Voice of the Arts

Insights and anecdotes from musicians, dancers, artists, actors and directors, as well as audience response.

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James Houlik - Music Plus Concert Series - Oct 21, 2021

The Music Plus Concert Series in Sewickley opens with a performance by tenor saxophone player James Houlik and pianist Vahan Sargsyan this Sunday, October 24 at 3pm. Jim talks about the concert program, teaching at Carnegie Mellon University, and his most memorable performances in this conversation with Katie Brill.

Lucas Richman - Oct 20, 2021

Award-winning conductor and composer Lucas Richman talks with Katie Brill about his recent compositions, which include pieces about climate change in the Gulf of Maine, homelessness, gun violence, and a concerto called "A Meal with Luciana and Mario". Lucas has worked with orchestras for the past 40 years, and he is currently Music Director of the Bangor Symphony in Maine. He was Assistant and Resident Conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra from 1998-2004 and has continued to be a great friend of the Pittsburgh community.

Michael Warren & Lee Saville-Iksic - Pittsburgh Youth Chorus - Oct 20, 2021

The Pittsburgh Youth Chorus's 2021-2022 season began in September with in-person masked rehearsals, sliding scale tuition, and the new BIPOC artist-in-residence program. Katie Brill talks with artist-in-residence Michael Warren and the PYC's Executive Director, Lee Saville-Iksic, about how the residency is going and the PYC's upcoming performances.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theater - Diana Yohe and Susan Jaffe - Oct 20, 2021

Pittsburgh Ballet Theater presents their season premiere at the Benedum Center October 22-24 with the PBT Orchestra conducted by Charles Barker. Artistic Director Susan Jaffe, in her first in theater extravaganza, joins company star Diana Yohe who is alone onstage when the curtain goes up. The dancers will present new and old with Jennifer Archibald and Helen Pickett, "Diamonds" from George Balanchine, hip hop, a Grand pas clasique set to music by Auber, there's Philip Glass to dance to, tutus and modernist moves all in an evening. Diana and Susan give the strongest possible case for why you should be in the theater but there is an online option for ticket holders who can't appear in person. They also reflect on Mick Jagger's moves in his recent visit to Pittsburgh and his American Ballet Theater muse Melanie Hamrick in this conversation recorded October 18th by Zoom from the Ballet headquarters in the Strip District.

Lance Jones - "Stories from the Igloo" - Oct 18, 2021

"Stories From the Igloo: Pittsburgh's Civic Arena" is the new book chronicling the many amazing events at the now gone former home of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Civic Light Opera. Lance Jones joins Jim Cunningham to discuss his contribution of two chapters and tackles the question of how often the roof opened and what made it such a challenge. Along with 11 visits of Bruce Springsteen and a puzzled visit by Kenny Loggins when he noticed folks had their arms folded on their snack and drink tables or Bob Dylan observing that his fans "were eating cheese" at their tables in the Civic Arena, Lance has additional gossip dished by Tinsy Labrie, the former head of PR for the Pittsburgh Symphony. The book is published by History Press and available now with contributions from Chirs Fletcher former topper at Pittsburgh Magazine and the Association of Gentlemen of Pittsburgh Journalists.  Lance Jones recently retired from his job as Account Representative at WQED having spent years in Pittsburgh in various management roles for Live Nation (and its predecessors) including general manager of Star Lake Amphitheater.

Beth Dolinar - "A Season to Remember" - Oct 15, 2021

Emmy Award winning producer and journalist Beth Dolinar and Jim Cunningham preview her latest  WQED special "A Season to Remember: The Baseball Boys of Mon City" airing Thursday October 21 at 8pm and Monday October 25 at 7:30pm. It was 1952 when the team from Monongahela made it to the final game of the Little League World Series. There is tragedy, redemption, summer baseball atmosphere, life lessons and Beth throws a few pitches herself as scenes are captured by photographers Paul Ruggeri and Dave Forstate.  Along with her productions at WQED, Beth Dolinar is known widely for her work at WTAE and you can read her weekly column in the Observer-Reporter in Washington, PA. 

Afa Dworkin - Sphinx Virtuosi - Oct 6, 2021

Afa Dworkin is the President and Artistic Director of Sphinx Virtuosi arriving in Pittsburgh for Chamber Music Pittsburgh on October 11th at Carnegie Music Hall. The group has worked boldly for inclusion of African Americans and Lantinx musicians over the past 25 years. Their programs are innovative and mind expanding. Afa speaks with Jim Cunningham about the Tracing Visions program and the work that remains to be done.

James Gourlay - 40th Anniversary Season of the River City Brass - Oct 5, 2021

WQED-FM's Jim Cunningham spoke with River City Brass Artistic and General Director James Gourlay about their upcoming 40th Season of concerts.  After 18 months, the Brass returns to in person concerts.  James talks about their upcoming season and much more.  

Harpischordist Arthur Haas - Oct 5, 2021

Bach’s last published word on keyboard playing, the Goldberg Variations are a brilliant display of compositional command and stylistic inventiveness, coupled with an unprecedented, acrobatic virtuosity and flat out humor.  Arthur Haas will perform the Variations this Saturday (October 9th), 8pm at Calvary Episcopal Church as part of the Chatham Baroque and Renaissance and Baroque concert series.  WQED-FM's Anna Singer spoke with the harpsichordist about the work and being back in Pittsburgh.  

Tracy Baton and Wesley Speary - Oct 4, 2021

The City of Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations is accepting submissions for their Youth Creative Arts Contest from October 1-31. Katie Brill learns the details of the contest and how it engages Pittsburgh's young people in this conversation with Tracy Baton, a Vice Chair of the Human Relations Commission, and Wesley Speary, Deputy Director of the Human Relations Commission.