Larry Berk Words & Music

Larry Berk Artist-in-Residence Program

The Words and Music Series, begun in 2008, is sponsored by Ulster Community College Foundation, Inc., and is dedicated to the late Larry Berk, Dean of Library and Information Services, who initiated cultural events that have brought renowned writers, artists, and musicians to the college and the community. All events are open to the public.

This unique program brings an established regional artist to campus for an entire semester to present a series of events to the campus and community-at-large. SUNY Ulster has historically been a rich source of arts programming and the Artist-in-Residence Program is an opportunity to build upon our college relationship with the arts community in the Hudson Valley.

2017 Artist: Rebecca Martin

Songwriting Master Class Series

picture of Rebecca Martin outdoorsWednesday, September 20, Wednesday, October 11 & Wednesday, October 25
1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Vanderlyn Hall, Room 147
Open to all Musicians Enrolled in SUNY Ulster

Over the past 25 years, Rebecca Martin has become a nationally known, critically acclaimed singer and songwriter, educator, and community organizer. A native of Maine, Martin moved to New York City and lived there for a decade before migrating North and landing in Kingston, NY. with her husband, Jazz Bassist Larry Grenadier.

She began her career in the early 90’s with her groundbreaking duo “Once Blue” with Grammy winning songwriter Jesse Harris (Norah Jones). The two made several albums on EMI Records, touring throughout the United States and Canada with Lisa Loeb, Emmy Lou Harris, Squeeze, Shawn Colvin, and many others. With eleven solo and collaborative recordings under her belt, Rebecca continues to write, record, teach, and perform all over the world.

Public Event
Special Duo Performance
Rebecca Martin featuring Larry Grenadier
Friday, November 3, 7:30 p.m.,
College Lounge, Vanderlyn Hall
Free and open to the public


Previous Artists-In-Residence

Spring 2017: Mary Louise Wilson
Fall 2016: Robert Tonner
Fall 2011: Julia Haines – an Evening of Harp and Sung Poetry
Fall 2010: An Evening with Jules Shear 
Fall 2009: Rumi Night of Poetry, Music and Whirling Dance
Fall 2008: Mikhail Horowitz and Gilles Malkine


Spring 2017 Artist-in-Residence

Mary Louise Wilson

portrait of Mary Louise Wilson, visiting artist Spring 2017

Gathering and Q&A session
Tuesday, March 7 at 2:00 pm
Quimby Theater, Vanderlyn Hall

Mary Louise Wilson, Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning American stage, film, and television actress, singer, and comedian. In a stellar theatrical career that has combined plays and musicals, Mary Louise Wilson has been awarded a Tony for Grey Gardens and a Tony nomination for Cabaret . She received critical acclaim for Full Gallop , her solo show about Diana Vreeland, and starred in the off-Broadway premiere of 4000 Miles. Other Broadway credits include Gypsy, The Odd Couple, and The Women.


Meet Mary Louise and gain insight into her incredible career as a performer and teacher. Open to the public. Class Visits Mary Louise Wilson will also work privately with the SUNY Ulster theatre students on scene work, monologues, solo written performances and speaking Shakespeare over the course of the semester (open to SUNY Ulster theatre students only).


Fall 2016 Artist-In-Residence

Robert Tonner

Artist, Entrepreneur, & Founder of Tonner Doll Company
Gallery Exhibit, Public Events and Hands-On Work with Students

portrait of Robert TonnerRobert Tonner, artist, fashion designer, entrepreneur, and the founder of the Tonner Doll Company was named SUNY Ulster’s spring 2016 Larry Berk Artist-in-Residence. Tonner, who is internationally renowned for not only his artistry, but business and marketing acumen shared his expertise with the public and students in a series of events during the spring 2016 semester. Called, by the publisher of Fashion Doll Quarterly, “one of the most influential doll designers of all time.” Tonner’s work has been displayed in the Louvre, and he’s been selected to bring book and movie characters like Harry Potter, Superman and Jake from Avatar to life.

Public Events
An exhibit of Tonner’s fashion styles, illustrations, photos and dolls was held at the Muroff Kotler Visual Arts Gallery from March 10 through April 15, 2016. An Opening Film/Presentation took place in the College Lounge on March 10 at 7 p.m. in which Mr. Tonner talked about his work.

Tonner doll of character from Big Bang Theory, 60s fashion model, and Harry PotterAs part of his residency, Tonner will hed a Lecture and Demonstration entitled, ‘Observations of a Reluctant Businessman’ in Burroughs Hall 120 on March 30 from 1 – 2 p.m. in which he demonstrated his work processes.

Working with Students
From March 14 through April 4, Mr. Tonner worked closely with students in SUNY Ulster’s Fashion Design Program. Participating in a three week design project centered around one of his dolls who has had many past lives – Penelope Brewster – he guided students as they conducted research and designed a current wardrobe using style elements, patterns, and colors reminiscent of the period of one of the doll’s past lives. Tonner provided feedback and advice on sketches and fabrics, as well as reviewed finished illustrations.

In the Fashion Design Program’s sewing studio, Tonner presented his creative process and approach to designing apparel. He comments, “It was an honor to be asked by SUNY Ulster to be the Artist in Residence for 2016.  I look forward to interacting with the students and faculty at an institution for which I have great respect.  I'm delighted to share my first-hand knowledge of taking my art, whether sculpting or design, and turning it into a commercial venture.”

