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An honorary degree for Pinchas Zukerman

  • [Pinchas Zukerman]
    Principal Daniel Woolf offers introductory remarks while Boris Castel, Pinchas Zuckerman and Gordon Smith (left to right) look on.
  • [Pinchas Zukerman]
    Pinchas Zukerman addresses the audience after receiving his honorary degree.
  • [Pinchas Zukerman performing]
    The Zukerman Trio including cellist Amanda Forsythe and pianist Angela Cheng performed before a sold-out crowd at the Isabel as part of the honorary degree presentation.

World-renowned violinist and conductor Pinchas Zukerman added another accolade to an already impressive list of accomplishments this weekend: honorary graduate. Mr. Zukerman, who also serves as music director for the National Arts Centre, accepted his degree after intermission during a sold-out performance at the Isabel on Saturday, Nov. 29.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf, Gordon Smith, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science, and Boris Castel, Professor Emeritus (Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy) and editor of the Queen's Quarterly, joined Mr. Zukerman for the brief ceremony. A busy touring schedule prevented Mr. Zukerman from receiving his degree at a fall convocation ceremony.


An honorary degree for a renowned musician

One of the world’s most celebrated violinists will be receiving an honorary degree from Queen’s.

Pinchas Zukerman will receive an honorary degree on Nov. 29th. (Photo provided)

Pinchas Zukerman, a renowned musician and conductor who also serves as music director for the National Arts Centre (NAC), will receive his degree in conjunction with a performance at the Isabel on Nov. 29, rather than at a convocation ceremony where such degrees are normally conferred. Mr. Zukerman’s busy performance schedule prohibited him from attending one of the five fall convocation ceremonies. His 2014-15 schedule includes more than 100 performances worldwide.

Born in Israel in 1948, Mr. Zukerman arrived in the United States in 1962 where he studied at The Julliard School. After establishing a career as a concert violinist, he turned his attention to conducting, where he has developed an equally outstanding reputation. Mr. Zukerman has led many of the world’s top ensembles, and is currently serving his sixth season as principal guest conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, U.K.

Among his many accolades, Mr. Zukerman has been awarded the National Medal of Arts, was the first recipient of the Isaac Stern Award for Artistic Excellence, and was the co-winner of the International Levintritt Competition, a highly prestigious international competition for classical pianists and violinists, which he won when he was just 19 years old.

Mr. Zukerman’s extensive discography contains more than 100 titles, and includes two Grammy awards and 21 Grammy award nominations.

He has also been celebrated for his commitment to music education. Mr. Zukerman chairs the Pinchas Zukerman Performance Program at the Manhattan School of Music, where he has pioneered the use of distance-learning technology in the arts. In Canada, he has established the NAC Institute for Orchestra Studies and the Summer Music Institute, which encompasses the Young Arts, Conductors and Composers programs.

Mr. Zukerman will perform with the Zukerman Trio (cellist Amanda Forsythe and pianist Angela Cheng) at the Isabel  Saturday, Nov. 29. The performance is sold out.




Impressive incunabula

Queen’s Library has mounted Incunabula: An Exhibit of 15th Century Printing. The exhibit features material from the Library collection and two works owned by Principal Daniel Woolf, whose research interests include the global history of historical writing. Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer, sat down with Principal Woolf to discuss his incunabula and the other books in his collection. 

  • [Incunabula]
    Featured in the exhibit is a leaf from the Nuremberg Chronicle printed by Hartmann Schedel in 1493, on loan from the private collection of Principal Daniel Woolf.
  • [Incunabula]
    Students, staff and faculty attended the opening of Incunabula: An Exhibit of 15th Century Printing, on Monday, Nov.10.
  • [Incunabula]
    Some of the pieces in the exhibit feature "marginalia," or notes from readers found in the margins of the texts.
  • [Incunabula]
    Incunabula: An Exhibit of 15th Century Printing is on display at the W.D. Jordan Special Collections and Music Library through Dec. 1.

