Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area


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.

 

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RobinsoNovember: Stella Boyle Smith

stellaThe new terrace at Robinson Center bears the name of Stella Boyle Smith. She died at the age of 100 in 1994 and was well known for her love of music and philanthropy.  It is a lasting connection of her to a building in which she spent so many hours as an arts patron.

Stella Boyle Smith was a Little Rock philanthropist and founder of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. She lived to be 100, but ensured that her legacy would continue.  In her lifetime, she donated more than $2.5 million to organizations in the music and medical fields.  Since her death, the Stella Boyle Smith Trust has donated more than $5 million.  One of its most recent gifts was the sculpture In the Wings which graces the front of Robinson Center.

She was born in Farmington, Mo., into a large, musically inclined family, which moved to Arkansas when she was two. She began singing at the age of three and graduated from high school at 14. In 1922, she moved to Little Rock with her first husband, Dandridge Perry Compton, who died in 1935. Her second husband, George Smith, held various business interests and extensive farms in Woodruff and Arkansas counties, which allowed them to engage in philanthropy. Mr. Smith died in 1946.

In 1923, Smith’s love for music inspired her to start The Musical Group in her living room of her residence at 102 Ridgeway Drive in Little Rock, where she lived until she died. Through several iterations, the group eventually became the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra in 1966. Her initial objective was to establish the symphony as an educational tool for children, and, in 1968, she helped establish the Youth Orchestra. In 1972, the symphony board of directors named her an honorary life member. Smith established a trust fund for the symphony’s permanent endowment in 1985. A loyal friend of music and the symphony, she attended nearly every performance and most rehearsals.

Smith was also a pianist. In 1988, she gave UALR a grand piano as well as an endowed trust of $500,000. When she purchased the grand piano for UALR, a Steinway, she later on the same day purchased a Steinway for herself.  She remains the only individual to purchase two Steinway grand pianos in the same day. UALR renamed its concert hall the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall as a tribute to her. That year the university also gave her an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. Interest from the trust provides scholarships each year for music students studying string instruments, piano or voice.  After she died, her personal Steinway was given to UALR.  The music faculty and students now lovingly refer to the two pianos as Stella and George (after her and her husband).

Smith enabled many students around the state to attend college through the more than 200 scholarships that she financed.

Other organizations that have benefited from her generosity include Arkansas Arts Center and Historic Arkansas Museum as well as the University of Arkansas.


15 Highlights of 2015 – Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter led panel at Clinton Presidential Center

Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter addressing the audience. Photo by James Doyle

On October 21, 2015, Kennedy Center president Deborah Rutter and a distinguished panel of Arkansas educators and artistic directors discussed national trends in teaching the arts and humanities, while exploring new ways to give Arkansas schools access to combined national and local resources.

While no single cultural institution in Arkansas can match the reach & multi-disciplinary offerings of The Kennedy Center, Little Rock and Arkansas have many of the same resources distributed across multiple institutions. Educators and arts advocates from across the state participated in this very important conversation about the transformation of arts and humanities education in Arkansas through deeper collaboration between these institutions.
The program included two engaging panels.
Educator Discussion Panelists
  • Joy Pennington ( Moderator ), Executive Director, Arkansas Arts Council
  • Zinse Aggine, Teaching Artist and Musician
  • Jama Best, Senior Program Officer, Arkansas Humanities Council
  • Dr. Jeff Grubbs, Associate Professor, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
  • Lana Hallmark, Fine Arts Coordinator, Arkansas Department of Education
  • Melanie Landum, Executive Director, Arkansas A+ Schools
  • Dr. Lenore Shoults, Executive Director, The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas
Institution Discussion Panelists
  • Dr. Todd Herman  ( Moderator ), Executive Director, Arkansas Arts Center
  • Sericia Cole, Director, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
  • Robert Hupp, Producing Artistic Director, Arkansas Repertory Theatre
  • Philip Mann, Music Director, Arkansas Symphony
  • Deborah Rutter, President, The Kennedy Center
  • Stephanie S. Streett, Executive Director, Clinton Foundation
This event was hosted by the Clinton Foundation; President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts member, Kaki Hockersmith; Mid-America Arts Alliance; Donna and Mack McLarty; and the Stella Boyle Smith Trust.


This weekend – the ASO finishes 2014-15 Masterworks with Mozart, Prokoviev and Strauss

aso500+yeol-eum-sonThe Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Philip Mann, Music Director and Conductor, presents the sixth and final concert in the 2014-2015 Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series: Mozart, Prokofiev and Strauss.

