The Fine Arts are distinguished from decorative and applied art in that its purpose is to be appreciated for its beauty or aesthetics rather than practicality or function. It consists of art concentrations in classical areas such as painting, sculpture, music, and dance, as well as more modern forms such as photography and film. Where the sciences serve to explore the world and make discoveries, the arts serve to explore imagination and artistic expression for the purpose of enriching personal experiences through interpretation.
Senior Leadership at the United States Naval Academy is committed to supporting the fine arts through the Distinguished Artist Series. The development of this comprehensive program serves to expose and involve midshipmen with the arts in order to round out and enrich their education.
The Distinguished Artist Series is in its 29th season. The event first launched in 1991 with the opening of Alumni Hall, and the majority of the productions continue to be performed in that venue. Occasionally, performances may be held at Mahan Hall or in the Naval Academy Chapel.
Participating artists include some of the world’s finest classical and cultural performers in the areas of opera, ballet, orchestra, and other diverse international ensembles. Previous seasons have hosted world-class performers such as the National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China, the Royal Drummers of Burundi, Merchants of Bollywood, and the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble.
The 29th Season of the Distinguished Artist Series has already hosted Momix, a thrilling contemporary ballet featuring magical lighting and imagery set to athletic dance and riveting music. Upcoming performances include mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe with pianist Craig Terry on Friday, January 10, 2020. Ms. Blythe is one of the most critically acclaimed vocalists of her generation, with a repertoire ranging from opera classics to contemporary songs.
On Friday, April 17, 2020, the Distinguished Artist Series concludes with the 47th Annual Spring Oratorio. In this performance, the Annapolis Symphony joins the nationally acclaimed Naval Academy Glee Club in a production of Carmina Burana, a scenic cantata from 1936. This bawdy, irreverent, and satirical celebration of fate and fortune sets 13th Century poems and dramatic texts to music written by German composer Carl Orff. It came to be the most famous piece of German music composed at the time.
As the flagship cultural program at the Naval Academy, the Distinguished Artist Series is a symbol of the Academy’s commitment to the role of fine arts and cultural awareness in education. For the past 28 years, these events have enjoyed the support of the Navy's most senior officers, the Naval Academy's faculty and staff, midshipmen, and the greater Academy community.
The public is welcome to attend. Tickets to the upcoming performances of the 2019-2020 season are $45 each and may be purchased by visiting the USNA Music and Theater Box Office website or by calling 410-293-TIXS(8497). Those interested in supporting fine arts and the ongoing efforts of the Distinguished Artist Series may also inquire about becoming season subscribers.