Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

The Bee's guide to events, activities, arts and entertainment


The adventurous chamber ensemble Citywater will debut a work by film and contemporary composer Michael Nyman tonight at the Crocker Art Museum.

Nyman is a prolific composer best-known for his score for the movie "The Piano," and the chamber opera "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat."

Citywater will perform his "Child's Play," originally written in 1985 for Lucinda Childs. Nyman rearranged it for sextet, minus percussion, in 2009.


Two locals have been chosen to play the young Snow White in the U.S. Premiere of Ballet Preljocaj's "Blanche Neige" (Snow White) at the Mondavi Center on March 17 and 18.

The two are nine-year-old Davis resident Camila Pedrosa, and Mckeena Lincoln, a 10 year old from Woodland. Both are students at the Pamela Trokanski Dance Workshop in Davis.

They will get their feet wet with the company at a first rehearsal on March 16 and March 17.


This year's 11th annual Brubeck Jazz Festival riffs of the theme "Building Communities," by featuring performers who have created and sustained a culture of jazz music in the communities where they live.

This year performers include Panamanian pianist Danilo Pérez and his trio, St. Louis native Willie Akins and his quartet; singer Debbie Duncan; drummer Lewis Nash; actor/singer Yolande Bavan; and archivist Ricky Riccardi.

The Festival, organized by the Brubeck Institute, runs from March 28 through March 31 and will be held at several venues, including on the Stockton Campus of University of the Pacific, The Take Five jazz club at Valley Brew and at several restaurants along Stockton's Miracle Mile.


You've earned serious cred when you win the International Tchaikovsky Competition.

Past winners include pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy, violinist Gidon Kremer and vocalist Deborah Voigt.

And now the young violinist Itamar Zorman is one of them. He will appear March 18 in Grass Valley as part of local presenter InSierra's concert series.


The Auburn Symphony has announced it will give a free concert in memory of its music director Michael Goodwin, who died in a car crash two weeks ago.

The concert will be given at Placer High School auditorium at 2 p.m. on March 11 and will feature guest pianist Konstantin Soukhovetski.

Goodwin, who led the all-volunteer orchestra since 1995, died when his car spun out of control Feb. 7 on Hwy 20 in Yuba County. He was on his way to a orchestra rehearsal.

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The passing of Auburn Symphony conductor Michael Goodwin will be honored this Saturday when the orchestra performs a scheduled Kinderkonzert.

Goodwin, who had conducted the orchestra since 1995, was killed in an auto accident on Hwy 20 in Yuba County Tuesday afternoon. He was on his way from his home in Oregon House to Placer High School to rehearse the orchestra for Saturday's concert.

The board of directors at the Auburn Symphony decided that not cancelling the concert would be in keeping with Goodwin's wishes.

Music runs in the family...

That much is clear with the young jazz pianist Julian Waterfall Pollack, son of Camellia Symphony music director Allan Pollack. His mother - Susan Waterfall - is a concert pianist in her own right.

Waterfall Pollack started studying piano at age 5, with his mother. At 17, he was leading his own groups.

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"The Last Crop," a documentary film about the efforts to preserve local farms, will screen, next Tuesday evening at Sacramento's Sierra 2 Community Center,

Directed by filmmaker Chuck Schultz,"The Last Crop" tells the story of Jeff and Annie Main of Good Humus, who like many farming families, confront an uncertain future as development makes incursions on their rural community. The tale is told against the backdrop of children choosing careers off the farm.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with filmmaker Schultz, Jeff and Annie Main, plus farmer Eric Hart and Paul Cultrera, general Manager of the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op.


It's hard to imagine that the U.S. does not have a national youth orchestra as do many countries.

Instead, hundreds of regional youth orchestras dot the land.

But that is no longer the case with Carnegie Hall's announcement that it is establishing the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America.


By Edward Ortiz

One thing can always be counted on when the San Francisco Symphony comes to the Mondavi Center. Actually, two.

The first is a stellar musicianship - an almost given with this orchestra. The second is the delivery of an interesting and deeply thought-provoking work.


The Sacramento Philharmonic is bringing David Kim, concertmaster of the acclaimed Philadelphia Orchestra, to Sacramento and Folsom for a performance of Camille Saint-Saëns' Violin Concerto No. 3.

Kim, who has been Concertmaster of the famed orchestra since 1999, was introduced to the violin at 3 years old when his mother, a well-known pianist in her native Korea, put an eighth size violin in his hands.

It proved the beginning of a stellar career.


A classically Mexican take on the holiday season is on tap at Folsom Lake College's Three Stages. The performance is called the Posada Navideña.

That traditional Mexican holiday event will be performed Dec. 23 by Sacramento's Instituto Mazatlan Bellas Artes (IMBA).

The Posada Navidena event is a ballet folklórico interpretation of the traditional Mexican Christmas celebration, known as "Las Posadas."


No doubt, we are in a golden era for the documentary film.

Small and inexpensive equipment, momentous times and a new attitude about documentaries has created a thriving audience for such films

That notion is not lost on the Documentary Channel the 24-hour television online network devoted to documentary and independent film.

The New York City Ballet and Lincoln Center will present George Balanchine's "The Nutcracker" as a delayed live simulcast to eight Sacramento area movie theaters on Dec. 13 at 7:30pm.

The New York City Ballet gave its first annual performance of Balanchine's staging of "The Nutcracker" in 1954. It quickly became New York City Ballet's biggest box office success.

Since the 1960's the tradition of presenting "The Nutcracker" every holiday season has taken hold at the company, with the tradition spreading nationwide thereafter.


The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) announced today its expansion designs that will double its square footage by adding 235,000 sq. ft. to the museum's footprint.

The building (design photo, pictured right), is being designed by the architectural firm Snøhetta, and allows different options for entry to the museum than its present single entrance on Third Street.

The expansion, which has a groundbreaking date of 2013, adds ground level galleries, a central gathering space and a new sculpture garden.


The highly regarded California Youth Symphony will perfom a concert at the Mondavi Center this Sunday as part of the ongoing Festival of New American Music.

The program will include William Walton's Cello Concerto, with Eunice Kim, winner of the 2010 California Youth Symphony Young Artist Competition, as soloist.

The concert will also feature the world premiere of Sacramento composer Stephen Blumberg's "Subterranean River."

"Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone" - documentary trailer from Tilapia Film on Vimeo.

Are all unhappy rock bands alike?

You can judge for yourself in the documentary "Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone" directed by Chris Metzler and Lev Anderson.

The doc chronicles the band Fishbone, namely the plight of lead singer Angelo Moreno and bassist Norwood Fisher, and the dissolution of the band.


A green tinge is part of this year's Halloween lead up by way of National Costume Swap Day.

That event allows the public to swap out their old Halloween costumes for another costume and it gets its local outing in Roseville this Saturday at reCreate.

The focus of the day is reducing waste borne from wearing an item once and discarding it

By Edward Ortiz

A historian's dream day will occur tomorrow when 19 archives and special collections partake in the first ever Archive Crawl at four locations.

The free event will allow the public the rare opportunity to tour archive spaces normally unavailable to them. The items to be found therein are wide-ranging and include ephemera such as a 16th century map depicting California as an island and the shovels used by convicted mass murderer Dorothea Puente.

Four historical organizations are partnering in the crawl and include the California State Archives, California State Library, The Central Library, and the Center for Sacramento History.


The uber-popular Met: Live in HD series of opera broadcasts to Sacramento movie theaters returns for the 2011-12 Met season.

The season begins with the Met premiere production of Donizetti's "Anna Bolena" starring Anna Netrebko in the title role on Oct. 15 (full schedule below).

Each live performance will take place on a Saturday, with nine evening pre-recorded encore presentations taking place the third Wednesday after each live performance.

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In his native China hotshot pianist has earned rock star status. Elsewhere, the 29-year-old is regarded as one of the most engaging and provocative classical pianists of his generation.

Lang Lang's presence will now grace the silver screen across the country, including eight cinema houses locally, in a special cinematic concert event, featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Charles Dutoit (see below for participating theatres).

That event is called "Lang Lang Live on Franz Liszt's 200th Birthday" and is a live, classical music in-theater event in which Lang Lang marks the birthday of his hero.


The American debut of Staff Benda Bilili - scheduled for tomorrow at Three Stages at Folsom Lake College - has been cancelled.

The entire 16-date North American tour - including New York and Los Angeles - has been scrapped due to what the band's agent called "bureaucratic red tape and the complexities of dealing with the US Embassy in Kinshasa."

In its stead at the same time as the cancelled concert, Three Stages has arranged to present an advance screening of Benda Bilili!, the documentary film of the band slated for national distribution by National Geographic later this month.


Filmmakers may want to take note of an upcoming workshop in Roseville held by the Los Angeles-based IndieCon.

On Sept. 18, at the Tower Theatre in Roseville, IndieCon is offering the workshop titled: "Overcoming the Catch 22's of Making Your First Feature Film."

The panel will offer Hollywood indie producers and actors followed by an audience Q&A.


An inspiring story of cancer survival by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist John Kaplan will air on KVIE HD this Wednesday evening at 11 p.m.

The documentary is a journal that follows Kaplan's journey after being diagnosed, at age 48, with lymphoma.

In the film Kaplan turns the lens on himself and chronicles his experience of treatment and recovery.

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The New York Philharmonic commemorates the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with "A Concert for New York," to be screened on KVIE this Sunday at 9:30 p.m.

In that broadcast, Alan Gilbert (pictured, above) leads the New York Philharmonic in a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 2, "Ressurection." Soprano Dorothea Röschmann, mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung and the New York Choral Artists will perform.

Sacramento native Matthew Muckey, who is assistant principal trumpet with the orchestra, will also perform.


The Center for Contemporary Arts Sacramento is hosting the 6th annual Capitol Artists' Studio Tour this Saturday.

The CCAS gallery - at 1519 19th St. -will be ground zero for the event.

At the gallery, tour-goers can get free maps for a self-guided tour of 150 Sacramento area artists studios.


A benefit concert for the VITA Academy's Link Up! program will take place Sept. 18, with the concert offering a roster of noted local musicians from several ensembles.

The benefit concert will include Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 in F Major op. 24 "Spring," featuring Sacramento Philharmonic concertmaster Dan Flanagan and pianist Paul Perry.

Also on the program is Russell Peterson's Trio for Flute, Alto Saxophone and Piano, with flutist Maquette Kuper, saxophonist Keith Bohm, and pianist John Cozza.

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A tantalizing brew of Euro-café, Balkan swing and chamber jazz is but a taste of the kind of music on tap tonight when the Gargantuis Effect performs at Luna's Cafe in their Nebraska Mondays concert series.

The Gargantius Effect is the brainchild of violinist-oboist Murray Campbell and saxophonist Randy McKean. The duo's emphasis? Genre-busting and the musically adventurous.

Tonight the two will be joined by special guest Han-earl Park on guitar. Park has made a name in Europe by playing with the likes of Wadada Leo Smith and Kato Hideki.

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If you have a burning desire to see what all the hype is about concerning hotshot conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic you no longer have to brave a trip down I-5 to Los Angeles.

Instead, you can sit in the comfort of a local cinema house now that Los Angeles Philharmonic performances are being offered at 8 local cinema houses (see list below).

The "LA Phil Live" screenings start with a 2 p.m. live broadcast on Oct. 9 from Walt Disney Hall, with Dudamel conducting an all-Mendelssohn program.

The Sacramento Jazz Festival will continue to be staged on Memorial Day weekend, but next year, it will have a new name: the Sacramento Music Festival.

Initially known as the Dixieland Jazz Jubilee, and more recently as the Sacramento Jazz Festival, the new name is meant to reflect the festival's broadening musical focus.

Next year will be the 39th festival program -- and will be staged mostly in Old Sacramento, as has been the tradition.

Festival organizers say that the scope and tone of the festival will stay similar to what was offered earlier this year when it offered 400 performances in 20 venues.

Information: (916) 372-5277;


The Instituto Mazatlán Bellas Artes is set to do a grand open of its new dance center on Stockton Street on Sept. 17.

The space (pictured, above) will be called "Studio 4300," and boasts two full studios.

The largest is a 1600 sq. ft. studio with three entry ways, ballet bars, state of the art sound system, hardwood floors and large windows allowing for natural sunlight to radiate.


If the focus is arts education then attendance at the upcoming Arts Education Partnership (AEP) national forum: "Transforming Urban School Systems Through the Arts," is almost mandatory.

That forum will convene at San Francisco's Sir Francis Drake hotel September 15-16.

The goal?


It's like Live Aid... with local talent.

Using music to shed some light and some funds for a good cause is at the heart of "March to the Beat of One Heart: Somalia Aid Concert" to take place on Sept. 3.

The event, whose proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders in Somalia, was organized by noted local guitarist Ross Hammond.

442(t)05_071[1].jpg The harp rarely gets its due as a solo instrument even though a harp concert is always a memorable event.

And a two harp concert? That's a rarity.

On Sept. 25 that rarity will be offered when the Lipman Harp Duo performs at Sacramento's All Saints Church. The program will include music by Grieg, Faure, and Debussy as well as transcriptions by Bach and Bizet. among other works

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The 50-member Davis Chorale is looking for singers for its 2011-12 season.

That season will see the group tackling performances of Brahms's Liebeslieder Waltzes, Andrew Carter's Benedicite and Haydn's Te Deum, among other works.

Auditions will be held Aug. 31 and Sept. 7. Interested singers should call Artistic Director, Alison Skinner at (530) 574-8419 to arrange for an audition time and place.


The San Francisco Symphony is kicking of its centennial season with a free outdoor birthday bash concert featuring Michael Tilson Thomas and the standout classical pianist Lang Lang.

The event will take place in front of San Francisco's City Hall on Thursday, Sept. 8. at 11:30 a.m..

At the 12:00 p.m. concert, Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the SFS in a program that includes Lang Lang performing Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major and Britten's "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra." Other works will performed.


Ninety percent of the big fish in our oceans are now gone.

Scientists predict that if fishing stays at the current rate, the planet will run out of seafood by 2048, with catastrophic consequences following.

And filmmaker Rupert Murray wants you to know about it.


The award-winning documentary "Cruz Reynoso: Sowing the Seeds of Justice" will be shown on KVIE on Sept. 26 as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Reynoso was the first Latino to be appointed to the California Supreme Court. The child of migrant farm workers, Reynoso became a lawyer, judge and teacher and fought to eradicate discrimination and inequality in each incarnation.

He was the first Latino director of California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), which provided legal aid to California's rural poor during the early days of Cesar Chavez's farm worker movement.

Burlesque and live jazz are a tantalizing combination - and the two will be the watchwords at Harlow's on Aug. 26 with "Big Top Burlesque."

The evening will offer the women of The Sizzling Sirens Burlesque Experience and the Harley White Jr. Orchestra.

The event features sideshow attractions, a full stage show of all-new burlesque performances by The Sizzling Sirens Burlesque Experience, live jazz, plus the debut of Meowie Wowie's burlesque fusion performance workshop class, among other events.


Sales of single tickets for the Mondavi's Center's 10th season get underway Friday.

The 2011-12 season will see debut appearances by the New York Philharmonic, the flamenco company Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca as the Scottish National Ballet.

The new season begins Sept. 30 with a performance by Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder and ends in May 2012 with the genre-bending group Supergenerous.


For young classical musicians, getting an invite to perform on the nationally syndicated radio show "From the Top." is no small matter.

The one hour NPR show is broadcast to more than 200 stations to an audience of 700,000 eager to hear the most talented young musicians in the country.

And soon 18-year-old Carmichael pianist Kevin Sun will be one of them.

To perform, Sun will have to travel to Ocean City, N.J. for an Aug. 31 taping of the episode. It airs the week of Nov. 14.


Have you ever wondered what 10 pianos sound like when played in unison?

You'll get the chance to find out on Aug. 13 during the Suzuki Piano Basics International 10-piano concert.

That event, held every two years, brings 230 students from United States, Japan, Holland, Canada, and Singapore to the U.S., with this year's event at the Mondavi Center.


The Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra is looking for experienced choral singers for its 2011-12 concert season.

SCSO Music Director Donald Kendrick is currently holding membership auditions for tenors and sopranos to join the 180-member choral group.

The chorus, which is entering its 16th season, rehearses September through May on Monday evenings from 7 to 9:30 p.m..


The Crocker Art Museum continues a 50-year-old tradition presenting classical music this fall with the announcement of its classical music series.

The concerts showcase a wide range of the classical repertoire - from the baroque to contemporary classical music.

And the best thing about the series is how the concerts a tie-in to the exhibits at the museum. All concerts are presented in its new theater (pictured, above) from 3-4 p.m.


Paul Reubens, creator and actor in the landmark television show, "Pee-wee's Playhouse," will not be making his Mondavi Center debut this December.

Reubens was to perform a spoken word show as part of the Center's last minute addition shows of its upcoming 2011-12 Season.

No reason was given for the cancellation.

INFORMATION: (530) 754-2787;


The Mondavi Center, in conjunction with SFJAZZ, is seeking to form an eight-person ensemble comprised of high school students.

That ensemble will be called the Mondavi Center SFJAZZ High School All-Stars. It's goal is a performance at the Mondavi Center on March 29, 2012 as the opening act for the SFJAZZ Collective.

The SFJAZZ nonprofit oversees the SF Jazz Festival. The SF Jazz Collective, in turn, is comprised of eight noted jazz instrumentalists and composers.


The Freeport Regional Water Authority announced today that it will reopen the Pocket Area Bike Trail, near the Freeport Bend.

Freeport Regional Water Authority officials and Councilmember Darrell Fong will conduct a ceremony to officially reopen the trail at 8:00 a.m, Friday.

The trail had closed in 2007 during the construction of the Freeport Water Intake Facility.

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It was only a matter of time before cell phone photographs leeched into the artistic realm as its own art form.

And why not? With higher quality lenses built into cell phones these days, some of those photos have a high quality look to them.

To honor that spirit Sacramento's Viewpoint Gallery has issued a call for cell phone photographs.


The San Francisco Opera is seeking boy sopranos or altos for the role of Cyril Rescorla for its fall 2011 world premiere production of Christopher Theofanidis' opera "Heart of a Soldier."

The opera, which opens Sept. 10, explores themes of war, love, friendship and heroism. The work is based on the true story of Rick Rescorla, a former soldier who gave up his life saving thousands in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001.

The role being auditioned requires strong singing and acting skills, and candidates should have past performance experience. The ability to move well is also required. Boys should be between the ages of 7 and 12 and should be between 4'0'' and 5'0'' tall.


It looks as if the Folsom Symphony has beaten all other local orchestras to the Hollywood music scoring punch.

That comes way of the orchestra being tapped to record the music for the sound track of the new movie "Bloodline," which premiers at Three Stages at Folsom Lake College on June 24.

The indie film, whose music was written by Justin Durban, is a full-length thriller wherein a former seminary student learns his blood line is marked by an evil 200-year-old hex.


The event only happens in San Francisco every 10 years.

That event is the San Francisco Opera 's presentation of Richard Wagner's "The Ring of the Nibelung," or the Ring cycle.

That audacious four opera mega-event is a veritable rite of passage for any opera aficionado. And it is now underway to glowing reviews in San Francisco.

Can the building of a 1/6th scale World War II-era town help someone recover from a brain injury?

Jeff Malmberg's fascinating documentary "Marewencol" posits the answer.

The 90-minute documentary tells the tale of Mark Hogancamp who was nearly beaten to death by a group of men in Kingston, N.Y.

It is not everyday that standout soprano Dawn Upshaw undertakes the role of a returning war vet.

However, that's exactly what Upshaw will do this weekend when she performs in George Crumb's "Winds of Destiny" at UC Berkeley.

In the production Upshaw portrays a female vet returning from a tour in Afghanistan that struggles with war demons.


The Citywater chamber ensemble wraps up its season with the last of its "Furlough Friday" concerts on June 17. The concert takes place at 8 p.m. at Sacramento's St. John's Lutheran Church at 1430 J St..

The focus for this musically daring ensemble will be the works of local composers. Citywater will perform works by Stephen Blumberg, Sunny Knable, Garrett Shatzer and Richard Cionco, among other works.

Note: Members of Citywater will appear on Capitol Public Radio's Insight with Jeffrey Callison at 10 a.m. the morning of the concert.

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The Auburn Symphony will be back in 2011-12 season with a robust season, including a return to the Mondavi Center.

The season begins Oct. 1, with a free Concert in the Park and ends In May of 2012 with a chamber concert at Auburn's State Theater. Michael Goodwin conducts.

Season tickets go one sale July 1, individual tickets Sep. 1.


What does an extra string (or four) afford the classical guitarist?

A whole new palatte of sounds, according to Davis-based classical guitarist Matt Grasso.

Grasso is keen on designing and playing the extended seven string guitar, and he will showcase that instrument at Davis's Watermelon Music in early July.


Some of the best music of the current era is not written for the concert hall - it's written for the screen.

And one of the more memorable of those is Howard Shore's Academy Award-winning music for the film "Lord of the Ring: The Fellowship of the Ring"

That music gets an outing this October with the "The Lord of the Rings In Concert: The Fellowship of the Ring," at Sacramento's Power Balance Pavilion.


Galena Street East will be holding auditions for its Children's Chorus, Allegro, and East Street Gang groups this Saturday.

The three groups are a training ground and feeder to the Galena Street East performing ensemble.

Those interested in auditioning should arrive 30 minutes early to fill out necessary audition forms, and bring music (either on CD or as sheet music) to sing and dance to, plus appropriate dance apparel.

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Wynton Marsalis is making a debut in the Sierra Foothills.

The famed trumpeter will appear at Grass Valley's Veteran's Memorial Auditorium with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on June 17.

Also slated to appear in concert in Grass Valley will be noted pianist Joel Fan.


The renowned 12-member ensemble Chanticleer has announced its 2011-12 and it includes 2 concert stops in Sacramento.

The acclaimed Bay Area-based ensemble will perform 26 concerts throughout Northern California, with its two Sacramento concerts on Sept. 18 and Dec. 14 . Single tickets go on sale August 1.

This season the ensemble makes its last Sacramento appearance on June 5 at St. Francis Church, at 5 p.m.. That concert will feature romantic compositions written over the past century, with French, German, Russian and American composers represented.


The UC Davis Film Festival enters its 11th season with a series of short student films to be screened at the Varsity Theatre in Davis.

The festival gives students the opportunity to present their short films and receive feedback from faculty who are professionals in film, television, and new media.

This year's festival has received approximately 50 submissions. All films are no longer than ten minutes including credits. Awards will be given in many categories. A faculty group curates the program and winners receive prizes.


The Return to Forever IV jazz and rock fusion ensemble has just been added to the Mondavi Center concert schedule. The ensemble makes their Mondavi debut on Sept. 21.

The performance is being presented as one of the center's "Just Added" concerts for the 2011-12 Season. Tickets will be available May 21.

Return to Forever, in prior incarnations, was comprised of founder and pianist Chick Corea and bassist Stanley Clarke, with a host of noted musicians joining the mix.


One of the bright spots on the local music education scene is the Sacramento State String Project.

That project is an outreach program focused on providing students, from 3rd through 8th grade with instrumental training.

The String Project is currently under the direction of Judy Bossuat and cellist Tim Stanley (pictured, right), and is part of the National String Project Consortium. Classes are held at CSUS.


If you missed one of the Metropolitan Opera's Live In HD screenings, fear not.

The Met will be offering six encore performances of past Live in HD operas this summer in over 400 theaters nationwide. The operas will be shown in 7 Sacramento-area cinema houses.

The screenings begin June 15, with Anthony Minghella's critically acclaimed production of "Madama Butterfly," and ends July 27 with Tony Award-winning director Nicholas Hytner's production of "Don Carlo," (schedule and theaters, below).

Sacramento's V.I.T.A. (Vocal and Instrumental Teaching Artists) Academy Orchestra and Soloists conclude their 2010-11 season with an "Academy Showcase" concert.

The May 26 concert, to be performed at Sacramento State University, features emerging professional musicians from VITA's Academy Orchestra.

Works to be performed include the Infernal Danse, Berceuse and Finale from Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite," and Mars and Jupiter from Holst's "Planets."

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The Davis-based Vocal Art Ensemble will perform a mix of madrigals and modern works over three evenings next week.

Titled "Cloudburst: Sounds of Nature," the concerts will see the twenty-one voice choral group performing Eric Whitacre's "Cloudburst," among other works.

Cloudburst: Sounds of Nature
Vocal Art Ensemble
WHEN 7:30 p.m. May 13-15
WHERE: May 13 at Dixon United Methodist Church, 209 N. Jefferson St., Dixon; May 14, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 2620 Capitol Ave., Sacramento; May 15, at United Methodist Church of Davis, 1620 Anderson Road, Davis
TICKETS: Free admission - donation.


HBO is looking for the next big thing from Latino documentary filmmakers.

The company announced that it is teaming up with the National Association of Latino Producers to award $10,000 to the winner of their 2011 Documentary Grant.

