Both free series are presented on a virtual platform, attracting nearly 4,000 registrants in the first two weeks.
(Sarasota, Florida) SILL launched its 50th season in January with two series. Its hard-hitting “Global Issues” series features acclaimed experts exploring topical issues. Its “Music Mondays” series features performances and lively conversations with renowned and emerging performers and conductors. Before the pandemic, both series were offered in Sarasota, Venice, Lakewood Ranch and Longboat Key. This year, they are being offered free of charge on a virtual platform. “Global Issues” are on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.; “Music Mondays” are on Mondays at 10:30 a.m. Registration for both series is required at www.sillsarasota.org.
According to Beth Cotner, SILL’s president, the response to SILL’s 2021 season has been record-breaking. “We’re used to having mostly sold-out lectures when we offered our series in-person,” she says. “This included 800-plus audience members at some of our larger venues. We didn’t know how audiences would respond to virtual presentations. As it turns out, we attracted nearly 4,000 registrants in the first two weeks, and that number is growing every week.” She adds that, in SILL’s 50-year history, the organization has presented more than 2,300 lectures and events.
Upcoming Global Issues lectures include:
Tuesday, February 9: “Turkey’s Return to the Middle East in an Age of Global Turmoil” with Asli Aydintasbas. Turkey’s return to the Middle East after decades avoiding external engagements is fundamental. Turkey now controls part of Syria along its southern border and has military in Qatar and Libya. Aydintasbas will help understand whether this is a temporary mindset or shows Turkey as a regional actor and possible hegemon.
Thursday, February 11: “Neglected Crises: Cassandras” with Wendy Chamberlin. News outlets besiege followers of global news with reports, analyses and opinions on the big events of the day. But what happens after the media move on to the next big story? Amb. Chamberlin’s presentation looks at crises that are still threatening but have faded from the front pages.
Tuesday, February 16: “The New Normal” with Margaret Jay. The current view is that the Coronavirus pandemic has transformed the way our economies will work. In the U.K. the BREXIT problem has been replaced by new concern about how business can be successful in a much more regulated global world. Jay will discuss whether the “new normal” will really be permanent or will we all slip back into the old ways more quickly than we think?
Thursday, February 18: “Presidential Leadership in Crises” with Jeremi Suri. The United States has endured many crises in its history; wars, pandemics and severe economic contractions. Leaders helped citizens to survive these crises and improve American society. Dr. Suri will discuss the lessons for our leaders to manage our current crises and help us to build a better country.
Tuesday, February 23: “Lessons from the Global Pandemic: The U.S. Can’t Make Its Own Generic Medicines” with Rosemary Gibson. The global pandemic has exposed U.S. and global dependence on China for essential ingredients to make thousands of generic drugs. The U.S. can no longer make aspirin, penicillin, or other generic antibiotics. Gibson will discuss how we got here, the risks, and mitigating measures.
Thursday, February 25: “Food Security: Bringing Science and Politics to the Table” with Aron Troen. Is food a commodity or human right? Dr. Aron Troen will discuss that securing a sustainable supply of abundant, safe, nutritious, and affordable food for this and future generations is one of the great challenges of our time. To feed our families and planet, we will have to invite both science and politics to the table.
Upcoming Music Mondays events include:
Monday, February 8: Olga Kern, piano, with Vladislav Kern, piano. Russian-American pianist Olga Kern is now recognized as one of her generation’s great pianists. She jumpstarted her U.S. career with her historic Gold Medal win at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas, as the first woman to do so in more than 30 years. Her son, Vladislav, also a pianist, joins her for this Music Monday appearance.
Monday, February 15: Lisa Chavez, mezzo-soprano. Lisa Chavez was born to play Carmen, equipped with the classic Carmen look, vocal power and attitude. She is also hailed for her “buttery, richly colored “Mezzo” by Opera News. Chavez has appeared throughout the country and is a Sarasota Opera favorite, most recently appearing in Verdi’s “Nabucco.”
Monday, February 22: Jennifer and Christopher Takeda, violins. One of the musical power couples in the Sarasota area. A native of North Carolina, violinist Jennifer Best Takeda currently serves as the assistant concertmaster of the Sarasota Orchestra, as well as violinist of the resident Sarasota Piano Quartet. Prior to joining the Sarasota Orchestra in 2005, she served as a concertmaster of the New World Symphony, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. Christopher Takeda was appointed to the position of associate concertmaster of the Sarasota Orchestra in the 2002-03 season. Since 2005, he has also held a position performing with the Santa Fe Opera. Both are avid chamber music performers.
Monday, March 1: Dick Hyman and Bobby White, piano and tenor. Legendary pianist Dick Hyman was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2017. Over many decades, his has enjoyed a busy musical career that got underway in the early 50s, functioning as pianist, organist, arranger, music director, and composer. In his lifelong singing career, the American tenor Robert White has sung for five U.S. presidents, Britain’s Queen Mother and Prince Charles, Monaco’s Royal Family, and Pope John Paul II. He is a member of the vocal faculty at the Juilliard School of Music in New York.
To learn more about the programs in more detail, visit www.sillsarasota.org or call 941-365-6404.
About the Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning
The Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning (SILL) is a non-profit organization that offers an expert lecture series to provide information on and discussion of the arts and contemporary global issues. SILL is guided by an all-volunteer board committed to modest pricing and enhanced outreach. Visit www.sillsarasota.org.
All photos courtesy of the speakers