Being recognized for performance excellence is always a nice surprise. Making a top 10 list is nice, too. But being recognized three times on the same top 10 list is even better. The College of Fine Arts is proud to be included in Salt Lake Magazine’s Top 10 Classical Performances of 2014.

The Department of Theatre’s production of “The Threepenny Opera” was selected as one of the top classical performances because of Director Denny Berry’s exquisite cast and staging of the classic Bertolt Brecht musical.

School of Music faculty member Hasse Borup served as concertmaster for Vivaldi By Candlelight, which was also named a top performance. Heralded for “remarkable artistry and virtuosity,” Professor Borup, who works with violin and chamber music students, deserves a round of applause for his involvement in this event.

Additionally, the Utah Chamber Artists, founded by and under the musical direction of School of Music professor Barlow Bradford, secured a spot on the top 10 list. The group’s performance of Brahms’ “Ein deutsches Requiem” was called “heartfelt… always filled with depth and spirituality.”

Congratulations to all on this extraordinary achievement and for representing the College of Fine Arts so strongly through classical performance. Read the complete list and the full reviews of these three honorees here

The history of the University of Utah Department of Film & Media Arts is more entwined with that of the Sundance Film Festival than most people realize. Professor emeritus Tom Sobchack was integral in the programming for the festival.

Sobchack taught the first course on film at the University of Utah in 1968. At the time he was a faculty member of the U Department of English and recent New York transplant (now professor emeritus of the Department of Film & Media Arts). This first course and those that followed in the subsequent years provided a catalyst around which a nascent community of serious Salt Lake cinephiles coalesced.

Van Wagenen and Redford at a 1981 planning session for Sundance. 

Van Wagenen and Redford at a 1981 planning session for Sundance. 

When Sterling Van Wagenen, co-founder of the Sundance Institute and currently producer-in-residence for the Department of Film & Media Arts, decided to put together an annual film festival in Salt Lake City in 1977, he needed some help with programming. Fortunately, Sobchack and his affiliated film aficionados were there to act as gatekeepers for the submissions. The forerunner of the Sundance Film Festival was born.

Decades later, Sobchack is semi-retired but still teaching film classes in the department he initially set in motion in the late 60s. These filmmakers and critics of tomorrow are in turn given great opportunities for professional training by Sterling Van Wagenen in his role as producer-in-residence, in which he teaches and mentors. Through his influence and connections in the industry, the Department of Film & Media Arts has launched a new professional internship program for the 2014-2015 academic year and beyond. This program allows select film majors to work with local production companies to receive valuable real-world film experience while continuing their undergraduate and graduate studies at the U.

This past fall, College of Fine Arts Assistant Dean for Art and Creative Engagement and Executive Director of Kingsbury Hall, Brooke Horejsi, was included as part of a cohort that traveled to China as guests of the Chinese Ministry of Culture. With an abundance of arts offerings, Dean Horejsi was immersed in the global arts culture, and her expertise with education-based arts presenting and advocacy contributed to her being part of a larger conversation concerning the presentation and funding of arts in China.

Dean Horejsi with fellow travelers in China

Dean Horejsi with fellow travelers in China

“With the relatively recent growth and development in China, not just as a marketplace, but also a country with ancient cultural traditions that are both cherished and evolving, it is an exciting time to see a wider introduction of Chinese arts and culture in the U.S.,” Horejsi said. 

Over a 10-day period, Dean Horejsi visited Shanghai and Beijing, among other cities, where she saw a sampling of the many Chinese arts experiences. Each day, her schedule included showcases of performing and visual arts. The interplay of traditional Chinese arts and contemporary interpretations across the performing arts in modern dance, opera, and theatre gave life to the ongoing conversations on the state of art in China.

One of these professional performances included a College of Fine Arts alum. Zhan Li studied with the Department of Modern Dance, where she earned her Master’s degree. Following graduation, Li joined the professional dance company Hou Ying Dance Theater, founded by a former member of the world renowned company, Shen Wei. Six dancers, with backgrounds from around the world, make up this exciting new Chinese dance company. Li noted that her time studying abroad in the U.S. helped her in being part of this international company.

As part of her visit in China, Dean Horejsi was also interested in familiarizing herself with Chinese artists who may be a good fit for local audiences. One particular performance by the Leshan Dance Company resonated for Horejsi as it connects to life in Utah. The piece “Fault Lines” represents the rebuilding and survival experience following an earthquake. The piece was commissioned by the Melbourne Arts Festival and the Christchurch Arts Festival to connect two different communities, which both recently suffered through devastating earthquakes.