Applications are now being accepted with a June 10 deadline.

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For the past two years, bicyclists in the region have met the goal of logging 1 million miles in May.

This year the challenge has been upped to 2 million rides.

The challenge comes way of Bike Month co-chairs West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon and Sonja Atkins, coordinator with Mercy San Juan Medical Center Safe Kids.


In May the Mobius Trio will be giving a free concert of new classical music written by Northern California composers.

The trio, founded in 2010, are Matthew Holmes-Linder, Robert Nance and Woodland native Mason Fish.

All three are finishing graduate study at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.


Songs of traveling, destinations, and the call of the open road will be the focus of the Sacramento Gay Men's Chorus latest series of upcoming concerts

The chorus, founded in 1984, will perform its "One for the Road" program six times in four cities between April 29 and May 14.

One for the Road
Sacramento Gay Man's Chorus
WHEN: April 29 - May 14
WHERE: see below schedule
COST: $15
INFORMATION: 1-888-283-1657;


World renowned recorder player Judith Linsenberg returns to Sacramento to perform with Sacramento Baroque Soloists May 14th and 15th, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

Linsenberg is a leading exponent of the recorder and performs extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe.

She will perform works by Vivaldi, Telemann, and Graun. The program also features soprano and music director Lisa Marie Lawson performing Alessandro Scarlatti's arias. The "Sonnerie de Saint Genevieve" by Marais and a trio sonata by Corelli will also be performed.

Sacramento Baroque Soloists, w/ Judith Linsenberg
WHEN: 8 p.m., May 14, 8 p.m. & 3 p.m. May 15, 3 p.m.
LOCATION: St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 1500 J St., Sacramento
COST: $25 general, $20 seniors, $10 students
CONTACT: 916-705-3806;


It is not every day that a music department gets a 130 year-old Bösendorfer concert grand piano.

But that is exactly what happens tomorrow when the Sacramento State University Music Department becomes the recipient of a Bösendorfer piano (pictured, right).

The 85-key piano is being donated by Sacramento doctor and music philanthropist Richard Graves, and the donation will be celebrated with a gala concert tomorrow evening (details below).

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The Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra ends its 2010-2011 season with a decidedly local focus.

For its concert on May 21, entitled "Homegrown Sacramento," the orchestra will feature two Sacramentans: vocalist Faith Prince (shown, above) and teenage violin phenom Ray Anthony Trujillo.

Faith Prince, will bring bring her jazzy performance style to bear on a concert program that includes a reprisal from her Tony award-winning role in "Guys and Dolls". Prince, who lives in Sacramento, will be joined by her son on guitar and her husband on trumpet.


The American Bach Soloistsʼ last concert of the 2010-2011 will offer the West Coast premiere of a work discovered just a decade ago: the Mass for Three Choirs by the Venetian master Antonio Lotti.

The concert will be led by artistic director Jeffrey Thomas - who has proven to be a savvy Bach and baroque music interpreter. The rarely performed Lotti work will be paired with Bachʼs joyous and popular Magnificat in D Major.

The ensemble will be joined by members of the American Bach Soloists Academy, including soprano Shari Wilson; mezzo-soprano Abigail Fischer and tenor Scott Mello.


The Camellia Symphony is moving to a new venue next season and offering a world premiere.

The new season, its 49th, will see this orchestra move to the new state-of-the-art venue: The Center at Twenty-Three Hundred (at 2300 Sierra Blvd. in Sacramento).

The move to the new space was predicated by the need to perform in a more intimate setting while providing ample parking for performances, symphony officials said. The orchestra has called Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium home for decades.

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is making a stop at the Crest Theater on April 28.

The festival has already made its way to 15 cities since January - from Juneau, Alaska to Santa Fe, N.M.

Films include "Wild Water," Anson Fogels' exploration of the individuals who passionately venture into whitewater, and "Truck Farm," wherein filmmaker Ian Cheney explores the rooftops and windows of New York City's newest edible oases (full schedule below).


It only happens once a decade and this summer you can be part of it.

That happening is the San Francisco Opera's much awaited Ring Cycle, and it is seeking to cast extras for that operatic juggernaut.

The company is seeking 10 physically fit men to appear in the summer 2011 presentation of Richard Wagner's epic Ring Cycle. Casting will take place on Wednesday, April 27 at 7 p.m..


If you love mural art then a trip to San Francisco is in order.

The reason is "The Indoor Mural Project: A Living Survey of Street Art."

That project is designed as a series of works by both local and international street artists and has been underway at San Francisco's 941 Geary gallery.


The UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance will put an unconventional spin on Herman Melville's classic "Moby Dick" when it presents "The Moby-Dick Variations" for a several show run starting May 5.

The new work, conceived and directed by John Zibell, a Master of Fine Arts directing candidate at UCD, and devised by the production company, is set in the present.

Zibell describes the production as an exercise in collective story-telling investigating the disappearance of the human animal from the natural landscape.


The ultra-urbane Slumgum jazz quartet will perform in Sacramento Monday evening.

The quartet, which hails from Los Angeles, will perform side by side with Steve Adams of the ROVA Saxophone Quartet and Ross Hammond, at Luna's Cafe.

The quartet has been garnering attention from jazz fans and critics after recent performances in Southern California and New York. And this show will likely be a must-see for jazz fans and those familiar with Adams and Hammond.

WHEN: 7 p.m., Monday
WHERE: Luna's Cafe and Juice Bar, 1414 16th St., Sacramento
COST: $5-$10 (sliding scale)


Classical guitarist Gohar Vardanyan and Portland based classical guitarist Jesse McCann will share a double bill when they perform this Saturday in Carmichael.

Vardanyan (pictured, right) is a Juilliard grad who studied under noted guitarists Sharon Isbin and Manuel Barrueco. She will perform Joaquin Turina's Sonata Op. 61 and two sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti, among other works.

McCann, a member of the Oregon Guitar Quartet and student of guitarists Dusan Bogdanovic, and Jason Vieux will perform works by Bogdanovic, John Duarte and Sylvius Leopold Weiss.

One Family in Gaza from Jen Marlowe on Vimeo.

Sacramento's first Palestinian Film Festival gets under way at CSUS later this month.

The festival will offer a slate of films that give a compelling glimpse into the lives and struggles of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

The festival screens between April 30 and May 1, and opens with "Something to Prove - from Gaza to the U.S.A" - a short film that follows 15 boys from the Gaza Strip on their first trip out of Gaza to the U.S.


If you are the fan of the fluid and radiant voice of Robin Fisher and you like Jane Austen then you will want to attend "How Austentatious!".

That show will see Fisher perform in a program of music and story from the salon of Jane Austen.

For that peformance Fisher will be joined by pianist John Cozza, pianist and narrator David Bell.


This summer the San Francisco Sympony's summer concert line-up includes a summer classical concert series, as well as orchestra performances with Johnny Mathis, Pink Martini, and Arrival: the music of ABBA.

The summer slate also includes a screening of Casablanca with live orchestral accompaniment, as well as two evenings devoted to Disney and Hollywood film music.

The Orchestra's summer concerts begin June 27, when vocalist Johnny Mathis performs with the Symphony.


It's official, the Citywater chamber ensemble is now an artist-in-residence ensemble at Sacramento State University.

And to celebrate the honor the ensemble is performing tomorrow at CSUS. That performance is part of a faculty gala concert in the excellent New Millennium Series.

The ensemble, formed in 2008, is made up of cellist Tim Stanley, flutist Cathie Apple, percussionist Ben Prima, clarinetist Milun Doskovic, violinist Charles Spruill IV and pianist Jennifer Reason.


Steven Valencia, artistic director of The Compañia Mazatlán Bellas Artes, has been tapped as one of 10 Californians to receive The Maestro Award from The Latino Arts Network of California.

The Compañia Mazatlán Bellas Artes is a Sacramento-based dance company that has been under the artistic leadership of Valencia since 1998. He is also one of its principal dancers.

The Maestro Award will be presented to Valencia next Thursday at a reception from 6:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Sacramento's La Raza Galería Posada,

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The Bicycle Film Festival is returning to the city this May.

Originating in New York City, the festival added Sacramento last year to its roster of 40 cities that include Amsterdam, London, Milano, and Tokyo.

Between May 12-14, the festival will offer an additional night of films and other activities. The expanded three-night schedule opens Thurs., May 12, at the New Crocker Art Museum. The epicenter for the festival will be Sacramento's Fremont Park between May 13 and 14 (see schedule below). Admission for the BFF is free.


The Mondavi Center is adding the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, with Wynton Marsalis, and Pink Martini (pictured, right) to its summer line up, the center announced today.

The performances are presented as "Just Added" events, and will begin at 8 p.m. in the Mondavi Center's Jackson Hall on the UC Davis campus.

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will perform on June 18, and Pink Martini will perform on July 5. Tickets will be available starting April 18.


When the Schola Cantorum ensemble performs its popular annual Lenten concert next week, the centerpiece will be the Requiem by Maurice Durufle.

That intensely evocative work is written for choir and organ. And for this performance organist Stephen Janzen will perform with the Schola Cantorum choir under the leadership of conductor Donald Kendrick. Mezzo soprano Monica Barnes and baritone Daniel Yoder will perform-

Works for choir and organ, as well as a cappella pieces typical of Schola Cantorum's repertoire will also be performed.

Schola Cantorum
When: 2 p.m.,Sunday, April 17
Where: Sacred Heart Church, 1040 39th St., Sacramento
Cost: $15; $10 students and seniors
Information: (916) 962-6056;


Clear Channel Outdoor California announced today it has joined the California Arts Council to support the "Million Plates Campaign for the Arts," a campaign designed to raise $40 million annually for California's art programs and organizations through sales of the California Arts License plate.

Currently, proceeds from sales of the California Arts License Plate, which was designed by artist Wayne Thiebaud, accounts for two thirds of the state's public arts funding. The plate program is helping to restore public funding for the arts as California's budget crisis has placed constraints on art organizations across the state.

In supporting the campaign, Clear Channel Outdoor has created a public service program that will display the Arts Council's imagery on more than 100 digital signs throughout California.

This year's Academy Award-winner for best documentary short, "Strangers No More", will be featured at the Sacramento International Film Festival as part of the International Short Film Showcase. That showcase begins at noon on April 16th at the Crocker Art Museum.

"Strangers No More," directed by Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon, tells the tale of three children who flee suffering in Darfur, South Africa, and Eritrea, and end up at the Bialik-Rogozin School in south Tel Aviv, among children from 48 different countries.

Four other films will be screened, including: "Truth or Die," directed by Tom Grejs; "Iris," directed by James Niebauer; "Kidnap," by Sijia Luo, an animated short; and "Passion Fruit," by Ting Liu.

Sacramento International Film Festival
WHEN: Noon, April 16
WHERE: Crocker Art Museum, 216 O St., Sacramento

The vanishing of the Sacramento Opera from the concert scene this season has left many lovers of opera and classical music in the lurch.

Fortunately, the craving for opera can been sated by the Metropolitan Opera HD simulcasts that have become popular since their first screening here five years ago.

Upcoming, the Met is offering the following three operas for local live viewing in the Sacramento region as part of the "Live in HD" screening series.

Bassoonists are a unique bunch.

And an unsung one, too.

Typically they're tucked away behind the strings, and a forest of music stands.

But video is the great equalizer.

In this video, Sacramento Philharmonic principal bassoonist David Granger talks about Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5, a work the orchestra will perform this Saturday evening at the Community Center Theater.

That evening's program also includes Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor, with cellist Joseph Johnson, and "Blue Hour," a new work by the Bay Area composer Conrad Susa. Michael Morgan will conduct.

To read the Bee's preview of the concert go here.

"Hidden Meanings"
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Community Center Theater, 1301 L St., Sacramento
COST: $16-$97
INFORMATION: (916) 808-5181,


Today at 1 p.m., Mayor Kevin Johnson will celebrate the city's involvement with the "Any Given Child" program.

"Any Given Child" is a partnership between the Twin Rivers School and the Sacramento Unified School Districts and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

That program seeks to bring arts instruction into participating schools through a long range plan that uses local artists, arts organizations and resources from the Kennedy Center.

The partnership began in 2009, and since then a total of 36 classrooms have been working with seven residency artists from the Sacramento community.

Students receive hands-on education experiences in different arts genres as part of the program. That effort expects to have reached out to more than 39,000 students by the end of the year.

At today's event, Johnson will talk about the accomplishments of "Any Given Child", which is now a national program, but was launched in Sacramento.

Johnson will be joined by B Street Theatre executive director Bill Blake and Barbara Shepherd, director of National Partnerships at the Kennedy Center.

There will be a performance by B Street's Fantasy Theatre Group.

"Any Given Child"
WHEN: 1 p.m.
WHERE: Kohler Elementary School, 4004 Bruce Way, North Highlands


Be careful... your houseplants may be listening...

This week the Agence France-Presse news agency reported that Britain's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed a three-hour recital in London last week - to an audience of plants.

In that uber-fragrant performance, 33 musicians played classical works, including Mozart's Symphony No. 40.

The audience was comprised of 100 varieties of plants and bulbs. None, apparently, were identified as regular subscribers.

Such popular plants as geraniums, fuschias and perennials were in attendance, the story said.


Could it be that opera and live theater are the unlikely saviors of the cineplex, and not the other way around?

As much was posited in Steve Pond's blog in The Wrap.

In that blog Pond states: "motion-picture box office may be down as much as 21 percent, year-to-date," and that "theatrical presentations beyond movies generated $112 million for the exhibition industry, a 51 percent uptick over 2009, according to Screen Digest."

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Sacramento Native, Dr. Dennis Godby, is running across America - and actor, director, author Le Var Burton wants to tell you about it.

Burton will be in the city to kickoff a celebration for Godby's cross-country run at a local fundraising dinner April 16 from 5:00-11:00 p.m., at Sacramento's Grand Capitol Ballroom.

Godby will be running 3,250 miles through 90 cities across the country. This is the second coast-to-coast run for Dr. Godby. This time he will be accompanied by sons Isaiah and Jeremiah, and nephew, Jonas Ely.


A Gitanes cigarette dangling from his lips.

A wry twinkle in a many-wrinkled eye.

These are images that recall French icon Serge Gainsbourg.

And the 20th anniversary of his passing is not going unnoticed.

To mark it the Sacramento French Film Festival is hosting a party celebrating Gainsbourg with music by DJ Christophe and DJ Roger.

Music videos, live music, film clips and other media will be part of the mix.

And why not?

Gainsbourg wore many hats: singer-songwriter, director, actor, photographer, and provocateur. He also fathered actress-singer Charlotte Gainsbourg, with wife and actress-singer Jane Birkin.

Even now, two decades gone, he's considered one of France's most influential musicians.

In June, the SFFF will pay further homage to Gainsbourg with the screening of the acclaimed and award winning feature film "Gainsbourg: Vie heroique," directed by Joann Sfar, winner of the 2011 César Award.

Sacramento French Film Festival
WHEN: 8 p.m., April 2
WHERE: Verge Gallery, 625 S St.,. Sacramento
Cost: $5
INFORMATION: (916) 455 9390;


Fourteen-year-old organist Alan Montgomery will perform an organ recital at Sacramento's Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament tomorrow evening.

Montgomery will perform works by Bach, Franck, and Boellman on the cathedral's 24 rank Reuter organ (picutred, right).

Alan Montgomery, organ

WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, 1017 11th St., Sacramento
COST: Free - donation
INFORMATION: 444-3071;


In the American Bach Soloists latest concert the question posed will be "Did Bach have a sense of humor?"

Anyone that knows Bach well will respond with a resounding "Yes!"

Indeed, his Coffee Cantata is as lighthearted as it gets in the Baroque era, and as close as Bach comes to having written a comic opera. In that work he musically skewers coffee drinkers and their stodgy critics alike.

So what can be more timely, in our current era of baristas and boutique coffee shops, than skewering them anew?

This is what ABS music director Jeffrey Thomas may have had in mind when he gives the public a taste of Bach's comic leanings in a concert of music by Bach and Telemann.

And to do so he is spotlighting three talented young soloists -
soprano Yulia Van Doren, baritone Joshua Copeland, and violinist Johanna Novom (pictured, above).

Each soloist is a prizewinner in recent ABS Young Artist Competitions.

This concert will also see noted recordist Judith Linsenberg collaborate with the ABS orchestra.

The program not only includes Bach's Coffee Cantata, it includes the comically absurd "Ode on the Death of a Pet Canary," and the U.S. premiere of Telemann's recently discovered Concerto in G Minor for Recorder and Strings.

American Bach Soloists
April Follies: Secular Treasures by Bach & Telemann
WHEN: 8:00 p.m. April 4
WHERE: Davis Community Church, 412 C St., Davis
COST: $17-$50
INFORMATION: (415) 621-7900;

The sweet, soulful sound of Puerto Rican ensemble Mijo De La Palma is coming to Sacramento's La Raza Galeria Posada this Friday.

Mijo de la Palma is known for its fusión jíbara - a combination of traditional Puerto Rican music, nueva trova, and flamenco.

This fresh mix of styles, which the band honed in the music scene of Western Puerto Rico, also reveals strands of acoustic rock and blues.

Mijo De La Palma
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Friday
WHERE: 1022-1024 22nd St., Sacramento
COST: $12
INFORMATION: (916) 446-5133;

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It may be the harsh economic times. Or perhaps it is a new paradigm among arts organizations in getting funds that caused the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission's Arts Funding Symposium to be a quick sell out.

More than 75 arts organizations are among the 136 registrants signed up for the symposium which takes place tomorrow at KVIE's studios. The result? The symposia is filled, and was mostly filled within the first 2 hours of its offering. Luckily, SMAC is planning to offer the symposia again in the fall.

"Arts organizations are clearly getting hit from the public and private sectors," said Rhyena Halpern, executive director of SMAC. "We wanted to do something significant to help the arts community weather this seeming endless storm."


Bass soloist Clayton Brainerd, who was scheduled to perform in the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra's Verdi Requiem tomorrow evening at the Mondavi Center, has cancelled due to a health issue.

Brainerd will be replaced by bass Kevin Thompson (pictured, right), whom the SCSO is flying out from Washington, D.C. on short notice. Thompson will join soprano Karen Slack, mezzo-soprano Julie Simson, and tenor Bjorn Arvidsson as one of the four soloists in Verdi's 90-minute masterpiece.

A basso profundo, Thompson is at home on both the opera and concert stage. He has sung the bass in Verdi's Requiem and also in the Mozart Requiem, Handel's "Messiah," and Stravinsky's "Les Noces."

"Thompson has sung a lot with Karen Slack who referred him to us," said Donald Kendrick, artistic director of the SCSO. "He's one of the few old school true basso profundo singers with a low D in his voice."

Thompson is a native of Washington, D.C., and an alumnus of Juilliard School and San Francisco Opera's prestigious Merola program.

Verdi's Requiem
Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra
WHEN: 8 p.m., Saturday
WHERE: Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center, UC Davis
TICKETS: $15-$50
INFORMATION: (530) 754-2787;

Recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician Tieh Hsieh will perform transcriptions of Bach's music on Saturday during the second concert of the BravoBach festival (details below).

Born in Taiwan, Hsieh immigrated to the United States when she was nine years old, and currently resides in Folsom.

She began her musical training with her mother, Sylvia Hsieh, who maintains an active piano studio in Sacramento.

Hsieh is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, and prize-winner of the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition. She recently released the clearly rendered and intimately performed CD "Mostly Transcriptions," that included Bach transcriptions by Busoni and Liszt.

Some of those works will be performed Saturday including the Bach-Busoni transcription Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C Major as well as the Bach-Liszt transcriptions: Fantasy and Fugue in G Minor and the Prelude and Fugue in A minor, among others.

Tien Hsieh - piano
Sacramento Bach Festival-Bravo Bach!
WHEN: 7 p.m., Saturday
WHERE: St. Mark's United Methodist Church, 2391 St. Mark's Way, Sacramento
TICKETS:$15; $10 student


The second concert of the new Guitar Music Expressions Series at Antiquite Maison Privee takes place Saturday March 25 when classical guitarist Greg Williams performs in recital.

Williams studied classical guitar with Richard Savino, Dusan Bogdonovic, and Brandon Yip. To date, Williams has received three SAMMIE awards, and is a founding member of the Sacramento Guitar Society.

Guitar Expression Music Series
Greg Williams
WHEN: 8:00 p.m., March 25
WHERE: Antiquite Maison Privee 2114 P St.,, Sacramento
INFORMATION: 916.706.0886;

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Clarinetist Deborah Pittman will figure as a large part of the Capitol Chamber Players next concert this Sunday.

In a concert titled "Winds: Wood and Metal," Pittman (pictured, right) will perform "The World According to Earl," a work she wrote in 2010.

Pittman wrote the work as a father-daughter biography written for solo clarinet and pictorial images.

The afternoon program will also include Saint-Saëns' Caprice on Danish and Russian Airs op. 79 for flute, oboe, clarinet and piano; the Reinecke Trio in A Major for oboe, French horn and piano and a comedic work for flute and French horn: "Two-Bit Contraptions," by Jan Bach.

The Capitol Chamber Players
"Winds: Wood and Metal"
including "The World According to Earl" by Deborah Pittman
WHEN: 3:00 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Congregation B'nai Israel, 3600 Riverside Blvd., Sacramento
TICKETS: $18; $12 senior; $7 student
INFORMATION: (530) 756-7380


A four decade career will come to an end when Steve Anderson, former dean of the Conservatory of Music at the University of the Pacific, retires as director of the Brubeck Institute.

Anderson, who retires this summer, is a noted educator and trombonist. He has performed in numerous countries, collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music and film industry and has expanded the scope of jazz education.

A reception will be held for Anderson at 5 p.m. April 11 with the location to be determined at a later date. The reception will be open to the university community.

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It seems everyone and their mother are crawling out of the woodwork to get a piece of the ever growing Charlie Sheen news machine.

Earlier this week, shock-jock Howard Stern intoned proudly on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" that he had nabbed the troubled actor for an exclusive phone interview.

And not to be outdone, local radio station 107.9 "The End" is offering the besieged actor a temp job.

Ironically, the offer may be as troubling and seemingly insensitive as what Sheen has wrought in his personal life.

The Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission is seeking applicants to it Cultural Arts Awards Grants program.

That program, in place since 1980, provides nonprofit arts organizations with general operating funds. In 2010, the CAA program granted $491,077 to 53 arts organizations in Sacramento County, supporting an aggregate of $67 million in annual operating budgets

The awards are available to Sacramento City and County non-profit arts organizations with amounts that typically range from $1,000 to $25,000, depending on an organizations' annual revenue.

Applications are being solicited for the 2012-14 cycle. That application period opens March 1 and closes June 9. The CAA application is open to all nonprofit arts organizations in Sacramento County.

All applications must be submitted online at Grant guidelines may be downloaded in PDF format from the SMAC website here.

The grant guidelines outline the eligibility of the grant as well as the review process and tips on the application.

Successful applicants must meet high standards of artistic quality, show evidence of community involvement, and exhibit sound organizational practices and fiscal accountability.

Free workshops will be conducted to assist organizations in the application process.

Applicants are encouraged to send their grant writers even if their organization has received CAA funding in the past. Workshops will be held on March 30, April 18, and if necessary,May 14.


By Edward Ortiz

How good is the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra?

That answer is not easily gleaned if you live in Northern California.

The last time the orchestra came to the region was 1987.

And so it was with great expectation that the Vienna Philharmonic made a rare appearance in Berkeley this weekend.

This orchestra, which gave its first performance in 1842, appears consistently atop best orchestra lists. It has so for decades.

And Sunday's performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 6 in A minor, "Tragic," at Zellerbach Hall at the University of California at Berkeley campus was an elegant example of why that honor is earned.

The performance was the last of three concerts that completed a residency at Cal Performances. It's hard to imagine the orchestra did not save their best for last.

Any stand out performance by an orchestra is one that opens a door and allows certain revelations about what was going on inside a composer's brain and heart. And revelation was everywhere at play Sunday afternoon with this orchestra, under the tight direction of conductor Semyon Bychkov.

This was a performance that made the densest passages of this difficult symphony fall upon the ear as clear and light. And the lighter passages were brimming with musical color and punch.

This hour and a half long work hails from Mahler's middle period, and is a dark work that does not end on a triumphant up note. Although the work is titled "Tragic," it approaches that word from its Aristotelean meaning - wherein "tragic" describes that which is most promising and vexing in the human condition. As such there is both a sense of the exalted and the fraught in this symphony. The evolution is from major to minor keys, and this complex and curious work evolves almost horizontally, rather than vertically.

On Sunday Bychkov chose to perform the symphony with the Scherzo as the second movement. That movement bloomed with the clarity of an alpine river - each note and musical phrase was savored as much as finely etched.

