplines are fully integrated into the interdisciplinary Humanities Program as well. Fundamental to our curricular arts program is a belief that substantive arts education is an essential component of a Hotchkiss education, and that every student will find success and satisfaction in making and doing. Our goal is to inspire and encourage the artist in every individual. In addition to our fully credited curricular program, we also offer a breadth of co-curricular programming outside the class day that fosters greater student ownership and independent direction. Over the course of any given school year, the arts programs at Hotchkiss thoughtfully instruct well over three-quarters of the student body and creatively engage the entire school community and the community at large. To learn more about the five arts disciplines and the specific course offerings thereof, please review the individual program listings that follow. For more information about the arts
Visual Art at Hotchkiss offers a place for every student, regardless of experience or talent. You may be curious about your artistic abilities, but hesitate to engage because you have never studied art before. Perhaps you are well-versed in drawing or ceramics, but you are interested in new challenges and new media. Whatever your degree of confidence or expertise, our program provides opportunities for success at every level. We are committed to teaching students how to see, how to compose and design, how to work through complex visual problems, and ultimately, how to manipulate various media in a compelling and personally meaningful manner. In a challenging and supportive studio setting, students are taught new skills, encouraged to take risks, and always pushed to learn from both their successes and their failures. The studio emphasis of each course is complemented by the study of art history and art vocabulary. Students also learn how to critique objectively their own work and that of their peers. They learn how to write about their work and their own learning process, leading to greater self-awareness and intellectual independence. We regularly host visiting artists, participate in trips to museums and galleries, and integrate classes with the Tremaine Gallery exhibitions here on campus. Art at Hotchkiss is lively, diverse, and demanding. And for those students who embrace the challenge and strive to connect with the work on a personal level, the experience is profoundly rewarding.
Dance at Hotchkiss offers students the opportunity to learn the discipline and craft of Ballet and Modern Dance and to explore the creative challenges of this art form. Placement of students in the various courses will be made at the discretion of the instructor. A mid-term performance examination is given in certain classes during each semester. Upon request, a winter special project in dance can be arranged in place of athletics only after a student has completed one semester of study in either medium.
The Music Program offers Hotchkiss's active and diverse student body excellent facilities and a range of course selections that accommodates all levels of interest and involvement. Courses in music literature, theory, and performance reflect the Department's commitment to serve all students, regardless of knowledge, talent, or music experience. Students taking a performance course have the unique opportunity to work in a private lesson setting with an outstanding faculty of music professionals. Students can also express their musical talents in group settings by joining one of our student ensembles: the Hotchkiss Chorus, the Hotchkiss Orchestra, or the jazz ensemble, Right Brain Logic. Throughout the year, students are encouraged not only to perform, but also to appreciate a wide variety of musical experiences by attending student and faculty recitals, off-campus concerts, and our excellent guest artists concert series.
The music wing boasts eight private teaching rooms, 12 practice rooms, and five large rehearsal/classrooms. The 615-seat Katherine M. Elfers Hall in the Esther Eastman Music Center offers world-class facilities for orchestral, chamber, and solo recitals, for students, faculty, and guest artists. The Hotchkiss Recording Studio and WKIS, Hotchkiss's radio station, are also housed in the new Esther Eastman Music Center.
The Department is equipped with 12 Grand Pianos (ten Steinways), seven upright pianos, a Schantz Pipe Organ (installed in 1968), the H. Denison Fish Harpsichord, a Fazioli 308 Concert Grand Piano, and a comprehensive collection of percussion instruments.
The state-of-the-art recording studio with MIDI lab offers an extensive inventory of professional audio equipment and is capable of recording 96 channels of high-definition audio. Besides providing the capability for courses in music technology, it is responsible for recording every event sponsored by the Music Department. Qualified students may take the Music Technology course and use the studio facilities. There are three distinct ways a student can be involved in music at Hotchkiss: performance courses, general music courses, and non-credit music lessons.
Students come to Hotchkiss with a wide range of musical interests, ability, and experience. The music program is designed to meet the needs of this diverse student body. Those students who are serious musicians aspiring to a performance career, or those who are simply curious to know more about music or to take up an instrument, can find the courses, faculty, private instruction, and performance opportunities to meet their goals.
Private music instruction is offered for academic credit to students at no additional cost. Students may receive non-academic private lessons for a fee. Full academic credit is available to students in vocal or instrumental ensembles such as the Hotchkiss Chorus. A chamber orchestra and other instrumental ensembles are organized when enough students can be found to form a balanced ensemble. The music department offers an active series of student chamber music concerts. Guest artists frequently visit the school, offering workshops, master classes, and concerts.
Music courses fulfill the arts requirement.
Photography & Film
The Photography and Film Program at Hotchkiss has been established for over 40 years and is housed in one of the finest facilities of its kind in the country. Students begin in the traditional darkrooms before moving into the digital domain to explore digital photography and video. Basic, advanced, and independent courses are offered in traditional photography, digital photography, and film. Students enrolled in photography utilize the Watson Media Center and the newly renovated photography laboratory and studio complex. In addition to regular classroom instruction, there are field trips off campus and visits to galleries and museums. Guest artists and photographers exhibit their work in the Tremaine Gallery and hold workshops for students. Owning a camera is not required for beginning classes, but members of advanced photography classes should consider having their own DSLR cameras. Contact us directly for suggestions on types of cameras.
Theatre is a complex art. It involves many creators and assumes a knowledge that spans all the disciplines one encounters in formal education. The actor, playwright, director, designer, choreographer, must learn science, history, language, mathematics, literature, as well as all of the other arts in order to achieve that which is Theatre's primary purpose: namely, to represent or challenge a given culture's religious beliefs, political views, social values, sorrows, and joys.
The Theatre Program offers students the opportunity to learn about theatre, both as a cultural value and as a performance art. In addition to Humanities (Theatre), the curriculum includes courses in Acting, Design, Directing, Musical Theatre, Public Speaking, and Theatre Technology. All of the courses encourage students to experiment with creative problem solving through practical, hands-on experience. Qualified students may also be permitted to direct or design productions sponsored by the Hotchkiss Dramatic Association in Walker Auditorium or in the Black Box Theater. All courses offered in the Theatre curriculum fulfill the arts diploma requirement.
As with the visual arts, our goal in the Theatre Department is to enhance students' appreciation of theatre as a literary and performing art, whether they are active participants on or off stage or engaged members of an audience.