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David Henry Hwang Explores THE SOUND OF M. BUTTERFLY Today at Rubin Museum

M. Butterfly

Sound permeates our daily lives and shapes our existence. From "ear yoga" to Buddhist-inspired opera, talks and programs this fall build on themes in Rubin Museum's newest exhibition, The World Is Sound.

Can sounds heal? Does food taste better with song? Experts delve into these questions and more.

For more about the exhibition, visit, and scroll down for related talks, films and experiences, including a panel with David Henry Hwang about Broadway's M. Butterfly!


THE SOUND OF M. Butterfly:

David Henry Hwang + EMILY BALCETIS

TONIGHT, December 8, 2017; 7:00-8:30 PM

Tickets: $25.00 / Members: $22.50

What is the most mesmerizing music you've ever heard? The soaring melodies of an opera can leave us spellbound, with carefully sung notes evoking powerful emotions that go against the grain of reason.

David Henry Hwang builds upon this seductive nature of music in his Tony-award-winning play, M. Butterfly. In this love story born at the opera, a French diplomat falls for a Chinese opera diva, leading to a twenty-year affair. In a relationship wrought with secrets, espionage, and betrayal, the protagonists wrestle with their truths and desires. Hwang takes to the Rubin stage with NYU psychologist Emily Balcetis to explore music's role in the intrigue and mystery of a complex and moving story.

M. Butterfly, starring Clive Owen and directed by Julie Taymor, runs through February 2018 at the Cort Theater.

About the Speakers:

David Henry Hwang is a Tony Award winner and three-time nominee, a three-time Obie Award winner, and a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. In addition to M. Butterfly, his works includes the plays Chinglish, Yellow Face, Golden Child, Kung Fu, The Dance and the Railroad, and FOB, as well as the Broadway musicals Aida (co-author) and Disney's Tarzan. He also updated the libretto for the 2002 revival of Flower Drum Song. America's most-produced living opera librettist, Hwang premiered his new opera, Dream of the Red Chamber (co-authored with Bright Sheng), at San Francisco Opera last fall. Hwang has been honored with the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Master American Dramatist, the 2012 Inge Award, the 2012 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright "Mimi" Award, a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award, and the 2015 IPSA Distinguished Artist Award. He has also been a long-time board member of Young Playwrights Inc. and the Lark Play Development Center. Hwang was recently the Residency One Playwright at New York's Signature Theatre, and currently serves as Head of Playwriting at Columbia University School of the Arts. He is currently a writer/producer for the Golden Globe-winning TV series, The Affair, and was recently named Chair of the American Theatre Wing. This is his second appearance at the Rubin.

Emily Balcetis is an Associate Professor of Psychology at New York University. Her research focuses on motivation science. She has appeared as a host for National Geographic and as a guest on MSNBC, National Public Radio, and forums worldwide. Her work receives support from National Science Foundation and was recognized by the Federation of Association of Brain and Behavior Scientists, International Society for Self and Identity, Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology, and Society for Experimental Social Psychology. Currently, she is writing a trade book with Ballantine Books where she offers tactics for empowering perceptual experience to improve goal pursuit.


Featuring Sound Artist Bruce Odland

Wednesday, December 13, 2017; 6:30-7:30 PM and 8:00-9:00 PM

Tickets: $35.00 / Members: $31.50

Often dampened due to pressures of the modern urban soundscape, our capacity to truly listen and absorb the everyday can be minimized or ignored. In Ear Yoga, re-tune your ears to the primal sense of acute hearing.

Sound artist Bruce Odland has spent his career highlighting the complex and vibrant sonic landscapes that make up our world. In these intimate workshops, Odland will facilitate a series of exercises designed to stimulate the "hunter-gatherer" precision of hearing. Participants will be encouraged to stretch underused auditory muscles, expand their reach and potential, and "think with their ears."

