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A Day of Genius in Norfolk/Virginia Beach (full morning / three classes)

October 05, 2019 9:30 AM – 1:15 PM

schedule

9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
The Musical Genius of Mozart

Craig Wright / Yale University

When asked to provide a list of “geniuses” in Western cultural history, virtually all respondents would include the name Mozart. What is it in Mozart's music that makes it among the most sublime ever written? What personal traits did Mozart possess that enabled him to create music of this extraordinary quality?

Using live music and video clips from operas, as well as from the film Amadeus, we will explore the enormous diversity of Mozart's music. At the same time, by examining color photographs of his autograph manuscripts and draft sketches, we will witness Mozart's attention to the smallest detail. Having explored his music in both breadth and depth, our attention turns finally to the enablers of Mozart's genius: genetic gifts, mentoring, motivation, concentration, self-confidence, and just plain luck. By the end of this session, we will come to see that not only is Mozart's music great, but Mozart himself was unique, and arguably the most extraordinary creator ever to set foot on this planet.

Craig Wright / Yale University
Professor Craig Wright is the Henry L. and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Music at Yale. Professor Wright's courses include his perennially popular introductory course "Listening to Music," his selective seminar "Exploring the Nature of Genius" and other specialized courses ranging from ancient Greek music theory to the music of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Bach and Mozart. He was awarded the International Musicological Society's Edward J. Dent Medal and the American Musicological Society's Alfred Einstein Prize and Otto Kinkeldey Award - making him one of the few individuals to hold all three honors.

10:50 AM - 11:50 AM
The Political Genius of Franklin D. Roosevelt

Jeffrey Engel / Southern Methodist University

He was our longest-serving president and also our best. Washington set precedents. Lincoln preserved the union. But only Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to the nation's highest office four times. Only Roosevelt faced an economic crisis so severe it remains our benchmark today for calamity. Only Roosevelt saw a world on the brink of tyranny, knowing that his leadership was all that stood between isolationism and war, yet simultaneously a new democratic age versus an age of totalitarian darkness. So well-known to subsequent generations, he is easily recalled just by his initials, FDR. He kept secrets: secret love affairs, secret dealings with allies, and the biggest secret of all hidden in plain sight, the paralysis that kept him largely wheel-chair bound. The solutions he made public nonetheless forged the country, and in large part the world, we live in today.

He is the father of the modern welfare state, the progenitor of our modern unrivaled military, and more than any other, creator of the international rules of the road in place since 1945. For his generation and for many yet to come, he defined how Americans understood their place in the world, their government's role in their lives, and the very nature of freedom itself. Our longest-serving president, he was also our finest, ultimately saving American democracy from depression, defeat, and disillusionment.

Jeffrey Engel / Southern Methodist University
Jeffrey Engel is the founding director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. He has taught at Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College, and taught history and public policy at Texas A&M University. He has authored/edited eight books on American foreign policy, most recently, "When the World Seemed New: George H.Bush and the Surprisingly Peaceful End of the Cold War."

12:10 PM - 1:15 PM
The Groundbreaking Genius of Leonardo da Vinci

Denise Budd / Columbia University

When considering artistic genius in the Italian Renaissance, the individuals who most commonly come to mind are the great triad of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Michelangelo and Raphael. These three often contentious rivals have been categorized as Universal Men, gifted in many arts and areas of intellectual pursuit. It is Leonardo who is most often imagined in this multifaceted way, as artist, scientist, engineer, and musician. Yet, in reality, unlike his more productive counterparts, Leonardo was a painter who infrequently completed a painting, a sculptor who rarely sculpted, and architect who never built anything. He penned drafts of treatises on the arts, and planned many more on wide-ranging subjects, although none of these were completed or published in his lifetime.

Even more elusive than his artistic identity is his personality. Described in the 16th century as possessing a divine combination of beauty, grace and talent, the several thousand pages of notes he carefully penned reveal almost nothing about himself. What they do demonstrate, however, is Leonardo’s genius of sheer invention and investigation, with ideas that he envisaged so relentlessly that they became his art. That he rarely had the will, time, or even ability to carry them out is beside the point. This course will discuss Leonardo’s career, examining several of his most canonical works, as well as considering his most ambitious plans that never came to fruition.

Denise Budd / Columbia University
Denise Budd teaches art history at Columbia University and a wide range of Renaissance art classes at Rutgers University. She has published several articles on Leonardo da Vinci based on her studies of the artist and his documentary evidence. Following this interest in archival work, her current research has extended to the history of collecting Renaissance art in Gilded Age America, with a focus on the tapestry collector and dealer Charles Mather Ffoulke.

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