Piano virtuoso Yeol Eum Son takes the stage for the final Masterworks concert of the season, performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3. The program also features Mozart’s grand “Jupiter” Symphony, and Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier Suite.  The Masterworks Series is sponsored by the Stella Boyle Smith Trust.

The concert takes place Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 7:30 p.m., & Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center, 100 Victory Lane, Maumelle.

Concert Conversations: All concert ticket holders are invited to a pre-concert lecture an hour before each Masterworks concert.  These talks feature insights from the Maestro and guest artists, and feature musical examples to enrich the concert experience.

Tickets are $19, $35, $49, and $58; active duty military and student tickets are $10 are can be purchased online at www.ArkansasSymphony.org; at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center box office beginning 90 minutes prior to a concert; or by phone at 501-666-1761, ext. 100. All Arkansas students grades K-12 are admitted to Sunday’s matinee free of charge with the purchase of an adult ticket using the Entergy Kids’ Ticket, downloadable at the ASO website.

Yeol Eum Son, piano
Philip Mann, conductor

PROGRAM:
MOZART: Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551 “Jupiter”
PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26
STRAUSS: Der Rosenkavelier, Op. 59 Suite

PROGRAM NOTES:
Jupiter is the last, grandest and most joyous of all of Mozart’s symphonies. Speaking on the fact that there is no evidence of a commission to inspire the final three symphonies, scholar Neal Zaslaw commented: “The very idea that Mozart would have written three such symphonies, unprecedented in length, complexity, and seriousness, merely to please himself or because he was ‘inspired,’ flies in the face of his known attitudes to music and life and the financial straits in which he then found himself.”

Prokofiev composed Piano Concerto No. 3 after studying at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. It emphasis on virtuosity and sharpness of humor with the earlier concertos, but it also contains a strong helping of mature warmth, making it easier to approach and enjoy.

Excerpts from the Der Rosenkavalier have been featured in concert virtually since the opera’s creation, although Strauss did not prepare many of them himself. This popular concert suite appeared in 1945, without crediting an arranger. It presents an enchanting medley of the opera’s most glorious moments, including the surging Prelude; the presentation of the silver rose; a luscious love duet between Sophie and Octavian; a teasing, languorous waltz associated with the lecherous Baron Ochs; the ecstatic final trio and duet; and another, quicker waltz to finish.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 49th season in 2014-2015, under the leadership of Music Director Philip Mann. ASO is the resident orchestra of Robinson Center Music Hall, and performs more than sixty concerts each year for more than 165,000 people through its Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series, ACXIOM Pops LIVE! Series, Landers FIAT River Rhapsodies Chamber Music Series, and numerous concerts performed around the state of Arkansas, in addition to serving central Arkansas through numerous community outreach programs and bringing live symphonic music education to over 26,000 school children and over 200 schools.


LR Cultural Touchstone: Stella Boyle Smith

stellaStella Boyle Smith, who died at the age of 100 in 1994, was well known for her love of music and philanthropy. The Stella Boyle Smith Trust, a trust with a longtime history of supporting the arts and music at the University of Arkansas, has made a $200,000 gift to fund student scholarships.

Stella Boyle Smith was a Little Rock philanthropist and founder of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. She lived to be 100, but ensured that her legacy would continue.  In her lifetime, she donated more than $2.5 million to organizations in the music and medical fields.  Since her death, the Stella Boyle Smith Trust has donated more than $5 million.

She was born in Farmington, Mo., into a large, musically inclined family, which moved to Arkansas when she was two. She began singing at the age of three and graduated from high school at 14. In 1922, she moved to Little Rock with her first husband, Dandridge Perry Compton, who died in 1935. Her second husband, George Smith, held various business interests and extensive farms in Woodruff and Arkansas counties, which allowed them to engage in philanthropy. Mr. Smith died in 1946.

In 1923, Smith’s love for music inspired her to start The Musical Group in her living room of her residence at 102 Ridgeway Drive in Little Rock, where she lived until she died. Through several iterations, the group eventually became the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra in 1966. Her initial objective was to establish the symphony as an educational tool for children, and, in 1968, she helped establish the Youth Orchestra. In 1972, the symphony board of directors named her an honorary life member. Smith established a trust fund for the symphony’s permanent endowment in 1985. A loyal friend of music and the symphony, she attended nearly every performance and most rehearsals.