About the Speaker:

A pioneer in sound installations, Bruce Odland is an artist who thinks with his ears. His first public sound installation, SUN SONG, broadcasted a four-channel cloud of reverberant sound over an outdoor festival in Denver from the Clock Tower of East High in 1977. Since then he has discovered resonance and beauty in both the fractal music of nature and the transformation of vast industrial soundscapes of cities into harmonic music. In 1987 he founded O+A with Austrian sound artist Sam Auinger. Together they have developed a "hearing perspective" of the culture we live in and have responded with installations that change the perception of public space. Their latest collaboration is a permanent installation, Hearing View (2013), containing a library of healing sounds for the Rheinau Psychiatric Clinic, the oldest psychiatric institution in Switzerland.


Select Friday Nights, 6:15-7:00 PM

On select Friday Nights, contemporary artists featured in The World Is Sound will be engaged in informal dialogues about their work and offer sonic experiences in the galleries. Tickets for THE TALK are free, but limited in availability and given on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 5:45pm.


Friday, December 8

On December 8, composer and jazz trumpeter Nate Wooley joins the Rubin Museum's Head of Interpretation and Engagement, Jane Hsu to discuss his work and The World is Sound.

About the Artist:

Jazz trumpeter and composer Nate Wooley was born in 1974 in Clatskanie, Oregon, a town of 2,000 people in the timber country of the Pacific Northwestern corner of the U.S. He has performed regularly with such icons as Anthony Braxton, Éliane Radigue, Christian Wolff, Ken Vandermark, Fred Frith, Evan Parker, and Yoshi Wada, as well as being a collaborator with some of the brightest lights of his generation. Nate is the curator of the Database of Recorded American Music and the editor-in-chief of its online quarterly journal Sound American, both dedicated to broadening the definition of American music online and through physical distribution.


Friday, December 15

This week's edition features the jazz and experimental musician Amritha Kidambi in conversation with the Rubin Museum's Head of Programs, Dawn Eshelman. Kidambi's work is featured in the current exhibition The World Is Sound.

About the Artist:

Amirtha Kidambi is invested in the performance and creation of music, from free improvisation and jazz, to experimental bands and new music. She is a soloist, collaborator, and ensemble member in groups including Charlie Looker's dark folk band Seaven Teares, Mary Halvorson's newest quintet Code Girl, analog percussion and light ensemble Ashcan Orchestra, and Darius Jones' vocal quartet Elizabeth-Caroline Unit. As an improviser, she has played with Matana Roberts, Tyshawn Sorey, Daniel Carter, Ava Mendoza, Peter Evans, Trevor Dunn, and many innovators in the New York scene. Recent collaborations include the premiere of AACM founder and composer/pianist Muhal Richard Abrams' Dialogue Social, Darius Jones' The Oversoul Manual at Carnegie Hall, a premiere of electronic composer Ben Vida's work Slipping Control for voice and electronics with Tyondai Braxton at the Borderline Festival in Athens, Greece, the premiere of the late Robert Ashley's final opera CRASH at the Whitney Biennial, a Jazz Gallery commission for Mary Halvorson's Code Girl, the premiere of William Parker's Soul of Light, and a commission from the Jerome Foundation for her quartet Elder Ones at Roulette and artist residency at EMPAC to record the group's debut album.



2015, Stanzin Dorjai and Christiane Mordelet, France/India, 74 min. English subtitles.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017; 7:00-8:45 PM

Tickets: $18.00 / Members: $16.20

Monthly Himalayan Heritage Meetup

Way up in Ladakh-at 16,500 feet, somewhere in the Gya-Miru Valley-lives a shepherdess on an isolated, rock-strewn mountain. Her flock of 250 sheep and goats are her only companions, except for the troubling presence of wolves and a snow leopard; her only link with the outside world is a little transistor radio. This documentary presents an intimate portrait of a disappearing way of life-one marked by challenges and isolation, but also beauty and spiritual grace.

Following the screening, Tsewang Chuskit will share her experience growing up in Ladakh, and answer questions.

About the Speaker:

Tsewang Chuskit is a sophomore A. Smith College in Northampton, MA. She also leads a summer program back in her homeland that gives girls' health education and leadership empowerment presentations at government schools. She hails from a remote area of Ladakh, near the Chinese border called Changthang. Chuskit was the first girl from the Changthang region to complete high school in the USA at the Rockland Country Day School on scholarship. She is honored to speak this evening at the Museum's showing of Shepherdess of the Glaciers.