“Robert Tonner has so much to share with SUNY Ulster students,” says Kristin Flynn, Coordinator of the Fashion Design Program. “His ability to teach students to not only be creative and innovative, but to hone business skills as well, is a lesson important to anyone looking to succeed in a career in the visual arts.”


2011 Artist-In-Residence

An Evening of Harp and Sung Poetry with Julia Haines

7:00 p.m., September 22, 2011
Vanderlyn Hall Student Lounge

Her visionary ecological rant, "Let's Enjoy Global Warming While It's Fun," has been a favorite podcast of Penn Futures for the past few years. The Words and Music Series is sponsored by the Ulster Community College Foundation, Inc. and is dedicated to Larry Berk.

For more information about Julia Haines, visit the following sites:
Julia Haines Website
The Night Owl Show, Julia & Sue at the Reservoir, Woodstock,1982 (video)

black and white photo of Julia Haines


2010 Artist-in-Residence

An Evening with Jules Shear

7:00 p.m., October 7, 2010
Vanderlyn Hall Student Lounge

Shear is an influential American singer, songwriter and guitarist who as the guest artist for the Words and Music Series will conduct a musical workshop and perform an original new song-cycle called "The Surreal Housewives of Woodstock." 

Shear has recorded close to 20 albums and conceived and hosted the first 13 episodes of the MTV series "Unplugged". His songs have found commercial success through other artists including Cyndi Lauper. The Words and Music Series is sponsored by the Ulster Community College Foundation, Inc. and is dedicated to Larry Berk.

black and white photo of Jules Shear


2009 Artist-In-Residence

Rumi Night of Poetry, Music & Whirling Dance
The Words and Music Series, sponsored by the Ulster Community College Foundation, Inc., and dedicated to the late Larry Berk, Dean of Library and Information Services, who initiated cultural events that have brought renowned writers, artists, and musicians to the College and the community, presents Rumi Night of Poetry, Music & Whirling Dance as the fall 2009 offering.  

Rumi Night of Poetry, Music and Whirling Dance
7:00 p.m., October 24, 2009

Vanderlyn Hall Student Lounge

Come join us for a fascinating dramatic/musical presentation of the 13th century Persian poet, Jalaluddin Rumi. Enjoy Rumi¹s mystical poetry and "teaching stories" with Amir Vahab reading in Farsi and Peter Rogen in English.

Musicians Amir and Arsalaan accompany on original Persian and Turkish instruments highlighted by the whirling dervish dances.

musician in embroidered vest playing instrument

2009 Artist-In-Residence

Mikhail Horowitz and Gilles Malkine

Comedy and Music with Mikhail Horowitz and Gilles Malkine
Vanderlyn Hall Student Lounge, SUNY Ulster

7:30 p.m., September 13, 2008

The polymorphously oxymoronic poet and plagiarist Mikhail Horowitz and the gastronomically anachronistic guitarist Gilles Malkine will perform a 24-kazoo salute to academia, unauthorized and unforgivable versions of great works of literature, and their usual panoply of folk-song parodies and political squibs. They’ll be aided and abetted by Harvey Kaiser on reeds, Charlie Kniceley on bass, and several guests who, understandably wish to remain anonymous.

Mikhail Horowitz, comedian, satirist, and poet, and Gilles Malkine, guitarist and comic sidekick will perform spoofs of great literature, musical parodies, and satiric commentary on contemporary society and politics on Saturday, September 13 at 7:30 p.m. in Vanderlyn Hall, Student Lounge (second floor) on the Stone Ridge campus of SUNY Ulster. They’ll be accompanied by Harvey Kaiser on reeds, Charlie Kniceley on bass and other guest artists. The free performance is the first event in the Words and Music Series, sponsored by the Ulster Community College Foundation, Inc., and is dedicated to the late Larry Berk, Dean of Library and Information Services, who initiated cultural events that have brought renowned writers, artists, and musicians to the college and the community.

balck and white photo of Horowitz and Malkine singing and playing instruments

Mikhail Horowitz describes the duo’s upcoming performance at SUNY Ulster as “neo-vaudeville: poetry, acoustic music—blues, jazz, country, roots music-- parodies of folk tunes and political and social satire.” The entire second half of the show will be one long performance piece entitled “ Conspicuous Christopher Columbus Consumption ,” his take on the origins and lunacy of current-day consumerism. He calls it a combination of guerilla theater, slapstick, singing, and even a slide show.

Horowitz and Malkine have been performing together in the Hudson Valley since 1989 and have a large and enthusiastic following. In addition to performing his own work as an actor and musician, Mikhail Horowitz is a poet, playwright, and journalist. His published poetry books include
Big League Poets , The Opus of Everything in Nothing Flat , and his newest, Rafting Into the Afterlife . He has also produced a CD of jazz fables, The Blues of the Birth . Horowitz and Malkine have collaborated on two CDs: Live, Jive, & Over 45 and Poor, On Tour, and Over 54 . Horowitz is a member of Actors & Writers, a playwriting and performing group based in Olivebridge and is also an editor in the Publications Office of Bard College. Gilles Malkine is a musician and composer who has recorded with John Sebastian, Billy Faier, and his mother, renowned Breton folksinger, Sonia Malkine and performed with Tim Hardin at the original Woodstock Festival in 1969, as well as many other musicians.





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