Art of the String Quartet featuring ASO musicians tonight at the Clinton Center

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Philip Mann, Music Director and Conductor, presents the fourth concert of the 2018-2019 River Rhapsodies Chamber Music season with The Art of the String Quartet, Tuesday, Feb. 26th at 7:00 p.m. at the Clinton Presidential Center.

ASO’s resident string quartets, Rockefeller String Quartet and Quapaw String Quartet, will perform Janáček’s “Kreutzer Sonata,” Mozart’s String Quartet No. 12, along with Puccini and Verdi’s string quartets.

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s Quapaw String Quartet was founded in 1980 as the ASO resident string quartet. Responding to what was clearly a statewide need, the ASO and Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation began a partnership in 2000 to form the Rockefeller String Quartet. The quartets have developed a reputation for providing quality school programming, as well as performing statewide as a chamber ensemble and with the Arkansas Symphony. The quartets’ primary responsibilities include string education and outreach throughout the state reaching more than 26,000 Arkansas school children each year.

River Rhapsodies Chamber Music Concerts are held in the intimate setting of the Clinton Presidential Center’s Great Hall. A cash bar is open before the concert and at intermission, and patrons are invited to carry drinks into the concert. The Media Sponsor for the River Rhapsodies Chamber Music Series is UA Little Rock Public Radio.

General Admission tickets are $23; active duty military and student tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at; at the Clinton Presidential Center beginning 60 minutes prior to a concert; or by phone at 501-666-1761, ext. 1.



Quapaw String Quartet

  •   Meredith Maddox Hicks, violin
  •   Charlotte Crosmer, violin
  •   Ryan Mooney, viola
  •   David Gerstein, cello

Rockefeller String Quartet

  •   Trisha McGovern Freeney, violin
  •   Katherine Williamson, violin
  •   Katherine Reynolds, viola
  •   Ethan Young, cello

MOZART – String Quartet No. 12 in B-flat Major, K. 172 (Rockefeller)
JANÁČEK  – String Quartet No. 1, “Kreutzer Sonata” (Quapaw)
PUCCINI – String Quartet in D Major (Quapaw)
VERDI – String Quartet (Rockefeller)

Chopin and Mendelssohn on tap with Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and Artist of Distinction Andrew von Oeyen this weekend

Chopin & Mendelssohn | JAN 26-27

This weekend, Philip Mann and the ASO welcome 2018-2019 Richard Sheppard Arnold Artist of Distinction Andrew von Oeyen!

Andrew takes the stage with ASO on January 26 & 27 to perform Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor on a program also featuring Verdi’s Overture to La forza del destino and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No.3 “Scottish.”

Hailed worldwide for his elegant and insightful interpretations, balanced artistry and brilliant technique, Andrew Von Oeyen has established himself as one of the most captivating pianists of his generation.

The Saturday evening concert starts at 7:30pm, and the Sunday afternoon concert starts at 3pm.  The concerts are at Robinson Center Performance Hall.

Robinson Redux – April

RCMH AprilWhile Robinson Center Music Hall is closed for renovations, the Culture Vulture is taking a monthly look at past performances. Today’s entry looks at Aprils from 1940 to 2010 in years that end in a “0” or “5.”

Edward Everett Horton kicked off April 1940 at Robinson Auditorium on the 1st with the comedy Springtime for Henry. The performance was marred by the sound of the new building’s air conditioning system, which was being used for the first time during a performance.  Five years later, on April 1, 1945, the auditorium was home to An Evening of Sigmund Romberg which featured the composer in person with performers singing some of his songs.  April 1945 also saw a performance of Earl Carroll Vanities (the 3rd) and Carmen featuring the Metropolitan Opera singers (the 16th.)

Tenor James Melton performed on April 25, 1950.  In April 1955, the lineup included William Bendix in The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial on the 23rd. The next night the Spring Music Festival took place. It featured school children performing.

On April 25 1960, The Coasters, Bo Diddley, LaVerne Baker and others. The month ended with a youth concert aimed at children. April 1970 included a production of Arthur Miller’s The Price (the 6th), the Southwest Regional Ballet Festival (April 11) and drummer Buddy Rich (April 18).  In April 1975 (the 6th) Hair returned to Robinson for one performance. This time there was no controversy such as had met the first visit a few years earlier.

April 1985 was very busy. On the 13th, there was a Ballet Festival Gala. April 20 & 21 featured an Arkansas Symphony Orchestra classical concert.  A touring production of the musical Gigi performed on the 22nd.  It starred Louis Jourdan (who had appeared in the Oscar winning film, albeit in a different part), Betsey Palmer and Taina Elg. The ASO was back on April 28 with a children’s music concert.

Cathy Rigby flew into Robinson Center with a tour of Peter Pan from April 10 to 12.  On April 4, 1995, the Community Concert Association brought the Russian Seasons Dance Company for a performance.  The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra performed Verdi’s Requiem Mass in Memory of Manzoni on April 8 & 9, 1995. Singer Millie Jackson wrote and appeared in the play Young Man, Older Woman, which played on April 30 of that year.