Friday, December 1; 7:00-8:30 PM

Tickets: $18.00 / Members: $16.20

Director Derek Peck hosts two screenings of his poignant and insightful short film Ram Dass, Going Home. A timely examination of his life learning and awareness, the film is a nuanced meditation on life, death, and the soul's journey home. Visiting the legendary American writer and spiritual teacher at his home in Maui, we find him surrounded by a natural soundscape of birds and ocean waves. Now in his mid-80s, Ram Dass discusses major milestones in his journey, from early psychedelic drug use to his spiritual education on visits to India, to a 1997 stroke that was "an act of grace" because it forced him inward. Approaching death, he is still communicating with his own guru and inspiration, Maharaji. "Truth, love, consciousness, that's what God is to me. It's just consciousness." Death, he observes, "is another step towards home."

The screenings are followed by a conversation with the filmmaker.

About the Speaker:

Derek Peck is a California- and Brooklyn-based filmmaker who has made several documentary portraits of notable cultural personalities, including Marina Abramovi? and Peter Beard, all of which have been known for the intimacy he achieves with his subjects.


2017, Max Pugh and Marc J. Francis, UK, 88 min.

Wednesday, December 20 & December 27, 2017; 7:00-8:30 PM

Friday, December 29, 2017; 9:30-11:00 PM

Tickets: $18.00 / Members: $16.20

There is only the present moment. Join narrator Benedict Cumberbatch in Walk With Me, a cinematic journey into the world of Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh. Filmed over three years with unprecedented access, this immersive film is a meditation on a community of people who have given up their possessions in order to lead a monastic life in rural France.


Select Fridays, 9:30 PM

Tickets $10.00, Free for Museum Members

You can probably name the best movie you've seen, but what about the best movie you've heard? It might be your favorite because of its sound effects, sound engineering, score, or another element of the audio experience. Watch-and hear-a series of films that caught the ear of notable New Yorkers.


2003, Gus Van Sant, USA, 78 min.

Selected and introduced by documentary filmmaker Lynn True

Friday, December 1, 2017; 9:30-11:00 PM

Students at a suburban high school drift through a seemingly uneventful day, until two of them arrive with violent intentions. Alex (Alex Frost) and Eric (Eric Deulen) have developed elaborate plans to enter their school and gun down as many of their peers as possible. Although Alex and Eric are seen as the victims of bullying, and the pair have carefully plotted their attack, most of the violence is committed with a detached sense of randomness.

The soundtrack for this harrowing tale features music by Beethoven, William S. Burroughs, and Hildegard Westerkamp, one of the featured artists in the Rubin's exhibition The World Is Sound.

About the Introducer:

Lynn True is a New York-based filmmaker whose work has spanned subjects in South Africa, Congo, Tibet, and the U.S.


2000, Lars von Trier, Denmark, 141 min.

Selected and introduced by filmmaker and author David Barclay Moore

Friday, December 8, 2017; 9:30-11:55 PM

Björk plays a Czech-immigrant factory worker in rural America who is slowly going blind due to a hereditary disease. She escapes her despair by delving into a fantasy world of movie musicals.

"Icelandic performer Björk's Dancer in The Dark (2000), directed by Lars von Trier, is a hopeless, yet beautiful nihilistic musical. Set in 1964 Washington State, the film tells the story of an impoverished immigrant factory worker who is saving money to prevent her son from being afflicted with the same degenerative eye disorder that is robbing her of her own sight. Dancer in the Dark is as bold as it is moving, with an eclectic soundtrack that lingers. " -David Barclay Moore

About the Introducer:

Author and filmmaker David Barclay Moore was born and raised in Missouri. In New York he has served as technical producer at Sony StudiOne and communications coordinator for Geoffrey Canada's Harlem Children's Zone. His debut novel, The Stars Beneath Our Feet (Knopf), was published this fall. David now lives, works, and explores in Brooklyn.


1951, Elia Kazan, USA, 125 min.

