The Vail Series

Upcoming Events

Here are just a few notable artists from past years: 
  • Itzhak Perlman
  • Yo-Yo Ma
  • Renée Fleming
  • Wynton Marsalis
  • Jessye Norman
  • Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer
About the Series 

Sure, it’s a new season of highly diverse concerts, performed by world-class musicians. But the Vail Series is so much more.

It’s seeing Béla Fleck or Yo-Yo Ma on a small stage, six feet away from your front row seat, knowing he’ll be spending enough time here to interact with students and answer a question if you have one. The Vail Series joins in bringing the contemporary classical quartet ETHEL to campus four weeks a year as Denison’s ensemble-in-residence. ETHEL takes the arts from the performance stage to classrooms. They play in a variety of surprising locations across campus, and often just grab lunch and chat with students in the student union. In other words, it’s personal. Even the Vail Series’ venue — Swasey Chapel — is known for its intimacy. There’s no need to hang around stage doors to meet performers when they come to Denison; they’re right there, up close and totally accessible.

And the arts are such an essential element of a liberal arts education at Denison that Vail Series tickets are free for students, faculty and staff.

The Vail Series was endowed by a generous gift from the late Mary and Foster McGaw in honor of Jeanne Vail, class of 1946. Just as it was intended to do, the Series enriches the artistic experience of the entire Denison community. Programmed creatively with the mindful pursuit of learning across traditional academic boundaries, the Vail Series was directed by Lorraine Wales from its inception in 1979 through her retirement in June of 2013. Michael Morris is currently the Director of the Vail Series.

Since 1979, more than 100 individual artists have found their way to Swasey Chapel’s stage, but that doesn’t include the dozens of ensembles or full symphony orchestras that have played here over the years. And some stay for a while. Last time he was here, Bobby McFerrin presented two concerts, performing with ten students groups over the two night engagement. Yo-Yo Ma and Yuja Wang have each been to Denison five times. They’re kind of like family.

 

Sights & Sounds

Ethel Perfomance detail 1
Ethel Perfomance detail 2
Ethel Perfomance detail 3
Ethel Perfomance detail 4
Dafrakura Performance detail 1
Dafrakura Performance detail 2
Dafrakura Performance detail 3
Dafrakura Performance detail 4
Dafrakura Performance detail 5
Dafrakura Performance detail 6
Regina Carter Performance 1
Regina Carter with students 1
Regina Carter Performance 2
Regina Carter with students 2
Regina Carter in the classroom
Regina Carter Performance 3

Series Archives

2017 - 2018

Recent Grammy-winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo, courtesy of Vail Series (97345)
February 14, 2018

The Vail Series presents Grammy-winning South African a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo in concert.

The Vail Series presents Catherine Russell (97331)
November 9, 2017

The Vail Series presents Catherine Russell in concert.

The Vail Series presents Eroica Trio (97330)
September 28, 2017

The Vail Series presents the chamber music ensemble Eroica Trio in concert.

2016 - 2017

Bluegrass legend Sam Bush – SOLD OUT (67813)
March 4, 2017

The Vail Series welcomes Sam Bush performing at the 2017 Bluegrass Concert.

TUTTI Festival Concert XI: The Vail Series presents NOW Ensemble (67816)
February 11, 2017

The Vail Series presents NOW Ensemble performing at the 2017 TUTTI Festival.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis – SOLD OUT (67817)
December 7, 2016

The Vail Series welcomes the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis performing "Big Band Holidays."

Gabriel Alegría and the Afro-Peruvian Sextet (67820)
October 6, 2016

The Vail Series presents Gabriel Alegría and the Afro-Peruvian Sextet.

2015 - 2016

The Vail Series: ETHEL’s ‘Documerica’ (64683)
April 16, 2016

Denison’s ensemble-in-residence, ETHEL,, presents "Documerica," a multimedia concert.

ETHEL's Documerica
April 16, 2016

Poet Laureate Robert Hass (55997)
March 10, 2016

The Beck Writers Series in partnership with the Vail Series welcomes Pulitzer Prize winner and Poet Laureate Robert Hass.

An interview with poet Laureate Robert Hass (55988)
March 10, 2016

The Beck Writers Series welcomes Pulitzer Prize winner and Poet Laureate Robert Hass.

The Vail Series presents Cyrille Aimée (64684)
March 3, 2016

The Vail Series presents Cyrille Aimée.

The Vail Series presents: Regina Carter's "Southern Comfort" concert (47440)
November 14, 2015

The Vail Series welcomes genre-spanning violinist Regina Carter for her Southern Comfort Concert.

Vail Series presents: The Metropolitan Opera Rising Stars (47412)
October 8, 2015

Vail Series presents the Metropolitan Opera Rising Stars Concert, featuring the next generation of leading men and women at the renowned "Met."

Vail Series presents: Dafra Kura Band (47411)
September 18, 2015

The Vail Series welcomes the Dafra Kura Band, hailing from Burkina Faso and performing world music, traditional and contemporary sounds from Africa.

2014 - 2015

Sweet Honey in the Rock (38340)
April 10, 2015

The Vail Series presents "Sweet Honey In The Rock."

ETHEL and Native American flutist, Robert Mirabel (40383)
March 12, 2015

ETHEL and Robert Mirabal, a Native American flutist and vocalist, present an open rehearsal for a work in progress.

Turtle Island Quartet
February 13, 2015

Poet Laureate Billy Collins (38228)
January 29, 2015

The Vail Series presents Poet Laureate Billy Collins.

January 1, 2015

The Vail Series presents "Turtle Island Quartet."

The Ahn Trio (38067)
November 7, 2014

The Vail Series presents "The Ahn Trio."

Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer in concert (37993)
October 2, 2014

The Vail Series presents Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer.

2013 - 2014

Bobby McFerrin Concert (38863)
March 28, 2014

The Vail Series presents the multi-talented Bobby McFerrin.

Bobby McFerrin (38861)
March 27, 2014

The Vail Series presents the multi-talented Bobby McFerrin.

Julian Lage Trio (38650)
February 8, 2014

The Vail Series presents a concert by the Julian Lage Trio.

November 5, 2013

The Vail Series presents 'Sphinx Virtuosi.'

Stunning strings (38469)
September 27, 2013

The Vail Series presents string quartet 'Ethel'

Ethel at the Met Museum
ETHEL
September 27, 2013

2012 - 2013

Jessye Norman, Soprano
April 7, 2013

Keith Lockhart & The Bbc Concert Orchestra
February 1, 2013

Chucho Valdez Quintet
October 26, 2012

A Far Cry with Matt Haimovitz, Cellist
September 14, 2012

2011 - 2012

The Knights
April 11, 2012

Dada Masilo
February 3, 2012

Munich Symphony Orchestra & Gloriae Dei Cantores
October 27, 2011

Yuja Wang
October 7, 2011

2010 - 2011

Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer & Zakir Hussain
March 26, 2011

New Century Chamber Orchestra
February 3, 2011

Pacifica Quartet with Menahem Pressler
November 14, 2010

Mark O'Connor & Dailey & Vincent
September 29, 2010

2009 - 2010

Yuja Wang with Russian National Orchestra
February 28, 2010

Imani Winds with Stefon Harris
January 29, 2010

"From The Top"
November 7, 2009

Chanticleer
October 4, 2009

2008 - 2009

Renee Fleming
April 14, 2009

Brooklyn Rider
March 28, 2009

Sphinx Chamber Orchestra
October 10, 2008

Capoeira Angola
September 19, 2008

2007 - 2008

Yuja Wang & Friends
April 12, 2008

Yo-Yo Ma & Friends
March 1, 2008