The Ted Ludwig Trio tonight on the South on Main stage

Ted Ludwig TrioThe Wednesday night Sessions Series at South on Main continues tonight with the acclaimed and very popular Ted Ludwig Trio.

Acclaimed saxophonist, MarQuis Hunt, is curating and hosting the month-long “Jazz in July All-Stars” Sessions series at South on Main each Wednesday in July.

Hailing from New Orleans, acclaimed seven-string jazz guitarist, Ted Ludwig, has been a part of the jazz scene for over two decades. Throughout that time period, he has dazzled audiences with countless club performances, festivals, and recordings. He has released four albums with the Infrared Record Label as a leader and many more as a versatile sideman and co leader. Ted consistently receives accolades from critics and musicians alike for his astonishing virtuosity, technique and prolific originality.

Ted has performed with notable contemporaries such as; Ellis Marsalis, Peter Bernstein, Bob Dorough, Larry Coryell, Nathan East, Nicholas Payton, Howard Alden, Mundell Lowe, Rick Margitza, Julian Labro, Steve Masakowski, John Ellis, Tony Dagradi, Mike Pellera, Jason Marsalis, Ron Eschete’, Johnny Vidacovich, Herlin Riley, and many more.

Ted has been the recipient of an ASCAP award, the Louis Armstrong award, and the Overture to the Cultural Season award. In 2016, Ted was the youngest inductee into The Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame.

Ted’s brand of jazz is unique. He possesses a lyrical style and his guitar sings with clarity and emotion. His rhythm and timing are exquisite and his fingering technique is second to none.

Ted’s Trio:

Ted Ludwig – Guitar

Joe Vick – Upright Bass (An impressive jazz and classical career spanning four decades)

Brian Brown – Percussion (A stellar touring and performing career spanning five decades)

The shows begin at 8 PM. Tickets are $10 at the door. Dinner and cocktails are available before and during the show. Call 501-244-9660 to reserve a table. These shows are expected to sell out; call today to avoid disappointment.

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Arkansas Jazz Heritage Foundation annual event tonight at Atlas Bar

Image may contain: textThe Arkansas Jazz Heritage Foundation (the all-volunteer nonprofit which maintains and sponsors the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame established in 1994) will hold its 2019 annual event (an intimate jazz concert with special sit-ins) on Monday, 17 June (8 to 11 p.m.) at the Atlas Bar (1224 South Main Street).

This annual fundraiser is adults-only (21+) and open to the public; cost of admission is $20, payable at the door by cash/check (payable to the Arkansas Jazz Heritage Foundation).  Larger donations are encouraged, and the Foundation recognizes patrons donating at least $50/$100/$500/$1000;

Proceeds from this event (along with annual dues and donations from individuals) fund the Foundation’s ongoing educational activities and upcoming Hall of Fame inductions (held in even-numbered years).

Doors open at 7:45 p.m.

Food and beverage service will be available during the event.  Admission fee is waived for current AJHF members submitting 2019-2020 dues (payable 1 July 2019) by 1 June 2019; a new membership application (available on Foundation’s website and Facebook page) must be submitted with dues from any member who has not done so in the past three years.

Headlining the event is Grammy-nominated vocalist Roseanna Vitro (1998 Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame, roseannavitro.com); the anchoring quartet features Joe Vick (upright bass, 2014 Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame), Ted Ludwig (guitar, 2016 Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame, tedludwig.com), Brian Brown (drums, 2018 Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame), and Sam Carroll (keys).  There will be special sit-ins by various distinguished jazz artists, including other Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame inductees.

Grants for Rep, ASO, Oxford American announced by National Endowment for the Arts

nea-logo-960Three Little Rock based cultural institutions were among the eight Arkansas recipients of National Endowment for Arts grants recently announced.

These were Art Works and Challenge America grants. Art Works grants supports the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts and the strengthening of communities through the arts. Challenge America grants offer support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics or disability.

