Voice of the Arts

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

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Dr. Susan Rice and Emily Sweat - May 10, 2022

At the conclusion of our live broadcast of the Heinz Chapel Choir Spring concert on April 24, 2022, WQED-FM's Anna Singer spoke to the Director of Heinz Chapel Choir, Dr. Susan Rice, and Emily Sweat, a member of the Choir and the announced recipient of the John Goldsmith Award for Choral Excellence.  

Brian Gurley & Ahreum Han - May 6, 2022

Brian Gurley is the Director of Music and organist at St Paul Cathedral where he oversees the recital series which features Ahreum Han on Friday evening May 6 at St Paul playing the Beckerath organ. She and Brian joined Jim Cunningham to preview the event and the series. They both offer suggestions for how the organ can remain relevant in the world of flashing screens and electronics that compete for attention with Bach and Widor. Brian is back at home in Western pa having started his organ training at Grove City College then on to Notre Dame and University of Wisconsin and Ahreum relates her path from Korea to Curtis in Philadelphia, Westminster Choir College, Yale and now serving at First Presbyterian of Fort Worth Texas as Director of Music and Organist.

Susan Jaffe - Pittsburgh Ballet Theater - May 6, 2022

Swan Lake wraps up the season for Pittsburgh Ballet Theater with  eight performances at the Benedum with orchestra.  Debuting in this new production is original choreography from Artistic Director Susan Jaffe, a seasoned and celebrated Swan Queen herself. Ms. Jaffe first danced the role of Odette-Odile for American Ballet Theatre at the age of 19 and gave a performance that The New York Times called, “a beautiful triumph.” She danced the role every year of her 22-year illustrious career, including international performances.  

Nanette Kaplan Solomon - May 6, 2022

Pianist Nanette Kaplan has devised a grand finale for the Tuesday Musical Club season with Poulenc’s Aubade, a Beethoven Serenade and some true rarities Tuesday May 10 at  1` pm in Rodef Shalom Temple’s Levy Hakk. The concert is free. Nannette tells Jim Cunningham what to check out from some of her cds and has the details on the program and the musicians who will play.

Dorie Taylor & Yu-Ling Cheng Behr - Remake Learning Days - May 6, 2022

Producer Dorie Taylor and Yu Ling Cheng Behr, Co Producer and Kidsburgh Ambassador, are the power behind Remake Learning Days with a wide range of events for parents, caregivers and young people now through May 23.  They focus on arts events that are free and personal favorites they would love to see you enjoy complete with the WQED Writers Contest and Puppet Show on May 14th. How did they wind up as advocates for kids having studied at an advanced level in the business world. They reveal the journey to Jim Cunningham.

Cocktails & Cuisine - May 6, 2022

Foodies who care will gather again under the stars to support Crisis Center North (CCN) at its signature fundraiser, Cocktails & Cuisine. The outdoor sipping and grazing event marks its 15th year on Friday, May 13, at The Woodlands.  I spoke with Jessica Lee who will be performing throughout the evening with guitarist Mark Strickland.  There is also a Chef Showdown with Chef Emily Larsen from Spilling the Soup and Chef Christopher Galarza from Forward Dining Solutions.  Go to CrisisCenterNorth.com/events for tickets.

Sohrab Mohebbi - Carnegie Museum of Art - May 6, 2022

The Kathe and Jim Patrinos Curator of the 58th Carnegie International, Sohrab Mohebbi, visited WQED-FM to speak with Jim Cunningham about the first round of commissions and partnerships including the Berlin based collective terra0 which has proposed an augmented tree that owns its land; Pittsburgh born artist James “YaYa” Hough will paint a mural for the Hill District; Cuban American artist Rafael Domenech will begin the summer season June 4th with a pavilion housed in the museum’s sculpture courtyard; and artist Tony Cokes will create work for the Carnegie International on four digital billboards along Route 28. There will also be art seen for the first time in the US from the Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende. Sohrab tells his story beginning in Iran and suggesting ideas to Carnegie Museum of Art Director Eric Crosby with observations on how museums stay relevant today and making certain that Pittsburghers own one of the oldest and most comprehensive exhibits of new art in the world.

Takesha Meshe Kizart-Thomas - Resonance Works Pittsburgh - Apr 28, 2022

Anna Singer spoke with International soprano Takesha Meshé Kizart-Thomas, who makes her Pittsburgh debut in a one-night-only concert of opera, art song, jazz, and more. Praised by critics worldwide for her vocally compelling performances, Kizart-Thomas brings her versatility as a classical, jazz, soul, and pop vocal soloist to this program celebrating the significant contributions of women artists.

Resonance Works' "The Phenomenal Woman" will feature arias honoring the dramatic heroines of the opera stage portrayed by such artists as Shirley Verrett, Leontyne Price, and Jessye Norman, jazz standards popularized by the “First Lady of Song” Ella Fitzgerald, art songs by contemporary Black women composers, and new pieces commissioned and created by Kizart-Thomas. Presented in the intimate setting of Oakland’s Mellon Institute Auditorium, this concert is a powerful testament to the women who shaped music during the 20th century.

Pittsburgh Festival of Books - Apr 28, 2022

Laurie Moser, Co-Chair of the Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books, joins Shelly Schmidt of WQED Education who directs the Writers Contest and Jim Cunningham. They'll be together May 14th in East Liberty for the event. It's a free featuring over thirty authors with a tie to Pittsburgh. There's a puppet play created for the occasion, events at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater including Deanna Witkowski, author of a book about Mary Lou Williams, plus Creative Non Fiction mainstay Lee Gutkind discusses his work and career summary book.  You'll find Pittsburgh history and fiction, events for kids, and investigate multiple venues Duolingo and the Maverick, Carnegie Library, East Liberty Presbyterian and Bakery Square among them.

More about the Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books

Dan Kamin - Apr 27, 2022

Author of The Comedy of Charlie Chaplin: Artistry in Motion, Dan Kamin trained Robert Downey, Jr. for his Oscar-nominated performance in CHAPLIN.  On April 16th, Charlie Chaplin’s birthday, there was a special screening and live presentation celebrating one of his most beloved films - "The Kid."  

 In THE KID at 100, renowned mime and comedy choreographer Dan Kamin reveals what keeps this film fresh, funny and incredibly moving to this day.  Dan stopped by WQED-FM to talk with Anna Singer about the event.  

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