Artober – Music. The sounds of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

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Little Rock has a thriving music scene from jazz to blues to r&b to rock to soul to gospel to, well, you name it.

For over 50 years, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra has been playing a pivotal role in that scene.  While they play programs that are largely classical music, they also incorporate many different styles of music into their offerings.  Last night, they played a concert with Tony and Grammy winner Heather Headley which spanned numerous musical genres.  The ASO is led by Interim Music Director Geoffrey Robson and Executive Director Christina Littlejohn.

Incorporated in 1966, the ASO now performs more than 60 concerts per season, which includes the Masterworks and Pops Concerts. In addition, the orchestra has a Chamber Series, River Rhapsodies, at the Clinton Presidential Center, ASO, I.N.C.: Intimate Neighborhood Concerts, and a busy schedule of statewide touring and educational performances in numerous venues, along with collaborations with Ballet Arkansas and the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Integral to the ASO’s activities are its resident string quartets, the Rockefeller and Quapaw Quartet; The ASO Brass Quintet, ASO Big Band, and the Arkansas Symphony Youth Ensembles, which comprises two string-only ensembles and two full orchestras. Through ASO education programs over 40,000 children each year experience the magic of music.

Distinguished guest artists including Bill Clinton, Itzhak Perlman, Yo Yo Ma, Mignon Dunn, Marilyn Horn, Andre Watts, Maureen McGovern, Bernadette Peters, Maya Angelou, and Doc Severinsen, among others, have appeared in concert with the orchestra in Arkansas.

Comprised of the state’s most sought after professional musicians, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra is heard by more than 165,000 Arkansans each year, and consistently plays to high critical praise.

Violinist YouJin Jang in concert with pianist Renana Gutman tonight sponsored by the Chamber Music Society of Little Rock

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage, playing a musical instrument, concert and nightDescribed as a “a performer without fear or technical limitation”, YooJin Jang’s performance, alongside brilliant pianist Renana Gutman is sure to delight audiences.  The duo will be in concert tonight (April 4) under the auspices of the Chamber Music Society of Little Rock.

The event will take place at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.  Tickets are $25 for adults. Children and students of all ages, kindergarten through college, have free admission. Tickets are available for purchase at the event or online, www.ChamberMusicLR.com.

Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and wine will be served following the performance.

The program includes: J.S. Bach: Violin Sonata No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1016; John Corigliano: Sonata for Violin and Piano; and Robert Schumann: Violin Sonata No. 2 in D minor, Op. 121.

Applauded by The Strad for her “fiery virtuosity” and “consummate performances,” Ms. Jang is a winner of the 2017 Concert Artists Guild Competition, and is also First Prize winner of the 2016 Sendai International Music Competition in Japan. A native of Korea, YooJin has been performing with top Korean orchestras since age 9. Also a passionate chamber musician, YooJin is a co-founder of The Kallaci String Quartet in 2012, which made its international debut in Seoul.

Praised by the New York Times for her “passionate and insightful” playing, Renana Gutman has performed across four continents as an orchestral soloist, recitalist and collaborative artist. She played at venues like The Louvre Museum, Carnegie Recital Hall, People’s Symphony Concerts, Merkin Hall, St. Petersburg’s Philharmonia, Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, Menuhin Hall, United Kingdom, and Washington National Gallery and Freer Gallery. High in demand as a chamber musician, Renana toured with “Musicians from Marlboro,” and serves regularly as the collaborative pianist of Steans Institute at Ravinia Festival, where she performs chamber music and lieder extensively.

During their time in Little Rock, these musicians will work with local students, including the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra, as part of the Chamber Music Society’s mission to foster arts in education.

Linda Newbern honored by ACANSA tonight in evening featuring Jeremy Stolle and ASO Youth Jazz Orchestra

Linda NewbernTonight (March 15), Linda Newbern is being honored with the second Charlotte Gadberry Award by ACANSA Arts Festival.  Newbern is being recognized for her vision and dedication to expanding access to world-class arts which has made a significant difference

The program is at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater. Doors open at 6pm with the presentation beginning at 7pm.

In addition to the award presentation, the evening will feature performances by Broadway performer Jeremy Stolle and the ASO Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Stolle is a recording artist and concert singer currently in the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera. He recently finished the brand new Disney theatricals pre-Broadway Production of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. He has traveled the world singing concerts and symphonies including A Yuletide Celebration with Sylvia McNair, the Indianapolis Symphony, Broadway Stars concert in Taiwan, and Modesto Symphony Pops.  Stolle appeared at 54 Below, Birdland and  Broadway.com’s National Showcase for Blockbuster Musicals and Broadway in Bryant Park.

The Arkansas Symphony Youth Jazz Ensemble was founded in 2018 after several musicians from Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s top youth ensemble asked for opportunities to play jazz. Initially, the group was planned to be a trio, and quickly expanded to a dozen youth musicians before the first rehearsal. Local jazz musician, Brandon Dorris, was asked to coach the ensemble, which has a non-traditional instrumentation. The ensemble’s focus is learning historically accurate style and improvisation, and has repertoire spanning the entire history of jazz through the 1960’s.

This weekend at the Clinton Center – Fusion 2019: Arts+Humanities Arkansas looks at “The Mighty Mississippi: A Mosaic of America’s Growth”

Fusion: Arts + Humanities Arkansas The third edition of FUSION: Arts + Humanities Arkansas takes place on February 10 and 11 at the Clinton Presidential Center.

