Northeastern University Represented at Fulbright Annual Conference in Beijing, China

October 16, 2008

Boston, Mass. – Two Northeastern University professors will travel to Beijing, China to participate in the Fulbright Association’s 31st annual conference.  Titled “2008—The Interconnected World,” the conference theme will explore the ways in which the arts link us as an international community.

Anthony De Ritis, chair of the department of music and director of the multimedia studies program at Northeastern University, will present on the Arts Task Force Plenary Panel on Music and International Exchange.  De Ritis was chosen because of his background and well-renowned reputation in the music and arts world. 

“It is an extraordinary honor to have been asked by the Fulbright Association to participate in their annual conference,” said De Ritis. “I look forward to discussing the importance of music as a global and cultural exchange with my international peers. I believe that the 31st annual conference will be one of the most successful to date.”

The plenary panel is scheduled for Monday, October 20. The scheduling of this session speaks of the high importance it has for the meeting, where approximately 200 Fulbright alumni from about 20 different countries, as well as U.S. and Chinese government officials will participate. De Ritis will discuss how cultural exchange has opened his eyes to innovative ways to think about music composition and international dialogue. In particular, De Ritis’ work with Chinese musicians has led to a significant portion of his creative output as a composer. Furthermore, it has given him the opportunity to work with the music and musicians from other cultures. De Ritis has led numerous discussions on music and cultural diplomacy at United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and has received grants from the U.S. government to lead international exchange programs in the arts.

Additionally, De Ritis will give a lecture on his own music at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music. He will present his musical works for Chinese instruments, specifically for the pipa, a Chinese flute that is a very popular Chinese traditional instrument. De Ritis also meet with Professor Xu Changjun, a composer and the Vice President of the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music.

"When Professor Xu learned that I had written concertos for the Chinese pipa, he told me that he was composing one at this very moment,” said De Ritis. “He noted that he was very eager to talk to me about my 'Western' perspective on composing for this Chinese instrument. Music has an incredible way of providing an entry point for intercultural dialogue. I can't wait to share my music with him!"

Mary Sherman, a lecturer in the College of Arts and Sciences, will also participate in the Fulbright Association’s annual conference. Sherman traveled to Taiwan from May-July 2008, and will speak at the conference as a recent Fulbright Senior Specialist grantee. During her time in Taiwan she conducted a workshop at the Taipei National University of the Arts on Collaborative Arts, which culminated in an exhibition at the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts. In addition, while in Taiwan Sherman lectured on the history of collaboration in American art at the NKNU Graduate Institute of Interdisciplinary Art, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Hualien Creative and Culture Park and the Fulbright Office in Taipei.

At the Fulbright conference Sherman will present as the founder and director of TransCultural Exchange. She will discuss the projects that the organization has done around the world, in particular The Tile Project, Destination: The World.

“At the end of 2008 TransCultural Exchange will have completed The Tile Project, Destination: The World for which over 100 artists, from over 40 countries, donated tiles to 22 world sites to create 22 site specific, permanent art works,” said Sherman. “Their resulting multicultural structures now dot the world landscape from Berlin to Boston, Manila to Mumbai, Toronto to Taipei and 16 other sites in between. The Tile Project has achieved something that few others have: it has brought together people from vastly different backgrounds and cultures to create lasting testimonies of international respect and cooperation. As a testament that global cooperation is possible in this increasingly fractured world, this project is indeed it.”

For more information, please contact Samantha Fodrowski at 617-373-5427 or s.fodrowski@neu.edu.

About Northeastern

Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is a private research university located in the heart of Boston. Northeastern is a leader in interdisciplinary research, urban engagement, and the integration of classroom learning with real-world experience. The university's distinctive cooperative education program, where students alternate semesters of full-time study with semesters of paid work in fields relevant to their professional interests and major, is one of the largest and most innovative in the world. The University offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs leading to degrees through the doctorate in six undergraduate colleges, eight graduate schools, and two part-time divisions. For more information, please visit www.northeastern.edu.

For more information, please contact Samantha Fodrowski at 617-373-5427 or at s.fodrowski@neu.edu.

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