UMass Music and Dance Launches Speaker Series on Music and Social Change

Sebastian Ruth
Sebastian Ruth
Haven Quartet
Haven Quartet

This fall, the UMass department of music and dance is launching a new speaker series titled “Music, Community Engagement & Social Action.” Organized by violin professor Elizabeth Chang, the series explores how artists and educators, including a number of alumni, are seeking to effect social change through music.

The free talks will take place online via Zoom (pre-registration required, visit to register) and YouTube Live on select Wednesdays beginning at 7 p.m. Each presentation will last approximately one hour, and will include time for Q & A. The events are co-sponsored by the UMass Fine Arts Center.

The series begins on Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m., when MacArthur fellow Sebastian Ruth will speak about his pioneering work as founder of Providence Community MusicWorks. CMW has been called a “revolutionary organization” (“The New Yorker”) that builds cohesive urban communities—through music education and performance—that transform the lives of children, families, and musicians in underserved neighborhoods of Providence, RI. The link to register for the Sept. 30 talk can be found here.

The following Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m., members of the Haven Quartet will discuss their work in residence with Music Haven. Based in New Haven, Connecticut, Music Haven seeks to empower and connect young people through exceptional tuition-free music education, mentoring, and performance by the Haven Quartet, with all students receiving an opportunity to perform. The link to register for the October 7 event can be found here.

 The other dates and featured speaker(s) include:

Oct. 21 - Project STEP

       Javier Caballero, Artistic Director
       Alyssa Lee, Executive Director

       Rachel Forbes '19, Program & Communications Manager
       Jodie McMenamin, Manager of Donor Engagement

Oct. 28 - Alumni Focus
     Part 1: Michelle Painter MM'12, Community Engagement Coordinator, Florida Orchestra
     Part 2: Kokoe Tanaka, Hannah van der Swaagh MM'10, former teachers at Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls

Nov. 4 - Nicole Wright, master teacher, Opus 118

Nov. 11 - Garrett McQueen, bassoonist, creator of TRILLOQUY podcast series

For information or to register, visit