Some of the best playing in the evening was found in the middle movements of the Scherzo and the Andante. The evolution of music from one section of the orchestra to another was seamless. Bychkov proved deft at coaxing elegant and emotional playing from the musicians during the pianissimo passages. But he also was able to communicate the great sweep of this cinemascopic-like work.

Bychkov, while conducting from memory, looked as if his connection to the Vienna musicians was a primal one. His paces were crisp but never hurried. In the dramatic Allegro that opens the work, Bychkov let the music play out without forcing any of the musical statements, and the same applied to the massive Finale. Except with the Finale, Bychkov was masterful in keeping the orchestra tightly wound around each musical idea, and this served to build the rising tension.

The final statement of this bold work ends with one cleverly placed and plucked note. And the silence that descended after it was a note unto itself, too. Bychkov and orchestra honored that silence with seconds of absolute stillness. It was a note without a key. The moment was an example of how every inch of this great symphony had been given the greatest thought.

Call the Bee's Edward Ortiz, (916) 321-1071.


Natomas resident Carrie Hennessey is in the running to win an award at for her performance in title role of the opera "Emmeline."

Hennessey, a frequent performer with the Sacramento Opera, has been nominated in the Best Leading Actress in a Musical (Local) category.

"Emmeline," written by Tobias Picker, received rave reviews when it was performed at the Cinnabar Theater, in Sonoma County last year. Hennessey was cited as the reason in most of those reviews, which praised both her acting and the fervent singing she brought to the title role.

"I'm deeply honored," said Hennessey. "Emmeline" has shaped who I'm becoming as a performer, singer and actor."

Hennessey is currently singing the role of Cio-Cio San in the Livermore Valley Opera's production of "Madame Butterfly."

To vote for Hennessey go here.


Is the Vienna Philharmonic really the the world's greatest orchestra?

Or is it stuck in the insular symphonic approaches of the 20th century?

The answer may be gleaned this weekend when the 160-year-old orchestra performs a rare three-concert stand at Zellerbach Hall at the University of California at Berkeley.

The orchestra's appearance is part of a residency and presented by Cal Performances.

It will be the first time the ensemble has performed in Northern California since 1987.

On Friday, conductor Semyon Bychkov will lead the orchestra at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall in Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 2 in B-flat major, D. 125. That program includes the Prelude & Liebestod from Richard Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" and Béla Bartók's "The Miraculous Mandarin."

Saturday evening, the orchestra returns with Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61, and Johannes Brahms's Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73.

The final concert takes place Sunday afternoon and features Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 6 in A minor ("Tragic").

This engagement marks the inauguration of a new annual program of orchestral residencies at Cal Performances.

More information can be found here.


Evoking its strong ties to Egypt, Sacramento Philharmonic music director Michael Morgan has added a work by Egyptian composer Nader Abbassi to its upcoming concert program.

Abbassi (pictured, above) is a frequent guest with the Sacramento Philharmonic. He is currently the music director of the Cairo Opera and the Qatar Philharmonic. The orchestra will perform his short work "New Conception," in its American premiere.

The work was written in 2004 for the Orchestra for Peace and premiered at UNESCO in Paris, France. It juxtaposes Middle Eastern themes and melodies with western technique and harmonies.

"New Conception" will join the program with Beethoven's Symphony No. 7, and Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, K. 491, with pianist Sara Davis Buechner performing.

Bringing Egyptians to the Sacramento concert stage is no rare move for the Philharmonic. In the last three years, the orchestra has developed strong ties to Egypt while also courting funds from the Egyptian community in Sacramento.

In 2008 and 2009 Abbassi collaborated with the orchestra culminating in the Songs of Hope project, a concert series promoting a multi-cultural dialogue.

In 2009, Michael Morgan was welcomed as a special guest to the Cairo Opera Orchestra.

Sacramento Philharmonic
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday; and 7:30 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Community Center Theater, 1301 L St., Sacramento on Saturday; and at Stage One of Three Stages at Folsom Lake College, 10 College Pkwy., Folsom on Sunday
TICKETS: $16-$97 Saturday; $12.50-$59 Sunday
INFORMATION: (916) 808-5181 for Saturday; (916) 608-6888 for Sunday; or


If it's new and not-oft performed music, the local chamber ensemble Citywater wants to play it.

And the benefactors will likely be furloughed state workers with a taste for the musically adventurous.

New music is the underlying passion for the six musicians of the four-year-old Citywater, who are continuing their popular "Furlough Friday" concert series this Spring. That series began last year with a big ticket price break for state workers forced to take furloughs.


Today, the Obama Administration released its FY 2012 budget request to Congress and it calls for a $21 million funding decrease for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

If approved, the NEA's $167.5 million budget will be trimmed to $146 million. The NEA is the largest grantmaker to arts organizations in the nation.

The NEA, curently led by Broadway theater producer Rocco Landesman (pictured, right), had seen steady funding increases since 2004.

Some in Congress are calling for even deeper cuts. One is Rep. Jim Jordan who leads the House Republican Study Committee. Jordan has expressed a desire to eliminate the NEA budget altogether.

That move mirrors an unrealized 1994 effort by then House Speaker Newt Gingrich who called for the elimination of the NEA, along with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Regardless of the outcome, the focus and scope of the NEA is changing, especially under Landesman, who is forging first-ever partnerships with other federal entities like the Department of Transportation.

Not only does Landesman want to the agency to become less insular, he believes the number of arts offerings now outmatch the size of the audience willing to see them.

That much became clear in a recent Washington Post story which quoted Landesman about audience attendance figures.

In that story, Landesman was asked about plunging audience figures, wherein he responded "there are too many theaters."

The number of arts nonprofits has been growing steadily since 2007, but audiences have not, as cited by a 2008 NEA survey of public participation in the arts.

That survey established a 5 percent drop, from 2002, in the number of adults visiting art museums or attending live performances.


The Found Footage Festival, the popular touring showcase of odd and hilarious found videos, debuts a brand-new show in Sacramento next month.

Founded in New York in 2004, the festival showcases videos found at garage sales and thrift stores and in warehouses and dumpsters. The festival is hosted by Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett (pictured, right), whose credits include The Onion and the Late Show with David Letterman.

The videos will be preceded by a 25th anniversary screening of the short documentary and cult-favorite, "Heavy Metal Parking Lot."

Among the found footage to be screened will be a compilation of exercise videos featuring Cher, Lyle Alzado and the American Gladiators, and a 1986 home movie taken during a debaucherous weekend in Florida.

The show is being presented locally by Movies On A Big Screen.

WHEN: 8 p.m., March 6
WHERE: Guild Theater, 2828 35th St., Sacramento

Although it premiered in 1987, the John Adams opera "Nixon in China" still seems fresh and relevant.

In the intervening years the groundbreaking opera has aged gracefully.

It's no stretch to say that this opera, which is a crystalline exploration of the human truths relating to President Richard Nixon's historic 1972 trip to Communist China, is now a masterwork from the 20th century.

Audiences will get to see why and how this Saturday when the Metropolitan Opera simulcasts the opera live as part of its "Live in HD" broadcasts to local cinema houses. The simulcasts begin at 10 a.m., to coincide with the rise of the curtain at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams conducts his own opera Saturday, in a Peter Sellars production. Baritone James Maddalena (pictured, above) will perform the Nixon role and soprano Janis Kelly the role of his wife, Pat Nixon.

Nixon in China Live in HD local theater list:

In Sacramento:
Stadium 14
Downtown Plaza 7
Natomas Marketplace
Greenback Lane 16

Outside Sacramento:
Stadium 13 - El Dorado Hills
Laguna 16 - Elk Grove
Folsom 14 - Folsom
Cinemark Roseville 14 - Roseville
Cinemark - Yuba City

Crocker Art Museum 2010-06-04.JPG

The 50 year-old tradition of offering classical and international music continues at the Crocker Art Museum.

This year the museum is presenting a slate of six concerts, starting this month and ending in July. The popular afternoon concerts are presented on select Sundays from 3-4 p.m. in its gleaming new auditorium space.

The season kicks off Feb. 20, with pianist Mark Valenti, who will perform works by American composers to complement the exhibition, "Paul Jenkins: The Color of Light."

The ensemble Trio Voce, composed of violinist Jasmine Lin, cellist Marina Hoover and pianist Patricia Tao, performs March 6. The program will include works by Shostakovich and Beethoven. Included will be a piece by Mieczyslaw Weinberg that is informed by the Gottfried Helnwein exhibit "Inferno of the Innocents."

Inspired by the "John Buck: Iconography" exhibition, classical guitarist William Feasley brings to life musical works by American composers on April 10. Feasley will perform works by Peter Madlem, Robert Beaser, Carlos Jobim, and Thelonius Monk along with the world premiere of "Tango Negro" by Argentine composer Marcelo Ferraris.

On May 22, members of the Sacramento Saturday Club will perform works by American Impressionist musical composer Charles Griffes to complement the American Impressionist exhibition "Transcending Vision." Performers include flutist Maquette Kuper; vocalists Rona Commins, James Gentry, and Rufina Jones. These will be accompanied by John Cozza; and the Zepher Woodwind Quintet.

Violinist Robin Sharp and pianist Lori Lack present music inspired by the "Transcending Vision," exhibition of American Impressionist paintings, on June 26. Their performance includes Claude Debussy's sonata for violin and piano, Jascha Heifetz's "Transcriptions for Violin," George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess," and "Nocturne" and "Cortege" by Lili Boulanger.

On July 24, pianist Tanya Plescia performs "The White Peacock" by America's most famous musical Impressionist, Charles Griffes, along with works by Beethoven and Liszt, plus her own original compositions. This program complements the American Impressionism exhibition "Transcending Vision."

Concerts are $6 for members and $12 for nonmembers.

Information: (916) 808-1182;

eugene chan.JPG

Ever since baritone Eugene Chan (pictured, right) graduated from CSUS he's been making good on a promising opera career.

To do so he's been winning concert competitions and turning heads at concert halls in Europe (where he currently lives).

Last year Chan placed second at the 11th annual Premio Spiros International Competition in Sarzana, Italy. Chan is currently a resident singer with Theater Basel in Switzerland

Next month he returns to Northern California to sing as part of the San Francisco Opera's 29th Schwabacher Debut Recital series.

Chan will perform works by Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Medtner, as well as a collection of American songs.

The Schwabacher nod is no small matter. That series has introduced the likes of Susan Graham, Anna Netrebko, and Thomas Hampson.

Chan made his San Francisco Opera debut in 2007 as Prince Yamadori in "Madama Butterfly." He is also a Merola program alum. He recently made his European debut as Count Almaviva in "Le Nozze di Figaro" in Basel, Switzerland.

Fans of the Sacramento Opera will know him well as he has performed in several of the company's productions. Chan began his professional career singing as a chorister in the Sacramento Opera's 2005 production of "Madama Butterfly."

And while it is true that the Schwabacher performance is in San Francisco, the drive will be more than worth it if Chan is up to form.

Eugene Chan - Schwabacher Debut Recital
WHEN: 5:30 p.m., March 6
WHERE: Temple Emanu-El, Martin Meyer Sanctuary, 2 Lake St., San Francisco
INFORMATION: (415) 864-3330


The classical guitar has found a home in Davis.

That much was made clear today with the Davis Art Center's announcment that it will present a slate of guitar ensemble concerts

The center will bring three ensembles to its intimate performance space beginning with a Feb. 11 concert by members of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Guitar Department.

In March it will present the San Francisco Guitar Quartet (pictured, above), an excellent ensemble that gave one of the better guitar concets in the region last year.

The Pacific Guitar Ensemble, which includes standout guitarist David Tanenbaum, performs in April. The series concluded in May with the locally-based Trio 7, featuring noted guitarist Matt Grasso.

All Concerts will be held at the Davis Art Center at 1919 F St., Davis. Tickets are by suggested donation at the door.

Davis Art Center Guitar Series

San Francisco Conservatory of Music Guitar Department
WHEN: 8:00 p.m., Feb. 11
WHAT: Students and faculty of the conservatory's guitar and compositions will perform 20 new guitar works created in during a yearlong project. Works were created for large guitar ensembles, quartets, trios, guitar with other instruments and solos. Works to be performed will also include Spanish works for guitar quartet.

San Francisco Guitar Quartet
WHEN: 8:00 p.m., March 11
WHAT: Since its inception in 1997, the San Francisco Guitar Quartet has become a much sought-after ensemble. Proponents of new music, these musicians will present a program of contemporary works for guitar quartet, including several new works written for them.

The Pacific Guitar Ensemble
WHEN: 8:00 p.m., April 22
WHAT: This ensemble likes to feature original music written by composers like Brazilian guitar legend Sergio Assad, minimalist Belinda Reynolds, and the group's own steel-string stylist Peppino D'Agostino. Program includes fresh arrangements of works by Bach, Brahms and Rossini.

Trio 7
WHEN: 8:00 p.m., May 6
WHAT: Trio 7 is a unique guitar trio of Matthew Grasso, Eric Rasmussen and Matthew Foley. All three perform on extended 7-string guitars. Their focus is the creation of unusual transcriptions of classical orchestral works to expand the guitar trio repertoire. This performance will include works by Debussy, Bach, Rachmanioff, Stravinsky, and Brahms, as well as arrangements of movie themes ranging from the 1930s to the present.

Information: (530) 756-4100;


The state of the arts is not a healthy one, according to the 2010 National Arts Index.

The index - conducted by the arts advocacy organization Americans for the Arts - reported this week that the vitality of the arts sector has reached a 12-year low.

The data compiled reflects the state of the arts in 2009, the most recent year it has measured. It has established that since the start of the economic downturn, the Index has plummeted 6.2 points (the Index is set to a base score of 100 pegged to numbers culled in 2003. Every point difference represents a 1% change).

The losses sustained from 2007-2009 were nearly double the index gains made between 2003-2007.

The data for the index is based on 81 separate measures of how Americans spend their money or donate to the arts. The index also compiles data on how artists, in a wide range of arts disciplines, are surviving.

But not all the news from the index is bad. The data also established that there was continued growth in the quantity of arts organizations in U.S..

From 2007-2009, the number of nonprofit arts institutions grew by 3,000. As a result, the arts sector is now composed of 109,000 nonprofit arts organizations and 550,000 for profit arts businesses, and 2.2 million artists in the U.S. workforce.

Unfortunately, that increase is playing out against the reality that there are now more struggling arts nonprofits and artists than at any other time.

In 2008, 41 percent of nonprofit arts organizations reporting to the IRS failed to achieve a balanced budget. That number is up from 36 percent in 2007, said the index.

The organizations in deficit are likely to be larger budget organizations. No specific arts discipline was more likely than any other to run a deficit, according to the data.

The PDF of the index report can be found here.

Other interesting facts from the index:
*Spending on the arts steady at between $150-$160 billion.
*As a share of public's overall spending, that amount has declined steadily since 2002.
*The arts are losing market share of philanthropy to other charitable areas, such as human services and health.
*Portion of philanthropic giving to the arts dropped from 4.9% to 4.0% the past decade.
*Percentage of college-bound seniors with 4 years of arts or music grew
steadily the past decade - from 15 % to 20% of all SAT test takers.
*College arts degrees earned annually is rising: from 75,000 to 127,000 the past decade


The debut of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts "Any Given Child" arts education program is set to bloom at six area schools.

The Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission (SMAC) recently announced the selection of seven artists (see list, below) who will provide a series of programs for 36 classrooms in the Twin Rivers and Sacramento City Unified School Districts as part of the Kennedy Center program.

Last year, Kennedy Center president Michael Kaiser (pictured, right) and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announced the novel partnership between the center and city schools - the first of its kind in the nation.

Sacramento was chosen from among 30 cities nationwide as the first city to participate in that program.

The program seeks to supplement district arts education as well as the efforts of local arts groups in connecting young people to the arts, and is the Kennedy Center's latest initiative in its goal of bringing arts education to grades K-8.

The schools that will participate include:

- Keith Kenny Elementary
- Will C. Wood Middle
- Washington Elementary
- Oakdale Elementary
- Orchard Elementary
- Creative Connections Arts Academy

The seven artists that will serve "Any Given Child" residencies include:

* Vanessa Bautista - dance
* Gail Dartez - theatre
* Sue Anne Foster - visual arts
* Kimberly Grace - visual arts
* Jane Hastings - visual arts
* Vince Horiuchi - dance
* Heidi McLean - dance

The residency artists were chosen through an open application process and reviewed by a panel of community and education experts.

Initially, the involvement of local schools in the program grew out of Mayor Johnson's "For Arts Sake" initiative.

Locally, the program is being administered by SMAC.


No doubt, one of the more interesting additions to the local concert scene is the Guitar Expressions Music Series.

That series, also known as GEMS, is curated by noted local guitarist and Tzadik recording artist Derek Keller (pictured, right).

And the latest offering of the series will showcase music from Keller's forthcoming historical opera "California Tableaux." That performance will be held Jan. 28 at Antiquité Miason Privée, on P Street in midtown.

Keller describes the work as "a kaleidoscopic look at California's cultural mixtures, from the era of Sir Francis Drake and his alleged landing on the Marin County coast in the late 1570s, to our most contemporary era."

The opera plumbs topical material including recent immigration policy and the newly erected walls on the US-Mexico border, Keller said.

Given Keller's fondness for mixing up musical genres, the opera should be a provocative musical event.

Indeed, Keller is known for following in the footsteps of composers like John Zorn, Steve Mackey, and Frank Zappa.

After Keller graduated with a Ph. D. in composition from the University of California at San Diego, his music piqued the interest of Zorn, who signed Keller onto his Tzadik Records recording label in 2004.

For the GEMS performance Keller has put together an ensemble populated by notable local musicians. These include percussionist Jonathan Raman, soprano Alina Ilchuck, and musicians from the Sacramento Baroque Soloists and Citywater.

The spoken word part of the performance will be read by Sacramento State University English Department faculty Walt Li and Dr. Hellen Lee-Keller.

California Tableaux
Derek Keller Ensemble
Guitar Expression Music Series
WHEN: 8 p.m., Jan. 28
WHERE: Antiquité Miason Privée, 2114 P St., Sacramento
INFORMATION: 916-716-2771 or online here


Curious as to how many websites were added to the Internet last year?

Or how about how many people followed Lady Gaga's tweets in 2010?

The blog has pulled the answers.

Using information culled from a wide range of sites that include Google, Twitter and the Pew Research Center, Pingdom reveals a heady set of stats that give a fascinating picture of how vast, numerically, Internet use has become.

Here are some findings:

•107 trillion - The number of emails sent on the Internet in 2010.
•294 billion - Average number of email messages per day.
•1.88 billion - The number of email users worldwide.
•480 million - New email users since the year before.
•89.1% - The share of emails that were spam.
•262 billion - The number of spam emails per day (assuming 89% are spam).

•255 million - The number of websites as of December 2010.
•21.4 million - Added websites in 2010.

Domain names
•88.8 million - .COM domain names at the end of 2010.
•13.2 million - .NET domain names at the end of 2010.
•8.6 million - .ORG domain names at the end of 2010.
Social media
•152 million - The number of blogs on the Internet (as tracked by BlogPulse).
•25 billion - Number of sent tweets on Twitter in 2010
•100 million - New accounts added on Twitter in 2010
•175 million - People on Twitter as of September 2010
•7.7 million - People following @ladygaga (Lady Gaga, Twitter's most followed user).
•600 million - People on Facebook at the end of 2010.

•2 billion - The number of videos watched per day on YouTube.
•35 - Hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute.
•186 - The number of online videos the average Internet user watches in a month (USA).
•84% - Share of Internet users that view videos online (USA).
•14% - Share of Internet users that have uploaded videos online (USA).
•2+ billion - The number of videos watched per month on Facebook.
•20 million - Videos uploaded to Facebook per month.


Once in a blue moon the Sacramento area is host to two historic tall ships - the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain (pictured, right). The next time the sailing beauties are scheduled to make port in the capital is October.

But local schools have the opportunity now to try to get aboard.

Those ships, operated by Aberdeen, Wash.-based Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority (GHHSA), offer an interesting education program wherein students are invited aboard to raise sail and take the helm of a tall ship under way.

Typically, these events are costly for schools. But citing tough economic times for school districts, the authority recently announced that qualified public schools will pay only 15 percent of the regular program cost.

Working with a foundation, GHHSA has developed a program which reduces the per-student cost of the Seaport's three-hour "Voyages of Discovery" sailing program from $35 to $5.25.

Currently scholarships are offered at more than 40 ports in Oregon, Washington, and California.

The scholarships are funded by a four-year, $495,400 grant from the Seattle-based Magic Cabinet Foundation.

To qualify, students must attend a public school designated Title I by the U.S. Department of Education. Those schools must show that at least 40 percent of their students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. Schools must document their Title I status when applying.

To learn more about the scholarships, educators should contact Roxie Underwood, GHHSA's education programs manager, at (800) 200-5239, or visit


By day Sacramentan Joseph A. Cady is an actor and filmaker.

By night he's a self described paranormal investigator.

To that end Cady is hosting the internet talk radio show "Sci Fi Stories," where he talks about unexplained phenomena, and occassionally interviews individuals with experience in the field.

Subjects like UFOs, Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, and ghosts form the diet of the "Sci Fi Stories," which Cady says will feature occassional guests.

Cady is also soliciting stories and photos from individuals concerning unexplained phenomena.

The site can be found at:


After 34 years the Richard L. Nelson Gallery is moving out of the UC Davis Art building.

The new space, the prior home of the old University Club, is to be renamed Richard L. Nelson Hall.

Whereas the old Nelson Gallery comprised only 1,200 sq. ft., the new location offers more than 4,000 sq. ft. of gallery space. Remodeling there has been under way since October.

The new space offers a specially designed facility for the display of art, with better sight lines and new lighting.

More importantly, the new space allows more freedom in exhibiting selections from the university's extensive art collection, said Renny Pritikin, director of the Richard L. Nelson Gallery and the university's Fine Art Collection.

One of the first exhibitions will be "American Gothic: Regionalist Portraiture from the Collection." That show is curated as a survey of portraiture over the past 100 years, from the university's Fine Art Collection.

The exhibition includes significant presentations of major artists with a special focus on the "Davis Five": Robert Arneson, Roy de Forest, Manuel Neri, Wayne Thiebaud and William T. Wiley (whose work "Scarecrow," is pictured, above)

The new gallery's public opening is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15. That opening will offer two dozen minilectures, music and food, among other events.

A preview event is scheduled for Jan. 14., , from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Admission is $75 per person. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis through the Nelson Gallery's Katrina Wong, (530) 752-8500 or

The preview, organized by the Nelson ARTfriends, will include an auction of artwork.

Some of the auction items can be previewed at the Nelson Gallery website (click on "Upcoming"). Attendance is required in order to bid.

Meanwhile, planning and fundraising are under way to build the UC Davis Museum of Art. Once built, that museum will exist kitty-corner to the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

The University believes that the Nelson Gallery's new home will help smooth the transition to the forthcoming museum.

The Grass Valley-based music presenter Music in the Mountains raised $600,000 in the final quarter of 2010, digging itself out of a financial crisis.

The resignation of executive director Marge Rath, a decline in ticket sales and lagging donations brought the organization to a financial brink after its Summerfest concerts last year, said interim co-executive director Terry Brown.

"Our total budget for last year was $1.1 million and we needed to raise the $600,000 to in order to have $40,000 in operating cash entering 2011," said Brown . "If we had not raised it we would have finished $540,000 in the red."

A crucial "White Christmas" fundraiser raised $38,000, and the organization raised enough from donors and its board of directors to secure a generous matching donation of $150,000 from longtime supporters Lynn and Camille Kerby.

Each of its 20 board members was asked to commit to donating or raising $10,000, Brown said. Some orchestra members also committed to the donation effort. These included a $10,000 donation by artistic director Gregory Vajda and nearly the same amount by MIM's 85-voice festival chorale.

The result is that the organization has retired its external debt and is planning its 2011 season, its 30th, with a balanced budget and a positive net income position.

The crisis has forced the organization to change its operations, including the presentation of a streamlined season in 2011, and a heavier reliance on volunteers.

The organization will soon announce its search for a new executive director.

By Edward Ortiz

On any given day hundreds of classical music recitals are offered up with well-known gems from the classical and romantic eras on the program.

However, the number of those that juxtapose that music with a spare work by a living composer are, sadly, too few.

On Wednesday at Sacramento's Westminster Presbyterian Church noted pianist Natsuki Fukasawa and Sacramento Philharmonic cellist Susan Lamb Cook offered such a concert.

The Music at Noon series concert included works by Chopin and Schumann. But it was the elegant and profound suite of six pieces called "Six Postcards for Cello and Piano" by local composer and pianist Richard Cionco that made this concert stand out from any other.

The quality of the musicality of this concert was mostly high. Pianist Fukasawa impressed with her urgent but sensitive playing. In the chamber realm, Fukasawa distinguishes herself as a pianist with a keen sense for dynamics. She also does not shy away from letting a dramatic essence pervade her playing when the music calls for it. It is never the kind of playing that veers into overplaying, as she proved during Chopin's Sonata in G minor, Op. 65.

