Performing Arts Department
Faculty and Artists Bios
Ross Adams, Music
- Ross Adams
Since arriving from New York City to attend Berklee College of Music, Ross Adams has been increasingly involved in the Boston music scene. His guitar and bass abilities have found him performing for numerous show bands, club acts, and orchestras. His varied career has included stints with Bo Diddley and onstage performances for the Lyric Opera Company. Ross’ arranging and composing skills have been used by many singers and grace numerous recordings, and his producing skills can be heard on Rich Schroder’s debut CD, “Your Kind Words.” Ross came to Concord Academy in 1982 and is currently teaches guitar, electric bass, and improvisation. Ross is also the Music Program Administrator, Director of Music Technology and Jazz Studies, and Jazz Ensemble Director.
In His Own Words
“My educational focus is on developing my student’s musical abilities by ascertaining their learning style and applying appropriate methods of study that fit them. Whether using traditional music notation, tab notation, transcribing, emulation, listening, handouts, computers, drum machines, synthesizers, or recording technology, I strive to fully engage my students in their own authentic educational process. By having my students define their music goals, which often change, I devise a course of study that achieves their objective and enables them to participate in and have their own musical experience.”
Richard Colton, Dance
- Richard Colton
Richard Colton began teaching at Concord Academy in 1989. He is also codirector and choreographer for SPENCER/COLTON, a company of dancers and actors created in that same year. Mr. Colton brings a wide range of experience to his choreographic and teaching work. As a performer, he was a member of Twyla Tharp Dance, Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theater, and the White Oak Dance Project under the direction of Mikhail Baryshnikov. Mr. Colton appears in the films Hair and Amadeus, directed by Milos Foreman, and in the PBS Great Performances presentation of The Catherine Wheel. He has staged Ms. Tharp’s work for the Paris Opera Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. Since 1989, Mr. Colton has collaborated on new work for SPENCER/COLTON, American Repertory Theatre (ART), Boston Ballet, and the Boston Conservatory Dance Theatre. For ART collaborating with Amy Spencer, he choreoegraphed productions of The Cherry Orchard, Henry V, The Threepenny Opera, The Tempest, Ubu Rock, Le Malade Imaginaire, and The Bacchae. At Trinity Repertory Theatre, he choreographed Anne Bogart’s production of On The Town. Mr. Colton is codirector of the dance program at Concord Academy, and has been on the faculty of American Repertory Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training and the Boston Conservatory. Mr. Colton’s “Billy Nijinsky” won as Best Production at the New York International Fringe Festival 2002. Mr. Colton and Amy Spencer are the 1996, 2000, 2006 recipients of the Artists Grant in Choreography from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
In His Own Words
“To be free and individual in one's artistic expression in dance, one must acquire a strong technical foundation. I very much believe that Concord Academy's dance program, a contemporary one where the creation of new work is emphasized, benefits from each dancer studying ballet along with newer dance techniques. I also believe that the true dance artist must understand the power inherent not only in their own form, but those of the other arts as well: sculpture, music, painting, and theatre. In our dance productions at CA, I encourage collaboration with artists in these areas as a form of education for the developing dancer and choreographer.
In addition and importantly, I believe that the young dancer, along with his or her learning classic techniques, both modern and ballet, must explore his or her own individual and idiosyncratic movement invention. I encourage this through improvisation and composition. I hope that every student of dance finds joy in technique, improvisation, composition, collaboration, and his or her own unique synthesis of these elements.”
Keith Daniel, Music
- Keith Daniel
Keith Daniel began teaching at CA in 1983, and currently directs the Chorus and Chamber Choir, teaches Music History and Advanced Music Theory, and acts as musical director for the Theatre Program. Mr. Daniel is also is a member of Boston's Masterworks Chorale, and has sung with the Concord Chorus and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Mr. Daniel plays clarinet, sax, guitar, and when tricked into it, piano. He enjoys composing and arranging from time to time. His book on the music of Francis Poulenc was published in 1981, and, as an active Poulenc scholar, he recently contributed an article to a newly published book on the composer. Mr. Daniel was a member of the Development Committee for Advanced Placement (AP) Music Theory for Educational Testing Service and has graded the AP Music Theory exam for the past six years. He has also served as a member of the Board of Choral Arts New England. Mr. Daniel received his BA from Hamilton College, and his MA and PhD from SUNY Buffalo.
