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History of the Series
The original Performing Artists Series at Kutztown University was started in 1988 to bring professional performing artists to the school and the surrounding communities. Its first Director, Ellen Finks, started the first season with three performances: one music program (Hungarian Radio Chamber Orchestra), one dance program (Murray Louis Dance Company) and one theater program (the Acting Company). The series grew steadily to seven performances by the '94-'95 season.
In the '95-'96 season the first children’s series was introduced with three performances.
Over the last 20 years the series has showcased a dazzling variety of artists including Grover Washington, Jr., St. Paul Chamber Orchestra with Yefim Bronfman and Hugh Wolff, The King Singers, Eileen Ivers, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Mark Morris Dance, Garth Fagan Dance, and many others.
The programs have brought over 175,000 patrons and children to Kutztown University and has developed a loyal following from as far away as Lancaster, Wyomissing, Lehighton, and Allentown.
Since 1998, we have served over 100 schools and community groups, and over 65,000 children in both Berks and Lehigh counties.
In 2008, after 20 years, Ellen Finks retired and in 2009, Andrew Cassano was hired as the new Director. It was at that time the identity of KU Presents! was established to define the overarching programs in the Performing Artists Series, Children's Series, Special Events, and new Ursa Minor's Cafe.
Today, along with Patron Services Manager, Amy Botwright; Outreach Coordinator, Elaine Bonfitto; and Production Manager, Greg Kokolus, as well as the seasonal aid of over 20 students, KU Presents! strives to be the center of cultural life at Kutztown University and the regional community through professional presentations of innovative and engaging live music, theater, and dance of the highest quality.
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