LEAP DAY – Preview of Ballet Arkansas’ “Beyond Category”

Since it LEAP DAY it seems appropriate to preview Ballet Arkansas‘ upcoming program Beyond Category.

On March 9, 10 and 11, Ballet Arkansas will explore various musical genres, which, when combined with various dance genres, make for an exciting and very eclectic concert program. The show transitions from classical ballet pieces performed to Tchaikovsky and Granados, to an act devoted to the great musical genres of jazz and blues, then finishes with a contemporary ballet to classic rock. With choreography by Michelle Jarvis, Bud Kerwin, Keisha Ilama-White and Arkansas native Leslie Schickel – this concert promises to be just what the title suggests – beyond category.

Performances are

  • March 9, 2012 – 8:00pm – Opening night and reception
  • March 10, 2012 – 8:00pm
  • March 11, 2012 – 2:00pm

Performances will be at Wildwood Park for the Arts, 20919 Denny Road.

To order tickets, click here.


ASO Ode to Beethoven

On the heels of this past weekend’s Arkansas Symphony Orchestra of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the ASO River Rhapsodies chamber music series presents Ode to Beethoven.  It will take place this evening at 7pm at the Clinton Presidential Center.  Tickets are $22.

The program will feature Lutoslawski’s String Quartet and Grandjany’s Rhapsodie.  Michael Torke, the ASO Composer of the Year, will be represented with Chalk.  The evening will conclude with Beethoven’s String Quartet in F-minor Op. 95 “Serioso.”

Torke will also be highlighted at the ASO on April 14 and 15 with Desert and Sea. Funding from the National Endowment for the Arts is, in part, responsible for the ASO to host Torke this year.

Chamber Music Recital at UALR

Tonight at UALR, Felice Magendanz-Farrell, Naoki Hakutani and David Renfro will present a chamber music recital.  The program begins at 7:30 in the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall on the UALR campus.

Cellist Felice Magendanz-Farrell was born in Utica, N.Y., and educated at Indiana University under artists, Janos Starker, Josef Gingold and Gyorgy Sebok. Chamber music and teaching have been her enduring pursuits throughout her life from Indiana University to Minnesota University, Eastman School of Music, University of Central Arkansas, to concerts in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Europe and Eastern Europe.

Japanese American pianist Naoki Hakutani, a native of Kent, Ohio, has performed as a soloist and collaborator across the U.S. as well as Mexico, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Hakutani is currently serving as assistant professor of piano at The University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He received degrees from Northwestern University and Indiana University in Bloomington prior to receiving the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

A native of Kingsport, Tenn., hornist David Renfro received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in horn performance from the Indiana University Jacob’s School of Music. Currently, David resides in Little Rock, where he is in his seventh season with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, currently serving as principal horn. In 2010 he also became the symphony’s Orchestra Personnel and Operations Manager. Prior to that appointment, David taught horn and music at Ouachita Baptist University and Henderson State University. In addition to his duties with the orchestra, David maintains an active teaching studio and performs regularly as a chamber musician and soloist.

Sculpture Vulture: TESTAMENT

Today’s highlighted sculpture sits on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol.  Testament honors the Little Rock Nine who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957.

The statues face the Arkansas State Capitol including the Governor’s Office. The irony is that, in 1957, then-Governor Orval Faubus led the efforts to keep Minnijean Brown, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Patillo, Gloria Ray, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas, and Carlotta Walls from entering the school.

Dedicated in August 2005, Testament was created by John Deering working with Kathy Deering and Steve Scallion.  The project was over seven years in the making from the original concept to the  unveiling.

The bronze sculptures are life-size and depict the students moving forward.  They are dressed in school clothes and carry their books.  Around the perimeter of the sculpture is a series of quotes, one from each of the nine.

(It is appropriate to discuss this sculpture today, since the Oscars are presented tonight (2/26/12). The 1964 Oscar for Best Documentary — Short Subject was awarded for the film Nine from Little Rock.)


Arkansas Symphony Orchestra – Beethoven, Schoenberg, Takei

Actor and activist George Takei joins the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra this weekend in concerts at Robinson Center Music Hall to narrate Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw at a concert featuring a message of hope and unity with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony also known as Ode to Joy.

The ASO MasterWorks concerts are tonight at 8pm and tomorrow at 3pm.