The Arkanas Repertory Theatre received $15,000 to support a production of An Iliad by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare.  The playwriting team has adapted Homer’s Trojan War epic into a compelling monologue that captures both the heroism and horror of warfare. A key theme is the personal cost of war. The theatre will continue and deepen its ongoing partnership with the Little Rock Air Force base and will engage with the service members and their families during the project. During the performance run, veterans returning from service overseas will share their personal stories as part of a post-performance community conversation. Activities will occur in the theater’s newly constructed second stage and center for community engagement on the Main Street Creative Corridor.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra received $10,000 to support performances and educational workshops that will culminate in the world premiere performance of a composition by D.J. Sparr, featuring guitarist Ted Ludwig.  The composition is inspired by Ludwig’s flight from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. In addition to performances, electric guitarists Ludwig and Sparr will lead workshops for student musicians and community members from central and southeastern Arkansas, including a high percentage of low-income residents.

The Oxford American received $20,000 to support the publication and promotion of the magazine.  Exploring the complexity and vitality of the American South, the magazine publishes poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and criticism by emerging and established authors. The magazine will be promoted through social media, the magazine’s website, a weekly e-newsletter, and events throughout the South.

In addition, TheatreSquared in Fayetteville received $25,000 for its Arkansas New Play Festival. This is presented in Fayetteville and Little Rock. The Little Rock performances are in conjunction with the Arkansas Rep.

Other Arkansas recipients were the Walton Arts Center, Sonny Boy Blues Society (for the King Biscuit Blues Festival), Ozarks Foothills Film Festival and John Brown University.

Beethoven, Bernstein, Brahams, Borodin & Blue Jeans with the 2015-16 Arkansas Symphony Masterworks Season

Under the baton of Maestro Philip Mann, the 2015-2016 Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks series features a lineup with something old, something new, something borrowed and jeans that are blue.

The borrowed is the location. For the second of two seasons, the Maumelle Performing Arts Center will be the Masterworks home.

The new includes a World Premiere of D.J. Sparr’s Concerto for Jazz Guitar, which will feature Ted Ludwig.  Another new selection is Scott McAllister’s Black Dog which is based in hard rock.

Among the old friends returning are pieces by Grieg, Dvorák, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Borodin, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Rossini, Stravinsky, Brahms, Shostakovich and Bernstein.

The season kicks off with Grieg’s Piano Concerto on September 26 & 27. The guest artist that weekend is pianist Jon Kimura Parker.  The concert will include Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides, Op. 26 “Fingal’s Cave,” Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 and Borodin’s Symphony No. 2 in B minor.

Next is Dvorák’s Symphony No. 8 on October 17 & 18. Imre Palló will be the guest conductor, and Cicely Parnas, cello will be the featured artist. The program will include Kodály’s Dances of Galanta; Haydn’s Concerto for Cello in C Major;and Dvorák’s Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88.

The annual Beethoven and Blue Jeans concert will be November 7 & 8 featuring guest artist Kelly Johnson, clarinet.  The lineup will feature Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93; McAllister’s Black Dog; and Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake Suite, Op. 20a.

2016 will start with Firebird Suite and featured soloist Kiril Laskarov. On January 30 & 31 the program will include Rossini’s La gazza ladra: Overture; Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Violin, Visconti’s Black Bend and Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite (1919).

February 27 & 28 the program is Bernstein and Brahams.  The concert will have Bernstein’s Chicester Psalms and the Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem. 

The 2015-2016 season will wrap up on April 9 & 10 with Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. The concerts will include Bernstein’s Candide Overture; Sparr’s Concerto for Jazz Guitar and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47. 

Release Party for new Frank Thurmond book this afternoon

Thurmond photo1This afternoon from 2 to 4, Arkansan Frank H. Thurmond, local author, filmmaker and musician, celebrates the release of his second book, Ring of Five: A Novella and Four Stories, published by Et Alia Press.
 
In this historically grounded thriller, Ring of Five recounts the Cold War intrigue of real-life British master spy Kim Philby, the inspiration behind Ian Fleming’s James Bond.  When the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) discovers a mole is betraying deadly secrets to the enemy, it assigns its best agent to investigate.  But what if this spy hides a shocking secret of his own and the investigator becomes the investigated? This riveting story is a thrilling and timely adventure blending espionage, politics, and love and betrayal.
 