Smith was also a pianist. In 1988, she gave UALR a grand piano as well as an endowed trust of $500,000. UALR renamed its concert hall the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall as a tribute to her. That year the university also gave her an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. Interest from the trust provides scholarships each year for music students studying string instruments, piano or voice.

Smith enabled many students around the state to attend college through the more than 200 scholarships that she financed.

Other organizations that have benefited from her generosity include Arkansas Arts Center and Historic Arkansas Museum as well as the University of Arkansas.


Final weekend of Carroll Cloar Exhibit at Arkansas Arts Center

 Carroll Cloar, The Smiling Moon Cafe, 1965, casein tempera on Masonite, 25 in. x 36 in., Private Collection, ©Estate of Carroll Cloar

There are only three days remaining to experience (or experience again) The Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center.  It runs through June 1.

The paintings of Carroll Cloar (1913-1993), rank among the most haunting and beautiful evocations ever made of the American South. Drawing upon family stories, photographs of ancestors, rural scenery, small town life, and memories of his childhood on an Arkansas farm, Cloar captured the quiet richness of a simpler world.

Marking the centenary of the artist’s birth, The Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South will include approximately seventy paintings, ranging from early Realist masterpieces to the poignant pictures of his later career.

An exhibition organized by the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and the Arkansas Arts Center curated by Stanton Thomas, Curator of European and Decorative Art at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, the exhibition will feature works from major public collections as well as rarely seen pictures still in private hands.

Presented in Arkansas by: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Lisenne Rockefeller; Stella Boyle Smith Trust.

Sponsored in Arkansas by: Anonymous; Bailey Foundation; Sandra and Bob Connor; Terri and Chuck Erwin; Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP; Eileen and Ricardo Sotomora; John Tyson & Tyson Foods, Inc.; Arkansas Farm Bureau/Agriculture Council of Arkansas; Capital Hotel; Cindy and Greg Feltus; Munro Foundation; J.D. Simpson; Don Tilton; Gus and Ellis Walton.


World Premiere and Mahler at ASO This Weekend

ASO_revThe Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Philip Mann, Music Director and Conductor, presents the sixth and final concert in its 2013-2014 Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series: Mahler’s Fifth Symphony on April 12th at 8 p.m. and April 13th at 3 p.m. in the Robinson Center Music Hall. The Masterworks Series is sponsored by the Stella Boyle Smith Foundation.

Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 is joined on the program by a world premiere commissioned by the musicians of the ASO and written by ASO Composer of the Year, Christopher Theofanidis.

This will be the final ASO Masterworks concert in Robinson Center Music Hall before the renovations.  It is fitting that the concert features a work commissioned by the ASO musicians. It is a testament to the musicians and their supporters for the 40 years that the ASO has called Robinson home.

Adult tickets are $53, $47, $30, and $14; student tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at http://www.ArkansasSymphony.org or by phone at (501) 666-1761. All children are free on Sunday with the Entergy Kids Ticket, downloadable at http://www.ArkansasSymphony.org/freekids

ARTISTS
Christopher Theofanidis, composer

PROGRAM
THEOFANIDIS The Wind and Petit Jean
WORLD PREMIERE

INTERMISSION

MAHLER Symphony No. 5 in C# minor
PART I
1. Trauermarsch
2. Stürmisch bewegt
PART II
3. Scherzo: Kräftig, nicht zu schnell
PART III
4. Adagietto
5. Rondo-Finale

Gustav Mahler Adagietto from the Fifth Symphony could be his most famous work, and was often performed alone before his symphonies saw widespread performance as whole works. Adagietto was written as a love song for his beloved Alma. As with many of Mahler’s symphonies, the orchestra is greatly expanded for No. 5: in addition to a full complement of strings, the work calls for 4 trumpets, 6 horns, four flutes (which at one point all double on piccolo together), along with large double-reed, clarinet, and percussion contingents.

The ASO has a great collaborative relationship between the musicians, music director, Board of Directors, and administrative staff, which is illustrated by the very existence of The Wind and Petit Jean. When the Board of Directors made a personal gift (above and beyond their requirements as Board members) to the musicians of the ASO in recognition of their sacrifice during hard financial times, the musicians elected to use the money to commission a new piece of music and dedicate it to the ASO Board of Directors. Christopher Theofanidis was chosen by the musicians to compose the commission, and he worked with the orchestra on his Rainbow Body in October of 2013 during his residency as 2013-2014 ASO Composer of the Year.

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.