Voice of the Arts

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

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Elizabeth Huffman - May 25, 2022

June 17th through July 2nd at the Carnegie Stage in Carnegie, PA, "Not My Revolution" is a one woman play created by Elizabeth Huffman and directed by Louanne Moldovan. The play was inspired by the 1967 Josef Bush play "French Gray."  "Not My Revolution" travels back and forth in time between Marie Antoinette’s imprisonment during the French Revolution in 1793 and a ghetto in Istanbul in 2011 where a once wealthy Syrian art dealer is struggling to survive catastrophic losses due to the civil war in her country. Elizabeth tells her story to Jim Cunningham with her work around the globe and concentration in creating companies in Los Angeles and New York. In LA, she acted and directed with the Classical Theatre Lab. In 2005, she former her own company ICAP, with over 40 classically trained actors from around the world. In 2009, Elizabeth began working for two years as Interim Artistic Director for Classic Greek Theater of Oregon in Portland.  Elizabeth has family ties to the Mon Valley and has returned home recently with hopes of contributing to the local scene.

Lindsey Nova - Pittsburgh Young People's Orchestra - May 25, 2022

"Brand New Way" is the Spring concert at Heinz Hall of the Three Rivers Young People's Orchestra conducted by Brian Worsdale and Pierce Cook who leads the Symphonette. The free concert May 28 5pm at Heinz Hall brings Pittsburgh Symphony violinist Irene Cheng to play the Sibelius Suite and the orchestra will present the Pines of the Appian Way from Pines of Rome by Respighi. Paul Evans has the percussion ensemble, Rebecca May is featured, Rebecca Mack is the Concerto Competition winner with Richard Strauss, Dr Zuly Inirio from Unisound and the Black Teaching Artist in Residence program sings Lift Every Voice, Hannah Ishizaki returns to conduct a new favorite she has written-- Miniatures. Jim Cunningham speaks with Executive Director Lindsey Nova and Pierce Cook who also teaches at Mount Lebanon High School and is giving Beethoven talks for the Beethoven String Quartets in the Carnegie Library project of the Pittsburgh Symphony.

Ryan Keeling - May 25, 2022

As Assistant  Conductor, Ryan Keeling prepared the Mendelssohn Choir for the Beethoven Ninth Symphony with Manfred Honeck in their most recent performances bringing to a grand conclusion the Pittsburgh Symphony Beethoven in Your Neighborhood project of presenting all nine Beethoven Symphonies in various venues in a single week. The sold out concert at Heinz Hall and the repeat performance at St Vincent’s Basilica in Latrobe followed in the path of the Grammy nominated Reference recording. Ryan tells Jim Cunningham about keeping the Honeck ideas in place and the special nature of his Viennese style Beethoven. Ryan Keeling also discussed upcoming Mendelssohn concerts and the work he does in Mount Lebanon at church and  with his Voces Solis ensemble. The Beethoven Ninth will be broadcast June 2 at 7pm on WQED-FM.   

Dana Bishop-Root - Inside Out - May 20, 2022

Carnegie Museum of Art Director of Education and Public Programs, Dana Bishop-Root, talks about "Inside Out" - CMOA's free outdoor summer event series. Inside Out takes place from Saturday, June 4 through Saturday, August 13 in the museum’s Sculpture Court in an immersive pavilion by artist Rafael Domenech, commissioned for the 58th Carnegie International. Interview with WQED-FM's Jim Cunningham.

Learn more about "Inside Out"

Amanda van Story - May 19, 2022

The August Wilson African American Cultural Center announced that Amanda Van Story will star in the upcoming adaptation of SONG FROM THE UPROAR:  THE LIVES AND DEATHS OF ISABELLE EBERHARDT, the first Black woman to perform in the lead role.   I spoke with Amanda about the challenges and rewards of doing a production produced and led by women. The chamber opera, the premiere work produced in the AWAACC B.U.I.L.D. (Build, Utilize, Inform, Lead, and Develop) program, tells the boundary-breaking life story of Swiss explorer and writer, Isabelle Eberhardt, who traveled to and lived in Algeria disguised as a man, survived an assassination plot and suicide pacts, only to succumb to a desert flood.  Composer Missy Mazzoli with a libretto by Royce Vavrek and Mazzoli.  