MK: What is the significance of the works you have loaned to the Library for the exhibit?

DW: One of them is a whole book, a chronicle that came out in 1481 of which the Library in fact owns a slightly earlier edition printed elsewhere. It’s interesting to compare the two. The other is a leaf from the famous Nuremberg Chronicle that came out in 1493.

The full book, which is missing one or two leaves, was written by Carthusian monk Werner Rolevinck. It’s distinctive as being only the second book since printing was invented to be written by a then-living author. Up to that point, the first books printed were the classics and works such as the Bible.

The Nuremberg Chronicle was the giant history of the world published in 1493 by Hartmann Schedel. That’s not the book’s actual title, but it was called that because Schedel was based in Nuremberg.

MK: Your rare book collection includes many titles besides the incunabula. Can you tell me more about your collection and how you acquire the books?

DW: I have a fair number of books from the 16th century and a lot from the 17th and 18th centuries. Occasionally I stray over into the 19th century.

When I first started out, I was going into antiquarian books shops. That is a relatively slow process if you are looking for particular titles. Over the last few years, it has become much easier to buy unusual books through vendor sites like abebooks.com. But now I am increasingly going directly to individual booksellers who are now well aware of my interests. If they get something interesting, they will dangle it in front of me.

MK: Do you collect rare books as a hobby or for research purposes?

DW: Both. There is a theme to the works I collect. They are all works of history or antiquarian scholarship or antiquarian topography written between the 16th to 18th centuries. I will have at one point used other copies of almost all of them in my research over the last 30 years.

MK: Are there any good stories behind some of the books you own?

DW: Some of them have had very interesting “provenance” in past ownership. One is a copy of an early 17th century printing of an Elizabethan English translation of an early 16th century history of Italy by Francesco Guicciardini. The book itself is a very interesting and important work and it’s a nice early edition. But what gives it added value is the book plate, which indicates it belonged to Victorian poet Matthew Arnold.

Others are interesting because they have all sorts of notes. I have one book in which somebody has interleaved the actual book with lots of other leaves, on which they have added their own notes or “grangerizing” interesting things they found relevant to the book. That process, known as “extra-illustrating,” was very popular in the 18th century.

MK: Why should people visit the exhibit at the Library?

DW: The exhibit is fabulous because these aren’t just old books. They’re among the rarest in the world and they appeared right at the dawn of printing. Just consider how many people have owned those books in their 500 year history. When some of these were printed, Columbus had not yet sailed. They are here now and they will be here 200 or 300 years from now — they are survivors.

Considering it was a new technology, the quality of the printing and the paper was remarkable. The quality of the printing is so much superior to most later printing. If you have seen some 19th century books in the Library, often the pages are not in good shape because they were printed on pulp paper that was treated with an acid, which has made the pages brittle over time. Most of these incunabula were printed on a paper based on rags. It’s much tougher. The books are beautiful works of art.

Incunabula: An Exhibit of 15th Century Printing continues at the W.D. Jordan Special Collections and Music Library (Douglas Library) through Dec. 1.

A Union of researcher and artist

A Queen’s graduate student will “exhibit” her research on Nov. 14 in a space usually reserved for sculptures and paintings.

The Union Gallery has invited Carina Magazzeni (MA’16) to discuss the way her research relates to the artworks currently on display at the gallery. The artist will also attend and talk about his work at the same time.

[Jude Griebel, Stepping Out]
Carina Magazzeni (MA'16) will discuss the connections between her research and the work of artist Jude Griebel, including his piece "Stepping Out" (above) that is currently on display at the Union Gallery.

Jocelyn Purdie, the director of the Union Gallery, says Visual Bites in Context was born out of a desire to open up new avenues of interdisciplinary programming at the gallery.

“Visual Bites in Context is a new and exciting way to discover the research taking place within the Queen’s community,” she says. “We hope the event sparks some interesting discussion around the connections between artists and researchers in different disciplines and facilitates a deeper understanding of their work.”