Fukusawa and Cook play together often, and are well-paired, though Cook is sometimes outmatched in the equation.

The concert began with a well-paced and conversational approach to Schumann's Adagio and Allegro, Op. 70. But it was the work that followed - Cionco's "Six Postcards" - that radiated.

And it radiated by virtue of the music's quiet yet powerful nature.

Cionco's tonal music never cries out for attention. Neither does it demand much real estate. The six pieces are brief and meditative in scope. Some seem as if they are over moments after they have begun.

Could there be any other facet more suited to music in today's digital and hurried world?

Perhaps the presence of Cionco's work was purely an outgrowth of his being Fukasawa's husband. However, it is no far-fetched notion to think that his work would come to the fore, regardless.

A soaring musical line defines the opening work: "Up." Here the music rises and disperses like a rapidly traveling and disintegrating cloud. The pastoral-sounding "North Coast" followed. This piece, the shortest of the six, proved that, like haiku, less is more.

On "Two Rivers" the piano anchored a solemn dialog with the cello. "Nowhere" followed, and this was the most interesting of the six pieces - with the music unfolding slowly as musical meditation. Here, the piano is answered by an urgent emotional digression from the cello.

The work ends with the engaging and painterly "In flight." Cook shaped her notes here with a tactile roundness. This result was music that was full of wit and personality.

Cook later got to imprint her musical personality on "Greensleeves" by adding tasty, almost Rococo ornamentations.

But at concert's end, it was Cionco's work that kept resonating. It did so by contrast and relevance. In the here and now, brevity and economy have become prized notions. And when these are married to originality of thought in the musical realm, the results are almost always noteworthy.

Call the Bee's Edward Ortiz at (916) 321-1071.


Typically, the Sacramento Philharmonic makes its Community Center Theater dress rehearsals open only to certain schools and select groups.

For its upcoming "French Flair" concert on Jan. 22, the orchestra is opening its dress rehearsal to the public in the form of a "Backstage Jazz Bistro."

The dress rehearsal takes place Jan. 21 as an exclusive preview of the French Flair concert, which will feature noted pianist Jeffrey Kahane.

During the event as many as 150 guests will be able to see the interesting process that is the orchestral dress rehearsal.

After the rehearsal, guests will be welcomed backstage for a private jazz concert with Kahane and Little Charlie Caravan, with dinner prepared by Stephanie LaMour, who trained at the Cordon Bleu in France before becoming an instructor for the Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute of Sacramento. The wines for the event will be selected by Darrell Corti, of Corti Brothers.

Backstage Jazz Bistro
WHEN: 7:00 p.m., Jan. 21
WHERE: Community Center Theater, 1301 L St., Sacramento
TICKETS: $60 (Tickets limited to 150 guests).
INFORMATION: (916) 732-9045 or


The Spokes - UC Davis' only all female a cappella group - is, once again, hosting the popular Hellacapella concert.

The Hellacappella event, now in its 7th year, is a collaboration between a cappella groups hailing from various northern Californian universities including UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, and Stanford.

The concert takes place Feb. 12, at Freeborn Hall on the UC Davis campus.

The Spokes, who will also perform at Hellacapella, consists of 13 women singers. They recently competed in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella for the second consecutive year. The group now has its most recent album "Waking up in Davis," on iTunes.

This year the ensemble has committed to raising funds and awareness for Daraja
Academy, the first free all-girls secondary school in all of East Africa.

WHEN: 8 p.m., Feb. 12
WHERE: Freeborn Hall, UC Davis
TICKETS: $10; $8 student (Presale tickets are $8; $5 students)
INFORMATION: (530) 752-1915;


A quartet of teenagers from Sacramento performed Monday at the White House.

Camille Getz, one of the four, said getting a call from the White House to perform there with her quartet is as a good an excuse to visit Washington, D.C. as there is.

The 16-year-old Getz, plus violinists Kyra Pigford and Sarah Long and cellist Avery Pigford -- all members of the Sacramento Silver Bows Quartet (pictured, right) -- played at the White House yesterday as part of its annual winter open house.

Getz, who also performs with the Sacramento Youth Symphony, had never been to Washington before.

It was exciting," she said. "I never thought anything like this would happen."

The road to performing at the White House started in 2008 when Getz's teacher - Jeanette Bajoreck - suggested the quartet send in an application to the White House Visitors Bureau to be a variety act for its open house, Getz said.

"We didn't hear back from them for two years... and all of a sudden we get an email asking us if we were interested in performing, she said.

At first Getz thought the White House email invite was a prank.

"We even checked the email address through where we found out it was real."

The quartet performed classical music and holiday music for an hour in the State Floor room. Nearly 1,000 visitors came through the White House and heard the quartet, said Pat Mahoney Getz, Camille's mother.

"They felt like superstars," said Pat Getz. "The acoustics were amazing. The sound travelled to almost all areas of the White House."

The State Floor room of the White House is typically where musicians perform, including Paul McCartney and Steve Wonder.

Unfortunately, the quartet members did not get to meet President Barack Obama, Camille Getz said.

"They told us the president was there... but that his family had already gone to Hawaii," she said.

"We asked if the President was around and heard us but they were not sure," Camille Getz said. "So we might have to wait another two years to meet him."

One of the country's best collegiate glee ensembles - The Cornell University Glee Club - will make a rare Sacramento appearance in January.

The club will appear Jan. 5, at Congregation B'nai Israel on Riverside Boulevard in Sacramento.

This ensemble made a name for itself when it appeared at the 2009 American Choral Directors Association National Conference, to great acclaim.

It has also underwritten full length concerts at the Kennedy Center, and presented the Brahms Requiem with major Chinese Symphony Orchestras in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

And now it is in the midst of a two week tour in California.

In Sacramento, the club will perform a program titled "The Cornell-California Connection." That program includes works by composers who studied at Cornell but who now live and work in California.

Works by composers Byron Adams, Joseph Gregorio, and David Lefkowtiz will be performed - and the Sacramento concert will include a premiere of "Crossing the Bar," a new work for men's chorus by David Conte.

Cornell University Glee Club
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Jan. 5
WHERE: Congregation B'nai Israel, 3600 Riverside Blvd., Sacramento
COST: $15
INFORMATION: (585)-727-3145;


Next September, the San Francisco Opera will present a new commissioned work that mines a subject still fresh in the minds of Americans: 9/11.

The opera is Christopher Theofanidis' "Heart of a Soldier," which will have its premiere on Sept. 10 at the War Memorial Opera House.

The opera will anchor the company's 2011-12 season, and is being presented on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

The opera will feature baritone Thomas Hampson in the lead singing role and will be sung in English.

Directed by Francesca Zambello, the opera (see the set mockup, above) plumbs the life and 9/11 experience of Rick Rescorla, who was head of security for Morgan Stanley on the day of the attacks.

Rescorla was credited with helping evacuate all of his company's 2,700 employees from the South Tower before it collapsed. He lost his life when he returned into the building to search for stragglers.

The opera is being ushered to the stage by executive director David Gockley, who had wanted to do an opera on the subject since 2005.

"I think this story is very much a part of the mythology of our experience," said Gockley.

The opera's libretto, written by Donna DiNovelli, is based on the critically acclaimed non-fiction book of the same name by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James B. Stewart.

"Heart of a Soldier" will be presented as part of San Francisco Opera's 2011-12 season in seven performances on September 10, 13, 18, 21, 24, 27 and 30 at the War Memorial Opera House.



One of the smartest and most provocative documentaries released this year is undoubtedly "Exit Through the Gift Shop".

Directed by, and featuring, renowned graffiti artist Banksy, this documentary is as much about art, commerce and identity as it is a look at the shadowy world of street art.

The documentary is really a cautionary tale, of sorts. It's as much an insider's tale about street art as it is a quasi-mockumentary.

In this doc the camera follows street artists as they avoid attention, and the police, on nightime streets. The quarry is, typically, a virgin wall or noxious billboard ad.

But this is not your ordinary documentary. This film, directed by Banksy, is also an intimate tale that focuses on eccentric Los Angeles clothing boutique owner-turned-amateur-filmmaker Thierry Guetta.

When the fedora-clad Guetta sets out to produce the ultimate documentary on street art, he invariably wins the trust of the elusive and camera-shy Banksy (pictured, above).

He follows Banksy to his nightime street art haunts, but as the film progresses the film shifts focus - from Banksy to Guetta.

The rest is history... or is it?

In the end, this documentary poses some very interesting and disquieting questions.

The documentary premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, and has since been nominated for an 2010 Academy Award in the documentary category.

The DVD of "Exit Through the Gift Shop" will be released Dec. 14, through Oscilloscope Laboratories.

Ray Anthony Trujillo - First Violin.jpg

A provocative round of holiday concerts is scheduled for the Capitol building's rotunda this December.

The concerts offer a wide ranging mix of local performers, including the standout young Sacramento violinist Anthony Trujillo (pictured, right) and the Davis High School Madrigals.

Capitol Rotunda Concerts
Dec. 7
WHEN: 11:00 a.m.
WHO: Lincoln High School Choir;
WHEN: 12:00 noon
WHO: Music Schola Choir of Presentation Catholic School featuring Shauna Anderson and the Dominican Sisters of Mary;
WHEN: 5:30 p.m.
WHAT: Governor's Christmas Tree Lighting

Dec. 8
WHEN: 11:00 a.m.
WHO: Forest Lake Christian School Chamber Choir
WHEN: 12:00 noon
WHO: Deterding Elementary School Choir

Dec. 9
WHEN: 12:00 noon
WHO: Capital Valley Harp Circle

Dec. 10
WHEN: 11 a.m.
WHO: Ray Anthony Trujillo, violin
WHEN: 12:00 noon
WHO: Emerson Jr. High School Choir

Dec. 11
WHEN: 11:30 a.m.
WHO: Gimme 5! (Five-Voice Acapella)
WHEN: 12:00 noon
WHO: Shasta Suzuki School of Talent Education Youth Harp Ensemble

Dec. 12
WHEN: 12:00 noon
WHO: Evan Ziegenmeyer, guitar

Dec. 13
WHEN: 11:00 a.m.
WHO: Cal Trans Choir
WHEN: 12:00 noon
WHO: Cantare Chorale

Dec. 14
WHEN: 11:00 a.m.
WHO: Corps-a-Liers (US Army Corps of Engineers)
WHEN: 12:00 noon
WHO: Lodi Seventh Day Adventist Elementary School Choir

Dec. 15
WHEN: 11:00 a.m.
WHO: Sacramento Valley Chorus
WHEN: 12:00 noon
WHO: Davis High School Madrigals

Dec. 16
WHEN: 11:00 a.m.
WHO: Solo Voce Choir of the Foothills
WHEN: 12:00 noon
WHO: Davis Advanced Treble Choir

Dec. 17
WHEN: 11:00 a.m.
WHO: Salvation Army Brass Band
WHEN: 12:00 noon
WHO: Sambandha (World Music)

Dec. 18
WHEN: 11:00 a.m.
WHO: Camellia Flute Choir
WHEN: 12:30 p.m.
WHO: River Bells (Handbell Ensemble)

Dec. 19
WHEN: 12:00 noon
WHO: Coloma Strings

Dec. 20
WHEN: 12:00 noon
WHO: We Bones (Jazz Ensemble)

December 21
WHEN: 11:00 a.m.
WHO: Anna Lisa Poganski, vocals
WHEN: 12:00 noon
WHO: Roseville Sun City Singers

Dec. 22
WHEN: 11:00 a.m.
WHO: Ron Ortiz, vocals, and pianist Charlene Booth
WHEN: 12:00 noon
WHO: Granite Bay Chime Choir and Folsom Children's Chorus

Dec. 23
WHEN: 12:00 noon
WHO: Vocal Art Ensemble


An orchestra turns 100 only once, and when it does, it's typically cause for celebration.

Next season, the San Francisco Symphony will celebrate that milestone, and the 2011-12 season it announced Monday is a bold and intriguing one.

As expected, the orchestra will maintain its focus on performing commissioned works along with reinterpretations of established repertoire. But next season will differ from the past as the symphony invites the country's best orchestras to perform at Davies Symphony Hall as part of its centennial.

The season will begin Sept. 7 with pianist Lang Lang and violinist Itzhak Perlman performing with the orchestra.

Also performing during the season will be a list of standout performers, including pianist Emanuel Ax, violinist Joshua Bell and the return of former San Francisco Symphony conductors Edo de Waart and Herbert Blomstedt to podium.

But among the biggest likely ticket draws will be the appearance of the six orchestras and their noted conductors, including the New York Philharmonic, with conductor Alan Gilbert (pictured, above), as well as the Los Angeles Philharmonic (with conductor Gustavo Dudamel), and the Boston Philharmonic. The Chicago Symphony and the Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras round out the impressive offerings.

Each orchestra will perform two concerts, with each performance showcasing a commissioned work.

The San Francisco Symphony will also offer a week of semi-staged concerts celebrating the music of early San Francisco, from the Gold Rush era, as part of its centennial season activities.

In 2011-12, the orchestra will present a two-week "American Mavericks" festival to honor iconoclastic composers. Included will be John Adams' new co-commission "Absolute Jest," featuring the St. Lawrence String Quartet.

That festival will also showcase Oakland-based composer Mason Bates and his "Mass Transmission," a work scored for electronica and orchestra. Works by John Cage, Morton Feldman and Henry Cowell will also be part of the festival.

Specific information on programming for all concerts has yet to be released.

For ticket and season information: (415) 864-6000;

By Edward Ortiz

The challenge of choral holiday concert is offering up a tasteful mix of passionate singing that also brings with it a smart dose of restraint.

Yet the 12-member Vox Musica has handled the challenge well over the last four seasons of its holiday concerts. Although not their most even outing, the ensemble again proved themselves with an interesting program on Saturday evening at Sacramento's St. John's Lutheran Church.

Under the direction of Daniel Paulson, the music of the 20th century and contemporary arrangements of older works bloomed dramatically and expansively.

The best performances of the evening were those works written by composers born in the second half of the 20th century, all of them living. That is not a bad thing, given that audiences are growing keen on new music - especially young audiences.

The ensemble breathed refreshing life into three contemporary arrangements of a 15th-century hymn "Es Ist Ein Ros' Entsprungen." In the first, arranged by Canadian Stephen Smith, a haunting ostinato added depth to multilayered music.

Paulson's tasteful arrangement of "Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming," was lushly conceived, its dissonant textures adding much shadow to the bright singing. On the third, "Det Ar En Ros Utsprungen," arranged by Swede Marten Jansson, a metronomic scheme of utterances conjured up the musical image of ringing bells, with these playing out against some of the clearest singing of the evening.

The ensemble showed of their ability to transition from lower to higher notes with subtle deftness in contemporary composer Patricia Van Ness' "Archangelus, Gabriel Praedicator." This piece, one of the most poetic on the program, is a patently neo-romantic one. It begins with pensive music whose drama increases slowly.

With "Snow," from 2005, by Chicagoan Mark Nowakowski, Vox Musica showed off the group's personality in a work that is all about mood and ambience. Here Paulson coaxed a multi-layered sound from the singers. This gave a transcendent feel to the music, whose mysterious dimensions were delicately revealed - like what is given in the blue silence after a large snowfall.

The evening's music was parsed out in chronological order with the "O Virdissima Virga" chant by Hildegard von Bingen and the Renaissance motet "Orante Sancta Lucia" by Alonso De Tejeda beginning the concert. The chorus offered a journeyman's approach on both, with the singers sounding less than cohesive, and tonally tentative in parts.

But it more than redeemed itself when it gave a bright and painterly performance of Magister Perotin's "Alleluya."

In this work, which was written at the turn of the 13th century, the music is given over to three voices, one singing lengthy notes, the other two singing faster, more pointed music. It was smartly performed and sounded modern - which is saying a lot since it was born of a composer who toiled so long ago.

Call Edward Ortiz at (916) 321-1071.


By Edward Ortiz

In Wednesday night's opening concert of Natt i Betlehem - the trio of pianist Tord Gustavsen, singer Solveig Slettahjell and trumpeter Sjur Miljeteig made the case that Christmas music can be as deeply heartfelt as it is strikingly austere.

The eleven song set, performed with a jazzy sense for subtlety, was a refreshing take on the holiday music concert.

This trio's singular sound, which owes a lot to the stunning vocal presence of Slettahjell (pictured, above), makes it the must-see holiday concert at Mondavi this season.

The 11 songs from the Natt I Betlehem CD the trio recorded in 2008 in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Palestine does not offer the jingle-bell aura of musical color that is the hallmark of holiday music. Instead, the emphasis is on the nativity theme - and these three performers were not shy to mine the music for its meditative qualities. And the result was music that will not be easily forgotten.

Key to selling its charms was the radiant and fluid voice of Slettahjell. A decidedly focused and confident vocal presence, Slettahjell sang songs in perfect English and others in bracing Norwegian. Her voice, well suited to the jazz idiom, is filled with a shimmering personality. Hers is a voice that can slide up and down, from one note to another, with a gliding virtuosity.

One of the highlights of the evening was "Kling no klokka," wherein Slettahjell imparted a haunting quality to this meditative Norwegian song. The Norwegian music played throughout the evening was marked by a unique emotional heft and sense of musical light.

The pairing of Slettahjell's voice with the Keith Jarret-like piano sound of Gustavsen was a stunning musical marriage. In "Klokka" Gustavsen parsed out chords darkly. In other songs, like the bluesy take on "Poor Little Jesus" a blue-hued buoyancy was given at the piano, with Slettahjell's voice adding tasty soul.

In the well known and indestructible "Silent Night," a Norwegian translation from the German provided a new patina to the work. The music here had a jazzy, chrome-like sheen - and the emotional heat of the music radiated out like rippling waves of familiar sound.

On "Jegsyngerjulekvad," Slettahjell sang softly while trumpeter Miljeteig showed why he was part of the trio. Here Miljeteig used his softly blown trumpet to add wisps of color. Some notes emanated in three dimensions, with the outer edges of each mined to great effect. It was an impressive display of how a trumpeter can conjure many emotional images with an economical strand of notes.

This concert makes the case that there is something provocative about musicians performing works not native to their culture. The trio's performance of "Silent Night" and other non-Norwegian works suggest that when musicians are outside looking in, some truly poetic things happen. On Wednesday these three musicians proved it, and in doing so they made that music their own.

Natt I betlehem
WHEN: 8 p.m. Dec. 2-4
WHERE: Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center, UC Davis
TICKETS: $37; $18.50 (student)
INFORMATION: (530) 754-2787;

Call Edward Ortiz at (916) 321-1071.

The above video is an example of how artists are using technology to create music.

At the outer edges of experimentation with technology in the musical realm is Korean artist Jin Sangtae. He manipulates computer hard drives to perform musical works.

Sangtae uses freeware that turns his PDA into a digital theremin. He uses that freeware to manipulate hardrives, whose errant actions create sound.

And what is created is an eerie musical landscape. It's a landscape of the gritty, percussive variety.

Sangtae's foray into manipulating hard drives came while doing computer repair at a South Korean tech market. It's ironic that such a prosaic pursuit as computer repair would spawn something so unconventional.

But is it music?

In its purest sense it is.

Do such improvisations hold promise for composers of the future?

Time will tell.


Seventeen-year-old Carmichael pianist Kevin Sun (pictured, right) has been chosen as one of 15 finalists in the Carnegie Hall - From the Top Big Break Online talent contest.

The new online classical music contest offers young musicians the chance to compete for a spot on a special episode of NPR's "From the Top" national radio broadcast, hosted by Christopher O'Riley, as well as an opportunity to perform on stage at Carnegie's Zankel Hall in April 2011.

Finalists were drawn from a online video applicant pool of hundreds uploaded between Oct. 18 and Nov. 18 at the site

It's no surprise that Sun was chosen as a finalist. He's one of the more notable young musicians in the Sacramento region. A student at Mira Loma High School, Sun won the Grand Prize in the Senior Division of the 2009 Annual Mondavi Young Artists Competition.

All of the Carnegie Hall - From the Top Big Break entrants were classical musicians, with ages ranging between 8-18. A variety of solo instruments were represented, including piano, bassoon, harp, voice, violin, cello, bass, marimba, and recorder.

With finalists chosen, the public voting phase of the competition begins. The public is encouraged to vote for their favorite online performer among the videos posted of the 15 finalists at

Voting ends Dec. 14. Winners will be announced after Dec. 15. More information and voting opportunity can be found here.


Some rank the Vienna Philharmonic as the world's greatest orchestra.

While others think its musical approaches are stuck in the 20th century.

But one thing is certain: a Vienna Philharmonic performance is always a singular orchestral experience.

And this 160-year-old orchestra will be performing a rare three-concert stand this February as part of a residency at the University of California, Berkeley's Cal Performances.

It's the first time that the ensemble has performed in Northern California since 1987.

On February 25, conductor Semyon Bychkov will lead the orchestra at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall in Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 2 in B-flat major, D. 125, on a program with the Prelude & Liebestod from Richard Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" and Béla Bartók's "The Miraculous Mandarin."

The following evening, the orchestra returns with Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61, and Johannes Brahms's Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73.

The final concert, on Feb. 27, features Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 6 in A minor ("Tragic").

This engagement marks the inauguration of a new annual program of orchestral residencies at Cal Performances.

More information can be found here.

By Edward Ortiz

As far as genres go, baroque opera is a newcomer to Sacramento. In its almost 40-year history, the Sacramento Opera had never attempted one.

And so, last year, when the company announced it was presenting Handel's baroque gem "Orlando," questions abounded. Would the seemingly delicate work play well in the cavernous Community Center Theatre? And would an audience be found for it given the absence of the baroque from the local opera concert scene?

The answer to both questions, as proven by the company's opening performance of "Orlando" Friday evening at the CCT, is an unqualified yes.

As to audiences, the 2,400 seat hall may not have been packed but it was populated by a willing crowd, and interestingly, a young one. Baroque, it seems, may have found an audience among a new generation of listeners.

The winning formula with this production was set when the company cast Handel specialist countertenor Randall Scotting in the tricky Orlando role, and the telekinetic soprano Celine Ricci, as Angelica. Both gave strong, clear and dramatic performances in their company debuts. And in her best performance with this company to date, soprano Antoni Mendezona gave a bold and emotionally deep account of the Dorinda role. Mezzo-soprano Diana Tash, in the pants role of Medoro, offerd a strong vocal presence. Dean Elzinga provided a lightly menacing Zoroastro, the weight and power of his dusky baritone went wanting in some arias.

"Orlando," which is based on the 16th century epic poem "Orlando Furioso" by Ludovico Ariosto, operates on a fantastical plot. It is one that will not stir the attention of anyone who likes taut drama. In this tale, the knight Orlando must choose between love and duty, and he must do so against an emotional backdrop where his burning love for the Angelica, the Queen of Carthage sets the story in motion. The problem? Angelica's heart is devoted to another - the prince Medoro. It's a well-trod theme. And the magus Zoroastro is there to provide a timely "deus ex machina," or two.

For current audiences what will stir the soul is the sublime singing. Handel's music is virtually indestructible and its brilliant musical compass easy to plumb at every turn. The key to a success with "Orlando" happens upon singers injecting their characters with the right dose of humanizing emotion. This was a hallmark of this Francis Kuhn production.

Countertenor Scotting showed why he is a sought after Handel interpreter, and he showed why with an elegant turn in the late aria "Già l'ebro mio."

Soprano Ricci shined, especially in arias where she sang subtly, while offering her fluid coloratura, as she did on "Verdi piante." This came after her manic turn on "Non potra dirmi" where Ricci showed off her extreme physicality and pointed soprano. At times, her interpretation seemed too fraught for the tone of the opera. Regardless, Ricci infused the role with much life, and standout singing. Some of the best dramatic singing belonged to Mendezona, who turned the role of the lovelorn shepherdess Dorinda into a fascinating one. With Mendezona, the frustrations of the character came bubbling to the surface in every scene, especially in the "Se mi rivgolo" aria.

Conductor Timm Rolek kept the chamber orchestra of 12 musicians on an even keel, and this gave the music a smooth texture. Throughout, the musicians played with sensitivity, and this added to the stature of Handel's great music.

The production, conservatively directed by Kuhn, was hampered by artless set design and its almost laughable, ill-fitting costumes. The set, a monstrous arrangement of wooden stairs and metal scaffolding, marooned singers in front of it. Sadly, it partially obscured Paul DiPierro's smartly rendered rear digital projections (the first time this company has used such projections). The projections were parsed out conservatively, where a bolder and fresher use by Kuhn would have served this production well. Even so, it was clear that such images offer great promise. But that promise will be squandered if not married to a strong and fresh artistic vision.

However disquieting these drawbacks were, they could not rob this "Orlando" of its musical charms, which were many. This production suggests that baroque opera wears well on the Sacramento Opera. And it is due to the strong cast - which proved that the CCT does have its sonic merits. But, who would have thought that such revelations would have come at the hands of baroque opera?

