Riverside: Cultural Programs
From the inception of the College of Letters and
Science in February, 1954, the Riverside campus endeavored to make
cultural programs an integral component of the University experience,
and to share its distinguished visitors and exemplars of the arts
with the surrounding community.
Programs and Activities
First Cultural Programs
Although facilities were at first limited
to the gymnasium, the small theater seating 178, the dance room
(capacity 250), the faculty club (accommodating 150 in its meeting
room), and a few larger classrooms suitable for public lectures,
a varied series of programs was arranged, principally under the
aegis of the Committee for Arts and Lectures. The Associated Students
also began sponsoring cultural programs in 1962, many being in the
area of jazz and folk music.
Performances by musicians,
dancers and dramatic companies were instituted from the beginning,
along with public lectures by eminent authorities and readings by
celebrated poets. These were supplemented by feature and documentary
films; by informal noon programs presented by faculty, students,
and outside groups and individuals; and by at exhibitions selected
by a special committee devoted to that area of expression. Throughout,
the goal was to provide a diversified range of presentations in
all the arts and to expose audiences to stimulating and authoritative
speakers drawn from many fields of knowledge.
Among the internationally recognized artists
and companies seen and beard on the Riverside campus were the Royal
Shakespeare (1964) and Dame Judith Anderson (1961) Companies; the
Budapest (1958,1965) and Juilliard (1964) String Quartets; the New
York Woodwind Quintet (1964); violinist Isaac Stern (1963); and
singer Victoria de los Angeles (1964).
Lecturers who have appeared
include scientists Hans Bethe (1964), Harlow Shapley (1956), and
L. S. B. Leakey (1963, 1965), historians Crane Brinton (1954), and
A.L. Rowse (1962); novelist-playwright Christopher Isherwood (1961);
composers William Schuman (1984) and Virgil Thomson (1984) and film
director Jean Renoir (1963). Numbered among the poets who have read
their own works are W. H. Auden (1954) and the late William Carlos
Diversity in the arts was
achieved by bringing to the campus performers representing foreign
nations and cultures. Among these were the Westphalian Kantorei,
a choral group from Germany (1961); the Deller Consort of singers
from England (1955, 1962, 1964); and Ravi Shankar, sitar virtuoso
from India (1964).
A New Venue
With the opening of the 500-seat University
Theatre in 1962, musical, dramatic dance performances were greatly
enhanced by a setting more attractive visually and acoustically
than any facility previously available. However, when a large-scale
performance is scheduled, it must still be presented in the gymnasium.
Although figures were not
available for the earliest years, one comparative statistic placed
attendance during 1957-58 for all types of events at 1,400, and
for 1964-65 at an estimated 12,000.
The UCR Orchestra
The UCR Orchestra was formed during the academic
year 1956-57 and presented its first concert in March, 1957. The
group performed the standard orchestral repertoire, leaning rather
heavily on piano concertos, allowing solo performances by students
and faculty. The orchestra was originally conducted by Edwin J.
Simon, who was followed by Donald C. Johns, and the permanent conductor
appointed in 1963, Robert S. Gottlieb.
Chamber ensembles perform under the title
of Collegium Musicum and had their beginning in 1957-58 with a brass
ensemble involving several modern instruments. Donald C. Johns was
responsible for directing the formation of the group, and in 1963,
there was an expansion into the area of older instruments under
Alfred T. Loeffler. The Collegium Musicum included piano trios,
quartets, and quintets, recorder consort, and brass ensemble by
The UCR Choral Society was begun in September
of 1954 by William Reynolds, who was still the conductor in the
mid-1960's. The choir's first appearance was at the dedication ceremonies
of the College of Letters and Science in October of that year. Originally
the group was composed of 45 singers, 18 of them faculty and staff.
The size later was usually held to approximately 100. The choir
gave two regular annual performances--in May and at Christmas--and
its repertoire included such modern works as The Christmas Story
by Peter Mennin, Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, and such standard
choral works as requiems by Mozart, Brahms, and Fauré.
The Madrigal Singers were
also begun by William Reynolds in 1954 and performed music of renaissance
and baroque periods. There were approximately 14 singers in the
group, all members of the choral society. They presented programs
based on English and Italian madrigals plus larger works such as
Schütz's St. John Passion, and masses by Victoria Josquin
The Concert Band
The Concert Band at Riverside was officially
organized in the fall of 1964 by Edward H. Clinkscale and was an
outgrowth of a concert wind ensemble which had previously given
one performance In the spring of 1963 under Alfred T. Loeffler.