Schedule

2021 Virtual Series
Music Mondays
January 4, 2021
Adelaide Boedecker
Soprano
A rising star in the opera world, Adelaide Boedecker has appeared with the Santa Fe, Pittsburgh, Columbus and Sarasota Opera companies. A native of Sarasota, she frequently performs concerts with leading orchestras around the country.
January 11, 2021
Joshua Horne
French Horn
Joshua is co-principal horn with the Sarasota Orchestra and principal horn of the Charlottesville Opera Orchestra in Charlottesville, Virginia. A native of Texas, Joshua has also performed with the San Antonio Symphony, Houston Symphony, and Charlotte Symphony.
January 18, 2021
Jonathan Gentry
Oboe
Jonathan Gentry joined the Sarasota Orchestra as principal oboe in the fall of 2019. Previously, he was principal oboe of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and has also performed with the Fort Worth, San Diego, and San Antonio Symphonies.
January 25, 2021
Kevin Short
Bass Baritone
Versatile American bass-baritone Kevin Short is thrilling audiences around the globe, including major roles at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Washington Opera, Sarasota Opera Company, Spoleto Opera Festival, and Santa Fe Opera. He is also featured soloist with major orchestras around the world.
February 1, 2021
Steven Banks
Saxophone and Xak Bjerken, Piano
Steven Banks is recognized for his “glowing mahogany tones” and “breathtaking” performances. He is the first saxophonist to earn a place on the Young Concert Artists roster in its 60-year history. He is joined by Xak Bjerken, pianist and Professor of Music at Cornell University.
February 8, 2021
Olga Kern
Piano with Vladislav Kern
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 thirty years. Her son, Vladislav, also a pianist, joins her for this Music Monday appearance.
February 15, 2021
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. She has appeared throughout the country and is a Sarasota Opera favorite, most recently appearing in Verdi’s Nabucco.
February 22, 2021
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, Jennifer served as a Concertmaster of the New World Symphony, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. Christopher Takeda, a native of Albuquerque, NM 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.
March 1, 2021
Dick Hyman
Piano and Bobby White, 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.
March 8, 2021
Peter and Kara Dugan
Piano and Mezzo-Soprano
Peter is the newly named host of NPR's From the Top and his wife, Kara, has been praised by the NY Times as an exciting singer with “vocal warmth and rich character.” The husband and wife duo perform together at festivals throughout the United States and both hold bachelor's and master's degrees from the Juilliard School of Music.
March 15, 2021
Tetiana Shafran
Piano
Born in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1989, Tetiana Shafran started playing piano at the age of three. She is the 2019 winner of the Second Triennial Olga Kern International Piano Competition and prizewinner of approximately 18 other international piano competitions. She has also performed in some of the most prestigious concert halls of Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Asia.
March 22, 2021
Maria Wirries
Singer
Maria Wirries is a graduate from the Musical Theatre program at Penn State University and has spent the last two years, after a summer in the Broadway company, on the First National Tour of Dear Evan Hansen. She was born in Haiti and raised in southwest Florida. She has performed with the Sarasota Orchestra in their Masterworks and Pops Concert Series, the Sarasota Orchestra Jazz Ensemble, at the Players Theater, and at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
Global Issues - Tuesday
January 5, 2021
U.S. Military as an Agent for Democracy
Gary Roughead
Adm. Gary Roughead will discuss the evolving role of the U.S. military as an agent for the promotion of Democracy around the globe. His discussion will explore how the military is playing a more active role in Diplomacy and exporting American values to the world.
January 12, 2021
Iran’s Foreign Policy: Continuity and Change
Mohsen Milani
The Iranian Revolution of 1979 shocked Americans when it demolished the Shah’s pro-American regime and survived through multiple crises for 42 years. From Carter to Trump, seven American presidents failed to end the confrontation. Dr. Milani will discuss the impact of our 2020 presidential election on relations between Washington and Tehran.
January 19, 2021
Is the Middle East Turning a Page?
Amb. Dennis Ross
As the new administration begins, it is faced with a plethora of challenges, from the pandemic’s health and economic dimensions to regional great power rivalries. Amb. Dennis Ross will explain how one might navigate this evolving landscape and some of the decisions facing our new administration
January 26, 2021
The U.S. and Russia: Paradoxes of Conflict and Collaboration
John Beyrle
Despite the tensions between the United States and Russia, there is a peculiar strain of pragmatism that tempers Moscow’s dealings with Washington. This pragmatic framework is not new but has defined the relationship from Catherine to Great through Stalin to Putin.
February 2, 2021
Diplomacy in the Time of COVID-19
Thomas Shannon
The pandemic has shown the extent of Latin America’s globalization, threatened its economies, laid bare its social inequalities, and upended regional cooperation. Amb. Thomas Shannon will discuss what comes next for our Hemisphere, and how can the United States help our partners in the Americas rebuild their economies and strengthen their democracies?
February 9, 2021
Turkey’s Return to the Middle East in an an Age of Global Turmoil
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. Ms. Aydintasbas will help understand whether this is a temporary mindset or shows Turkey as a regional actor and possible hegemon.
February 16, 2021
The New Normal
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. Baroness 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?
February 23, 2021
Lessons from the Global Pandemic: The U.S. Can't Make Its Own Generic Medicines
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. Rosemary Gibson will discuss how we got here, the risks, and mitigating measures.