Call The Bee's Edward Ortiz, (916) 321-1071.


Want to know where music bridges troubled borders and conflicts best?

Look no further than the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

This orchestra, co-founded in 1999 by conductor Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said, brings together Israeli, Palestinian, and Arab youth in the service of classical music, and they will be making a rare appearance here during the Governors' Global Climate Summit.

That summit takes place at UC Davis Nov. 15 and 16, and the orchestra is scheduled to perform Nov. 16 at 1:30 p.m. at the Mondavi Center for the Arts.

Among noted musicians in the orchestra is Kinan Azmeh, a Julliard-trained, Syrian clarinetist who has garnered glowing reviews in the New York and Los Angeles Times.

Information on the summit can be found here.


By Edward Ortiz

The Ahn Trio displayed an undeniable ownership of the music they performed Monday night at the Music Hall at California State University, Sacramento, an anticipated highlight of the college's Festival of New American Music.

Since four of the seven works on the program were written expressly for violinist Angella Ahn and her twin sisters cellist Maria Ahn and pianist Lucia Ahn, the intimacy they demonstrated with each work performed was expected.

Yet hewing so closely to dedicated works, many of which were of a similar neo-romantic scope, gave the concert a sense of claustrophobia - as if listening to a radio that only allows a narrow bandwidth to be received.

That drawback may also be the trio's greatest charm. In performing such myopic programs, the sisters allow audiences an intense flirtation with new music - where the popular overlaps the new and tonally uncertain.

Certainly, the sisters proved that they have no problem attracting an audience. At CSUS, they drew a standing-room-only crowd, many of them young devotees who are not often seen at chamber concerts at the same hall.

These sisters make no bones about being fervent champions of fellow Juilliard graduate and composer Kenji Bunch. They performed two of his works, plus two others arranged by him for the trio.

His music almost conveys the feel of Aaron Copland, except here the colors are mostly primary ones and of the light variety. Bunch is savvy at mining well-trod musical themes. And his use of them was best found in the kaleidoscopic 2007 work "danceband." This five-moment suite evolves as a travelogue from the sarabande to Irish folk dance music to disco.

The genius is taking the familiar and making it sound fresh and new - something the sisters proved masterful at doing. In "Sarabande" Lucia Ahn played the piano like a harpsichord, strumming its strings to evoke its twinkle, while her sisters played with wit and energy. In "Disco Boogie," the fast and highly syncopated drive of the music was paired with the trio's flair at conveying the exuberance of diso music's singular charm.

Though sounding seemingly simple, Pat Metheny's "Yu Ryung" proved tricky. The work, written by Metheny for the trio, begins with a six-note ostinato performed boldly by Maria Ahn that evolves among the trio. The hypnotic and circular work showed off the extremely cohesive and intuitive nature of these sisters as chamber musicians. The only drawback was a sudden battle with intonation by Maria Ahn during one of the work's passages.

The most interesting works performed in the program were David Balakrishnan's "Skylife" and Paul Schoenfield's "Samba". In the latter, the taut and brassy musicality of this trio was revealed.

In the former, hard-driving and almost brooding music, was a dramatic counterpoint to all the music that came before. The tiny little hint of darkness and musical grit that these two pieces offered, when strewn among the pastoral and golden light of the rest of the program, was telling. It was like encountering a whisp of fresh air from a suddenly opened door.

Call The Bee's Edward Ortiz, (916) 321-1071.

By Edward Ortiz

One of the largest online ticket-buying operators will launch service in Sacramento on Tuesday.

Goldstar boasts 1.2 million users in 10 cities. It'll offer tickets to a wide range of events in the Sacramento area, from opera to comedy basketball in venues such as the Community Center Theater and Arco arena.

Ticket sellers like Goldstar, which is based in Altadena, and the Chicago-based Groupon, sell tickets online at a discount and usually close to the show date.

Goldstar offers half price tickets through a free subscription service that offers summaries of more than 900 discounted events, as well as weekly email alerts to new events.

The company charges an average of a $4.50 service fee for the tickets and passes the ticket sales price to the event presenter.

The goal of the company is to avoid the high-price ticket market where shows are in great demand. It aims for looming events for which there is a surplus of unsold tickets.

Groupon's goal is very much the same, but the method is different. Groupon negotiates discounts on a range of popular local goods, services and cultural events. It then offers deals to thousands of subscribers in a free daily email, Facebook or Twitter. The deals are activated only when a minimum number of people agree to buy.

The Sacramento Opera is offering half price tickets to its 2010-11 season opening opera "Orlando" on Nov. 19 and 21 through Groupon.

It is also considering offering tickets for its second production - "The Magic Flute," scheduled for February, on Goldstar, said Rod Gideons, executive director of the Sacramento Opera.

He sees both services more as promotional than income generating.

"Using these service is a little bit like letting the genie out of the bottle," Gideons said.

"With Groupon we will, hopefully get the word out to reach those that we might not get otherwise," he said. "But the fact is that we cannot function selling tickets at half price.

"It's strictly a promotion to get new people through the door which we hope we can attract ticket buyers in the future," he said.

The ticket selling company sites can be found at and


Students at CSUS are staging a mini "opera" of author Luis Alberto Urrea's "The Devil's Highway."

Urrea's book tells the true story of a tragic crossing of immigrant workers from Mexico into the United States. The timely adaptation at CSUS will be a musical recasting of the book by music majors.

The mini opera project came together when CSUS professors Peter Nowlen and Deborah Pittman were looking for new ways to conduct a Freshman Seminar course.

The project operates under the umbrella of the university's One Book program, which chooses a book for all students, faculty, staff and alumni to read, creating a shared experience. Discussions and a visit by the author to CSUS are part of that project.

Like the book, the "opera" will be divided into four parts, beginning with a prologue.

In adapting the book CSUS music students were divided into four groups, each working on one of the parts - as writers, lyricists, and multi-media directors creating visuals for the performance.

In attempting the mini-opera, music majors are exposed to the creative side of their art, something typically not attempted until later in their music studies at CSUS.

The Devil's Highway
WHEN: 5:30 p.m., Dec. 3
WHERE: Room 151, Capistrano Hall, CSUS, 6000 J St., Sacramento
COST: Free
INFORMATION: (916) 278-5155;


In the documentary "My Musical Life," the argument is made that Nevada County may be as fecund a breeding ground for young composers as any in Northern California.

After all, it's the home of the likes of composer Terry Riley, and other notable artists.

The 30-minute film, by five time Emmy winning filmmaker Mike Bloebaum, casts the camera lens on four Nevada County musicians whose talent is being nurtured at the Grass Valley-based Music in the Mountains music presenter and its Young Composers program.

The film airs tonight at 4 p.m., and Sunday Nov. 7 at 6:00 p.m.on KVIE Channel 6.

The documentary follows the progress of four area students in the classroom and in their homes, and during their work on musical compositions.

One of those is harpist Sage Po (pictured, above) who was also featured in a segment of the popular radio classical music show "From the Top".

The Young Composers program was started in 2002 and is open to composers as young as fifth grade and as old as those in college. The first performances of the program's works were presented at MIM's SummerFest during the program's inaugural year.

Since that time the program has become a collaborative effort between MIM and the Nevada County Composers Cooperative, with teachers and composers Mark Vance and Jerry Grant conducting the program.


Performance and recording outlets are not many for musicians that specialize in early music.

That's why early music musicians should take note of the current partnership between Early Music America (EMA) and the Naxos record label.

The two are collaborating on a competition for early music soloists and ensembles, whose prize is a debut commercial CD recording, which will be produced and marketed by Naxos.

Through the competition, EMA and Naxos hope to promote the career development of emerging early music artists.

But the list of application requirements is a long one.

Applicants must be soloists or ensembles using voice and/or period instruments. Repertoire may include western music written before 1800, performed on period instruments or reconstructions, and in a style which is historically informed.

And all applicants must be members (individual or organizational) of EMA, residents of USA or Canada, and free of contractual obligation to any recording company.

If musicians meet that, and other, critieria then they have until Feb. 1, 2011 to send a letter of interest or intent to EMA, describing the ensemble and the proposed project and repertoire.

Preliminary proposals will be reviewed by Naxos, and applicants will be advised of the viability of the proposed project by March 15, 2011.

Assuming viability, entrants will be asked for 4 copies of an unedited audition recording on CD (either live performance or recorded in a studio, but not edited), no longer than 30 minutes, received by EMA no later than May 15, 2011.

The judges will be an anonymous panel of 3, selected by EMA, who will select the finalists.The entries will be based on performance quality.

Naxos gets to choose the winner, based on performance quality, program concept, sales potential, and compatibility with the current Naxos catalog.

The winner will receive the opportunity to make a commercially released CD on the Naxos label, recorded by Naxos in facilities in North America.

More information can be found here.


Nevada County may soon own a reputation for being a stellar breeding ground for young composers in Northern California.

After all, it has spawned composers Mark Vance and Terry Riley, amongst others.

And more may be coming according to the documentary "My Musical Life."

The 30-minute film, by five time Emmy winning filmmaker Mike Bloebaum, casts the camera lens on four Nevada County musicians whose talent is being nurtured at the Grass Valley-based Music in the Mountains music presenter and its Young Composers program.

The film airs November 5 at 4 p.m., and Nov. 7 at 6:00 p.m.on KVIE Channel 6.

The documentary follows the progress of four area students in the classroom and in their homes, and during their work on musical compositions.

One of those is harpist Sage Po (pictured, above) who was also featured in a segment of the popular radio classical music show "From the Top".

The Young Composers program was started in 2002 and is open to composers as young as fifth grade and as old as those in college. The first performances of the program's works were presented at MIM's SummerFest during the program's inaugural year.

Since that time the program has become a collaborative effort between MIM and the Nevada County Composers Cooperative, with teachers and composers Mark Vance and Jerry Grant conducting the program.

The Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance is presenting an audition workshop on Nov. 13.

The workshop will be held between 1-3 p.m. by Bob and Ro Productions at the Studio Theatre at 1028 R St., in Sacramento.

Rosemarie Gerould, from Bob and Ro Productions, will discuss "Selecting and Delivering Your Best Monologue," and Dee Dee Eldridge, from THE Actors Workshop and Integral Theatre, will review "How to Build the Perfect Headshot and Resume."

The workshop costs $10 ($5 for SARTA members) and is open to all ages and levels. Participants must bring a headshot/resume and monologue books.

Information: (916) 443-8229;


During any election year a senator's support for the arts is rarely the hottest topic.

But with so many arts organizations struggling, the National Endowment for the Arts at a seeming crossroads, and one third of the Senate facing voters, some are looking closely at the issue.

One of those is the arts advocacy nonprofit Americans for the Arts. It has plumbed the voting records and support for the arts by each member of the U.S. Senate.

Through its Arts Action Fund, it has graded each senator with a report card grade according to six criteria. These included such things as whether they supported the Coburn Amendment to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or their support for increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.

In that effort it has assigned 27 failing grades.

The arts action report card can be found here

October 26, 2010
A night of percussion...


No doubt, this is a golden era for percussion in classical music.

These days, percussion works by Varese, Stockhausen and Cowell are finally getting their due.

And best of all, young composers are eager to write works for percussion.

And so it is only fitting that percussion take center stage this Friday when Sacramento State University Music Department presents the Sacramento Percussion Group.

That ensemble will perform works by Steve Reich, Daniel Levitan, Michael Colgrass, Cowell and others.

Sacramento Percussion Group
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Friday
WHERE: St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 1430 J St., Sacramento
COST: $8; $5 students and seniors
INFORMATION: (916) 278-7988

By Edward Ortiz

The chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, Rocco Landesman, is coming to Sacramento to help launch the second phase of Mayor Kevin Johnson's For Arts Sake initiative.

The 63-year-old Landesman became chair of the nation's largest arts granting organization in 2009. He'll appear Nov. 12 at the Crocker Art Museum, and will likely address the importance of the arts to the economic and cultural fabric of communities.

Landesman, who also is president of the five Broadway theater chain known as Jujamcyn Theaters, has shown a desire to build partnerships between various, sometimes not so obviously connected, entities.

Under his leadership, the NEA has reached out to federal agencies such as the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for first-ever partnerships aimed at community building.

No doubt, one of the most well loved and performed works of classical music is Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons."

But rarely does the work get a thorough re-imagining.

On Nov. 3 audiences will get just that when two versions of "The Four Seasons" will be performed by the Venice Baroque Orchestra at the Mondavi Center.

One will be Vivaldi's masterwork and the other will be composer Phillip Glass' take on the violin concerto entitled Violin Concerto No. 2, "The American Four Seasons."

This comes on the heels of the release of Glass' recording of the concerto. That recording was made at the European premiere of the piece with Robert McDuffie, violin, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Marin Alsop conducting.

At Mondavi, Robert McDuffie will perform with the Venice Baroque Orchestra, a 13-year-old orchestra which owns a solid reputation in the field of period instrument performance.

For fans of the baroque and Glass devotees it will prove one of the more interesting concerts of the year.

The Seasons Project
WHEN: 8:00 p.m., Nov. 3
WHERE: Jackson Hall. Mondavi Center, UC Davis
TICKETS: $35-$58; $17.50-$29 student
INFORMATION: (530) 754-2787 or


Practice, practice, practice-tape and post.

That may be the quickest way to Carnegie Hall.

That's because the venerable concert hall and the popular NPR radio show From the Top have come together to launch a new online video contest targeted to talented musicians ages 8-18.

The project - called "Big Break" - is accepting videos of young musicians from United States residents. The deadline to submit is Nov. 18.

The submitted video is to be posted to a dedicated YouTube site and must comprise of a solo classical performance (musicians age 13 and younger must have entries submitted by a parent or guardian).

The entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges at From the Top and Carnegie Hall who will select a group of finalists. Those finalists will move on to a public voting stage, beginning around Nov. 29 and ending on Dec. 14.

The Big Break's grand-prize winner - selected by the public - will appear on an upcoming national radio broadcast of From the Top on NPR with host Christopher O'Riley.

For the past decade, From the Top has been the premiere showcase for America's most talented young classical musicians.

Each year, the show receives thousands of applications from young classical musicians across the country wishing to appear on its broadcasts.

This contest marks the first time that From the Top will open its audition process to the public.

The grand-prize winner plus several runners-up will also perform at a Carnegie Hall Family Concert on April 9 in Zankel Hall, produced in partnership with From the Top and hosted by Mr. O'Riley.

Big Break winners will be announced in mid-December.

Interested musicians should upload their audition video to by November 18 for official entry


Arthur Jarvinen, who was to be this year's keynote speaker and featured composer at CSUS's upcoming Festival of New American Music (FeNAM), died last Saturday in Los Angeles. Jarvinen was 54.

He was to perform his music with his group TempWerks, at FeNAM, which runs Nov. 4-14.

Jarvinen was a seminal figure in contemporary and experimental music.

He is best known as a founding and longtime member of the acclaimed California E.A.R. Unit.

He was currently a faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts, and had works performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, the New York New Music Ensemble, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, and many others.

FeNAM has not yet announced a replacement for the keynote speaker event that opens the new music fest on Oct. 4.

By Edward Ortiz

If there is anything close to a tradition at the 8-year-old Mondavi Center, it's starting a concert season with the San Francisco Symphony.

After all, it was with this orchestra that the hall gave its opening performance back in 2002.

And so, the orchestra and the hall are inextricably linked. And if Thursday's appearance by the San Francisco Symphony is any indication, that linkage is turning into a wonderful marriage.

For their first of two scheduled concerts at Mondavi, the orchestra opened the Center's classical music concert season with an all-French program.

The orchestra has proven itself to be a clear and fearless interpreter of Mahler with a stellar cycle of the composer's recordings. But what about the more florid and colorful music of Debussy and Ravel - or the deep-field musical explorations of Berlioz?

On Thursday, with the work of these composers, the orchestra proved they are worthy French interpreters, too.

The highlight was its performance of Berlioz's "Scenes from Romèo et Juliette." Here, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas coaxed an expansive, brash but tightly focused account of this masterpiece. The music is divided into seven parts, and the dynamics demanded therein range from the intimate to the titanic. The early sections were delivered with enough dynamic thrust - with the orchestra's horns weighing in with might and clarity, especially in the latter passage - "Intervention of the Prince."

And it was clear that Thomas was enjoying what he was hearing at the podium. A sense of levity and immersion seemed to come over Thomas as he was conducting the concluding movement. In one gigue-like passage Thomas was lost to self-awareness as he danced along fervently with the music.

The same expansive approach breathed life and color into Ravel's "Rapsodie espagnole." But with the Ravel a crucial sultry bent was added. The "Rapsodie" was Ravel's first major orchestral work. As a result, a healthy dose of youthful exuberance is found amid its four movements. And this orchestra was not shy connecting with it. With this work, a hypnotic four-note figure sets the scene for music that, as it evolves, seems to rise and fall with the fickleness of swirling smoke. Refined and radiant playing by the bassoons and clarinets made for a memorable performance of this work which deserves wider play.

This season Thomas has shown he is keen on showcasing musicians that populate the principal chairs of the orchestra. On Thursday the spotlight was on principal clarinetist Carey Bell, who performed Debussy's tricky "Première rhapsodie for Clarinet and Orchestra."

Bell performed this work with clarity and impressive technique. But a certain earthiness went lacking in his tone and performance. Though he showed total mastery of the work and his clarinet, the music came through more like a display of technical artistry than one where poetry and insight was delivered.

The program also included French pianist Jean-Frédéric Neuburger performing Debussy's "Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra." Neuberger's unassuming approach at the piano was well-suited to this work, where the piano is less of a solo instrument and more of a cohesive member of the orchestra. The charm of Neuberger's playing bloomed best in the second movement where his bright and nimble touch at the piano roved a great benefit to the work.

In a perfect world, this orchestra would open every concert season at Mondavi. But as last year proved - when the orchestra did not play at Mondavi at all - having them do so is still a luxury.

The San Francisco Symphony will return once more to Mondavi with a March 17, 2011, performance of Bach's Mass in B Minor, with Ragnar Bohlin conducting.

Call Bee arts critic Edward Ortiz, (916) 321-1071.


Mayor Kevin Johnson has tapped longtime Austinite Deborah Edward as Project Manager of his For Art's Sake Initiative.

Johnson's For Art's Sake program began in June 2009, with the formation of committees and monthly meetings to address such issues as how to raise funds for arts groups and how to bring more visibilty to the arts.

In choosing Edward, who hails from Austin, Tx., the Mayor has chosen an experienced arts consultant and academic that is familiar working in state capitol environment.

Edward was one of the consultants that led Austin's cultural planning effort 2006-2008 which resulted in the CreateAustin plan focused on helping Austin's creative community flourish.

Edward was instrumental in establishing Austin's new arts education initiative - mindPOP - by supervising a team of graduate students from the LBJ School of Public Affairs who conducted research on the landscape of arts education resources in the area.

She is co-founder and Executive Director of the Austin Children's Museum, which she grew from a museum-without walls into a significant downtown cultural resource for Austin families.

Edward also was founding director of Greenlights for NonProfit Success, a regional nonprofit management support center for Central Texas. Her work in the arts includes consulting with museums in California, Czech Republic, Russia and Texas on issues of museum education, governance, fundraising and planning.

Deborah Edward holds a Ph.D. in Education Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been on the faculty of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin for the past three years. She is a Fulbright Fellow, and continues to consult on issues of arts and nonprofit management in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.


Renowned tenor Anthony Kearns (pictured, right), founding member of the popular singing group, The Irish Tenors, will make a rare appearance in Sacramento this Saturday at a charity benefit for St. Rose Catholic Church.

Kearns was voted "Best IrishTenor" in 2010 by the Irish Music Association, and was recently named honorary president of the [Mario] Lanza Legend, an organization dedicated to preserving the legend of famed Tenor Mario Lanza.

Anthony Kearns
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Saturday
WHERE: St. Rose Catholic Church, 5905 Franklin Blvd., Sacramento
COST: $25
INFORMATION: (916) 421-1414;


Patronage of the arts in Placer County is on the rise. At the end of 2009 arts organizations experienced a 13% increase in audiences, according to Karen Killebrew with PlacerArts.

And to capitalize on that good news Placer County's arts and culture organizations have joined together to create an umbrella brand for the arts in Placer County.

That effort is called "Placer Arts 360." That branding plan mirrors what was done recently in Sacramento with the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission's "Arts Open Daily" and "" website.

The Placer County site will offer a complete calendar of events and can be found at

The organizations the site will help promote include:

*Arts Council of Placer County (PlacerArts)
*Arts for the Schools
*Auburn Community Concert Association
*Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center
*Auburn Symphony,
*Chamber Music Alive!
*Civic Theatre West,
*Lake Tahoe Music Festival
*Lincoln Arts & Culture Foundation
*North Tahoe Arts
*Placer Theatre Ballet
*Placer Theatre Productions
*Rocklin Community Theatre
*Roseville Arts!
*Blue Line Gallery
*South Placer Heritage Foundation
*Take Note Troupe
*Theatre Alive!


If a recent survey is any indication, Hispanics use mobile digital media more often than other ethnicities.

The survey, part of an ongoing survey of mobile media use among all ethnicities, was conducted by the Nielsen Company, in concert with the Associated Press, Univision and Stanford University.

The survey found that Hispanics use cell phones, trigger media downloads, and use data applications more frequently than do those in the White, Black-African and Asian-Pacific Islander demographic categories.

All ethnicities trailed Hispanics in the use of things like texting, music downloads and the use of the mobile internet.

Results were based on interviews via mail, phone and online with 1,521 Hispanic adults between March and June.

Included was a Nielsen Mobile Survey where 6,000 Hispanic respondents online, and 4,000 respondents, via a Spanish language phone survey in 27 key Hispanic markets and Puerto Rico, were surveyed. The data was compared with data previously gleaned from several ethnic categories concerning mobile media use.

"These results may be due to the fact that young people talk and text more than older people do, and the fact that the Hispanic demographic is a younger one" said Marivi Lerdo de Tejada, vice president of Global of Communication-Telecom at Nielsen.

"And the other driver for this is that Hispanics over-index for mobile use. More Hispanics have given up their land lines than other groups, and they do all of their talking on mobile phones."

Some results of the survey:

* Hispanics lead all ethnic groups in text message use and full track music downloads (77% of Hispanics used text messaging; 16% triggered full track music downloads)
* Hispanics make/receive 14 calls daily, versus an average of 9 among other groups.
* 43% of Hispanics use the mobile internet compared to only 25% among Whites
* Overall, 40% of respondents read a Spanish language newspaper
* Spanish language TV popular: 66% Hispanic respondents watch some Spanish TV
* 33% spend some time each day reading Spanish language magazines


Want to know where opera is going in these nascent years of the 21st century?

Look no further than what's going in London and the incarnation of the King's Head theatre.

In a story that appeared in the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper, it was reported that the former experimental theater space will reopen as an opera house.

The emphasis will be on bare-bones opera productions.

As a result, the productions will avoid the bane of high ticket prices.

Its patron list reads like a heavyweight who's who list of London theater and includes director Jonathan Miller, playwright Tom Stoppard and actress Janie Dee, among others.

By eschewing high prices and costly spectacle, the company hopes to bridge the disconnect between opera and younger audiences.

The theater will stage its first production on Oct. 6, with "Barber of Seville." Also planned is a production of Puccini's "Madame Butterfly," to be set in Bangkok, with Butterfly as a ladyboy and Pinkerton as an American Airlines pilot.

Tickets for the performances will be kept under $23, and a focus will be on giving young operatic talent a forum for their craft.

This all raises the question of how such a paradigm would play out in the U.S.

In seemingly opera-averse Sacramento, it's tempting to think of what would happen if a company put on an a $20 opera at, say, a large pub, or in a bare bones industrial space, with a weathered wall and light bulb for lighting.


Because of reductions in financial support, Spain's Orquesta Nacional de Espana's North American tour has been cancelled.

That includes the orchestra's scheduled performance at the Mondavi Center for the Arts on April 12, 2011.

In a written release, the orchestra's management said that "the Spanish government has been compelled to make severe reductions in the financial support of all artistic organizations and the reduction of subsidy to the National Orchestra of Spain makes it impossible for them to maintain any overseas touring including the North American tour planned for April 2011."

As a replacement, the Mondavi Center has secured the China Philharmonic Orchestra with Long Yu, conductor, and Renaud Capuçon as soloist.

Yu conducted the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra for a performance during the 2009-2010 Mondavi Center Season.

Under his baton, the China Philharmonic Orchestra, with Mr. Capuçon, will perform largely the same program scheduled for the Orquesta Nacional de España, which will include Berlioz's "Roman Carnival Overture," Bruch's Violin concerto and Ravel's "Bolero."

All tickets for the original Orquesta Nacional performance will be honored at the China Philharmonic performance.

