VCUarts 2017 Commencement

May 2017 Keynote Address by:
Michael Hearst (B.M. ’95)

Michael Hearst is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and writer, whose vast output is marked by a fascination with extremely specific themes, and with wanting to learn as much as he can about almost everything. His most recent project is a three-part book series, each book geared toward a different large theme: Unusual Creatures, Extraordinary People, and Curious Constructions. The first book, Unusual Creatures, includes the companion album, Songs For Unusual Creatures, and sections of the book have been made into a PBS Digital series. His previous album, Songs For Ice Cream Trucks has been used by at least 50 ice cream trucks around the world. Hearst has also composed soundtracks for the movies The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, To Be Takei, Magic Camp, The House Of Suh, and The Good Mother among others.

Michael Hearst is a founding member of the band One Ring Zero, who have released nine albums, including the literary collaboration As Smart As We Are (The Author Project), featuring lyrics by Paul Auster, Margaret Atwood, Dave Eggers, and Neil Gaiman, among others; Planets, a collection of new compositions to represent the solar system and beyond; and their most recent, The Recipe Project, in which the band has taken recipes from today’s top chefs (Mario Batali, Tom Colicchio, David Chang, etc.), set them to music, and sing them word for word.

Hearst has performed and given lectures and workshops at universities, museums, and cultural centers around the world. He has toured with The Magnetic Fields, performed with The Kronos Quartet at Carnegie Hall, and has appeared on such shows as NPR’s Fresh Air, A+E’s Breakfast With The Arts, and NBC’s The Today Show.


Saturday, May 13
1:00 pm: doors will open for guests and family
1:30 pm: students and faculty line up
2 pm: start time


Altria Theater
6 North Laurel Street
Richmond, Virginia

Previous Commencement Speakers

Michael Hearst (May 2017)
Noah Scalin (Dec. 2016)
Jarvis Jefferson (May 2016)
John Paolini (Dec. 2015)
Anne Holton (May 2015)
Eric Booth (Dec. 2014)
Andy Stefanovich (May 2014)
Stephen Nachmanovitch (Dec. 2013)
Teresita Fernández (2013)