Of Thurmond’s book, celebrity actor Michael York, whose films include Cabaret and Austin Powers, and author of Accidentally on Purpose, states, “I’m enormously impressed with Ring of Five. It is a beautifully constructed story that holds the attention—and the tension—to the end. This is all the more laudable as it’s a known story, but Thurmond makes the historical facts come dramatically alive. Ring of Five is a most engrossing and enjoyable read. ” 
 
Thurmond learned of the story while living and studying in Oxford, England where he was intrigued to hear of the so called “Cambridge Spies,” known as the most notorious double agents of the Cold War era.
 
A Little Rock release party with the author will be held Saturday, May 2 from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm at By the Glass wine bar in the Heights.  Entertainment will be provided by the Ted Ludwig Trio, a local jazz ensemble. The event is free and open to the public.
 
Thurmond was born in Paragould and grew up in Crossett and Little Rock, where he attended Hall High School.  He studied English and music as a Donaghey Scholar at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and pursued graduate degrees at Southern Methodist University and Oxford University. Thurmond is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is a visiting writer in residence at Lyon College in Batesville.
 
Thurmond’s first book was a memoir entitled Before I Sleep: A Memoir of Travel and Reconciliation, which recounts his adult experience of meeting his previously unknown birth father.  It was featured in the 2014 KUAR’s Arts & Letters Father’s Day special, which is available on KUAR.org.
           
Previously, Thurmond’s work has appeared in various publications, including the International Herald Tribune; The Best of Tales from the South, Volume 6; Toad Suck Review; and in William Safire’s language book, No Uncertain Terms.
 
Thurmond writes for both stage and screen as well. As a filmmaker, his first film, “The Spymaster,” was adapted from the Philby story in Ring of Five and premiered at the Little Rock Film Festival last year.  Based on the success of this short film, a feature film of the story is now in development with a Los Angeles production company. He hopes to premiere his new short film “The Dealer’s Tale”—also adapted from a story in his new collection—at this year’s Little Rock Film Festival in May, directed by Little Rock filmmaker Justin Nickels.  
 

Old, New, Borrowed, Blue (Jeans) in 2015-16 Arkansas Symphony Masterworks Series

Under the baton of Maestro Philip Mann, the 2015-2016 Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks series features a lineup with something old, something new, something borrowed and jeans that are blue.

The borrowed is the location. For the second of two seasons, the Maumelle Performing Arts Center will be the Masterworks home.

The new includes a World Premiere of D.J. Sparr’s Concerto for Jazz Guitar, which will feature Ted Ludwig.  Another new selection is Scott McAllister’s Black Dog which is based in hard rock.

Among the old friends returning are pieces by Grieg, Dvorák, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Borodin, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Rossini, Stravinsky, Brahms, Shostakovich and Bernstein.

The season kicks off with Grieg’s Piano Concerto on September 26 & 27. The guest artist that weekend is pianist Jon Kimura Parker.  The concert will include Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides, Op. 26 “Fingal’s Cave,” Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 and Borodin’s Symphony No. 2 in B minor.

Next is Dvorák’s Symphony No. 8 on October 17 & 18. Imre Palló will be the guest conductor, and Cicely Parnas, cello will be the featured artist. The program will include Kodály’s Dances of Galanta; Haydn’s Concerto for Cello in C Major; and Dvorák’s Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88.

The annual Beethoven and Blue Jeans concert will be November 7 & 8 featuring guest artist Kelly Johnson, clarinet.  The lineup will feature Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93; McAllister’s Black Dog; and Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake Suite, Op. 20a.

2016 will start with Firebird Suite and featured soloist Kiril Laskarov. On January 30 & 31 the program will include Rossini’s La gazza ladra: Overture; Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Violin, Visconti’s Black Bend and Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite (1919).

February 27 & 28 the program is Bernstein and Brahams.  The concert will have Bernstein’s Chicester Psalms and the Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem. 

The 2015-2016 season will wrap up on April 9 & 10 with Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. The concerts will include Bernstein’s Candide Overture; Sparr’s Concerto for Jazz Guitar and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47.