Selected and introduced by theater director JoAnne Akalaitis

Friday, December 15, 2017; 9:30-11:30 PM

Based on the play by Tennessee Williams, this renowned drama follows troubled former schoolteacher Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh) as she leaves small-town Mississippi and moves in with her sister, Stella Kowalski (Kim Hunter), and her husband, Stanley (Marlon Brando), in New Orleans. Blanche's flirtatious Southern-belle persona causes problems for Stella and Stanley, who already have a volatile relationship, leading to even greater conflict in the Kowalski household. The movie features a groundbreaking, Oscar-nominated jazz score by Alex North, who composed a musical identity for each character, from lush violins with dissonant undertones for Blanche's doomed romance to sultry horns for Stanley's brute masculinity.

About the Introducer:

Theater director and writer JoAnne Akalaitis is the winner of five Obie Awards for direction (and sustained achievement) and founder of the critically acclaimed Mabou Mines theater company in New York. She has staged works by Euripides, Shakespeare, Strindberg, Schiller, Beckett, Genet, Williams, Philip Glass, and Janacek, as well as her own work at Lincoln Center Theater, Court Theater, Opera Theater of Saint Louis, and The Guthrie Theater. She is the former artistic director of the New York Shakespeare Festival and chair of the Directing Program at Juilliard School, and was head of the Theater Department at Bard College for fourteen years.


1987, Brian De Palma, USA, 120 min.

Selected and introduced by composer, performer, and producer Andrew Lippa

Friday, December 22, 2017; 9:30-11:30 PM

In this Prohibition-era thriller, Federal Agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) sets out to stop Al Capone (Robert De Niro). Against the backdrop of its Grammy Award-winning score composed by Ennio Morricone and period music by Duke Ellington, Ness' small team of agents try to take down the mobster.





Saturday, December 2, December 9, & December 16; 11:30 AM-12:15 PM

Tickets (Museum admission ticket included): $15.00 / Members: $13.50

Contemplative practice has its roots in the living traditions of the Himalayas. Join Tashi Chodron and guests in the Shrine Room for a morning mindfulness session, which explores the connections between Himalayan culture, art, and practice. Each forty-five-minute session includes twenty minutes of guided meditation that will explore different approaches, including mantra, mudra, and mindfulness. Drop in for just one session or enjoy them all.


Every Wednesday, 1:00 PM

Tickets: $15.00 / Free for Museum Members

Practice the art of attention in this weekly meditation session led by guiding teacher Sharon Salzberg, New York Insight Meditation Center, and the Interdependence Project.


Wednesday, December 13

Sharon Salzberg, cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, has guided meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. Sharon's latest book is Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace. She is weekly columnist for On Being, a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, and the author of several other books including the New York Times best-seller Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation, Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience, and Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness. Sharon has been a regular participant in the Rubin's many on-stage conversations.


Wednesday, December 6, December 27

Tracy Cochran is editorial director of Parabola, a quarterly magazine that for forty years has drawn on the world's cultural and wisdom traditions to explore the questions that all humans share. She has been a student of meditation and spiritual practices for decades and teaches mindfulness meditation and mindful writing at New York Insight Meditation Center and throughout the greater New York area. In addition to Parabola, her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Psychology Today, O Magazine, New York Magazine, the Boston Review, and many other publications and anthologies.

Kate Johnson

Wednesday, December 20

Kate Johnson works at the intersections of spiritual practice, social action, and creative expression. She teaches mindful yoga in NYC public schools, teaches Buddhist meditation at the Interdependence Project, and facilitates an embodied approach to organizational and leadership development for social change agents and communities. Johnson holds a BFA in dance from the Alvin Ailey School/Fordham University and a MA in performance studies from NYU. She has trained at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, the Interdependence Project, Laughing Lotus Yoga, and the Presencing Institute. She is working on a book about waking up to power and oppression as a spiritual practice, to be published by Parallax Press in fall 2017.

Can't make it to the weekly program at the Rubin? Catch up on your own time with our Mindfulness Meditation podcast.