Patrons not wishing to attend the China Philharmonic performance can request refunds from the Mondavi Center Ticket Office.

For information : (530) 754-2787 or

China Philharmonic Orchestra
WHEN: 8 p.m., April 12
WHERE: Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center for the Arts, UC Davis
TICKETS: $45-$79

Cellists and cello fans take note - Paul Cohen will be giving a recital at
CSUS this Wednesday and a master class the next day.

Cohen's playing has garnered rave reviews in the New Yorker and Strad magazines.
He made his concerto debut at the age of 12, and has appeared regularly with orchestras throughout New England and the Mid-Alantic since.

For his CSUS appearance, Cohen will perform Bach's Suite in G Major for Unaccompanied Cello (BWV1007), as well as "Ground on Cycle Zero," by Stanley Charkey, (written for six-stringed electric cello and looping pedal). Bach's Suite in C Major for Unaccompanied Cello (BWV 1009) rounds out the program.

Cohen will also be giving a master class at 4 p.m. Thursday, in Room 319 of the Music Building. The class is free and the public is welcome.

Paul Cohen, cello
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Wednesday
WHERE: Music Room 151, Music Building, CSUS, 6000 J St., Sacramento.
TICKETS:$8, $5 for students.
INFORMATION: (916) 278-5155 or


The newest women's choral chamber ensemble is now five years old.

That ensemble is the 12-member Vox Musica, founded by artistic director Daniel Paulson.

And for its 2010-11 season the ensemble is performing a slate of four concerts, and will add Chicago to the cities it has performed in.

Vox Musica's season begins Oct. 16 with "Amoris: Love Songs & Poetry." That concert will include the world premier of composer-in-residence Joel Pierson's "Schewyings," with poetry readings presented by guest speaker Guy Farris.

The second concert "Nativitas: A Vox Christmas," in December, continues Vox Musica's tradition of performing adventurous and established nativity music. That program includes rare motets by Spanish and Renaissance composer Alonso De Tejeda as well as works by Medieval composer Hildegard von Bingen.

It's third concert, in April of 2011, is titled "Fidesium: Music for Guitars and Women's Voices." That concert explores the paring of guitar and voice. It will feature the debut of "Settings in a Utopian World" by Vox Musica's composer-in-residence Matthew Grasso. That work celebrates the creation of Grasso's 14-note octave, "justly-tuned" guitar.

Vox Musica's season concludes next June with "Praestum: A Recital of Voices," a concert where its singers step out as soloists in repertoire that ranges from the traditional to the contemporary.

Vox Musica will also present a special educational outreach concert at the soon-to-be reopened Crocker Art Museum. This collaborative concert presentation with the Crocker Art Museum will be presented next February as part of the Crocker's Third Thursday "Playlist" concert series.

The ensemble will also perform in Chicago this season. That will happen when it performs next March 2011, in their debut at the American Choral Directors Association National Convention.

Information: (916) 471-0507 or

September 7, 2010
Have you ever heard the tarhu?


It's likely that, even if you're an experienced concert-goer, you've never heard the tarhu.

The stringed instrument, a variant of the "spike fiddle," is an invention of instrument maker and musician Peter Biffin.

The sitar-looking instrument uses a unique acoustic system, whereby string vibrations radiate to a featherweight wooden bowl suspended within the instrument's body.

The result of pairing bowl and strings allows for a hyper-sensitive instrument. And what blooms is an instrument that offers a wide range of tone variations.

That instrument will be showcased when the group Janam appears in concert on Sept. 12

Founded by Juliana Graffagna, a 20-year veteran of the Kitka ensemble, Janam features innovative interpreters of Southern Balkan and Middle Eastern traditional music.

Janam's musical influences are many and range from the Black Sea to the foothills of the Appalachians.

And the concert line up on Sunday will showcase the tarhu. The instrument will be played by string player Gari Hegedus (pictured above, right), who will also play the stellamara, violin and oud.

TimnaTal Music
WHAT: Janam, (formerly Black Olive Babes), in concert
WHEN: 7:00 p.m., Sept. 12
WHERE: Village Homes Community Center, 2661 Portage Bay East, Davis
COST: $13 advance, $15 at the door
INFORMATION: (530) 867-1032;


The Mondavi Center for the Arts, in concert with the Davis Art Center, is presenting a theater workshop for young actors in grades 4-6.

The Young Artists Theater Workshop will be led by Broadway veteran Mindy Cooper (pictured, right).

The workshop is offered by audition only and will cover basic theater and dance techniques. Participants in the workshop will be cast in a new multimedia theater work created by Cooper.

That work will be performed as part of the Lara Downes show "Neverland to Wonderland" at the Mondavi Center on Dec. 12.

Auditions will be conducted on Sept. 12 at Mondavi's Studio Theatre, from 1-5 p.m. To audition, interested actors will be asked to sing a song, learn a simple dance combination and read a short text.

Weekly classes will be held at the Davis Arts Center on Thursdays from 3:30-5 p.m., starting on Sept. 23.

The class fee is $160.

Information: (530) 754-2787;

For second saturday the American Institute of Architects, Central Valley is casting a spotlight on the history of the Capitol Area Development Authority (CADA).

It's doing so with the exhibit "Making a Sustainable Lifestyle Choice: A Retrospective," which highlights some of CADA's more noteworthy residential apartments and mixed-use projects.

CADA is a city and state agency that implements residential and neighborhood commercial projects that are part of the state's Capitol Area Plan.

In that role, CADA facilitates new developments and redevelopment projects, and also manages and maintains apartments and other properties on state property.

Two short films on the history of CADA will be screened as part of the exhibit.

Former President of Chalk-It-Up - Leta Wrightsman - will create chalk works of art in the AIA Chapter parking lot for the event.

Light refreshments will be provided.

"Making a Sustainable Lifestyle Choice:A Retrospective"
WHEN: 6 p.m. - 8 p.m., Sept. 11
WHERE: American Institute of Architects, Central Valley, 1400 S St., Sacramento
COST: Free
INFORMATION: (916) 379-8798;


Does an exhibit plumbing Mexico's fight for independence from Spain, and the country's history with indigenous rights, feminism and press freedom intrigue you?

If so, the latest exhibit at the University of California's Bancroft Library is a must see.

The exhibit, titled "Celebrating Mexico: The Grito de Dolores and The Mexican Revolution," explores Mexico's complex history.

It runs through Jan.14, at the Bancroft Library and has a parallel exhibit opening Sept. 20 at Stanford University's Cecil H. Green Library.

The parallel exhibits mark the first collaborative exhibition by the two Bay Area universities.

Both institutions boast excellent Mexican history collections.

The Berkeley exhibit begins with a look at Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla's 1810 speech that launched Mexico's fierce fight for independence, and continues with the Mexican Revolution against the established order of a century ago.

One of the highlights of the exhibit include showing the public rare documents in its collection, including Emiliano Zapata's original Plan de Ayala, from 1911. That document features Zapata's call for land reform, freedom, justice and law.

The exhibit also mines its document and photo collection to shed light on lesser known aspects of Mexico's history, such as the role of women as fighters and nurses during the revolution (pictured, above).

Their participation in the revolution influenced the growth of feminism in Mexico in the 1920 and 1930's.

"Celebrating Mexico: The Grito de Dolores and The Mexican Revolution"
WHEN: through Jan 14
WHERE: Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
COST: Free
INFORMATION: (510) 642-3781;


For several days the Classic Arts Showcase programming that runs on Surewest Channel 22 and Comcast 16 went wanting.

And the culprit?

It wasn't a change in programming.

Rather, it was a case of miscommunication about the address of a satellite feed, said Dale Fenton, office manager of the Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium, which broadcasts the arts programming to Surewest and Comcast.

The consortium gets its programming via satellite from the Los Angeles-based Classic Arts Showcase nonprofit.

"They didn't tell us they had changed the satellite address," said Fenton. "But that is all fixed now."

Classical programming returned to both cable channels at 3 p.m. today.

Classic Arts Showcase, which supplies clips of classical music, opera and ballet, as well as other arts disciples to cable stations, is known in the broadcast industry as the "Classical MTV."

The nonprofit was founded in 1994 by industrialist Lloyd E. Rigler, who with business partner Lawrence E. Deutsch, started the Lloyd E. Rigler-Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation in the 1950's.

That foundation has been a big philanthropic presence in Southern California and is credited with being a contributor to the creation of the Los Angeles Music Center as well as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.


For several days a satellite feed went lost between the Southern California provider of the popular Classical Arts showcase programming and Comcast channel 16 and Surewest channel 22.

The culprit was miscommunication between the Los Angeles-based Classical Arts Showcase arts programming broadcaster and some of the stations that carry its content.

"They just didn't tell us they had changed the coordinates of the satellite feed," said Dale Fenton, office manager with Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium, which supplies the show to Comcast and Surewest.

The result was nonstop educational programming from the University of California and the University of Washington. Educational programming is the main mission of the consortium.

"We just got the programming back up," said Fenton. The arts showcase programming returned to both cable channels at 3 p.m. today.

The Classical Arts Showcase is an eclectic television service that supplies performing arts films at no cost to public television stations.

The service was started in 1994 by Southern California philathropist Lloyd Eugene Rigler. That effort stems from Rigler and business partner Lawrence E. Deutsch's creation of the Lloyd E. Rigler-Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation. That foundation has been an active philanthropic presence in Los Angeles and was a key contributor to the creation of the Los Angeles Music Center as well as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

The Classical Arts Showcase is regarded as the "classical MTV" station for the many clips of classical music, opera and ballet that are shown on participating cable stations nationwide.


A scene from the 2009 De Nederlandse Opera production of Verdi's "La Traviata" to be performed at the Met in 2011." Photo: Klaus Lefebvre

Expansion, expansion, expansion. That's the watchword with the Metropolitan Opera's popular "The Met: Live in HD" series, where opera is shown live on cinema screens.

For the fifth season of the popular broadcast series, the Met has added a new theater to the local screening slate: the Regal El Dorado in El Dorado Hills.

El Dorado Hills now joins the eight theaters regionally that will, once again, show the operas (full theater list below).

This season the Met simulcast roster is expanding by 300 theaters worldwide, including 100 more in the U.S. The operas will be shown in 620 cinemas across the U.S. during the 2010-11 season.

Those simulcasts, which are live broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera's stage, come way of the Met's partnership with Fathom Entertainment. That company is a division of NCM, the biggest supplier of alternative programming services to the nation's largest movie theatre chains.

The Met is also expanding the number of simulcasts this season. It's offering 12 operas now (full simulcast schedule below) as opposed to the nine it offered last year.

It's easy to see why it is expanding. Business has been good. Last season the company sold a record-breaking 2.4 million tickets worldwide for the nine broadcasts.

The local simulcast season begins on Saturday, October 9 at 10am with the new production of Wagner's "Das Rheingold." That opera, which stars bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe and bass baritone Eric Owens, will be the first of the season's two installments of Wagner's epic "Der Ring des Nibelungen" (The Ring of the Nibelungs).

The Ring's second installment, "Die Walküre," closes the Live in HD season on May 14, with soprano Deborah Voigt as Brünnhilde and tenor Jonas Kaufmann as Siegmund - both in Met role debuts.

The Met: Live in HD 2010-11 Season

October 9 - 10am
A groundbreaking new Ring for the Met, conducted by James Levine and directed by Robert Lepage. Bryn Terfel, sings his first Met Wotan.

October 23 - 9am
Bass René Pape tackles on one of opera's most dramatic roles in this new Met production. Valery Gergiev conducts.

November 13 - 10am
Anna Netrebko sings Norina, the role that made her a Met star, in this comedy by Donizetti, with Matthew Polenzani as Ernesto, Mariusz Kwiecien as Dr. Malatesta, and John Del Carlo in the title role. James Levine conducts.

December 11 - 9:30am
Directed by Nicholas Hytner in his Met debut, this new production stars Roberto Alagna in the title role. Yannick Nézet-Séguin returns to the Met podium after a triumphant Met debut leading Carmen last year.

January 8, 2011 - 10am
Puccini's wild west opera stars Deborah Voigt as Minnie and Marcello Giordani as Dick Johnson, under the baton of San Francisco Opera conductor Nicola Luisotti.

February 12, 2011 - 10am
John Adams's acclaimed first opera gets its first Met outing, in a staging by longtime Adams collaborator Peter Sellars. Kathleen Kim is Chiang Ch'ing, Janis Kelly sings Pat Nixon, and James Maddalena reprises his acclaimed portrayal of Nixon, a role he created in the 1987 world premiere. Adams conducts.

February 26, 2011 - 10am
Susan Graham sings the title role in Gluck's masterful interpretation of the Greek myth. Plácido Domingo tackles the role of her brother - Oreste. Patrick Summers conducts.

March 19, 2011 - 10am
Natalie Dessay portrays Donizetti's fragile heroine in the Met's hit production, with Joseph Calleja as Edgardo and Ludovic Tézier as her scheming brother. Patrick Summers conducts.

April 9, 2011 - 10am
The demands of Rossini's vocally tricky comedy falls to the dynamic Juan Diego Flórez who sings the title role. He sings opposite Joyce DiDonato. Maurizio Benini conducts.

April 23, 2011 - 10am
Renée Fleming sings in this Strauss diva showcase. A John Cox's production, with Andrew Davis conducting.

April 30, 2011 - 10am
David McVicar's popular production returns with Marcelo Álvarez as the heroic troubadour. With Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Sondra Radvanovsky and Dolora Zajick. James Levine conducts.

May 14, 2011 - 9am
The second installment of Robert Lepage's new production of Wagner's Ring cycle, conducted by James Levine. Features Bryn Terfel as Wotan, and Deborah Voigt as Brünnhilde.

Participating Theatres - The Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD 2010-2011

Cinemark Sacramento Stadium 14 Sacramento
Cinemark Sacramento Downtown Plaza 7 Sacramento
Cinemark Sacramento Greenback Lane 16 Sacramento
Regal Natomas Marketplace Sacramento
Regal El Dorado Hills Stadium 13 with IMAX El Dorado Hills
Cinemark Laguna 16 Elk Grove
Cinemark Folsom 14 Folsom
Cinemark Roseville 14 Roseville
Cinemark Yuba City Yuba City

Tickets: $24; 22 (senior); $16 child
Information: call individual theater


The River City Chorale a stalwart on the choral concert scene the last 30 years, is holding auditions for tenors and basses.

The auditions are in preparation for its 2001-11 season, which will include a 2011 tour of France.

The chorale performs three times a year with a winter concert in December, a cabaret concert in March and a season ender in May.

Rehearsals are held every Monday night from Sept. through May, at 7 pm at Sacramento's Northminster Presbyterian Church.

Membership dues are $125, and singers must also attend a one day retreat on a Saturday.

River City Chorale 2010-11 season auditions
When: 6 p.m., Sept. 7
Where: Northminster Presbyterian Church, 3235 Pope Ave., Sacramento
Information: (916) 489-7248 or


If Naxos founder and CEO Klaus Heymann (pictured, right) is correct the future of classical music lies in an "all you can eat" diet of webstreaming and not downloads.

That much became clear in an interview that Heymann did with Gramophone magazine recently which can be read here.

The German-born Heymann started the Naxos record label in 1987 with a series of budget-priced recordings.

The business model was that of recording and releasing affordable CD's from midrange orchestras with second tier soloists performing.

The price point - usually under $10 for a CD, became increasingly popular with the music buying public.

Since then, Naxos has become a major player in the classical music business. It now boasts more than 3000 items in its catalog, and releases 20 new recordings every month.

As a result, Heymann is seen as somewhat of a visionary when it comes to the classical music label business.

Below are some excerpts from that interview, where Heymann ruminates about where classical music recording will go in the future...

On the future of classical music consumption:
"I think the future of listening will be an all-you-can-eat formula where people pay a flat rate, per month or per year, and they can listen to as much as they want."

On the label's classical music audience...
"It's a much younger audience than who goes to concerts. It's a little bit distorted by the demographic of the Naxos Music Library, which is obviously sold to an audience of 18-24 - we now have entire school districts in the United States, where all schools have the Naxos music library, and it's growing."

On what the future holds for classical music sales...
"I think it will not look too much different. Physical sales will be there, we will probably reach a point where it's just a hard-core [of collectors] we're selling to."

On the future of iTunes and classical music...
"iTunes doesn't want to do (classical) streaming, not yet, but my guess is they will change their mind. There will probably be a jazz streaming site, there might be a world music site, and several classical sites, we don't know, it depends on how much content they amass."

On the future of the physical CD...
"We have to be quite clear about the fact that there will be the CD - or a physical carrier - for many more years to come. The classical CD is not declining at the same rate as pop or rock. This year, if we look at various territories for the first four or five months, it's actually pretty stable."


If you're a fan of the San Francisco Opera and missed one of its productions last year, you're in luck.

A slate of its 2009-10 productions will be broadcast nationally on the radio, including 21 radio stations statewide.

But, sadly, not in Sacramento.

That's because no station in the city, including its classical music station KXPR, has opted to broadcast the eight operas from last season, as distributed by the WFMT network.

The operas to be broadcast include the company's much-lauded productions of "Salome" and "Il Trovatore" (station list and full schedule below).

"We're going to pass on the San Francisco Opera," said KXPR station manger Carl Watanabe in an email. "They do have a really good line up, but I intend to maintain our opera offerings with the Met and our own 52-week Friday Night At the Opera show."

"That's too bad, because if you're a local opera fan these broadcasts are a wonderful idea," said James Thrasher, a local opera fan from Citrus Heights. "It's especially wonderful because these are archived operas and usually not given out for public release."

The SF Opera company, arguably the best company on the West Coast, has been struggling to compete with the Metropolitan Opera for regional and national audiences, in both the cinematic and radio realm.

The Metropolitan Opera has been simulcasting a series of live opera performances via satellite nationally, including to eight cinema houses in the region, since 2006.

Some regional opera companies in the U.S. have cited the broadcasts, which have proved popular, as eroding their fan base.

To counter the Metropolitan Opera's incursion into its market, and to expand its fan base, the SF Opera also launched a cinema broadcast effort in 2008.

In that effort, which were high defintion screenings of taped operas, the screenings were shown on a limited number of screens nationally, including in New York City.

That effort was not a success.

Since then, the company has rebranded its cinema screening effort and is offering them only on a regional basis.

WFMT Radio Network/San Francisco Opera 2010 Broadcast Schedule:
Aug. 28 at 10:30 a.m. - Guiseppe Verdi's "Otello"
Sept. 4 at 10:30 a.m. - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "The Abduction from the Seraglio"
Sept. 11 at 10:30 a.m. - Giacomo Puccini's "Il Trittico"
Sept. 18 at 10:30 a.m. - Guiseppe Verdi's "Il Trovatore"
Sept. 25 at 10:30 a.m. - George Frideric Handel's "Ariodante"
Oct. 2 at 10:30 a.m. - Gaetano Donizetti's "La Fille du Régiment"
Oct. 9 at 10:30 a.m. - Giacomo Puccini's "La Fanciulla del West"
Oct. 16 at 10:30 a.m. - Richard Strauss's "Salome"
Oct. 23 at 10:30 a.m. - Giacomo Puccini's "La Rondine"

Radio stations broadcasting the productions:
Alturas KCHO-FM 103.5
Bieber KCHO-FM 91.7
Burney KCHO-FM 91.9
Chester KCHO-FM 89.7
Chico KCHO-FM 91.7
Dunsmuir KCHO-FM 91.9
Hayfork KCHO-FM 94.3
Los Angeles KUSC-FM 91.5
Mineral KCHO-FM 90.7
Mt Shasta KCHO-FM 91.9
Palm Springs KPSC-FM 88.5
Redding KFPR-FM 88.9
San Diego XLNC1-FM 90.7
San Francisco KDFC-AM 1220
San Francisco KDFC-FM 102.1
Santa Barbara KFAC-FM 88.7
Susanville KCHO-FM 90.7
Thousand Oaks KCPB-FM 91.1
Weaverville KCHO-FM 89.5
Weed KCHO-FM 91.9
Westwood KCHO-FM 89.7
Yreka KCHO-FM 90.7


What's more important in a performance? Word or sound?

That question is raised in the upcoming neo-folk, improvisational jazz and poetry project called "Electropoetic Coffee."

That project is a collaboration between guitarist Ross Hammond (pictured, right) and poet/singer Lawrence Dinkins, Jr., a.k.a. NSAA.

Birthed late last year, that collaboration proved a highlight of the most recent "In the Flow" festival.

And there's something compelling about the exploration of how powerful the word is when it competes with the might of sound.

Perhaps it's not as much a game of competition as it is one of completion?

That tasty exploration has evolved into the release of the eponymous CD "Electropoetic Coffee," which is having a release party at Luna's Cafe and Juice Bar in September.

Electropoetic Coffee CD release party
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 18
WHERE: Luna's Cafe and Juice Bar, 1414 16th St., Sacramento
TICKETS: $10 ($15 w/CD)
INFORMATION: (916) 441-3931;


American quartets specializing in jazz, urban/hip hop, bluegrass, blues, Cajun, country, gospel, and zydeco take note: the U.S. government needs you.

And so does Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC).

Since 2005, JALC and the U.S. Department of State have produced ten tours that have brought American music to overseas audiences.

And this season is no different.

JALC is seeking music quartets from throughout the United States to apply for the touring program known as the The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad.

The Rhythm Road program is structured as a cultural diplomacy effort where musicians travel abroad, especially to countries not regularly visited by American musicians.

Auditions will be held in New York City at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center and, for the first time, in New Orleans.

The application deadline is Nov. 1. Selected ensembles will audition in New York City and New Orleans in January 2011.

The international tours will take place between April and June of next year, and between September 2011 and February 2012.

Musicians inquiring about applications should call (212) 258-9899 or email:


The computer and video game industry continues to be a robust economic generator despite a recent drop in sales of video games.

The entertainment software industry's real annual growth rate from 2005 to 2009 exceeded 10 percent, according to the 2010 report "Video Games in the 21st Century," by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

That growth rate is more than seven times the growth rate of the U.S. economy as a whole.

The report found that the computer and video game industry added nearly $5 billion to the U.S. economy in 2009, and that employees in the industry earn an average of $89,781 annually.


The Music in the Mountains (MIM) Festival Chorale, one of the premier choruses of the Sierra foothills, is looking for singers.

The Festival's choral conductor, Ryan Murray (pictured, right), will hold auditions on Sept. 1 for experienced singers interested in joining the 90-voice Festival Chorale.

The auditions will be held at Peace Lutheran Church at 828 West Main St. in Grass Valley, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The individual auditions will be in three parts: vocalization, pitch memory and sight singing.

Rehearsals will also be conducted for MIM's popular Holiday Choral Concerts. Those rehearsals will be held on Wednesday nights at Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley beginning on Sept. 8. The concerts will be Dec. 3, 11 and 12.

The Holiday concert line-up will include Rutter's "Gloria," "O Magnum Mysterium" by Tomás Luis de Victoria, and "Ave Maria" by Kverno Trond, among others.

The Music in the Mountains Festival Chorale has roots dating back to the 1960s. It performs in two to four festivals annually and has premiered a number of new works from noted local composers. The group's repertoire includes a range of a capella and major works with orchestra.

Interested singers should call Chrissie at the MIM office: (530) 265-6173 to sign up for an audition time.

By Edward Ortiz

Six local arts organizations will receive more than $30,000 in prize money through a partnership between the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission and the Sacramento Region Community Foundation.

The awards, as part of the Arts Innovation Fund, are meant to recognize organizations that have shown creativity and innovation in confronting the challenges of dwindling audiences and a shrinking fund pool.

The three prize winners include:

1st Prize - The Sacramento Ballet - awarded $10,000

2nd Prize - The Sacramento Choral Society - awarded $8,500

3rd Prize - Capital Stage - awarded $7,000

There were three honorable mention winners, which included the Sacramento Philharmonic, La Raza Galeria Posada and Instituto Mazatlan Bellas Artes. Those groups were awarded $1,500 each.

The prize winners were culled from 28 applicants, 15 of whom pitched their innovation successes to a panel of local arts and community leaders.

A second round of prizes is planned for 2011.

Call The Bee's Edward Ortiz, (916) 321-1071.


Chanticleer, the renowned 12-member Bay Area choral ensemble, will return to Sacramento this fall.

And as is the group's tradition, it is not resting on any laurels.

Its upcoming Sept. 26 concert in Sacramento will offer the program "Out of this World." The program will see the group exploring new thematic territory: the cosmos.

For that concert, Chanticleer will perform works by hotshot Berkeley-based composer-DJ Mason Bates. The work, "Observer in the Magellanic Cloud," tells the musical tale of what happens when musical transmissions by ancient Maoris are picked up in outer space.

The work, a world premiere, is described as a musical game where distant past meets distant future. And it will see Chanticleer do its first singing in the Maori language.

Also on the program is a new arrangement of the work "Cells Planets" by indie-pop composer Erica Lloyd of Little Grey Girlfriend.