There is a Fusion public symposium, The Mighty Mississippi: A Mosaic of America’s Growth, on Sunday, February 10, at 5:30 p.m. The program will include a keynote address featuring nationally-recognized photographer, filmmaker, and folklorist Tom Rankin; a Delta Blues musical performance by Grammy Award-winning musician David Evans; and special performances by the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra Jazz Ensemble and North Little Rock High School theater students.

While flowing more than 2,300 miles through ten states and defining eight state borders, the Mighty Mississippi River is an imperative physical aspect that continues to play an integral role in the shaping of our nation’s economics, politics, geography, and culture.

An accompanying exhibit will take you on a journey down the Mississippi River as you view dozens of artifacts and ephemera, including first editions of Mark Twain’s novels, The Prince and the Pauper and The Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court; original Norman Rockwell lithographs from Twain’s works; the Epiphone guitar and playing knife of Helena native and famed blues guitar player Cedell Davis; and more.

RSVP for the Fusion Public Symposium

Fusion: Arts + Humanities Arkansas
The Mighty Mississippi: A Mosaic of America’s Growth
Sunday, February 10, 2019
Doors Open: 5 p.m. | Program Begins: 5:30 p.m.

Reception and exhibit tours to follow the program
Clinton Presidential Center, Great Hall
Fusion 2019 is made possible because of the generous support of the Quapaw Tribe, Centennial Bank, and the Little Rock Port Authority.

Arkansas Symphony Youth Ensembles in concert tonight

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Come see the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Youth Ensembles perform in the annual Mid-Winter Youth Orchestra concert at 6 pm at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center.

The four groups performing will be:

  • Preparatory Orchestra, conducted by Casey Buck
  • Prelude Orchestra, co-conducted by Andrew Irvin and Kiril Laskarov
  • Academy Orchestra, conducted by Tom McDonald
  • Youth Orchestra, conducted by Geoffrey Robson

Ranging in age from 9-18 and traveling from over 37 communities throughout the state, the ASYO has grown to over 200 members.

These youth work hard throughout the year on the music, which is often over and above their efforts with school music programs and individual private lessons.  The conductors choose music that is challenging for them but also appropriate for the level of the ensemble.  They also have the opportunity to interact with the professional musicians of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra throughout the year.

$10 tickets can be purchased at the door or atwww.ArkansasSymphony.org

 

Thank You Little Rock concert by Arkansas Symphony tonight

aso-thankyou_ticketOn November 1, 2016, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra distributed free tickets to tonight’s “Thank You, Little Rock” concert.  In 39 minutes, they were all given away.

But for those without tickets, there is still an opportunity to see this concert from the stage of Robinson Center Performance Hall.  A livestream will be available at the ASO website .

The program for tonight’s concert (under the direction of Maestro Philip Mann) consists of:

  • arr. Toscanini – Star Spangled Banner
  • DVORAK – Carnival Overture
  • BERG, Stephanie – Breathe **WORLD PREMIERE feat. ASO with Youth Strings**
  • MUSSORGSKY – Pictures at an Exhibition

The concert is sponsored by the Stella Boyle Smith Trust and the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau.

 

RobinsoNovember: Dr. William Grant Still

bhm StillLast night, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s Opus Ball was the first public event in the William Grant Still Ballroom of Robinson Center.  This afternoon at 3pm, the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra is playing a Still composition in a performance with Ballet Arkansas at the Albert Pike Memorial Temple on Scott Street.

Dr. William Grant Still was a legend in his own lifetime.  Dr. Still, who wrote more than 150 compositions ranging from operas to arrangements of folk themes, is best known as a pioneer. He was the first African-American in the United States to have a symphonic composition performed by a major orchestra. He was the first to conduct a major symphony orchestra in the US; the first to conduct a major symphony in the south; first to conduct a white radio orchestra in New York City; first to have an opera produced by a major company. Dr. Still was also the first African-American to have an opera televised over a national network

Dr. Still was born May 11, 1895 in Woodville, Mississippi to parents who were teachers and musicians. When Dr. Still was only a few months old, his father died and his mother took him to Little Rock. Inspired by RCA Red Seal operatic recordings, his musical education began with violin lessons.

After his studies at Wilberforce University and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, he played in orchestras and orchestrated for various employers including the great W. C. Handy. For several years he arranged and conducted the “Deep River Hour” over CBS and WOR.

In the 1920’s, Still made his first appearances as a serious composer in New York. Several fellowships and commissions followed. In 1994, his “Festive Overture” captured the Jubilee prize of the Cincinnati Symphony orchestra. In 1953, he won a Freedoms Foundation Award for “To You, America!” which honored West Point’s Sesquicentennial Celebration. In 1961, he received honors for this orchestral work, “The Peaceful Land”. Dr. Still also received numerous honorary degrees from various colleges and universities, as well as various awards and a citation from Arkansas Governor Dale Bumpers in 1972.

In 1939, Dr. Still married journalist and concert pianist Verna Avery, who became his principal collaborator. They remained together until Dr. Still’s death in 1978.  In a proclamation marking the centennial of Dr. Still’s birth, President Bill Clinton praised the composer for creating “works of such beauty and passion that they pierced the artificial barriers of race, nationality and time.”

In 1995, Dr. Still was posthumously inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame.