A Note from Convos Director Todd Wetzel

The concept of immersion is both a platform for this year’s curricular integration activity and an apt metaphor for our entire season. Here, you can plunge into world-class performances. Dive deeply into engrossing discourse. Participate in powerful activities to learn how artists and thinkers illuminate the world around us. And you can also immerse yourself in these encounters regularly by weaving the power of creative human expression and intellectual inquiry into your daily and weekly calendar.

We’ll ring in the 75th anniversary of Elliott Hall of Music this year with a concentrated slate of five Broadway productions. But we haven’t stopped there: this season’s Signature Events feature two of the greatest performing artists and companies of our time. The internationally renowned Mark Morris Dance Group will further burnish Elliott Hall’s legacy of world-class performances with its full-scale production of their landmark Dido and Aeneas—featuring Purcell’s opera performed with live orchestra and soloists. We’ll also embark upon a deep investigation of a composer’s relationship to his instrument in Loeb Playhouse with one of the most influential composers of the last 50 years, Philip Glass. The performance of The Complete Piano Etudes features Glass and four additional exhilarating pianists for a specially created engagement in which Glass’s 20 etudes form a compelling, 30-year portrait of his aesthetic evolution.

Elliott Hall of Music construction panorama

READ MORE: Elliott Hall of Music 75th Anniversary: 1940-2015

A generous gift will help surround Convocations audiences with beautiful music for many years to come. Janet and John Nine (BS ‘63, HonD ‘83) have opened the door for all of us to more fully immerse ourselves in the extraordinary artistry of pianists, thanks to their gift of a spectacular new Steinway D Concert Grand piano to Purdue. Fitting, then, that we’ve planned a three-concert gateway to season upon season of deeper immersion in the profoundly rich repertoire and history of the piano.

Steinway components in the factory

READ MORE: A New Steinway Piano Creates Grand Opportunities

In the context of a great university, offering immersive experiences for the artists, creators, and catalysts is a natural part of our work. This year, we’ll have two Artist-In-Residence opportunities: Taiwanese choreographer, dancer, and programmer Huang Yi will bring his innovative dance and robotics performance in the fall while global musical phenomenon Meklit will share her music and social advocacy perspectives in the spring. We’re also proud to announce Dawn or Doom 2, which features a robust exploration of digital privacy issues, as well as an evolving slate of lectures and discourse via the Presidential Lecture Series and other platforms to be added into the flow of our season. Stay tuned!

Dancer Huang Yi dances with an assembly line robot
READ MORE: Dancer Huang Yi programmed choreography for an assembly line robot.

It would be fair to say, however, that this entire season of incredible, immersive experiences would not be possible without you, our engaged audiences and contributors. Your focused support for the Friends of Convocations gives us the capacity to create and deliver these remarkable performances, residencies, and opportunities because ticket sales cover only 60% of our expenses. We thank you for this support! Also, we thank all of the Purdue faculty who have so creatively integrated the world-class artists and thinkers whom we host on campus into their academic syllabi. Your desire to create meaningful learning encounters for your students deepens the experience—and the value—of a Purdue education.


Todd Wetzel