Ms. Magazzeni, a master’s candidate in the cultural studies program, will talk about how her research connects with Jude Griebel’s sculptures, which fuse human anatomy with allegorical counterparts. Ms. Magazzeni’s research focuses on the visual consumption of the non-human animal body through the art of taxidermy, and the changes in perception of those works after they’re removed from a natural history museum setting and placed within an art gallery.

“When I heard about the event, I thought it was a great way to present my research in an intellectual space without the pressure of a large conference,” Ms. Magazzeni says. “I also liked the idea of connecting with people across disciplines, especially artists. It’s been great bouncing ideas off of Jude.”

Visual Bites in Context will take place on Friday, Nov. 14 at 4 pm, followed by the closing reception of the current exhibitions from 5-7 pm. Located on the ground floor of Stauffer Library, Union Gallery is a space where exciting visual art fresh from the artist’s studio challenges and surprises visitors. Exhibitions and events bring together students, faculty, staff and community members to meet the artists and chat among friends about the work on display. 

Jaime Angelopoulos and Derrick Piens who are featured in the other exhibition at the gallery, will give a talk on Thursday as part the fine art program’s 2014-15 Visiting Artist Lecture Series. The Toronto-based artists will present their lecture at 2:30 pm at the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies (28 Division St.), room 100.

A portrait of the portrait artist

Daniel Hughes was commissioned to paint the official portrait of outgoing Chancellor David Dodge. The portrait will be displayed in the Peter Lougheed Room in Richardson Hall, alongside portraits of previous chancellors. Communications Officer Andrew Stokes discussed the creative process with Mr. Hughes. 

Andrew Stokes: Can you describe the process you went through to paint Chancellor Dodge’s portrait?

[Daniel Hughes]
Daniel Hughes painted the portrait of Chancellor David Dodge to be unveiled Nov 8. (Supplied)

Daniel Hughes: I didn’t have David sit for the portrait because it took a very long time and he’s a busy man, so instead I worked with a photograph. Together with a photographer, we had him strike a number of poses and we captured a picture of him that would be a good representation. Working from a photo allows me to get the right lighting and contrast that I need for painting. 

AS: What were you trying to capture in the photo?

DH: More than anything, I wanted to get a shot where he looked truly relaxed. I also wanted to find a posture that showed something about his personality. As soon as you meet people, things come out about them, and it was quickly clear to me that he’s a charming and likable person. I had a chance to meet with David and his wife Chris to talk about what they were hoping for, and they wanted something a little more contemporary — they didn’t want a reserved Victorian pose. After sketching out a few of the options I found one where the smile was just right that managed to capture both his likeness and his personality.

AS: How long did the entire process take?

"Lesley" Oil on Canvas. Hughes has been painting portraits for more than 20 years.

DH: Once I started painting, I think it took somewhere between 60 and 80 hours to finish, and then some tweaking at the end as well. I paint portraits through a series of layers, starting dark and then working to a glaze layer. Getting details right like the pinstripes on his clothes takes time.

There’s always a strange effect when working on a portrait. You begin with a very abstract shape until suddenly a face starts to emerge. Once the likeness of the person is developed, they begin to give off their energy and you can feel their personality. While I was working on the painting, my sister came to visit me at my studio and the first thing she said was that he seems like a really pleasant and approachable person. It was great to get that feedback.

AS: What choices did you make to give the portrait a contemporary feel?

DH: Many of the previous chancellor portraits make use of a fairly dark colour palette, so I went for lighter colours. Rather than having him inside, standing by a bookshelf or something like that, he’s seated outside so you can see the sky, and there’s a silhouette of Grant Hall in the background. I typically paint contemporary subjects in modern clothing, but since David was wearing his robes and regalia, it felt a little bit like I was painting Henry VIII.

AS: How did you get this commission?