“Art often connects us to the broader world, and this particular performance was an amazing exploration of an issue that is so relative to our life here along the Wasatch Fault.” Horejsi said.

Watch for upcoming performance schedules to find out if and when we might see any of these Chinese artists on the stage at Kingsbury Hall.

Interested in declaring a major with one of the academic units in the College of Fine Arts? You’re in luck! The performing arts units of the College are preparing for Fall 2015 admission auditions and invite you to find your voice, fuel your passion, and ignite your future with one of our esteemed academic programs that train and inspire you in your chosen arts field.

It is strongly encouraged that new undergraduate students interested in auditioning for the performing arts apply to the University of Utah prior to auditioning.  No departmental or University scholarship awards can be offered to students unless they are admitted undergraduate students.

Here are the details on auditions from the Department of Ballet, Department of Modern Dance, School of Music, and Department of Theatre.

Department of Ballet:

In conjunction with the Ballet West Summer Intensive auditions, the Department of Ballet will hold the following auditions:

Jan. 10, Washington D.C., Washington School of Ballet
Jan. 11, Chicago, Ill., Ballet Chicago
Jan. 18, San Francisco, Calif., Lines Ballet
Jan. 25, Los Angeles, Calif., Orange County Dance Center
*Feb. 21, Salt Lake City, Utah, Marriott Center for Dance

*In order to audition on-campus, students must have applied as an undergraduate to the University of Utah, and interested students must also pre-register at least two                                                                                                                                 weeks prior to the audition.

Department of Modern Dance:

Undergraduate: Audition registration is held in the foyer of the Marriott Center for Dance and requires a $45 processing fee for each audition and attendance at the 30-minute orientation meeting immediately following registration. Auditions consist of five parts: modern dance technique class, ballet technique class, improvisation class, an interview with the Modern Dance faculty, and a self-choreographed 1-2 minute solo.


March 13:
Registration: 11:00-11:30 a.m.
Orientation Meeting: 11:30-12:00 p.m.
Audition: 12:00-5:00 p.m.

*Aug. 21:
Registration: 8:30-9:00 a.m.
Orientation Meeting: 9:00-9:20 a.m.
Audition: 9:20 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

*In order for undergraduate students to audition at this time, they must be accepted to the University of Utah as an undergraduate student.

Graduate: Registration will be from 8:30 – 9:00 a.m. in the Marriott Center for Dance.  Auditions will include a technique class, improvisation session, a solo choreographed by the auditionee, and an interview with the faculty. Solos should be three minutes maximum. In addition, prospective graduate students may submit a videotape of a group work at the audition.

Jan. 30 and March 6

School of Music:

All undergraduate music major and minor applicants are required to audition on their major instrument or voice. Audition requirements for undergraduate areas include:

Woodwind & Brass
                                                                                                                     Classical Guitar
                                                                                                                     Composition, Theatre, History/Literature

All performance-based graduate degrees require an audition. These areas include

Masters Auditions:

Instrumental and Choral Conducting
Vocal Performance
Woodwinds & Brass
Collaborative Piano

DMA Auditions:

Instrumental and Choral Conducting
Vocal Performance
Woodwinds & Brass

Applicants to graduate programs in music education, composition, music theory and musicology do not audition, but have other admission requirements.

Auditions for Fall 2015 Admittance require an audition time request for the following dates:

Jan. 24
Jan. 31
Feb. 21

Department of Theatre: Auditions for the Musical Theatre Program and the Actor Training Program will be held both locally and as part of Unified Auditions in major U.S. cities. Applications for each program must be submitted before the audition. Unified Auditions registration deadline is Jan. 22.

Actor Training Program:
Feb. 21 (Registration deadline Feb. 6), Salt Lake City, Performing Arts Building
Feb. 5, Las Vegas, Nev., as Vegas Academy for International Studies, Visual and Performing Arts

Musical Theatre Program:
Feb. 14 (Registration deadline Jan. 30), Salt Lake City, Performing Arts Building
Jan. 24 & 25 New York, Pearl Studios
Feb. 2-4, Chicago, Ill., Palmer House Hilton
Feb. 7, Los Angeles, Calif., Westin Los Angeles Airport


Click to learn more about major declarations and graduate programs for the Department of Art & Art History and the Department of Film & Media Arts:



Film & Media Arts: