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Meadows Presents "Meadows at the Winspear" March 20

Event to Honor Community Supporters Debbie and John Tolleson

SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts will present its 17th annual benefit concert, “Meadows at the Winspear,” at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, March 20 in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. in Dallas. The concert will feature the critically acclaimed Meadows Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Paul Phillips, and the Meadows Dance Ensemble, composed of top dance students from the Meadows School’s nationally respected dance program. The benefit concert, held each spring, also honors a community leader, and this year’s honorees are noted arts and civic patrons Debbie and John Tolleson.

The program features Serenade, George Balanchine’s first ballet in America, an untraditional, romantic and modernist work performed to Tchaikovsky’s Serenade in C Major. Also included will be Pascal Rioult’s 1995 piece Wien, choreographed to Ravel’s La Valse, an abstract portrait of 20th century Vienna between the wars; in it, said Rioult, the Viennese waltz, the very image of social refinement, becomes the symbol of a disintegrating society taken into a whirlpool of violence and humiliation. Rounding out the program is George Gershwin’s An American in Paris, with new choreography by jazz artist and Meadows faculty member Danny Buraczeski.

In addition, students from the Meadows School will present performances and displays in the lobby before the concert.

“As part of the arts community in Dallas, we wanted to help celebrate the inaugural season of the spectacular new Winspear Opera House in the Dallas Arts District,” said José Bowen, dean of the Meadows School. “We will be presenting the first-ever complete evening of dance with full orchestra in the Winspear. We will also be introducing world-premiere choreography of the Gershwin classic An American in Paris created by another American classic, Danny Buraczeski, whose previous work has been recognized by the Library of Congress and National Endowment for the Arts. Imagine having performed at Carnegie Hall the year it opened? This is a wonderful opportunity for dance and music groups to work together and to give our talented students a chance to perform in the very first season of this fabulous new venue.”

Event honorees Debbie and John Tolleson are involved in numerous cultural organizations throughout the city and have been strong advocates for the Dallas community, supporting and serving organizations such as the AT&T Performing Arts Center, Baylor Health Care System Foundation, Southwestern Medical Foundation, and the Brinker International Forum. In addition, they are tireless supporters of education at SMU, serving not only on the Board of Trustees but also providing leadership at the Meadows School of the Arts, the Cox School of Business, and the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. John is chairman and CEO of Tolleson Wealth Management, a Dallas-based private wealth management and banking firm, and Debbie serves on its board of directors.

Proceeds of the event will be dedicated to the extremely successful Meadows Scholars initiative to provide student scholarships supporting the next generation of creative leadership at SMU. The Meadows Scholars program was inaugurated in 2008 to recruit the brightest and most talented students nationwide to Meadows and SMU, and is targeted to applicants who are accepted to Meadows and who meet both stringent academic and artistic/leadership criteria. While such high achievers automatically receive SMU academic scholarship awards, many of them are still unable to afford full tuition. The Meadows Scholars program offers an additional annual scholarship, plus a $5,000 travel/research stipend that can be used anytime during their years at Meadows, providing a significant incentive for them to choose SMU and Dallas. The program has greatly helped SMU compete successfully against such schools as Northwestern, Juilliard and Yale for top creative talent.

Tickets to the “Meadows at the Winspear” concert are $20-25 for adults, $15-20 for seniors, and $10-15 for students and SMU faculty and staff, plus a handling fee of $2.50 per ticket. They are available at the AT&T Center for the Performing Arts box office at 214.880.0202 or online.

Patron and corporate sponsorships with special benefits and seating packages are available from $1,250 - $10,000. In addition, the Meadows Scholars level recognizes those who either permanently endow a Meadows Scholar at $150,000 or who make a $30,000 commitment to fund an individual Meadows Scholarship over four years. For more information, call the Meadows Development Office at 214.768.4189.

The 2009-10 season sponsor of the Meadows Symphony Orchestra is WRR 101.1 FM.

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