This concert does not dwell totally on the 21st century.

Chanticleer will weave early works by Monteverdi, Marenzio, Gabrieli and Palestrina into the program.

Out of This World
WHEN: 5 p.m., Sept. 26
WHERE: St. Francis Church, 1066 26th St., Sacramento
TICKETS: $20 - $44
INFORMATION: (800) 407-1400;


The 180-member Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra is looking for tenors and sopranos.

In particular, the SCSO is looking for experienced choral singers with good music reading skills.

The choral group, now in its 15th year, will perform Verdi's "Requiem", cathedral choral music, and a program of Broadway music during its 2010-11 season.

The SCSO performs at the Mondavi Center for the Arts at UC Davis, and Sacramento's Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.

Interested singers should call the SCSO at (916) 536-9065 and leave a name and telephone number, or email:

Rehearsals begin Aug.30 and are held at Capistrano Hall on the campus of Sacramento State University on Monday evenings from 7 to 9:30 p.m..

The Auburn Symphony from Tim C Anderson on Vimeo.

The Auburn Symphony returns to the Mondavi Center for the Arts during its slate of 10 concerts scheduled for 2010-11.

The 70-member volunteer orchestra, now in its 23rd year, will showcase local violinist Michelle Xia You and pianist Richard Cionco during the season, where works by Mozart, Handel, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich will be featured.

Season tickets for the below concert schedule will be available on Sept. 6th, with single tickets on Sept. 20.

Information: (530) 823-6683;

Auburn Symphony - 2010-11 season

Sept. 18
"Symphony in the Park"
WHEN: 6 p.m.
WHERE: Auburn School Park Preserve, Auburn

Oct. 2
Auburn Symphony Chamber Players at the State Theatre
"Mozart's Little Night Music and Other Classical Delights"
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: State Theatre, 985 Lincoln Way, Auburn

Oct. 16
Maestro Presentation
"Rachmaninov: Last of the Great Romantics"
WHEN: 7:00 p.m.,
WHERE: Birdsall Mansion, 123 Birdsall Ave, Auburn

Oct. 23 & 24
Masterworks Concert 1
"Dazzle and Romance"
Soloist: Michelle Xiao You
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Oct. 23 and 3:00 p.m., Oct. 24
WHERE: Placer High School Auditorium, 275 Orange St., Auburn

Dec. 7
"Messiah Sing-Along"
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Placer High School Auditorium, 275 Orange St., Auburn

Jan. 15 & 16
Masterworks Concert 2
"Pastoral Delights"
Soloist: Steven Vanhauwert
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Jan. 15, 201, and 3:00 p.m. Jan. 16, 2011
WHERE: Placer High School Auditorium, 275 Orange St., Auburn

Feb. 5, 2011
WHEN: 11:00 a.m.
WHERE: Placer High School Auditorium, 275 Orange St., Auburn

March 5, 2011
Maestro Presentation
"Shostakovich: Music Beyond the Regime"
WHEN: 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: Birdsall Mansion, 123 Birdsall Ave, Auburn

March 13, 2011
"Russian Triumph"
Soloist: Richard Cionco
WHEN: 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: Mondavi Center for the Arts, UC Davis

April 16 & 17
Masterworks Concert 3
"Spring Songs - Summer Revels"
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., April 16, 2011 and 3:00 p.m., April 17
WHERE: Placer High School Auditorium, 275 Orange St., Auburn

May 7, 2011
Auburn Symphony Chamber Players at the State Theatre
"Vivaldi's The Four Seasons"
Soloist: Kay Kyung Ha Lee
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: State Theatre, 985 Lincoln Way, Auburn


If you want a sign of how bad things can get for a financially struggling orchestra you need only look to Detroit.

That economically besieged city's orchestra, one of the country's best, is going through onerous contract negotiations due to a budget crunch.

Why is that important in Sacramento?

Because the outcome of those negotiations may have a ripple effect on contract negotiations at other orchestras, both large and small.

Recently, management at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra has put an offer on the table that will be very hard for most of its musicians to swallow.

That offer involves up to 28 percent cuts in health insurance, elimination of contributions to retirement benefits, and a sharp reduction in the size of the orchestra.

Although these types of offers from management to unions are nothing out of the ordinary these days, steep staff cuts is a troubling event for an orchestra.

And when that orchestra has reduced its size already - from 95 onstage musicians in 2001 to 84 currently, it's even more troubling.

Worse yet, the outcome of the negotiations and ensuing contract may set a trend where managers at other orchestras make similar demands.

In a musician's union press release, Detroit Symphony cellist Haden McKay, one of the musicians' negotiators, said staff reductions would drop the DSO out of the top ten ranking of American symphony orchestras.

The DSO, founded in 1914, is one of the country's best major regional orchestras.

It has produced many wonderful recordings on the Victor, London, Decca, Mercury, RCA, and Chandos labels.

Conductor Neeme Järvi led the orchestra during once of its strongest eras - from 1990 to 2005. Leonard Slatkin is current music director.

"The fall from the top ten would make it that much more difficult to attract internationally famous guest conductors and artists, as well as the best musicians," said McKay in the press release.

The orchestra has already seen the exit of six musicians in the past two years.

The musicians union has made $3.4 million in concessions in its past two contracts with management.

It recently offered management a proposal agreeing to more than $9 million in cuts in salary and benefits, including cuts of 22 percent in next year's annual scale, 14 percent in 2012, and eight percent in 2013.

That proposal was rejected.

Moon Zoo: Crater Survey from The Zooniverse on Vimeo.

An unusal project is underway that seeks the public's help in classifying images taken of the moon.

The project is called Moon Zoo. That effort seeks help studying the lunar surface in unprecedented detail.

In particular, the NASA project is asking for help getting detailed crater counts for as much of the Moon's surface as possible.

To do so it is soliciting help in classifying lunar craters from the massive volume of images that have been supplied by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

But why seek the help of humans and not computers?

NASA scientists say humans are better at recognizing certain patterns-like fissures and other geological formations-than computers.

In Moon Zoo, participants will be shown a slate of random individual images taken from the orbiter (those images will also be shown to other participants). They will then get to classify them.

The Moon Zoo team will then carefully analyze the results to make sure that the collective results will be useful to scientists.

The project is modeled after NASA's popular Galaxy Zoo project where the public (more than 250,000 people so far) have been helping NASA identify objects from its Hubble Space Telescope archive.

To participate in the Moon Zoo project go here.

Photo 2 Lesson[1].JPG

The passage of a House resolution supporting arts education may be just an expression, but for a long neglected field like arts education, it is a completely noteworthy one.

On Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation designating the second week of September as "Arts in Education Week."

The resolution, authored and introduced by California Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA), is the first Congressional expression of support celebrating all the disciplines comprising arts education.

"At a time when arts education is clearly threatened around the state, we welcome a public statement of support concerning the value of arts education to the lives of every child," said Joe Landon, policy director for the California Alliance for Arts Education.

"So, we're grateful for the federal government's endorsement."

The resolution is seen, in arts education circles, as a timely development since it comes at a time when Congress is making plans to overhaul federal education policy.

The resolution also comes off the heels of a recent U.S. House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee approval of a $2.5 million increase for the NEA budget in its 2011 spending bill.

The NEA is currently funded at $167.5 million. The increase would bring the NEA's budget to $170 million.

Americans for the Arts is planning an Arts Education Blog Salon for the celebratory week.


The 13-member Sacramento Baroque Soloists will offer five concerts in 2010-11, including two concerto grosso performances, and a concert devoted to the cello.

The season will see the group offer a baroque Christmas concert, and a concert featuring its recorder player, Judith Linsenberg.

The season begins on Oct. 2, with a performance of J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, in a program that includes Handel's Concerto Grosso in G Major, Op.6, No.1, and Pachelbel's Canon and Gigue, among other works.

The concerts will take place at Sacramento's St. John's Lutheran Church on Saturday with a matinee concert at St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Sunday.

Sacramento Baroque Soloists 2010-11 season

"Brandenburg Concerto"
8 p.m. Oct. 2
3 p.m. Oct 3

Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No. 3
Vivaldi - Concerto for Two Violins and Two Cellos in D Major
Geminiani - Concerto Grosso in D major
Pachelbel - Canon and Gigue

"In Praise of Christmas"
8 p.m., Nov. 27
3 p.m. Nov. 29

The ensemble will perform their own arrangements of early Christmas music.

"Voice of the Cello"
8 p.m. Jan. 8, 2011
3 p.m. Jan. 9, 2011


"Storm at Sea -Vivaldi Concertos"
8 p.m. March 26, 2011
3 p.m. March 27, 2011

Vivaldi - Violin Concerto in E-flat major
Vivaldi - Cello Concerto in B minor
Vivaldi - Flute Concerto in D Major "Il Gardellino"
Vivaldi - Concerto for Strings in G minor
Vivaldi - Concerto for Four Violins and Cello

"Judith Linsenberg"
8 p.m. May 14, 2011
3 p.m. May 15, 2011

Vivaldi - Chamber Concerto in A minor
Telemann - Concerto for Recorder
Corelli - Trio Sonata Op. 1
Telemann - Chamber Cantata
Scarlatti - vocal selections

Saturday concerts: St. John's Lutheran Church, 1701 L Street, Sacramento
Sunday concerts: St. Paul's Epsicopal Church, 1430 J St., Sacramento

TICKETS: $10-$25
INFORMATION: (916) 705-3806 or


Musicians take note: the new theater at the Crocker Art Museum may be add another venue for classical and chamber music.

But it may take some tweaking.

The acoustical charm of the new theater (pictured, right) has yet to be tested, but the theatre holds some promise as a music venue.

The 260-seat theater, which is part of the museum's 125,000 sq. ft. expansion built by Charles Gwathmey, was not built as a recital hall, despite the fact that the Crocker's classical music series will be offered there.

Rather, it is was designed as a multi-disciplinary theater that can host lectures, show films and offer various kinds of performances, said theater designer Adam Shalleck.

The fact that Shalleck designed the Crocker's theater bodes well for it.

He has had a hand in the design of the Mondavi Center for the Arts, the Cosmopolitan Theater and the soon-to-open Visual and Performing Arts Center at Folsom Lake College.

"You have to strike a balance on what the highest priorities are and what the most frequent uses will be," said Shalleck.

Because the hall is designed to suit a variety of uses, the acoustics there offer shorter reverberation times. That aspect makes it less suitable for things like chamber concerts. Concert halls typically offer long reverberation times.

But the shorter reverberation time may suit the needs of early music performances, said Shalleck.

"This theater is an intimate atmosphere - much like a music room or salon," he said.

But the person charged with designing the acoustics for the Crocker theater does not see the hall, in its current state, as ideal for early music.

"It was not designed for musical performances of any kind and I think chamber music in there would be marginal at best," said Crocker theater project acoustical engineer Cristina L. Miyar via email. "We designed this space for lectures and film screenings, which is typical of museum auditoria."

"If they want to do chamber music in there, then I would recommend that they invest in orchestra towers. These could be portable and used only for music performances," she said.

The towers would accomodate programming that requires clarity and short reverberation times, Miyar said.

The acoustics of the Crocker theater is no small matter.

At least one Thursday a month at the Crocker will be dedicated to an ongoing music series that will add to the museum's already popular Sunday Classical series," said Christian Adame, manager of lifelong learning at the Crocker.

The focus of the Thursday concerts will be to connect music to the museum's rotating exhibitions and permanent collection, he said.

The true test of the theater's acoustical charms won't happen until the first classical concert at the Crocker, which takes place in December. The Crocker, which is currently closed due to its expansion, reopens in October.

And most likely, the acoustics won't get a good vetting until after January when the concert series starts in earnest.

The new theater will allow the museum to host a new film series Thursday evenings, said Adame.

"We'll have one evening each month dedicated to film screenings of classic to contemporary films, along with collaborations with local film festivals throughout the year," said Adame.

The Crocker intends to tailor remaining Thursday evenings to social learning, with live music, short films, short talks, art activities and performances.

Some of the Thursday evenings offerings will be devoted to community collaborations with local non-profits and arts organizations.

The theater will also offer other events since it boasts a video teleconferencing system that can stream live audio and video via web.

Other features of the theater include an assistive listening system for the hearing impaired, theatrical lighting and adjustable wing walls, to allow a variety of performing arts productions.


How would it sound if a downtown Manhattan musical aesthetic is melded with West Coast minimalism?

That answer forms the gist of composer John Zorn's upcoming residency at Yoshi's San Francisco.

Starting on Aug. 26 (the residencey runs through Aug. 28), Zorn will perform a slate that offers six different sets of ensembles.

Titled, "John Zorn's Bay Area Connection," Zorn will appear alongside some of the Bay Area's finest improvisors, most notably Nevada City composer Terry Riley.

Riley will appear with Zorn on the Aug. 26 opening concert. Zorn has cited Riley as a significant influence in his composing.

This will be the first time the two have performed together as a duo.

During his residency, Zorn will also perform alongside master guitarist Fred Frith and vocalist/electronic maestro Mike Patton.

Frith and Zorn are considered two of the founding fathers of New York's Downtown scene, with their collaboration dating back to late '70s.

John Zorn's Bay Area Connection
WHEN: Aug. 26-Aug. 28
WHERE: Yoshi's, 1330 Fillmore St., San Francisco
COST: $25-$35
INFORMATION: (415) 655-5600;


The details are not yet writ in stone, but it's likely that the Varsity cinema house in Davis will screen productions from London's Globe Theatre and the Royal Opera House.

The productions, to be screened this fall, will come to the Varsity by way of an arrangement it has with New York-based distributor Emerging Pictures.

That arrangement involves the Varsity digitally screening opera productions from Milan's Teatro all la Scala and the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona.

"I will be talking to Emerging about the London screenings soon," said Sinisa Novakovic, owner of the Varisty Theater.

To date, the opera productions screened at the Varsity have been a popular off-peak time screening addition to its presentation slate.

For a June screening of a La Scala production of "Carmen," the Varsity drew 150 patrons over two days.

All such screenings are offered on Saturday and Sunday in the Varsity's smaller 97-seat screen.

And Novakovic hopes that Shakespearean theater from the Globe and the edgy opera productions from London's Royal Opera House will follow suit.

"These screenings will be English language productions, and maybe they will be appealing to people that do not like performances that are subtitled," he said.

The London productions come way of a partnership that Emerging Pictures has entered with Opus Arts Events to bring London opera and ballet content to U.S. cinema houses.


The booking of "late addition" rock and popular music acts at the Mondavi Center for the Arts will continue and grow, said Mondavi executive director Don Roth.

Mondavi officials recently announced they would rent Jackson Hall to Another Planet Entertainment for a rare Neil Young solo concert. That concert is scheduled for Thursday.

Those are the kind of concerts Roth wants to see more often at Mondavi.

"Having 'just addeds' allows us to bring performances by artists who do not book as far in advance as artists we include in our season," said Roth.

Those have included artists such as Willie Nelson and k.d. lang, whom Mondavi booked only about three months before they performed.

Roth said that he wants Mondavi to present some of them, alongside renting to independents like Another Planet.

And it's easy to see why the Center is interested: When Mondavi presented Elvis Costello last season (a show it produced) the tickets sold out in 36 hours.

"It was probably one of the fastest sellouts ever," said Roth.

Roth said he has already booked another "just added" act for next year, but did not disclose who that would be.

"We'll be rolling out another 'just added' performance when single tickets go on sale on Aug. 23," he said.

"Our goal has been about two 'just addeds' a quarter. If we hit that, it would be about six compared to 90 or so published performances in our season brochure," he said.

"When we can do this we do find it injects some new energy and excitement into the season for our patrons."


If the music of John Cage, Conlon Noncarrow and John Adams is your cup of tea then you should definitely bookmark the site

The website is an offshoot of the Bay Area-based Other Minds, a new music nonprofit started by composer Charles Amirkhanian and art curator-film producer Jim Newman in 1993.

The website offers an archive of music and interviews with many of the seminal figures of 20th and 21st century music. The interviews stem mainly from hundreds of original works recorded at Berkeley's KPFA-FM by Amirkhanian, who was music director of the station from 1969 to 1992, as well as interviews conducted by two previous music directors, Charles Shere and the late Alan Rich.

The music streamed on the site offers many works that cannot be found on recordings, such as three excerpts from Robert Moran's ballet piece "10 Miles High Over Albania," a 1983 composition scored for eight amplified harps.

This ballet piece was commissioned and premiered by the Joyce Lamhut Dance Group and was first performed at the Joyce Theater in New York City in March 1983.

The most recent upload to is a recording provided to Other Minds by Mills College of free improvisations from 1967 by Terry Riley, Pauline Oliveros and others.

In the coming year, Other Minds will digitize and make available approximately 200 more programs, supplement audio with historic photos and begin to offer select programs via digital download.

For some, the name "Community Center Theater" implies a venue that produces community group theater, music and dance, and not performances by professional groups and touring companies.

For others it remains an apt name for the city's largest big box theater.

Tell us what you think?

A look on Saturday at some of the city's oldest public art works will be the first in a series of free, guided arts tours offered by the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.

The tour, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, will include "Indo Arch" by Jerry Walburg, sculptures by Peter Vandenberg's, murals by the Royal Chicano Air Force, and one of the largest artworks in the downtown area by Fred Ball.

The tours, in conjunction with Second Saturday in downtown Sacramento, will also be held in August, September and October.

Each tour will have a theme, will meet at a different place and will focus on specific artists. Tours will be conducted by a trained docent.

Upcoming tour schedule:

Aug. 14
This tour is designed for families with children ages 4 and older. It starts at 10:30 a.m. at the Sacramento Convention Center sculpture garden.The tour ends at 12:30 p.m.

Sept. 11
This tour takes a look at how bronze sculptures are fabricated, with sculptor and Art Foundry director Alan Osbourn, who joins the tour of bronze sculptures in the downtown area. The group will walk to the nearby Art Foundry Gallery to see a bronze sculpture being poured, and learn firsthand about the process of making the sculptures. The tour begins at 5:30 p.m. and concludes at 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 9
This tour public delves into artwork by Chicano artists, including a major mural by Juanishi Orosco on the Macy's parking garage plus works by Joe Mariscal, Eduardo Oropeza and Gilbert Lujan.

The Art in Public Places Program was established by the city and county of Sacramento to provide visual art experiences in public locations through a percent-for-art program, which reserves a portion of construction dollars from city, county or redevelopment projects for public art.

Second Saturday Public Art Tours
WHEN: Second Saturdays in July, August, September, October
WHERE: Downtown Sacramento
COST: Free; Participants must register in advance.
INFORMATION: (916) 808-3977;


Can music affect individuals in a vegetative state?

One recent study supports that theory.

A recent article in New Scientist magazine reported that a study by Francesco Riganello at the Santa Anna Institute in Crotone, Italy, found that the heartbeats of nine patients in a vegetative state changed when music was played to them.

To establish his findings, Riganello and his research team played four pieces of classical music to 16 healthy volunteers while measuring their heartbeats.

The team then repeated the experiment with nine in a vegetative state.

He then asked the healthy volunteers to describe the emotions they felt while listening to the music.

The study established that the music affected the heart rates of both groups in similar ways.

One of the pieces of music - the minuet from Boccherini's string quintet in E, which the team termed as "positive" music - slowed heart rates.

Others, like Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6, which they termed "negative," increased them.

Although the study is seen as a preliminary finding in the field of clinical neurophysiology, it is noteworthy for how it posits the notion that autonomic changes in patients in vegetative states can be triggered by the presence of music.

Gustav Mahler[1].JPG

Today is the 150th anniversary of Mahler's birth.

To celebrate, Deutsche Grammophon and Decca have put up a website allowing exploration of many of his recorded works.

That site is mahler150.

The site not only offers recordings from the DG and Decca catalog, it will also offer a "people's edition" component where a Mahler playlist of music can be created.

These playlists, selected and programmed by listeners, will be in the running for a "winning" playlist to be released as a CD box-set this fall.

The recordings on the site will include recent releases and rare re-issues.

The site will offer full-track streaming of the complete Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Mahler catalogs - almost 180 symphony recordings - with integrated shop links for instant purchase on CD or download.

Full-track streaming will be available for all titles next week, though most are available now.

No purchase is necessary to access the streaming.


If summer was made for leisurely reading, it is also the best time to expand musical horizons.

And this summer there's no shortage of interesting and provocative CD releases to choose from.

Below are five unique and recent releases that keep finding their way onto my listening queue:

Dictée, Liber Novus
John Zorn
Tzadik Records

I like Zorn's music for the way it makes me feel like I'm sitting in a cinema house and watching a genre film - except here the sound provides all the visuals. On this excellent CD, Zorn's provocative and experimental ideas bloom with two works -"Dictée," a musically bracing homage to artist Theresa Hak-Kyung Cha, and "Liber Novus," inspired by Carl Jung's "Red Book." With "Liber," Zorn weaves the blare of rabid lions, the lilt of hypnotic piano and cloying chanting among other sounds to make you feel like you've just entered some exotic and dangerous musical diorama. Defintely not for the faint of heart.

Tribute to a Reggae Legend
Various Artists

With this CD we get five new takes of Marley classics among 12 tracks. And it's a wide-ranging take on Marley's music. Artists from Hawaii to Ghana take a crack on this CD. Here, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars add a hyper-rhythmic dimension to "No Woman No Cry," while the Hawaii-based Three Plus, who specialize in hybrid "Jawaiian" music, performs Marley's "Is This Love" with a relaxed island elegance.

Cypress String Quartet
Beethoven Late Quartets - String Quartet in B-flat major, Opus 130, with Große Fuge, and Opus 133
Cypress String Quartet

Does the classical world need another recording of Beethoven's Late Quartets? This CD suggests that the answer is a resounding "Yes!" This San Francisco-based ensemble distinguishes itself with a brilliant, sometimes austere, but incisive reading of these intimate, difficult and elusive quartets.

Cameron Live!
Cameron Carpenter

When you think of the organ it usually conjures up a shy musician hidden away in some dusty church rafter. Not so with the young and brash Cameron Carpenter. He's like the Aldous Snow of the church organ world, and it is his mission to recast the organ as a vibrant and edgy instrument. And he's succeeding. This CD shows why. His performances of well-known works are illuminating and brassy. On this two-disc recording (which comes with performances recorded in DVD form), Carpenter tackles a wide range of repertoire - from Bach preludes to his own work "Three Intermezzi for Cinema Organ."

Beethoven Piano Sonatas - Opp. 26, 14 & 28
Murray Perahia
Sony Classical

This 2008 disc isn't exactly a recent release, but worth a mention. Here, Perahia's sensitive and clear interpretations of three Beethoven piano sonatas prove memorable. His crystalline take on Piano Sonata No. 15 "Pastorale" will leave a deep impression.


Think of it as a mini-Tanglewood West... for chamber music.

That is an apt way of describing California Summer Music - a three and a half week chamber music festival at Sonoma State University.

In this festival, 60 musicians from 18 U.S. states and several countries, including Taiwan, Norway, and Russia, will get to learn and perform on the campus.

And for Sacramentans, that means there is another high quality choice for classical music in the wine country.

The best thing about this festival is that its master classes are open to the public.

And this festival also includes a composing element where young composers will get works performed.

Like Tanglewood, and other music festivals, this one operates under the paradigm of having 13 faculty musicians living on campus with students.

And that is usually a solid formula for some inspired music-making.

California Summer Music
WHEN: through July 25
WHERE: Ives Hall, Sonoma State University, 1801 E Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park
COST: Free
INFORMATION: (415) 753-8920;

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For its 2010-11 season, the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra will continue calling the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts home.

The 180-vioice SCSO opens its 15th season at Mondavi on Dec. 11 and 12 with its traditional and popular "Home for the Holidays" concerts.

Its second Mondavi concert will be on March 19, when the SCSO performs Verdi's Requiem.

The SCSO ends the season on April 30, with a program devoted to Broadway music, "Easy To Love."

Soloists are yet to be announced for next season's concerts.

The season will also see the SCSO perform concerts at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento. Those are yet to be announced.

Season tickets go on sale at Mondavi in late July. Prices range from $81 - $135.

Single tickets go on sale in early October.

Information: (916) 536-9065;

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One of the more compelling films to be screened in the upcoming 11th annual Sacramento Film and Music Festival is the short documentary "Noble Heights."

Directed by local documentarians Justin Coupe and Palmer Taylor, the film documents a 16-mile off-road wheel chair hike in Yosemite by Austin Taylor, who has cerebral palsy.

The film also documents the nonprofit Generation Fate, Inc., started by Nick Cunningham, that takes disabled individuals to places they do not normally have access to.

Below, we talk to filmmaker Cope about "Noble Heights."

Why this project?
Palmer and I heard about the nonprofit Generation Fate through Nick Cunningham and we kind of kept an eye on their adventures waiting for the one that we thought would be really special. When we heard they were going to try and get to the top of Yosemite, we knew that the journey had the potential to be epic.

