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Overview: Brown Symposium XXXIII

Think - Converse - Act celebrates one of the most influential and resilient cultural institutions of the western world: the salon, an essentially egalitarian moderated conversation among individuals from diverse fields and viewpoints concerning contemporary issues.* It includes three lectures on aspects of salon culture's history by recognized scholars, and supplements these with three moderated public conversations among professionally and ideologically far-flung individuals about important but elusive disciplinary intersections in today's world: (1) art, science, and religion; (2) education, technology, and the arts; and (3) ethics, the arts, and public policy. The cast of contributors to these lectures and salons includes eleven extramural speakers, six Southwestern University students, and nine SU faculty; other faculty and students are featured elsewhere in the program. The Symposium also features a performance of the twentieth-century milestone Histoire du soldat (The soldier's tale) by Igor Stravinsky on a text by C.F. Ramuz; the world premiere by Kenny Sheppard and the Southwestern University Chorale of Jason Hoogerhyde's Voy a dormir, on a text by Alfonsina Storni, and little-known salon compositions for soprano with guitar accompaniment, performed by Dana Long Zenobi and David Asbury. This year's Symposium will be web simulcast free of charge for those unable to attend. 

*For a brief commentary from the Symposium Director on what, exactly, "salon culture" refers to and why we think it warrants celebration in an event of this sort, see here

The Brown Symposium at Southwestern University

The Brown Symposium is presented by Southwestern University on an annual basis. Open to the public without charge, the symposium is funded through an endowment established by The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston, Texas, for professorships at the University.

The symposia are designed to enhance the effectiveness of the work for which the endowed professorships were established. Each symposium presents topics in one of the broad areas of study represented by the chairholder.

"Think - Converse - Act: The Salon and Its Histories" was developed by John Michael Cooper, professor of music and Margarett Root Brown Chair in Fine Arts at Southwestern University.

Lecture events are held in the Alma Thomas Theater, located in the Alma Thomas Fine Arts Center.


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