News and Features

Cliburn Names President and CEO

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Categorized Under: Fort Worth Arts, Music

The Cliburn Foundation sends word today that it has named David Chambless Worters president and chief executive officer. Worters is the current president & CEO of the North Carolina Symphony. He replaces Richard Rodzinski, who retired in July after 23 years and six Van Cliburn competitions.

Keep reading for the full news release:

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The Conversation: Music Education

Categorized Under: Arts Education, Music

A weekly question to prompt discussion about the arts.

Jerome’s story this week about music education in DISD got us thinking: Why don’t schools offer guitar or piano classes? They are the two most popular instruments for kids to learn outside of school. If you played in the school band or orchestra, would you have played the same instrument if guitar or piano had also been offered at your school? Drop us a comment and let’s get the conversation started.

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Flickr Photo of the Week

Categorized Under: Visual Arts

Congratulations to James Neal of Keller, the winner of the Flickr Photo of the Week contest! This is James’ first victory in the contest. He follows last week’s winner, Chris Richey.

If you would like to participate in the Flickr Photo of the Week contest, all you need to do is upload your photo to to our Flickr group page. It’s fine to submit a photo you took previous to the current week, but we are hoping that the contest will inspire you to go out and shoot something fantastic this week to share with Art&Seek users. If the picture you take involves a facet of the arts, even better. The contest week will run from Monday to Sunday, and the Art&Seek staff will pick a winner on Monday afternoon. We’ll notify the winner through FlickrMail (so be sure to check those inboxes) and ask you to fill out a short survey to tell us a little more about yourself and the photo you took. We’ll post the winners’ photo on Wednesday.

Now here’s more from James:

Title of photo: day 21

Equipment: Nikon 90

Tell us more about your photo: The title lacks imagination, I know. I’ve completed a few 30 day photo-a-day challenges. Day 21 represents the early stage of a 365 (or so) project.

The photo was actually taken in Abilene at the corner of 12th and Pine. Seems everyone in town with a yard sale or lost pet has been there. It leaves you with the questions: Is it what works? O is it what everyone has tried before me?

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The Big Deal: T Bone Burnett at the Brinker Forum or TITAS presents MOMIX

Eds note: This contest has ended. But check Art&Seek every Wednesday for the week’s Big Deal.

It’s week two of the Art&Seek newsletter and that means week 2 of The Big Deal.

We have five pairs of tickets to TITAS presents MOMIX and five pairs to see T Bone Burnett at the Brinker International Forum. You can enter to win both below. But you must be an Art&Seek newsletter subscriber to win. Make that happen here.

Every week, The Big Deal gives you opportunities to connect with arts and culture in North Texas.  Here’s another giveaway this week: Four tickets to see Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music at Casa Manana.

TITAS presents MOMIX

Sept. 10, Winspear Opera House

From the Art&Seek calendar:

MOMIX dancer-illusionists conjure a world of surrealistic images using light, shadow, props, humor and the human body. Beautiful and enthralling, Botanica is the perfect show for the entire family. The show features an eclectic score ranging from birdsongs to Vivaldi. It follows the rhythms of the seasons, the changing shape of life on Earth and the passing of a day. The performance is enhanced by spectacular costumes, projections and giant puppetry.

The Brinker International Forum Presents T Bone Burnett

Sept. 12, Winspear Opera House

From the Art&Seek calendar:

During this unforgettable evening, T Bone Burnett will explore the finely hewn craft of matching music to image and share his recollections from working with artists from B.B. King to the Coen brothers. Burnett will show clips from films he’s been involved in, as well as his favorite movie musical moments from other great films that have influenced his work.

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The Big Deal: The Sound of Music at Casa Mañana

Eds note: THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED. Check by every Wednesday for this week’s big deal.

Week 2 of The Big Deal brings a big deal especially for families: Four tickets for one lucky winner to see Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music. You must be an Art&Seek newsletter subscriber to win. But that’s easy to do right here.

Enter to win below.

Every week, The Big Deal gives you opportunities to connect with arts and culture in North Texas.  Click here to enter our other giveaways this week: tickets to TITAS presents MOMIX and The Brinker International Forum presents T Bone Burnett.

Casa Mañana presents Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music

These tickets are for the performance Tuesday Sept. 14.  (If you don’t win, but want to see the show, note that it runs from Sept. 11-19.)