Resonance Works Pittsburgh - Rigoletto - May 19, 2022

Resonance Works is thrilled to close its ninth season with a long-awaited production of Giuseppe Verdi’s heartbreaking opera masterpiece "Rigoletto." Vibrating with emotion, "Rigoletto" is a timeless tale about fate and revenge. Rigoletto tries to protect his pure-hearted daughter Gilda, but when she falls for an infamous Duke in disguise, she encounters a treacherous world of privilege and power. This beloved tragedy has been reimagined by acclaimed stage director Mo Zhou, who updates the story to the glamour and sleaze of 1930s Hollywood, bringing Gilda’s experience into sharp focus.

In the studio, Anna Singer spoke with Baritone Andrew Cummings who is taking on the role of Rigoletto, and Venezuelan soprano Maria Brea, making her role and Resonance Works debut as Gilda.  Maria Sensi Sellner - conductor was a part of the conversation.

Maxwell King & Louise Lippincott - May 19, 2022

Maxwell King and Louise Lippincott discuss with Jim Cunningham their book "American Workman: The Life and Art of John Kane," published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in April 2022. The Pittsburgh based artist was self-taught, an outsider from traditional art circles. Kane was a coal miner, steel worker, a house painter and a rail car painter who created beautiful landscape paintings while boxing, drinking too much and working till the end in 1934. Louise retired as Curator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in 2017 and Maxwell enjoyed success with his biography of Fred Rogers after his career at the top of the Heinz and Pittsburgh Foundations and a distinguished career in newspapers including at the Philadelphia Enquirer. The two describe how they got the book underway, the value of Kane paintings today, where they can be found, what  the must see paintings are, why more Pittsburgh art fans don't know him, whether he was the second most famous Pittsburgh based 20th century artist after Andy Warhol with observations on the success of the Fred Rogers book, whether Louise still plans on writing the trashy novel she had in mind after the rich career she enjoyed in the art world, Kane's radio and music listening and the upcoming Kane exhibits at the Heinz History center and elsewhere.  

John Perkel - May 13, 2022

Long time Boston Symphony librarian John Perkel tells Jim Cunningham about his presentation in concert of a new piece of music for strings written by Leonard Bernstein as a student at Harvard at age 18. It was recorded for broadcast on Boston's WCRB in April of 2022 and will be heard in streaming audio on May 22. John Perkel retired in 2017 after more than two decades with the orchestra. John has many ties to Pittsburgh including the Pittsburgh Symphony's former CEO Gideon Toeplitz and Michael Bielski COO and Senior Vice President who he has known since childhood. Michael now serves as chair of the Community Advisory Board for WQED. John remembers visits by Mariss Jansons and Lorin Maazel to Tanglewood and Symphony Hall with great pleasure. He also recalls the work of  Pittsburgh Symphony Music Director William Steinberg in Boston and the contribution of former Pittsburgh cellist Owen Young.

Marianne Cornetti - May 13, 2022

The Artistic Director of Pittsburgh Festival Opera, Marianne Cornetti, has the details on the "Legends in the Limelight" Concert at Carnegie Music Hall on May 22nd at 4pm with Metropolitan Opera soprano Marjorie Owens and pianist Ellen Rissinger. Marianne describes the pleasures of an up close and personal song recital and the masterpieces that Marjorie will sing by Wagner and more. There's a reception after where you can meet the artist.

More information about the show

Beth Dolinar and Laura Magone - "A Season to Remember" - May 13, 2022

Emmy Award winning WQED producer Beth Dolinar who also publishes a regular column in the Washington Observer discusses the free public screening of "A Season to Remember: The Baseball Boys of Mon City" at Ringgold Middle School on May 25th, 2022.

Beth is joined by Laura Magone, President of the Monongahela Area Historical Society, and Founder and Administrator of the Facebook Wedding Cookie Table Community. She holds the Guinness Book of World Records award for the largest cookie table. Laura will join in presenting baseball themed cookies as part of the evening. Laura discusses her work that has resulted in a Facebook community of nearly 100,000 friends and an article in the New York Times. Did the tradition of the cookie table start with Italians in Pittsburgh or with central European immigrants in Youngstown, Ohio? Laura has the answer. Ringgold graduate David Solomon, Vice President of Production at WQED, serves as Master of Ceremonies and a panel discussion which includes local historian Scott Frederick will consider the director's cut with never-before-seen additional footage from the film.

"A Season to Remember" tells the story of the 1952 team from Monongahela in Washington County that would make it to the final game of the Little League World series. It was the first and only time a Pittsburgh area team would do so. 

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