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Peter Buffett, Musician and Philanthropist, to Host Interactive Performance

Emmy Award-winning musician, author and philanthropist Peter Buffett and cellist Michael Kott will host an interactive performance, titled “A Concert and Conversation,” March 3 at Vassar College. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 5:30 p.m. in the Villard Room in the college’s Main Building.

Peter BuffettPhoto: Kristen Thorne

The performance will feature clips from Buffett’s film, television, and philanthropic work, tracing the evolution of his life and career. He will take questions from the audience throughout the show.

Buffett began his professional musical career in San Francisco in the early 1980s. He composed the score for the Fire Dance scene in the film Dances with Wolves and wrote the music for the CBS eight-hour miniseries, 500 Nations. He and his wife, Jennifer, serve as co-presidents of the NoVo Foundation. They said they are “dedicated to resourcing organizations, projects and people that are preparing to meet the conditions of an ever more complex set of collapsing systems.” Buffett’s book, Life Is What You Make It, published in 2010, has been translated into 15 languages.

The performance will include conversations about the work of intensive-style class called “Fundamentals of Grant Writing” taught by Professor of History Rebecca Edwards. The new class is funded by the Community Engaged Intensives in the Humanities grant through the Andrew Mellon Foundation. These “intensives” are envisioned as innovative learning opportunities that build sustainable and equitable collaborations between Vassar College and organizations in Poughkeepsie, and other parts of Dutchess County and the Hudson Valley that address specific community needs and opportunities as articulated by the college’s community partners. 

“Mr. Buffett is visiting in conjunction with this course, which pairs Vassar students with small, start-up non-profits in our community,” Edwards said. “Working together, the students and non-profit leaders are researching grant opportunities and the students are learning to write all parts of a grant proposal.  The organizations provide prenatal care, after-school and summer camp programs, college preparation, job training, and other supports for disadvantaged youth and families.  

“Because Mr. Buffett is not only a major philanthropist but someone who thinks deeply about money, power, and the role of philanthropy in American democracy and culture, it's a tremendous honor to have him here,” Edwards continued. “The students and community partners will be ready to engage with the big questions he raises, about how we support one another in accomplishing meaningful work and achieving a more just society."

The event is open to the public with general seating, but tickets are required. For ticket information, visit Individuals requiring accommodations about accessibility should contact the Box Office in advance. For ticket inquiries, email or call (845) 437-5599.