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Potential Research Topics: PERFORMING ARTS

This guide will help with settling on a research topic for class.


PERFORMING ARTS: Icelandic Composer Johann Johannsson
Johann Johannsson was an Icelandic Composer. He is best known around the world for
his film work, including the scores for Sicario and The Theory of Everything, for both of which he
was nominated for an Academy Award. What type of music did he compose? What were some of
his other works?
SEARCH TERMS: Johann Johannsson

PERFORMING ARTS: Yannick Nezet-Seguin at the Met
Yannick Nezet-Seguin has been named the new music director for the New York
Metropolitan Opera. What orchestras has he worked with, what had been his positions and what
are his major achievements? What major awards has he won and for what achievements?
SEARCH TERMS: Yannick Nezet-Seguin

France Gall was a French pop singer. She won the Eurovision Song Contest at age 17 in
1965 and had a 40-year-long career. What song won her the Eurovision and who wrote it? What
was her greatest hit? Who were some of her contemporaries in French music?

Bruno Mars was the big winner of the 2018 Grammy Awards. For what music was he
awarded, what were the qualities that impressed the critics and what are some of his big hits from
the past? Who were some of the other winners this year? What political themes were showcased
at the awards ceremony and how were they communicated?
SEARCH TERMS: (Grammy Awards OR Grammys) AND Bruno Mars

PERFORMING ARTS: South African Johnny Clegg
South African singer Johnny Clegg has begun a farewell tour and released his final album,
King of Time. His music melds Zulu, Celtic and rock; but he is best known for leading an integrated
band during the final decade of apartheid. His band, Juluka, could not perform in public in South
Africa due to apartheid, though it did tour internationally. What other band did Clegg lead after
Juluka? Why is this potentially his final tour ever?
SEARCH TERMS: Johnny Clegg

PERFORMING ARTS: American Music Awards
Bruno Mars was a big winner at this year’s American Music Awards. What are his works
that impressed the critics and why? Who are some of the other winners and what is impressive
about their works?
SEARCH TERMS: American Music Awards

PERFORMING ARTS: High Profile Hamlet
Tom Hiddleston is starring as Hamlet in a production directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh
which is a fund raiser for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts staged at the school. It will run for
only three weeks and there was a lottery for tickets. What are Branagh’s and Hiddleston’s
connections with RADA? Should this production have been staged in a bigger theater and had a
longer run, thus potentially bringing in more money for the school? Are they right in presenting at
the school itself?
SEARCH TERMS: Tom Hiddleston AND Hamlet

Kendrick Lamar was the big winner at this year’s MTV awards. What song and video did
he win for and what impressed the critics about them? Who else won awards and what impressed
the critics about their work?
SEARCH TERMS: Kendrick Lamar AND MTV Awards

PERFORMING ARTS: Robotic Performance, Really Robotic
TOPIC: The University of Sussex staged an opera that was performed by two singing robots, nicknamed Pavarobotti. O, One was written by Dr. Evelyn Ficarra for two robots and a cello. What are some of the other attempts to make robots or machines that sing? How successful was this performance?  
SEARCH TERMS: Evelyn Ficarra OR Pavarobotti

PERFORMING ARTS: Tony Awards     
TOPIC: The musical Dear Evan Hanson got the highest number of awards at this year’s Tony Awards with 6 wins. What’s the musical about and what impressed the critics most about it? What other plays won Tony Awards this year and why?

British singer Vera Lynn, who came to popularity during World War II with her hit We’ll
Meet Again, will release a new album to celebrate her upcoming 100th birthday. It will not have new
songs on it, but does feature new arrangements for her old vocal tracks. What other hits did she
have during the war? What was her career like after the war ended?

New York City’s Carnegie Hall has presented La Serenissima, a festival of Venetian music
from the Medieval to the Baroque era. What are some examples of the music being played and
who is performing it? How would you describe the different styles of music being presented and
how does it represent the feelings of Venice during the eras it was composed?
SEARCH TERMS: Carnegie Hall and La Serenissima

The Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Germany, was officially opened on January 10, 2017. This building, which includes a concert hall along with a hotel, is visually striking. Who designed it? Did its construction run smoothly? What are some of its unique architectural features?
SEARCH TERMS: Elbphilharmonie

PERFORMING ARTS: Prodigy in Performance
11-year -old British composer Alma Deutscher has premiered her opera Cinderella in
Vienna to standing ovations. The German language opera takes about two-and-a-half hours to
perform. Its score is 273 pages long. What did the critics say about the performance? How does
Deutscher compose? What’s her next project?
SEARCH TERMS: Alma Deutscher AND Cinderella