DH: I owe thanks to Jan Allen (Director, Agnes Etherington Art Centre) for suggesting me to do the painting and to David and Chris for selecting me. It’s been an honour to do a painting of a prominent Canadian that will hang for 100 years.

Chancellor Dodge’s portrait will be unveiled Saturday, Nov. 8 at the University Council Dinner. More of Daniel Hughes’ paintings can be seen on his website.


Art, anxiety and 'Awakening'

Exploring Anxiety through Art 

When Athena Mitsilios (Artsci ’17) was asked to make a clay sculpture on the theme of anxiety for her art class ARTF 227 she knew exactly where to start.

Student Jessica Peterson's scultpure of a knotted stomach.

“I knew I wanted to look at social anxiety,” she explains. “I wanted people to know more about what it feels like.”

First she carefully crafted an alien’s head, adding big, bulging eyes she then covered in tinfoil.

“When you have anxiety you feel like everyone is staring at you,” says Ms. Mitsilios, explaining that her alien has a small mouth to suggest the feeling of not being able to breathe. 

Part of the assignment, set out by associate professor Kathleen Sellars, however, included building in a sound component, which Ms. Mitsilios did by recording the sound of laboured breathing and a voice repeating “stop staring, stop staring” in increasingly panicked tones. The sounds for each of the exhibition’s 12 sculptures, which are embedded with mini-speakers, are only audible by plugging a cell phone, iPod or tablet.

“We haven’t really had a chance to do a sound component with an art piece before,” says Jess Peterson (Artsci’17), who also created a piece for the exhibition. “It was interesting. Each sculpture is totally different when you hear the sound component.” 

Ms. Peterson interpreted the theme by creating an organic-looking pink stomach which she encircled with string.

“I was thinking about the physical symptoms of anxiety,” she says. “This is a stomach completely tied up in knots.”

Radha Chaddah: “Awakening”

Alumna Radha Chaddah (Artsci’ 92) grew up torn between art and science.

“My family was always split,” she explains. “One side was in the arts, the other was in the sciences.”

"Flame", from Chaddah's Awakenings
Alumna Radha Chaddah's photography straddles art and science.

By growing stem cells and photographing them using laser light, Ms. Chaddah has drawn a careful path down the middle, creating ephemeral two-dimensional works that look both organically abstract and carefully considered.

“I always knew I wanted to bring the two together and somehow make art about science, among other things,” she explains.

Ms. Chaddah opted to start her education in the arts, which is why she pursued a double major in film and art history at Queen’s. Later, she rounded out her education with an undergraduate degree in biology, eventually choosing to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Toronto some years later. That’s where, working at a neurobiology lab, she found herself drawn to a stem cell project. Disinclined to experiment on animals, she began growing cells in petri dishes, learning a technique called immunohistochemistry. 

“The technique is used to prove the identity of a cell,” Ms. Chaddah explains. “I recognized doing my research that certain antibodies created beautiful images.”

While images cell images are typically reproduced in scientific journals in low resolutions at the size of an inch square, Ms. Chaddah’s high-resolution technique allows her to enlarge images to 40” x 60”. While each image can take up to 30 minutes to shoot, the results are arresting.

For Ms. Chaddah these works are more than just interesting images. She uses her work to ask questions about the world.

“They’re really about where we’re going, and how we are merging all these scientific discoveries as we move towards a place that is interesting and scary, all at the same time,” she says.

While she may have picked up the techniques in graduate school, Ms. Chaddah is quick to credit her Queen’s education for giving her the skills to think critically. She also names a former film professor, Derek Redmond, for teaching her to appreciate light and colour when creating an artistic work.

“His words have stuck with me since then,” she says. “I have become obsessed with light.”

“Awakening” by Radha Chaddah and the anxiety sculptures created by the students from ARTF 227 are on-view at the Art and Media Lab at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts until Nov. 13, 2014.

For more information visit the Isabel’s website.


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