March 2, 2021
The United States under Electronic Siege: Are We Losing the War?
Suzanne Spaulding
Our democratic institutions and elections are under siege --not by military might, but by modern day electronics. Suzanne Spaulding, former Undersecretary for Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure at the Department of Homeland Security, will describe this threat to our democracy and analyze our response.
March 9, 2021
Pandemics, Privatization, and Political Power Plays
Thomas Gentzel
Public education is a birthright in the United States. That's a constant, but what it means, and how it looks, is always changing, sometimes dramatically. Thomas J. Gentzel examines the trends, and the often unexpected forces, that are altering American basic education.
March 16, 2021
The Centaur’s Dilemma: National Security Law for the Coming Artificial Intelligence Revolution
James Baker
What is artificial intelligence? How does it work? What are its security applications, implications, and challenges? Are we ready for the coming AI revolution? Experts refer to a Centaur Model of AI as part machine, part human. Judge James Baker answers these questions and asks where AI takes us and the consequences.
March 23, 2021
Japan’s Global Moment
Josh Walker
Japan today is better placed to expand its global role than at any time in history. COVID-19 has sharpened the competition between America, Japan’s closest ally, and China, its largest economic market. Dr. Joshua Walker will discuss the consequential decisions Japan must make for the future.
March 30, 2021
The Politicization of the Department of Justice
Robert Gary
Throughout most of our history, the U.S. Department of Justice has been an apolitical defender and protector of the rule of law. Robert Gary will examine what has occurred in recent years at the DOJ and policies and practices that have strayed from that respected and valued tradition.
Global Issues - Thursday
January 7, 2021
The President’s Inbox
Christopher Hill
The last year has been like no other in recent memory. As the new Administration takes office, it will face the challenge of redefining a changed U.S. role in the world. Amb. Christopher Hill will discuss the most urgent challenges brewing, their underlying causes and the President’s options for protecting U.S. national interest.
January 14, 2021
America’s Strategic Future in a World of Rival Authoritarian Great Powers
Dan Twining
We live in an era of great-power competition. Rivals in China and Russia want to undermine American alliances and make the world safe for autocracy. How should the U.S. navigate this new world? Dr. Daniel Twining will discuss what is the right strategy for managing rivals who want to upset the world America built?
January 21, 2021
The Impact of the Coronavirus on the Conduct of U.S. Diplomacy and Historical Perspectives from Africa
Jimmy Kolker
The United States Government was inadequately prepared for the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic. Amb. Jimmy Kolker discusses this, the implications for America's standing, and the world's capacity to prevent and respond to epidemics and health challenges. What lessons can we draw from AIDS, polio, Ebola and other health experiences in Africa?
January 28, 2021
Drones and Drone Warfare
John Jackson
Drones are emerging as the new weapon of choice in modern warfare. Naval War College Prof. John E. Jackson will discuss the past, present and future uses of robotic and unmanned systems, both in the military services and in private use. Jackson will discuss the systems involved, the operational challenge they address, and the legal and ethical ramifications of their use.
February 4, 2021
The European Union: What's Next?
Martin Walker
Summary: Covid-19 unleashed a horrendous health crisis leading to a severe economic downturn. The rift between northern and southern EU countries has deepened and borders have hardened. Martin Walker examines these issues and others that threaten cooperation and solidarity of the member countries.
February 11, 2021
Neglected Crises: Casandras
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. Wendy Chamberlin’s presentation looks at crises that are still threatening but have faded from the front pages.
February 18, 2021
Presidential Leadership in Crises
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. Jeremi Suri will discuss the lessons for our leaders to manage our current crises and help us to build a better country.
February 25, 2021
Food Security: Bringing Science and Politics to the Table
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.
March 4, 2021
Indispensable Nation? The U.S. Role in World Order
Robert Lieber
For nearly seven decades America created and sustained international institutions, economic order and regional stability. It served as leader and defender of the liberal democracies and market economies. Dr. Robert Lieber discusses if that role is still possible or even desirable? And what are the implications for America’s security, prosperity, and even its values?
March 11, 2021
China’s Economic Challenges and U.S.- China Competition
David Dollar
China will be the world’s largest economy by 2035 if current trends continue. Dr. David Dollar will focus on challenges that may alter that scenario -- population aging, environmental degradation, financial instability, and the uncomfortable co-existence of private and state enterprises. Trade tensions with the U.S. are more a reflection than a cause of China’s difficulties
March 18, 2021
Syria and the Kurds
Robert Ford
Syria and its allies have largely won the civil war. 500 American soldiers have been guarding oilfields in eastern Syria for 2 years. Can they help fix Syria, but at what cost and purpose? What about our Kurkish allies against ISIS? Amb. Robert Ford will look at a bitter war’s end.
March 25, 2021
Russia-American Relations after our Presidential Election
Robert Barylski
While Americans wrestled with social, medical, and political turmoil, Russian society was unusually calm. But events in Belarus and Ukraine prove younger generations want to live according to European norms. Is Russia inherently different? Dr. Barylski will discuss prospects for ending the new Cold War given the outcome of America’s 2020 elections.
Our 50th Year
Tech Support

Copyright © Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning. All rights reserved.