Takei’s appearance is sponsored by the Stella Boyle Smith Trust and he will take the stage as narrator during Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw. The narration that accompanies this piece depicts the story of a concentration camp survivor from the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. Takei, a Japanese American who as a child was interned at an internment camp in Rohwer, Arkansas during World War II, is a supporter of human right issues and community activist.  Takei is chairman emeritus and a trustee of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles and was appointed to the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission by former President Clinton.
Just after Schoenberg’s moving piece, Maestro Philip Mann and the ASO musicians will be joined by over 400 voices from the state of Arkansas for Beethoven’s prayer for hope and peace,Symphony No. 9, Ode to Joy. “This is perhaps the most recognizable work in the history of classical music, and for good reason,” said Mann. “Its message of triumph and victory through a shared brotherhood between peoples is an enduring, timeless, and transcendent declaration. Seen as a watershed movement in music history, the work has gained such significance and is now synonymous with important moments in world history—like its performance marking the re-unification of Germany and the fall of the Berlin Wall.”


George Takei, narrator
Schoenberg Chorus
River City Men’s Chorus
Beethoven Chorus
Arkansas State University
Harding University
Hendrix College
Lyon College
Ouachita Baptist University
Philander Smith College
Southern Arkansas University at Magnolia
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
University of Arkansas at Monticello
Members of River City Men’s Chorus
Philip Mann, conductor
Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

February Frieze Frame Friday – Nature Friezes

701 Capitol

Since there was really no freezing weather this February, the architectural friezes have had to do.  The final feature in this series is actually five small friezes on a one story building at 701 West Capitol.

This one story office building sits on a corner with the entrance actually being off the corner instead of a street front.  Though the majority of the building is brick, the granite front entrance wraps around the corner. 

(no idea what this is)

The friezes are spaced at the top of this granite.  According to the Pulaski County Assessor’s office, this building (which is across the street from the Federal Courthouse) was built in 1960.

The friezes, designed in an art deco style, depict scenes of nature.  It is apparent that one is of a bird (an eagle?), one is a duck flying, one is of fish, and one of an antlered animal (an antelope?).

The remaining frieze is a mystery to the LR Culture Vulture. All of the other designs are very detailed yet this one appears to be more stylistic.

Eagle (centered over entrance)

Duck flying (along Capitol Avenue)

Fish swimming (along Capitol Avenue)

Antelope playing (along Capitol Avenue)

Arkansas Arts Center – 54th Delta Exhibition

"9 Zen Nuns" - Rod Moorhead's Grand Award winner

For the 54th year, the Arkansas Arts Center is hosting the Delta Exhibition.  Now through March 28, this showcases work by artists from Arkansas and its bordering states. This juried exhibition presents innovative and provocative works in all media and showcases current trends in art.

Columbus Museum Executive Director Tom Butler served as juror. He reviewed 900 entries from 427 artists and selected 54 pieces by 50 artists.  To be eligible to participate, one must be a resident of, or native of, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana, Oklahoma or Texas.

Butler’s curatorial interests include American art, drawings and photography. Butler has organized over 100 exhibitions of paintings, sculpture, graphics and contemporary crafts. He authored the catalog Lines of Discovery: 225 Years of American Drawing for a touring exhibition presented at the Arkansas Arts Center in 2007.

"Emerging Millstone" by Robyn Horn

The Arkansas artists selected are:

  • Aaron Calvert, Arkadelphia
  • Mac Hornecker, Arkadelphia
  • Cynthia Kresse, Eureka Springs
  • Zeek Taylor, Eureka Springs
  • John Willer, Eureka Springs
  • Kat Wilson, Fayetteville
  • Marian Doville, Fort Smith
  • Steven Jones, Fort Smith
  • Ed Pennebaker, Green Forest
  • John Norris, Jonesboro
  • Paula Wewers, Jonesboro
  • Deborah Allen, Little Rock
  • Melissa Bacon, Little Rock
  • David Bailin, Little Rock
  • John Bridges, Little Rock
  • Carrie Crocker, Little Rock
  • Stephen Driver, Little Rock
  • Endia Gomez, Little Rock
  • Ted Grimmett, Little Rock
  • Robyn Horn, Little Rock
  • Dixie Knight, Little Rock
  • Taylor Shepherd, Little Rock
  • Rebecca Thompson, Little Rock
  • Louis Watts, Little Rock
  • Timothy West, Little Rock
  • Emily Wood, Little Rock
  • Benjamin Krain, Maumelle
  • Heather Beckwith, North Little Rock
  • Keith Melton, North Little Rock
  • Kelly Anderson-Staley, Russellville
  • Laura Terry, West Fork

The 54th Annual Delta Exhibition is sponsored by Janet and Sam Alley. The Grand Award supported by The John William Linn Endowment Fund. The exhibition supported by the Andre Simon Memorial Trust in memory of everyone who has died of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).