From the Art&Seek calendar:

When Maria proves too high-spirited for the religious life, she is dispatched to serve as governess for the seven children of a widowed naval Captain. Through her music and singing she soon wins the children’s trust and their father’s affection. Maria and the Captain find themselves falling in love, but world events take precedent as Austria comes under the control of the Nazis

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Wednesday Morning Roundup

SURPRISE, SURPRISE: If you were in a cave last spring and didn’t follow the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, you can catch up on all that you missed tonight. A Surprise in Texas, the documentary on the competition, airs at 7 and again at 8:30 on KERA (Ch. 13). The beauty of the doc, however, is even if you were in Bass Hall for every performance, it still manages to draw you into all the drama of the event. Before you tune in tonight, be sure to read’s story about how it was made and the AP’s interview with Van himself. And if you’ve still got three minutes and 30 seconds left after that, take a listen to my interview with the film’s director, Peter Rosen, which airs today on KERA radio.

THE FUTURE IS SOON: Fort Worth’s Modern Cinema has announced the lineup for this year’s event. As usual, Star Telegram film critic Chris Kelly is bringing to town both Oscar contenders ahead of their national releases as well as some movies that will probably never make it to Fort Worth outside of this festival. Among the best gets are the Sean Penn/Naomi Watts espionage thriller Fair Game, the John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy and Let Me In, the English-language remake of the Swedish flick about kiddie vampires. Check the complete lineup here.

FIRE AWAY: Today is Ask a Curator Day. The program allows visual arts fans to pepper gallery and museum curators around the world with any question that comes to mind. Folks from the Dallas Museum of Art, Kimbell Museum of Art and Sixth Floor Museum will represent local institutions. Everything goes down under the #askacurator hashtag on Twitter. Read up about how it all works here. And while you’re on Twitter, be sure to hit up your good buddies @artandseek.

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Q&A: Peter Rosen, Director of A Surprise in Texas

Since it began in 1962, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition held in Fort Worth has become one of the most important music competitions in the world. Winning can launch a performer on to a major career. A new film, A Surprise in Texas, documents last year’s 13th Cliburn competition and airs Wednesday night at 7 on KERA Channel 13. KERA’s Stephen Becker spoke with director Peter Rosen about the challenges of following the contestants:

  • Click here to listen to the KERA interview with clips from the performers:
  • Highlights from the conversation:

Art&Seek: When the Van Cliburn starts, you’ve got these competitors from all around the world who’ve just landed in Fort Worth. A lot of them don’t speak English, and they’re all super focused on the competition. So, Peter, how do you quickly identify which musicians will be the best to follow for your film?

Peter Rosen: You know, anyone could win, so it is sort of like a crap shoot. I always think of it as a gamble, because you have limited resources in terms of the number of cameras that can be rolling on these people. While we shoot everyone who comes on stage to play their first round performances, the behind the scenes and the times at their homes in Fort Worth – where I think the real drama for our documentary lies – we only can go to three or four of those locations a day. So you just make an educated guess.

A&S: It must have been a dream to have Nobuyuki Tsujii, the blind pianist from Japan, in the competition. What was he like to be around?

P.R.: He communicates through his music. So it’s really a matter of silent communication with him and observing him – the way he got to know his host family. I think it’s very moving. When he first got there, we were there when he first came into their home. He felt the flowers in the front yard and with his hands, he felt the Cliburn flag flying over their door. And then he came to the piano and touched the whole thing – from the tip of it all the way around to the keyboard. And I realized we were going to pretty much shoot a visual style with Nobuyuki because, No. 1, he didn’t do a lot of talking and No. 2, didn’t speak English.

A&S: When you’re on the ground in Fort Worth and you’re out shooting and putting the film together, do you find yourself rooting for any of the competitors?

P.R.: Well, I of course was rooting for Nobuyuki, because if he were to win, we certainly would have a documentary that transcended the usual Cliburn Competition documentary. Because if somebody who was blind from birth like Nobuyuki could win something like the Cliburn, it became a story about overcoming your hurdles and not getting put back by difficulties in life. It had a much broader storyline.

A&S: What is it about these types of competition films that people find so compelling?