Naked Soul presents performances from some of the country's top singer/songwriters without microphones or amplifiers, as if the music were, acoustically speaking, naked. The musicians in the series draw upon the universal themes inherent in Himalayan art-spirituality, peace, tolerance, wisdom, and compassion.

Toshi Reagon

Friday, December 22, 2017; 7:00-8:30 PM

Advance Tickets: $30.00/Day-of-event price: $35.00

Described by Vibe Magazine as "one helluva rock'n'roller-coaster ride" and by Pop Matters as "a treasure waiting to be found," Toshi Reagon is a one-woman celebration of all that's dynamic, progressive, and uplifting in American music. Since first taking to the stage at age seventeen, this versatile singer-songwriter-guitarist has moved audiences of all kinds with her big-hearted, hold-nothing-back approach to rock, blues, R&B, country, folk, spirituals, and funk. The New York Times described her vocal style as ranging from "a dirty blues moan to a gospel shout to an ethereal croon."


From timeless ragas to contemporary fusion, performers explore the varied traditions of Indian music in our intimate, cherrywood-lined theater.


Friday, December 15; 7:00 - 8:30 PM

Tickets: $30.00 / Members: $27.00

From impermanence to rebirth to interdependence- The World Is Sound shows us that complex philosophical theories can be conveyed in musical form. In this special collaboration inspired by the exhibition, sitar legend Pt. Krishna Bhatt and Gyan Riley, THE SON and successor to Terry Riley's great musical heritage, will emphasize the cyclical nature of rhythm and melody. Together they will Fuse Hindustani classical tradition with minimalism to create a musically and spiritually rich acoustic exploration of music as a metaphor for change and impermanence.

About the Musicians:

Internationally acclaimed performer Krishna Bhatt is a Sangeet (music) guru, composer, scholar, and author of the book Court Singing of Rajasthan: Mand. He represents the Maihar-Senia Gharana school of music made famous by Ustad Allauddin Khan, and is a disciple of the late Pandit Ravi Shankar.

Gyan Riley won his first guitar in a raffle when he was 12 years old. Shortly after learning all of the songs in his cassette collection by ear, he became the first full-scholarship graduate guitar student at the San Francisco Conservatory. Gyan's diverse work now focuses on his own compositions, improvisation, and contemporary classical repertoire. Gyan has received commissions from the Kronos Quartet, New Music USA, the Carnegie Hall Corporation, the American Composers Forum, and the New York Guitar Festival.


Brooklyn Raga Massive Featuring Román Díaz

Friday, December 29, 2017; 7:00-8:30 PM

Advance Tickets: $28.00 / Day of Event Price: $30.00

The sacred drumming of Cuba is one of the most evolved and powerful rhythmic traditions in the world. The Indian system of raga explores modal melody with a depth and breadth unmatched in the West. Combined, they are Raga Cubana.

Praised by THE WALL Street Journal for "expanding the notion of what raga...can mean," and dubbed the "Leaders of the raga renaissance" by the New Yorker, Brooklyn Raga Massive will collaborate with Afro-Cuban maestro Román Díaz. The olù batá(master drummer) is a pillar of the New York City Afro-Cuban folkloric tradition and one of the music's great innovators. He brings with him the outstanding vocalist Melvis Santa and a full rhythm section of batá drummers.

Expect soaring Carnatic violin, bansuri, explosive percussion, and the beautiful, haunting melodies of Africa, India, and the Caribbean.


Every Wednesday, 6:00-9:00 PM

Free concerts with artists specializing in music from THE HIMALAYAS and South Asia. Presented as part of the Rubin Museum's Himalayan Happy Hour.


Wednesday, December 6

Lauded as the "Jimi Hendrix of Hammered Dulcimer" by NPR and a "force of nature" by NY Music Daily, Max ZT is an innovator on his instrument. With roots in classical Irish folk music, Max ZT has transplanted his compositional techniques to both Senegal, where he studied the Mandinko technique with the Cissoko Griot family, and to Mumbai, India, where he studied under the great santoor master Pandit Shivkumar Sharma.