In His Own Words
“I have been Music Program Director for several years and a member of the Performing Arts Department since 1983, even before it was a unified department! I came to Concord Academy because of its fine reputation in the arts and the reputed “funkiness” of its students; I soon found the latter to be true of my colleagues, and now no one can get me to leave! I love my teaching load, which includes Advanced Music Theory (a college-level course), Music History, American Pop Music, and Materials of Music. I also oversee the choral program and direct both the Chorus and Chamber Choir. In my spare time, I play sax in the Little Big Band and was a member of CA’s Jazz Ensemble for many years. I most cherish my collaborations with my fellow partners-in-crime in the Performing Arts Department, putting on musicals, operas, recitals and multi-arts performances. Creating such shows as UBU ‘77 and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with inserted Beatles songs has kept my creative juices flowing. Outside of CA, my current obsessions are singing in Custom Blend, a local a cappella group, and treading the boards in community theatre.”
David R. Gammons, Theatre
- David R. Gammons
David R. Gammons (Director of the Theatre Program) is a director, designer, theatre educator, and visual artist. He began work at Concord Academy in 1995, designing sets and costumes for over twenty CA theatre and dance productions. David has been Director of the Theatre Program since 2000. On the Concord Mainstage he has directed productions of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tectonic Theatre Project’s The Laramie Project, Brecht’s A Man’s A Man, Sophocles’ Antigone, Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author the original musical UBU ’77, Chekhov’s The Seagull, and Suzan-Lori Parks’ The America Play. He has conceived and directed the Theatre 3 Company’s world-premiere original stage pieces 3SisTerZ, Beauty Sleeping, Sea of Troubles, LHOOQ, when i look up to the sky i get a scary feeling, and Tyger/Tiger, and Double Negative.
David’s freelance work as a director, designer, and creator of original dance-theatre productions has been seen in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Vermont, and on tour in London, England, and Strasbourg, France. He has collaborated with artists Robert Woodruff, Joanne Akalaitis, Headlong Dance Theater, Spencer/Colton Dance, Kate Whoriskey, Ishmael Houston-Jones, and Pig Iron Theatre Company at venues such as The American Repertory Theatre, Dance Theatre Workshop, PS 122, La Mama ETC, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Philadelphia College of The Arts, Swarthmore College, Suffolk University, Phantom Theater, The Theatre Offensive, and Speakeasy Stage Company, to name a few. He was awarded the 2007 Elliot Norton Award for Oustanding Director for his production of Titus Andronicus with The Actors’ Shakespeare Project. This year he will direct major productions at Harvard University, The Boston Conservatory, MIT, and The New Rep.
David is the founder and artistic coordinator of no more masterpieces, a loose affiliation of multi-media artists committed open collaboration and generating original performance work from unexpected material. He conceived and directed their world premiere projects Spanking The Maid, A Crying of Bones, and Heaven’s Sake.
David is a graduate of both the Directing Program at The American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.) Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University, as well as the Visual and Environmental Studies Department of Harvard University, where he is best remembered for his production of Antonin Artaud’s Jet of Blood, in which the audience were seated on swings amidst the action.
In His Own Words
“My teaching philosophy is rooted in a celebration of the individual’s role as an artist and the group’s enthusiastic participation in the collaborative act.
“I see my work in the classroom and in the rehearsal hall as parallel. Both are exhilarating opportunities to empower students with the authority to think for themselves, the freedom to explore without boundaries, the courage to take risks which will succeed and fail, and the conviction to share their imagination and intelligence with generosity.
“First and foremost, I hope to encourage students to think and act as artists. As artists, we look outward at the world around us, we experience the complexity of life in its fullness, and we respond with our hearts, our minds, and our bodies. These reactions and interpretations coalesce, taking concrete form in the art of drama.
“In collaboration, we are charged with the necessity of listening attentively to others. We must allow our own ideas to grow and transform through the influence of those around us.
“I hope to expose students to the art, theory, and practice of the great masters of the craft, so that we may be enriched and expanded by their example. We learn by building on the foundation of tradition. We are inspired to innovate by our knowledge and appreciation of what came before.
“My goal in the classroom and on stage is to sustain an environment of trust and liberation that energizes students to do their very best work. In this atmosphere, we respond intuitively to the creative impulse and then we attempt to articulate our ideas clearly. We are encouraged to challenge our selves and each other, as we strive to strengthen and refine our work.
“Ultimately, I prize process over product. The journey of growth and learning is what makes the achievement of a destination worthwhile.”