P.R.: I think they sort of transcend the usual music performance film, where unless you really love the piano or Beethoven or the ballet or opera, a general audience needs to have a story. You start these with a built in – in the case of the Cliburn – three act structure where you’ve got a large number of competitors in the first act, and it gets narrowed down to 12 in the second act and by the time you’re into the third act, there’s only six left. And I find audiences from the early stages start to root for a particular pianist, as though they’re really relating to that person for reasons personal or the way they played or the way we portrayed their characters. So then if your contestant loses in the first round, you kind of lock onto another one in the second round. So it really engages the audience.

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NPN: The Champion of Individual Artists

Guest blogger Vicki Meek is Director of the South Dallas Cultural Center, as well as an artist, educator and writer.

I first learned of the National Performance Network about 20 years ago. A friend had received funding to support a touring work she created and she was hyped about finding a source for money. Over its 25 year history, NPN jump-started the careers of artists like Blue Man Group, Liz Lerman and Blondell Cummings.

Fast forward to 2004 and I am running the South Dallas Cultural Center, (SDCC) an African Centered full service center that is a program of the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs. I took over the management of the SDCC in 1997 and spent the first five years realigning the funding priorities to include commissioning new works from local artists of African descent. Any artist who’s lived in Texas for even a minute knows that finding money for the creation of work is near impossible. The state has no funding program for individual artists except in a roundabout way through its touring and artists in schools programs. So when NPN’s president at the time, Steve Bailey, Director of Jump Start Performance Company came a-calling to see if I would consider having the South Dallas Cultural Center join the Network, I jumped at the offer!

In 2004, SDCC joined NPN as a partner organization, thrusting us into the national arena and allowing us to bring national touring artists to our stage and community. We presented some very provocative work that explored everything from body image to racial stereotypes to writing as a tool for social change. Artists such as Kalamu ya Salaam, Hannibal Lokumbe, the late Jennylin Duany, and Teo Castellanos all spent time in Dallas, working with our artistic community and performing their original works.

Hannibal Lokumbe

The latter two artists came as a part of the Teatro Dallas International Theater Festival, a biennial event SDCC co-sponsors with Teatro Dallas. The NPN funding allows us to participate in this important festival, always adding an Afro-Latino artistic presence to the eclectic mix of performers.
This year, SDCC will host the NPN 25th Anniversary Annual Meeting. Starting on December 9 through 13, 2010, Dallas will be the place where organizations and institutions that support contemporary performing and visual artists come together from around the country, the Caribbean and Latin America to discuss issues around making and presenting work, to share ideas and to watch exciting performances.

As is its practice, NPN always shares this experience with the local arts community where its meeting is held. In September, the NPN board meets in the host city to familiarize itself with the cultural landscape. Oh, did I neglect to mention that I was nominated by the partners to join the board in 2006? Well I was and I serve as Vice Chair; so my commitment to the organization extends far beyond presenting a NPN residency each year!

Anyway, along with holding a board meeting, NPN staff presents a free workshop for artists who are ready to tour, are currently touring but want to extend their reach or who are simply anticipating touring. It’s called “Doin’ It on the Road” and provides some down to earth information that any artist who wants to tour nationally and beyond can use. This year’s workshop will be held at the South Dallas Cultural Center on Friday, Sept. 24 from 4-6 p.m. Registration is limited to 30 because it really is a work not a fluff session.
In addition to this workshop any artist who thinks attending the NPN Annual Meeting can further their career should try for one of the subsidized invitations NPN offers local artists. Interested artists should check out the Jobs & Opportunities section on Art & Seek to see how to apply. Artists can call 214/670-0315 to reserve a spot at the “Doin’ It On the Road” workshop.
Meanwhile, mark your calendars for the public performances NPN will present on Friday and Saturday, December 10-11. Jane Comfort Company, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Promo Afro Homos, Pat Graney and Elia Arce will remount works that were commissioned with NPN Creation Fund monies over the last 25 years. You will not want to miss these shows!

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Memorial Service Set for Doug MacWithey

Last week, Stephen reported the sad news that artist Doug MacWithey had died.

Today comes word that there will be a memorial service for him Saturday at 2 p.m. at Grace United Methodist Church in Dallas (4105 Junius, at Haskell).

A reception follows at the home of Dee Mitchell. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Brady Center in Dallas (specify the Brady Center.)

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The Big Deal: Win Tix to See T Bone, MOMIX or Sound of Music

Have you subscribed to Art&Seek’s weekly e- newsletter yet? If not, you may want to do that here. And if you do that, on Wednesday you can enter drawings for the following:

More details tomorrow. We choose winners on Friday. You must be a subscriber to win.

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