Wednesday, December 13

Eric Fraser (bansuri) is an accomplished bansuri flute player based in Brooklyn, New York and Kolkata, India, where he studies under Pandit Gopal Roy. He is an exponent of a unique vocal style of flute playing that vividly conjures India. He has performed to mesmerized audiences in America and India, including radio performances on NPR's Morning Edition and WKCR New York. He has performed with renowned maestros of Indian music, including Pandit Krishna Bhatt, Pandit Ramesh Mishra, Steve Gorn, and Bollywood film composer A. R. Rahman at Carnegie Hall. Eric Fraser is a member of the Brooklyn Raga Massive music collective.

Raj Kapoor

Wednesday, December 20

Raj Kapoor (madal) serves as Music and Dance Director of Dance Theater of Nepal. He performs and teaches in many institutions throughout the United States as well as in national and international folk arts festivals. He is an expert on all Eastern drums, and he mentors a variety of age groups in Nepali folk and film-style dance forms.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Yanik Jayaram is a percussionist and lifelong performer from Austin, Texas. He holds a bachelor's degree in music from the University of California at Berkeley with a concentration in jazz drumming. Since his graduation, Yanik has had an insatiable appetite for the music of different cultures, studying under masters the sounds of India, Lebanon, and Africa, among others; the result has been a hybrid of influences that GIVE rise to a unique style of playing. He is currently focused on exploring modern musical technologies from all over the world as vehicles for healing, helping, and connecting with others.


Every Friday, 6:00-10:00 PM

During K2 Friday Nights, Café Serai becomes the K2 Lounge, offering a special pan-Asian tapas menu to accompany the evening's free DJ and programs. All DJ sets are free, along with free gallery admission.


December 1


December 8


December 15



Families can drop into the Museum on Sundays between 1:00-4:00 PM for casual art-making and free family-friendly activities. Designed for children ages 3 and up with accompanying adults, the art activities change monthly and connect with the art and ideas of the Himalayas.

Visit for more information.


'Tis the season of giving at December Family Sundays. Make a holiday card for your loved ones out of recycled and natural materials and explore the paintings and sculptures of the Rubin's Permanent Collection with a scavenger hunt.


Tuck your worries away in an envelope and seal it with a blossoming, folded lotus made by you to emphasize a fresh start in Family Sundays this January. Grow into your future self by making an artful pact to overcome your fears and journey toward a better tomorrow!


Birthday Labs at the Rubin Museum of Art are led by Museum educators and include art making time in the Education Center, an interactive tour of the Museum galleries, singing, and more! Choose from multiple age-appropriate themes and catering options. Recommended for ages two and older.



for visitors who are blind or partially sighted

Saturday, December 2; 12:00 - 1:00 PM


The Rubin Museum offers verbal description and sensory tours for visitors who are blind or partially sighted. These free tours, which include museum admission, are one hour in length and take visitors on a journey that weaves together the culture, history, religion, and art of the Himalayas.

Museum guides are specially trained to lead these tours, which allow participants to form visualizations of the art through close, careful descriptions as well as touch objects such as sculptures, art materials, woodblocks, and ritual implements.


Monday, December 4; 11:00 AM-5:00 PM

FREE for Seniors

On the first Monday of the month seniors (65 and older) receive free admission to the galleries. The day includes a range of free programs including a docent talk in our theater, gallery tours, and a writing workshop.


for visitors with dementia and their caregivers

Friday, December 15; 2:00-3:00 PM

RSVP Required

Mindful Connections is a free tour program for people with dementia and their caregivers. Every month trained guides facilitate a gallery experience designed to promote engagement with works of art and each other. Visitors are encouraged to arrive at 1:30 p.m. for complimentary tea in Café Serai.

The Rubin Museum of Art is an arts oasis and cultural HUB in New York City's vibrant Chelsea neighborhood that inspires visitors to make powerful connections between contemporary life and the art and ideas of THE HIMALAYAS and neighboring regions, including India. With a diverse array of thought-provoking exhibitions and programs-including films, concerts, and on-stage conversations-the Rubin provides immersive experiences that encourage personal discoveries and spark new ways of seeing the world.

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