Megan Gleeson, Theatre
- Megan Gleeson
At Concord Academy, Megan directed Hooch! a 1920’s musical, William Shakespeare’s As You Like It and Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera. Megan’s work has ranged from teaching and directing at the Boston Children’s Theatre, to teaching at Chelsea TheatreZone (now called Apollinaire Theatre), to creating several multimedia performance pieces in various communities. She has been a contributing artist for the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s (MCC) Healing Arts Initiative. As a part of that initiative, she created an original theatre piece as artist-in-residence at Tewksbury Hospital.
Prior to moving to Boston, Megan lived in New York City. She worked both regionally and in New York in theatres such as New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park, Playwrights Horizons, Abingdon Theatre, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Chautauqua Theatre, New Harmony Project, and the Playwright’s Collective, among others. She has worked with directors such as Liviu Ciulei, Zelda Fichandler, Gerald Freedman, Ron Van Lieu, John David Lutz, Paul Walker, Jim Calder, Rob Clare, Slava Dolgachev, Rebecca Guy, Linda Lavin, and Michael Rudman. Locally, Megan has performed at New Rep Theatre, Stoneham Theatre, and JCC. This past summer Megan performed at the Atlantic Theatre Company’s Stage Two and Columbia University’s Horace Mann Theatre in an original work coproduced by Politiscopes and Columbia University.
Megan holds an MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of Arts.
Ian Hannan, Theatre
- Ian Hannan
Ian Hannan (Technical Director) is pleased to be starting his first year at Concord Academy. Previously, he worked as assistant technical director and then as technical director for the Stoneham Theatre, a regional theatre north of Boston. Ian earned his BA in Theatre from the University of New Hampshire (UNH), where he was a founding member of WildACTS, UNH’s only social justice theatre troupe. He served as director of the troupe for two years. In 2004, Ian cofounded the Upstart Theatre Group in Chicago, which presents theatre designed to question the way we look at life, our relationships, ourselves, and the world we live in. He directed their inaugural production, Woyzeck, as well as their original work, Digging.
Currently, Ian is the president and cofounder of New England Educational Theatre Tours, Inc. (NEETT). NEETT is a nonprofit organization committed to developing a better understanding and enjoyment of Shakespeare and the theatrical arts, and exposing students to their role as citizens in their local and global communities. Ian also works as a freelance designer of sets, lights, and sound.
Amy Spencer, Performing Arts Department Head, Dance
- Amy Spencer
Amy Spencer began teaching at CA in 1989 and is currently Performing Arts Department Head and codirector of the Dance Program. She was a member of Twyla Tharp Dance from 1981-88, guest artist with the White Oak Dance Project under the direction of Mikhail Baryshnikov, and collaborator/performer with Pilobolus and Martha Clarke in her productions of Vienna: Lusthaus and Miracolo d’Amore at the Public Theatre in New York City. She is codirector and choreographer for SPENCER/COLTON, a company of dancers and actors created in 1989. The company has been presented in New York City by Dance Theatre Workshop, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, and Jim Henson’s International Puppet Festival, and in the Boston area by American Repertory Theatre, Dance Umbrella, and Jacob’s Pillow. Most recently Ms. Spencer was commissioned to create a new dance work in collaboration with Richard Colton for the Boston Conservatory Dance Theatre for which she won a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists Grant in 2006.
Ms. Spencer is founder and Co-Artistic Director of Summer Stages Dance at Concord Academy, an intensive three-week workshop that brings cutting-edge contemporary choreographers and dancers to work with a select group of students. She also directed the movement program at American Repertory Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard from 1989-97.
Mark Latham, Orchestra Director
- Mark Latham
Trained as a violinist at the Guildhall School of Music in London, England, Mark Latham played in the Atlantic String Quartet in Canada, and with Emmanuel Music in Boston and with the New Hampshire Symphony. Recently he played the “Star Wars in Concert” international tour and was a guest artist with Boston’s Kaleidoscope Ensemble. As a conductor Mark has served as music director and conductor of several orchestras in Canada, Michigan and New England. He completed his doctoral studies in orchestral conducting at the University of Michigan. While there he served as music director of the Gilbert and Sullivan Society and conducted Argento’s opera “Postcard from Morocco.” In 2006 Latham was invited to conduct the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra and the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra. A keen advocate of new music Latham has conducted numerous world premieres, including several commissions. He has received commissions from the Canada Council for his own works, which have been performed in the Canada, the US and the UK. At the end of November he will have a new piece, “Four Meditations on War,” premiered at the 92nd St. Y in New York City. He is a member ‘in absentia’ of the Canadian contemporary improv ensemble The Black Auks, with whom he made several recordings. Latham is currently the conductor of the New Hampshire Youth Symphony Orchestra and conducts the chamber orchestra at Concord Academy.