Several Contemporary Christian music acts performed on April 3. The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra closed their 1999-2000 season on April 8 & 9 with a concert featuring Carolyn Brown on flute. On April 27, 2000, President Clinton headlined a memorial service for civil rights activist Daisy Bates.

April 2005 was full of a variety of performances. Natalie Cole was in concert on April 3 with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.  On William Shatner narrated David Itkin’s Exodus with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra on April 9 & 10, 2005. Arkansan Kyle Dean Massey starred in the tour of 42nd Street which started its performances at Robinson Center on April 18, 2005. In conjunction with an exhibit at the Old State House Museum, a gospel concert featuring the Racy Brothers and the Hunter Brothers closed out April 2005 on the 30th.

David Itkin bid farewell to conducting the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra in April 10 & 11, 2010, with a performance of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony.  On April 15, the Electrify Your Strings! concert took place. Comedian Gabriel Iglasias and his Fluffy Shop Tour stopped at Robinson on April 24.

Youth Orchestra and Ballet Collaborate This Weekend

asyo baydMusicians from the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra program will provide the musical score for dancers from Ballet Arkansas’ Youth Division tonight and Saturday evening.

The performances are tonight at 7:30 and Saturday at 7:30 at the Albert Pike Memorial Temple, located at 712 Scott Street.

Geoffrey Robson, the Associate Conductor of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will lead the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra – the premier youth ensemble partner of the ASO.  The pieces have been choreographed by Marla Edwards of Ballet Arkansas.

The program consists of:

MOZART      Overture to The Magic Flute
VERDI      La Traviata Prelude to Act I
BORODIN      Excerpts from Polovetsian Dances from Prince Igor
VERDI      Excerpts from Birthday Variations
TCHAIKOVSKY      Polonaise from Eugene Onegin
HUMPERDINCK      Evening Prayer and Pantomime from Hansel and Gretel
BIZET      L’Arlessiene: Suite No. 2 IV. Farandole

“Join us for a performance of overtures and ballet highlights from great operas and works of incidental music. From Mozart to Tchaikovsky, this program includes music from operas that has become famous outside the opera house. Some of the beloved favorites include excerpts from The Magic Flute, and Hansel and Gretel. These performances feature the Ballet Arkansas Youth Division, with choreography by Marla Edwards, as well as Ballet Arkansas professional company members, and professional singers.” – Geoffrey Robson, ASO Associate Conductor and ASYO Conductor

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students and active military.

Verdi’s REQUIEM presented by Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

ASO_revThe Arkansas Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Philip Mann, Music Director and Conductor, presents the fifth installment in its 2013-2014 Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series: Verdi’s Requiem on March 1st at 8 p.m. and March 2nd at 3 p.m at the Robinson Center Music Hall. The concert is sponsored by Aristotle.

The performance features four vocal soloists, a full complement of brass and percussion, and a massed double chorus made up of eight Arkansas college and professional choirs

Tickets are $14, $30, $47, and $53; active duty military and student tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at; at the Robinson Center Music Hall box office beginning 90 minutes prior to a concert; or by phone at 501-666-1761.  All Arkansas students grades K-12 are admitted to Sunday’s matinee free of charge with purchase of an adult ticket using the Entergy Kids’ ticket, downloadable at the ASO website.


Elisabeth Rosenberg, soprano (bio)

Christin-Marie Hill, alto (bio)

Kevin Ray, tenor (bio)

Adam Cioffarri, bass (bio)


GIUSEPPE VERDI             Missa di Requiem

The Requiem (in part) began life as a part of a collaborative work in Gioachino Rossini’s honor when he died in 1868. Though the work faltered just prior to its premiere, Giuseppe Verdi continued to work on his section of the piece, Libera Me. Upon hearing of the death his hero, Italian writer Alesssandro Manzoni, Verdi was moved to complete a Requiem, which included a version of the Libera Me originally composed for Rossini. The work was premiered in Milan in May of 1874 under the baton of the composer.

The Requiem is noted for its operatic techniques, allowing Verdi to express the powerful emotions of the text. The Tuba mirum,  featuring brass with quadruple-fortissimo markings, the memorable tenor solo of the Ingemisco, and double chorus combine for a work of extreme contrasts in emotion, imagery, and volume.

American Airlines Concert Conversations

All concert ticket holders are invited to a pre-concert lecture an hour before each Masterworks concert in Room 102 and 103 of the Robinson Center Music Hall.  These talks feature insights from the Maestro, ASO guest artists and musical examples to enrich the concert experience.

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 48th season in 2013-2014 under the leadership of Music Director Philip Mann. ASO is the resident orchestra of Robinson Center Music Hall, and performs more than thirty concerts each year for more than 42,000 people through its Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series, ACXIOM Pops LIVE! Series and Parker Lexus River Rhapsodies Chamber Series, in addition to serving central Arkansas through numerous community outreach programs and bringing live symphonic music education to over 24,000 school children and over 200 schools.