PERFORMING ARTS: Participation Shows
A form of theater called immersive productions where the audience joins the action of the
play often in a party atmosphere where they eat or dance in scenes where the cast carries on the
story around them, is particularly popular on New Year’s Eve. What are some examples of current
immersive productions and what are some of the earlier ones that have received acclaim? How
are the audience prepared for these shows and what are the guidelines to make them work?
SEARCH TERMS: theater AND (immersive production OR participation show)

PERFORMING ARTS: Sir Neville Marriner
Sir Neville Marriner was a founder and long-time conductor of the London-based musical
group Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. What type of music did this orchestra specialize in
initially? What is notable about the number of recordings Marriner made with them?
SEARCH TERMS: Neville Marriner AND St. Martin in the Fields

: Vietnamese-American playwright Qui Nguyen’s play Vietgone tells the story of his parents
fleeing from the Vietnam War to find romance in an Arkansas refugee camp. How is the dialog
written and performed and what makes his parents’ story so compelling? What are the aspects of
this play that has most impressed the critics?
SEARCH TERMS: Qui Nguyen AND Vietgone

TOPIC:  Brian Friel was an Irish playwright. His greatest triumph was the play Dancing at Lughnasa, which won three Tony Awards when it was on Broadway. In what fictional town were many of his plays set? How did that location represent aspects of Ireland? What were some of his other works and what did they say about the Irish experience?

PERFORMING ARTS: Susan-Lori Parks     
TOPIC:  Playwright Susan-Lori Parks has won the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize.  What is this prize awarded for and with what works did Parks qualify?  What are the most celebrated of her plays and what are the qualities in them that most impress the critics?  What other mediums has she written for and what are her most celebrated works in those areas?  
SEARCH TERMS: Susan-Lori Parks

TOPIC:  The London Symphony Orchestra has premiered Wynton Marsalis’ Concerto in D, with violinist Nicola Benedetti.  The work was meant to highlight all types of violin playing, from folk through jazz to classical. How closely did Marsalis and Benedetti collaborate on this work? What did the critics think about it?
SEARCH TERMS: Marsalis AND Benedetti AND Concerto in D

PERFORMING ARTS: American Music Awards  
TOPIC:  Taylor Swift was the big winner at the American Music Awards. In what categories did she win, what was the music she won for and what qualities in the music impressed the critics and fans?  Who sang the moving tribute to the victims of the Paris terror attacks and what song was sung?
SEARCH TERMS: American Music Awards

PERFORMING ARTS: Pierre Boulez  
TOPIC:  Pierre Boule was a French composer and conductor. He composed in the 12-tone serialist style and as a conductor championed 20th Century music. What was his early career like, who did he study with and with what theater was he associated? How were his works received in the 1940s and 1950s? What orchestras was he associated with as a conductor? Does his music sound interesting to you?
SEARCH TERMS: Pierre Boulez

PERFORMING ARTS: Paul Kantner   
TOPIC:  Guitarist Paul Kantner is best remembered as a founding member of the Jefferson Airplane and its spinoff, Jefferson Starship. What musical trends did the Jefferson Airplane help establish and what are some of their most memorable songs?  What songs did Kantner write and what other musical projects has we worked on?
SEARCH TERMS: Paul Kantner AND Jefferson Starship

PERFORMING ARTS: Pandora and Music Royalties     
TOPIC:  Online music streaming company Pandora was pleased to hear an announcement by the U.S. Copyright Office that the current royalty agreement between Pandora and a global rights agency called Merlin Network was valid.  What does this statement by the U.S. Copyright Office indicate may be the case when the Copyright Royalty Board sets the rates for Internet radio?
SEARCH TERMS: Pandora AND (royalt* OR copyright)

PERFORMING ARTS: Lemmy Kilmister
TOPIC:  Lemmy Kilmister was the founder of the band Motorhead, its bass player, and the only member who was in every version of the band. How could Motorhead’s music be best described? What was Lemmy known for in his off-stage life? How well regarded was he in the music community?
SEARCH TERMS: Lemmy OR Motorhead

TOPIC:  British playwright Mike Bartlett’s play King Charles III is now in New York.  The play imagines Charles, the current Prince of Wales as king and is written in blank verse, similar to a Shakespeare play.  What are the qualities of this play that most impress the critics? What are some recent events that are worked into the play and how are they made relevant to the story?  What are some other acclaimed plays by Bartlett and what was it about them that impressed the critics?
SEARCH TERMS: Mike Bartlett AND King Charles III

TOPIC:  Ishmael Abbey, nicknamed DJ Katapila, is one of the hottest DJs in the clubs and parties of Accra, Ghana and recently a reissue of his first album Trotro has been gaining a following outside of Ghana.  What is involved in his performance?  What are the qualities in his work that impress his fans?   Why are funeral parties a venue that he often plays in Accra?

PERFORMING ARTS: Grammy Awards     
TOPIC:  Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar and the Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ song Uptown Funk were the big winners at the Grammy Awards.  What were the qualities of these and the work of other winners that most impressed the critics?  What are the qualifications to vote in the Grammy Awards and how is the voting done?
SEARCH TERMS: Grammy Awards

PERFORMING ARTS: Academy of Country Music Awards
TOPIC: Jason Adlean won Entertainer of the Year at this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards, but Chris Stapleton was the big winner overall. What was the music by Adlean and what were the qualities in it that impressed the voters to give him this win? What are some other key successes in his career? What awards did Stapleton win and what were the qualities in his music that impressed the voters?
SEARCH TERMS: (Country Music Awards OR CMA Awards) AND (Adlean OR Stapleton)

TOPIC: George Martin was the British record producer who produced the Beatles albums along with many other musicians. How did he get into the record business and who had he worked with before the Beatles? What were his contributions to their records and their success? What was his career like after they broke up?
SEARCH TERMS: George Martin

TOPIC: French playwright Florian Zeller has brought his popular 2012 play The Father to Broadway after success in London and Paris. What is the play about and what impresses the critics most about it? What are some other plays he has written and what are some common themes in his plays? What are some of the more acclaimed novels he has written and what impressed the critics most about them?
SEARCH TERMS: The Father AND Florian Zeller

PERFORMING ARTS: A Special Performance
TOPIC: Fashion designer Valentino did the costumes for a production of Verdi’s La Traviata and film director Sofia Coppola staged the action for the production at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. Francesca Dotto performed the role of Violetta. How splendid were the costumes? How wonderful was the singing? What did the critics think of the production? What stars were in attendance at its opening?
SEARCH TERMS: Teatro dell’Opera di Roma AND La Traviata

PERFORMING ARTS: Billboard Awards
TOPIC: Canadian singer The Weekend was the big winner at this year’s Billboard Awards. What was the work by The Weekend that most impressed the critics and what are some other high points in his career? Who else were some of the major winners at this year’s Billboard Awards and why? Who were some of the top performers?
SEARCH TERMS: Billboard Awards AND Bieber

TOPIC: Leandro Gato Barbieri was an Argentinian jazz saxophonist. What does his nickname mean and how did he acquire it? What type of jazz and other jazz musicians was he associated with? What film score did he contribute to?
SEARCH TERMS: Gato Barbieri

TOPIC: The Broadway musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda has won a Pulitzer Prize. What book is the musical based on and what are some ways in which it was cleverly adapted into a musical? What are the qualities that most impressed the critics? What is another musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda and what qualities of that musical most impressed the critics?
SEARCH TERMS: Hamilton AND Lin-Manuel Miranda

TOPIC: Amjad Sabri, the Pakistani qawwali singer, was shot and killed by Islamic militants in
Karachi, Pakistan. Qawwali is an Islamic devotional music that arose from the Sufi tradition. How
popular was Sabri? How long had his family been involved with qawwali music? Why are Sufis
being targeted by Islamic militants?
SEARCH TERMS: Amjad Sabri OR qawwali

TOPIC: Lin-Manual Miranda’s rap musical Hamilton based on the life of founding father Alexander
Hamilton was the big winner at the Tony Awards. What were the qualities of Hamilton that
appealed most to the critics? Who were some of the other major winners and what was it about
their work that impressed the critics most?

PERFORMING ARTS: Opera Competition
TOPIC: The 24th edition of Operalia, an opera competition founded by Spain’s famous tenor Placido Domingo, was held in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. The winners were French soprano Elsa Driesig and Korean Keon-Woo Kim. What pieces did they perform? What other singers participated? What role did Jalisco play in Domingo’s early career?

PERFORMING ARTS: Vonnegut’s Mr. Rosewater
TOPIC: The 1979 musical Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater has been revived and making a popular comeback at New York City Center as part of their Encores! Series. What are some of the clever ways the musical was adapted from the book? What qualities of the current revival are being praised by critics?
SEARCH TERMS: Kurt Vonnegut AND God Bless You Mr. Rosewater AND musical

TOPIC: Juan Gabriel was a popular Mexican singer. Born into poverty, he had been a star since the early 1970s. What famous singer and actress helped him in his early years? What were some of his most popular songs? What was notable about his live performances?
SEARCH TERMS: Juan Gabriel

PERFORMING ARTS: Bruce Springsteen Breaks His Own Record
TOPIC: Taking place at none other than East Rutherford, New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band performed the longest-ever American gig. The show went on for 4 hours. How long has he been performing? How has his music evolved over the years? How do his ballads paint New Jersey life and culture?
SEARCH TERMS: Springsteen AND record