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August 2016

College of Arts and Sciences Announces Frank Sinatra Artists-in-Residence

SCU will host two Frank Sinatra artists-in-residence for the 2016-17 school year

Award-winning actress Anna Deavere Smith and The Silk Road Ensemble are named 2016-17 Frank Sinatra Artists-in-Residence

SANTA CLARA, Calif., August 29, 2016—Santa Clara University’s College of Arts and Sciences is excited to announce two Frank Sinatra artists-in-residence for the 2016-17 school year.

The Frank Sinatra Chair in Music and Theatre Arts was established in 1980 with the proceeds of the 14th Annual Golden Circle Theatre Party, of which Frank Sinatra was the headliner. Both a Scholar-Artist-in-Residence and Artists-in-Residence will be on campus to work with students and perform throughout the year.

“The College is excited to welcome dynamic performers and educators to share their talent and expertise with our students and the greater Santa Clara community,” said Debbie Tahmassebi, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Anna Deavere Smith will be the 2016-17 Frank Sinatra Scholar-Artist-in-Residence. Smith will spend time on campus with our students, faculty, and the community beginning in January 2017. The highlight of her residency will be a winter quarter artistic production by students that she will oversee and co-direct. Along with giving public lectures and participating in other activities while on campus, Smith will also engage photography and creative writing students in her process, culminating in a spring quarter exhibition in the de Saisset Museum.

The Silk Road Ensemble will be the 2016-17 Frank Sinatra Artists-in-Residence. Artists from Silk Road will also spend time on campus with students, faculty, and the community throughout the year, culminating in a formal concert, as well as Music at Noon appearances.

“It is especially meaningful to have these artists join us this year as we celebrate the opening of the Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building and move forward with the launch of Santa Clara’s own ‘Arts District.’ It will be a full year of celebration and start of a new era of the arts at SCU,” Tahmassebi said.

About Anna Deavere Smith
Anna Deavere Smith is perhaps best known to television audiences as Nancy McNally on The West Wing and Gloria Akalitus on Nurse Jackie.In addition to her work in television and film, Smith is said to have created a new form of theatre. When granted the prestigious MacArthur Award, her work was described as “a blend of theatrical art, social commentary, journalism, and intimate reverie.” Ms. Smith is University Professor at New York University where she teaches at the Tisch School of the Arts. She is the founding director of the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue, dedicated to supporting artists whose works address social issues and engender civic engagement. Smith is the recipient of numerous awards, among them the National Humanities Medal, presented to her by President Obama in 2013. In addition to the  MacArthur Award, she has been the recipient of the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, two Tony nominations, and two Obies. She was runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her play, Fires In the Mirror. Honorary degrees include those from Yale University, Juilliard, Barnard, the University of Pennsylvania, Radcliffe, Wesleyan, Williams College, Northwestern University as well as many others. 
Learn more about Ms. Smith:

About The Silk Road Ensemble
Representing a global array of cultures, Silk Road musicians co-create art, performance, and ideas. The Silk Road Ensemble has been called “vibrant and virtuosic” by the Wall Street Journal, “one of the 21st century’s great ensembles” by the Vancouver Sun, and a “roving musical laboratory without walls” by the Boston Globe. Made up of performers and composers from more than 20 countries, the Silk Road Ensemble was formed by Yo-Yo Ma in 2000. Since then, audiences and critics in over 30 countries throughout Asia, Europe, and North America have embraced these artists passionate about cross-cultural understanding and innovation. The group has recorded six albums. Their new album, Sing Me Home, was released in April 2016. The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, a documentary about Silk Road musicians directed by Academy Award-winner Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom), was released in June 2016. Learn more about the Silk Road Project:

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

Media Contact: Tina Vossugh | (408) 829-4836








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