Tell me about the nonprofit Nick Cunningham created?
Gen Fate is a local non-profit whose main focus is helping foster youth. This organization is currently merging with Child Advocates of Placer County. At the time of the merger Noble Heights will be branching off and operating as its own entity. So, things are in a bit of transition right now but all of the better.

How long did the film take to complete from concept to final cut?
The project took about 2 years from start to finish, primarily because we had to juggle "Noble Heights" in between a couple of other substantial sized documentaries.

Is that typical?
That's kind of the reality of the business, stories come along and you have to either let them pass or throw them into the heap and work through them as time permits. In a perfect world, a project like this would take about three months.

Did you shoot it in HD video or film?
"Noble Heights" was shot in High Definition Video on two Panasonic HVX cameras.

How long is it?
"Noble Heights" is a half hour long documentary.

When will it screen here?
It will screen at the Crest Theatre as part of the Sacramento Film and Music Festival. The festival schedule will be available soon. We do know Noble Heights will be shown in conjunction with "Go the Distance" a feature length documentary about cyclist who make a trans-continental journey to raise awareness about childhood cancer.

11th annual Sacramento Film and Music Festival
WHEN: July 21 - Aug. 1
WHERE: Crest Theatre, 1013 K St., Sacramento
INFORMATION: (916) 600-7029 or


A recent government study found that men are likelier to work longer days than women and workers with bachelor's degrees, or higher, are more likely to work at home than those that do not.

The just released study was conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as the 2009 American Time Use Survey.

The data included in the survey sheds light on how humans work and do household and leisure activities.

Below are some of its findings:


* Multiple jobholders are more likely to work at home than were single jobholders--32 percent compared with 22 percent.

* On the days they worked, employed men worked 56 minutes more than employed women. The study suggests the difference may be due to women working part time.

* On the days that they worked, 24 percent of employed persons did some or all of their work at home, and 84 percent did some or all of their work at their workplace.

* Multiple jobholders were almost twice as likely to work on an average weekend day as were single jobholders--59 percent compared with 32 percent.

* On the days that they worked, 40 percent of employed people age 25 and over with a bachelor's degree or higher did some work at home, compared with only 10 percent of those with less than a high school diploma.

Household Activities:

* Women spent an average of 2.6 hours a day on household activities, while men spent 2.0 hours.

* On an average day, 20 percent of men did housework--such as cleaning or doing laundry--compared with 51 percent of women. Forty percent of men did food preparation or cleanup, compared with 68 percent of women.

Leisure Activities

* Men were more likely than women to participate in sports, exercise, or recreation on any given day--21 percent compared with 16 percent of women .

* On an average day, adults age 75 and over spent 7.8 hours engaged in leisure activities--more than any other age group; 35- to 44-year olds spent 4.3 hours engaged in leisure and sports activities - less than other age groups.


Eight students from the Children's Palace of Jinan, in Jinan, China, are here for a musical cultural exchange and will join Sacramento Youth Symphony chamber musicians for a set of summer concerts.

It's the first time that such a musical exchange has been fostered during the SYS's Summer Chamber Music workshop, run by Susan Lamb Cook (pictured, right).

21st SYS Summer Chamber Music Workshop and Festival Concerts

July 7 and 14 - Music at Noon, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1300 N St., Sacramento - free

July 16, 3:00pm, Student Chamber Ensembles, CSUS Music Hall, 6000 J St., Sacramento - free

July 17, 7:30pm, "Festival Concert", CSUS Music Hall, 6000 J St., Sacramento - suggested donation $10 adult, $5 students/seniors.

July 18, 7:30pm "Concert in the Courtyard", St. Anthony Parish, 660 Florin Rd., Sacramento - suggested donation $10 adult, $5 students/seniors.

Information: (916) 731-5777;

It was clear something special was going on when Eugene Chan appeared in the Sacramento Opera's productions of "Turandot," "Carmen" and "Barber of Seville."

Chan, a CSUS student at the time, was one of the music department's most promising singers.

Now, Chan's making his mark in Italy. He placed second at the 11th Annual Premio Spiros International Competition in Sarzana, Italy.

During the recent competition, Chan competed in front of such heavyweight judges as Renato Bruson, Teresa Berganza and Ernesto Palacio - the agent of standout tenor Juan Diego Florez.

His second place finish has caught the attention of Berganza, which is no small matter given her stature as an agent in the opera world.

Chan placed second with repertoire that included the "Figaro" aria from "Barber of Seville," and an aria from Korngold's "Die Tote Stadt," among others.

And placing second means that Chan has won a role next season at the prestigious Teatro Comunale di Bologna.

Chan is currently a resident singer with Theater Basel in Switzerland.

Singing in Italy has been an eye-opening experience for the CSUS grad.

"What a thrill it is to sing for an Italian crowd. Every time I go for a high note or take a risk by singing softly or with emotion, they start yelling and applauding," said Chan. "They talk all the time and only quiet down when the singer starts singing. It felt as if I was in the middle of some old LP recording from 1920."

Chan's strong showing in Italy comes as no suprise to Sacramento Opera general director Rod Gideons.

"Like a proud parent, we're so excited and proud of him," said Gideons.

"He's one of those singers who has the unique ability to learn from every situation. All singers intellectualize what they need to learn, but Eugene has the ability to immediately incorporate what needs to be done."

"For some singers that light does not go off until 10 or 20 years on," Gideons said. "And that's why I think he's enjoying so much success in Europe."

Since graduating from the CSUS, under the tutelage of soprano Robin Fisher, Chan has garnered the support of legendary singer Marilyn Horne, snagged roles with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony and performed in such faraway places as China.

But making way it in Italy is a special accomplishment for Chan, given the rich tradition of opera in that country.

"So... my first experience in Italy was success," Chan said. "The Italians have told me that my voice and artistry is the right 'sound' for opera here and that I have the potential for a big career here."

Chan added that he still has much to learn, especially singing the upcoming Italian repertoire in Bologna.

Foremost, he's working on his Italian pronunciation as well as learning more about the country's culture.


The Sacramento Choral Society has won third place in the inaugural American Prize in Choral Performance competition of 2010.

The SCSO tied for third with the Calvin College Alumni Choir in what was considered a very tight race for the top award among five finalists.

The American Prize, which is being awarded for the first time in 2010 seeks to recognize the finest choruses in the country.

The awards are divided into categories which include professional, college/university, church, community and secondary school levels choruses.


The Sacramento Choral Society has won third place in the inaugural American Prize in Choral Performance competition of 2010.

The SCSO tied for third with the Calvin College Alumni Choir, in what officials said was a tight race for the top award among five finalists.

The award seeks to recognize the best recording by choruses nationwide.

The SCSO won the prize among more than 25 competing choral groups.

It was awarded third place for its first recording of "Carmina Burana." That recording was done five years ago during the SCSO's performance of the work at the Mondavi Center and the Community Center Theater.

"We are delighted and surprised and really knocked out that we got this," said SCSO artistic director Donald Kendrick.

Kendrick is currently a finalist in the choral conducting category with the American Prize.

The awards are divided into categories which include professional, college and university, church, community and secondary school level choruses.


The U.S. Postal Service's proposal to end Saturday delivery is a positive thing, said Netflix Chief Service and Operations officer Andrew Rendich.

In testimony given before joint Senate and House subcommittees on Wednesday, Rendich said that:

"Netflix believes that a well functioning Postal Service, positioned over the long hual to meet changing customer and consumer demand is more important than
maintaining current delivering frequency..."

That's no small endorsement given that Netflix, which has 14 million subscribers, ships out and receives millions of its DVD's daily.

In ending Saturday delivery, the USPS hopes to close a $238 billion deficit over the next decade.

Cutting Saturday delivery would save $3.1 billion annually, postal officials have said. The proposal would also eliminate the equivalent of 49,000 full and part-time jobs at the USPS.

But not everyone has supported the proposed USPS delivery cut. has came out against it. At the same hearing on Wednesday, Paul Misener, Amazon's Vice President for Global Policy, had this to say:

"....ceasing Saturday delivery would make the USPS less competitive, significantly reduce the parcel volume the Postal Service carries in urban/suburban areas and, worst of all, would deny rural consumers a service they currently appreciate and expect."

It's easy to see why Amazon is not so keen on the delivery cut. Its business model depends on the fast delivery of a wide range of products, most which can never be streamed.

But for Netflix, giving a nod to the USPS proposal has much to do with its streaming business, which began in 2007.

As of the first quarter of 2010, half of Netflix subscribers streamed content, Rendich said.

Testimony given by Rendich and Misener to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management can be found here.

Lately there's been a lot of pairing of wine and classical music.

And it's easy to see why.

Summer festivals like Napa's Festival Del Sole prove how well they go together, especially in the summer.

The latest pairing comes way of the Sacramento Philharmonic and its "Sierra Soundbites at Madrona," to be held at Placerville's Madroña Vineyards, on June 25.

The informality of such events allows fans the chance to listen and talk to noteworthy Sacramento Opera soprano Carrie Hennessy and members of the Sacramento Philharmonic's chamber ensemble.

And for the wine aficionado, it offers the chance to discuss oenological nuances with Madroña's master vintner Paul Bush.

The program to be performed includes works by Piazzolla, Debussy, Handel, and others.

"Sierra Soundbites at Madroña"
WHEN: 6 p.m., Friday
WHERE: Madrona Vineyards, 2560 High Hill Rd., Placerville
COST: $50
INFORMATION: at (916) 732-9045 (x106) or


Bicycling and walking has increased since 1994, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The study, released today as part of a 15-year National Bicycling and Walking Study, includes new data from the Federal Highway Administration's 2009 National Household Travel Survey.

It shows that bicycling and walking trips in the U.S. have increased by 25 percent since 2001.

The number of reported walking trips has more than doubled since the first survey - from 18 billion in 1990 to 42.5 billion in 2009.

Bicycling trips increased from 1.7 billion to four billion during the same period.

The report states that the rise in population accounts for some of the increase.

The rise in walking and cycling trips notated in the study reverses a decline in such trips between 1980 and 1990.

It also established that there has been a drop in fatalities among pedestrians and bicyclists since 1993.

Pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities, as a percentage of all traffic fatalities, has declined - from 15.3 percent in 1995 to 13.6 percent in 2008.

However, the study identified a spike in bicyclist injuries between 2007 and 2008.

Although it was beyond the scope of the study to establish the reason for the spike, it did speculate that the spike might be tied to a rise in gas prices, leading more people to bike.

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The Berkeley Symphony should be on your radar if you like adventurous orchestras.

It's new artistic director, Joana Carneiro, 33, has just been awarded the Helen M. Thompson Award from the League of American Orchestras, which is a sign that the Berkeley Symphony's reputation will stay intact under its new leadership.

Carneiro follows former artistic director Kent Nagano, who was responsible for building the orchestra's reputation as one of the more adventurous of regional orchestras.

The orchestra also has links to the Sacramento region. Two former UC Davis students, including Andy Tan, were picked for its yearlong "Under Construction" composers series.

And the Sacramento Opera's chorus master - Ming Luke - is on staff there as education director and assistant conductor.

"The major concern that everyone had in Berkeley was that the orchestra was so closely associated with Nagano," said Luke. "He's the one that built it and stayed with it as it grew from a community orchestra into the regional orchestra it is today."

The orchestra was founded in 1969. Today it offers a four-concert season, a composers series, and employs 70 musicians on a budget of $1.2 million.

"Joana has really stepped up to the plate. She's established her own personality and way of doing things without missing a step, and her programming reflects that - with a deep commitment to new music."

Carneiro won the Thompson Award for raising the orchestra's performance level, and for intelligent and forward-looking programming.

An example of how Carneiro smartly conceives programs is evident in a concert this fall titled "The Forward-Looking Violin."

That concert pairs Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61 with John Adams' Violin Concerto, with violinist Jennifer Koh performing on both.

That's a program that gives the audience much food for thought.

"The orchestra musicians have really perked up," said Luke. "That's really telling in my eyes."

The result of all this is that subscriptions are ahead this year, said Elizabeth Hounshell, partron services manager at the symphony.

Last year the orchestra tallied 761 subscribers. This year it has already logged 564, and expects to surpass that number before its season opener, Hounshell said.

The Portuguese-born Carneiro was also lauded for her appointment of composer Gabriela Lena Frank as creative advisor.

The Helen M. Thompson Award was created in 1981 to celebrate the life and work of Helen M. Thompson, who dramatically advanced and promoted the cause of symphony orchestras in the United States.


As the use of smartphones rises, so does the use of social networking applications on those phones, says a recent study.

The total number of mobile app users in the US increased by 28% from April 2009 to April 2010, in a study by the global Internet information provider comScore.

The study showed that social networking app use grew by 240% during that period.

Facebook topped the list of the most popular social networking app in three of the four smartphone categories of the study, which included Blackberry, iPhone, and Andriod smartphones.

The second fastest growing smartphone app was news, which saw a 124% percent jump in use between 2009 and 2010.


No doubt, this is a critical time for the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.

Over the last two fiscal years, SMAC's operating, Arts Education and Granting program budgets have been reduced by 50%.

To argue its case for more funding, SMAC has been sending out electronic petitions that makes the case for more SMAC funding.

For fiscal year 2007-08, the County allocated SMAC $875,000. But allocations have dwindled. In the current fiscal year the amount allocated to SMAC from the County is $309,655.

"Now, county staff is recommending only $175,000 for fiscal year 2010-11," said SMAC executive director Rhyena Halpern.

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors is expected to take up the issue of SMAC funding today, and the Sacramento City Council on June 22.

The petition drive idea belongs to SMAC Commissioner Cheryl Holben. So far, SMAC has collected 1800 combined City and County petitions over a 12 day period.

To view the petition go here.

"As a former staffer for senator Thad Cochran, I understand the importance of hearing from the general public in your district, and the issues that are important to them," said Holben.

For the past 33 years, SMAC has been an important source of comprehensive support to arts organizations in Sacramento.

Though the arts have typically assumed a low visibility status in the city, SMAC believes the arts are a powerful economic engine that should be properly funded.

In an economic impact study SMAC conducted in 2001, it concluded that the arts, with its related industries, impacted the region by $350 million; and contributed $1.35 million in local tax revenues.

The 2010 National Arts Index of the Americans for the Arts, found that, as of January 2008, Sacramento is home to 943 arts-related businesses that employ 4,703.


One of the stronger performances the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra has delivered recently was its recent Mondavi performance of "Carmina Burana," (for a review of the concert go here).

Fortunately, the SCSO recorded it, and the fruits of that labor is its second CD release: "Carmina Burana" (pictured, right).

The recording captures a luminous performance by soprano Ji Young Yang and excellent sectional singing by the 180 member chorus. The performance was conducted by SCSO artistic director Donald Kendrick.

The orchestra's first recording was its 2008 release "Eternal Light." That recording captured the SCSO's debut appearance at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in June of that year.

"This represents two CDs in three years . . . and it's our first locally recorded CD," said SCSO president James McCormick.

The pre-sales of the CD have gone well. The SCSO has already sold 450 of the 1000 CDs it pressed, McCormick said.

McCormick added that the SCSO plans to have the CD available locally at Northridge Music, in Citrus Heights, and local Barnes & Noble and Borders Stores. The CD costs $15.

For more information, or to purchase the recording online go here.

The CD can also be ordered via mail by writing to the SCSO:
4025 A Bridge Street, Fair Oaks, CA 95628, or by phone at (916) 536-9065.


Opera fans will get a second chance at seeing the likes of soprano Elīna Garanča (pictured, above) in her standout performance of "Carmen", when the Metropolitan Opera re-broadcasts six past productions this summer.

The Metropolitan Opera and cinema distributor NCM Fathom will offer the encore screenings of the operas as part of its Live in HD 2010 Summer Encores series at eight venues in the Sacramento region (participating theaters listed below).

Screenings are at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, with matinee screenings on the following Thursday (call theater for matinee times).

Tickets are $22, and can be purchased here.

The Met: Live in HD 2010 Summer Encores

* "Aida" -
June 16 and June 17
Violeta Urmana stars in the title role of the enslaved Ethiopian princess, with Dolora Zajick as her rival. Johan Botha plays Radamès. Daniele Gatti conducts. .

* "Roméo et Juliette"
June 23 and June 24
Gounod's sensual interpretation of Shakespeare stars soprano Anna Netrebko opposite tenor Roberto Alagna. Plácido Domingo conducts.

* "Eugene Onegin"
July 7 and July 8
Soprano Renée Fleming and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky star in Tchaikovsky's lush masterpiece about mistimed love. Valery Gergiev conducts.

* "La Bohème"
July 14 and July 15
This Franco Zeffirelli classic production features Angela Gheorghiu as Mimì opposite tenor Ramón Vargas as Rodolfo. The San Francisco Opera's young maestro Nicola Luisotti conducts.

* "Turandot"
July 21 and July 22
Another Franco Zeffirelli production. Maria Guleghina sings the role of the ruthless Chinese princess Turandot. Marcello Giordani sings Calàf.

* Carmen - July 28 and July 29
Elīna Garanča and Roberto Alagna give smoldering performances in this acclaimed new production of Bizet's masterpiece. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts.

Participating theaters:

Sacramento Downtown Plaza 7
Sacramento Greenback Lane 16
Natomas Marketplace (no Thursday showings)
Sacramento Stadium 14
Century Folsom 14
Century Laguna 16
Century Roseville 14
Yuba City Cinemark 8

Information: Call individual theater or visit


On Thursday the city of Sacramento will renew its cultural exchange and sister city relationship with the city of Jinan, China (pictured, right).

Mayor Kevin Johnson will welcome a delegation from that city on Thursday, and will sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to outline the sister-city exchange for 2011 - 2015.

The visit by the delegation will also mark the 25th anniversary of the sister city relationship between the two cities, which began on May 19, 1985.

The MOA includes many benefits to Sacramentans especially students and planned exchanges that will bring visitors to Sacramento.

That effort is organized through the Jinan-Sacramento Sister City Corporation (JSSCC), a non-profit organization established for the sole purpose of promoting people-to-people exchanges between the two cities.

Over the past 25 years, JSSCC has sponsored economic, educational and cultural exchanges.

One of those is its "Youth Ambassador" program. That program offers scholarships and subsidized trips for Sacramento and Jinan students and teachers to visit and study in each other's countries.

Next month, a group of 19 local students and teachers will visit China and attend the International Youth Festival in Jinan.

This is the fifth year that JSSCC has organized the subsidized "Youth Ambassador" trip for local students.

In July, Sacramento will welcome eight middle school students from Jinan sponsored by JSSCC to attend the Sacramento Youth Symphony's Summer Chamber Music Workshop.

Mayor Kevin Johnson will meet the delegation at City Hall .

South Africa Soccer WCup Ur[1].jpg

Nothing draws an epic fan base like the FIFA World Cup.

This year's tournament, which is being held in South Africa, will see a titan viewership: 125 million viewers.

Many local bars and restaurants will be showing all or most of the 64 matches, despite the nine hour time difference.

Below is a list of establishments that will open early to accommodate the 4:30 a.m., 7 a.m.,,and 11:30 a.m. start times.

Note to readers: Please add your suggestions on where to watch World Cup games in the comment field.

El Patron Bar & Grill
WHERE: 6601 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento
INFORMATION: (916) 455-8945
SCOOP: will open at 4:30 a.m. most of the tournament

De Vere's Irish Pub
WHERE: 1521 L St., Sacramento
INFORMATION: (916) 231-9947
SCOOP: Open every day at 6a.m.

Hot Italian
WHERE: 1627 16th St., Sacramento
INFORMATION: (916) 444-3000
SCOOP: Opens at 11:30 a.m. for entire tournament. Will open at 7 a.m. for Italy's two early matches June 20 and 24.
The restaurant is also producing the art show "Art of the Game", where art culled from 32 competing countries will be displayed, through July 10.

Streets of London
1804 J St., Sacramento
INFORMATION: (916) 498-1388
SCOOP: Opens at 6:45 a.m. for entire tournament.

Fox and Goose
WHERE: 1001 R St., Sacramento
INFORMATION: (916) 443-8825
SCOOP: Opens at 7 a.m. everyday

Bonn Lair
WHERE: 3651 J St., Sacramento
SCOOP: Opens at 4:30 a.m. for the entire tournament.

WHERE: 1431 R St., Sacramento
INFORMATION: (916) 930-9191
SCOOP: Will open at 7 a.m. May open for earlier games depending on traffic.

By Edward Ortiz

A chuckle ran through the War Memorial Opera audience Wednesday whenever a reference was made to anything Northern Californian in the San Francisco Opera's latest production of Puccini's "Girl of the Golden West."

It was a knowing laugh, the kind that comes when an audience knows more about a work's subject than its creator. Here the setting is a Gold Rush town circa 1849.

And so, experiencing "Girl" is a fascinating experience for any Northern Californian familiar with history. In this 1901 opera we get an Italian channeling a mythical view of the American West. And the result is as curious as the mythical mining camp film director Sergio Leone put together in his spaghetti Westerns.

In the Puccini pantheon - "Girl" is one of his most underrated operas. It's a strong story married to resplendent music. And in this crisp production, the case is made that "Girl" deserves wider play.

It's too bad the production often underwhelmed in stating that case.

Based on a hit 1905 play by San Franciscan David Belasco, this production, directed by Lorenzo Mariani, is a technicolor stab at presenting a melodramatic story. This opera, which is as dramatically taut as it devoid of big arias, is a co-production with Italy's Teatro Massimo di Palermo and Belgium's Opera Royal de Wallonie.

The key here is selling a love triangle between Minnie, a prim saloonkeeper, and the bandit she falls in love with, and the sheriff who aggressively courts her. Central to that is tapping into the mythical status of headstrong women holding their own on the frontier.

That role falls to soprano Deborah Voigt, who distinguished herself with a strong performance with strong acting. The Minnie role is one of the more difficult soprano roles among Puccini's operas. It calls for a singer who must combine a Wagnerian sense for grandeur and gravitas with the lyrical softness of a Puccini soprano.

Voigt is known more for her work with Germanic repertoire, but here she proved worthy. She deeply embodied the role and gave it spark. Her voice was often radiant, especially in the three arias at the end of the first act. But her singing was marked by thinness in the less expressive passages.

Tenor Salvatore Licitra, proved a solid if less-than-engaging tenor in the role of the bandit Dick Johnson. Licitra makes for a fine Puccini tenor; his voiced is filled with expression and color. He proved so on "Ch'ella mi creda." But his was an underwhelming presence throughout. And there was little chemistry between Licitra and Voigt.

Baritone Roberto Frontali, as Sheriff Jack Rance, gave the most bracing performance, with a big onstage presence. His baritone was not thunderous, but it was always consistent, and there was a chemical spark between Frontali and Voigt. This production also saw fine, but never outstanding, singing in smaller roles, such as baritones Timothy Mix as Sonora and Trevor Scheunemann as Jake Wallace.

Perhaps the most impressive performance was that of the San Francisco Opera chorus, which is asked to do quite a bit of heavy-lifting in "Girl." Puccini treats his chorus like a solo instrument in this opera, and this chorus performed as a taut and musically inspired ensemble. They combined it with top-notch acting.

Although Puccini wrote few memorable arias in "Girl," it is filled with curious and wonderfully orchestrated music. All of the cinematic grandeur of the American West, or Puccini's idea of the West, was delivered by the San Francisco Opera Orchestra under conductor Nicola Luisotti. The only drawback was that the performance was so alive and rich, the orchestra often bested singers on sound balance.

This might not have been anywhere near the highlight opera of the San Francisco Opera's season, however, its good points put a positive shine on one of Puccini's most curious and underrated operas.

Call The Bee's Edward Ortiz, (916) 321-1071.


San Francisco Opera

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, June 15, 18 and July 2; 7:30 p.m. June 24 and 29; 2 p.m. June 27

WHERE: War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco

TICKETS: $15-$245

INFORMATION: (415) 864-3330;


Eight students from the Children's Palace of Jinan, in Jinan, China, will take part in the Sacramento Youth Symphony's Summer Chamber Music Workshop (July 5- 8).

It's the first time that such a musical exchange has been fostered in the chamber program, said Susan Lamb Cook (pictured, right), who leads the workshops.

"We're very excited that our local students will have the opportunity to experience this international exchange," said Cook.

The exchange was coordinated with the Jinan-Sacramento Sister Cities Corp.

Cook said that the idea is to place the Chinese students alongside the American students.

"We want all of the students to have the experience of working together toward a common goal, despite cultural and language differences," she said.

The students were accepted into the program through web-based video auditions.

Host families from the Sacramento Youth Symphony are providing housing for the students, including housing for one teacher from Jinan.

The idea for exchange began six months ago at the recommendation of SYS artistic director Michael Neumann.

Neumann has visited Jinan as part of a group from the Jinan-Sacramento Sister Cities Corp.

The Chinese students will perform in chamber music groups and in the student chamber orchestras alongside local students during the SYS Festival of Concerts.

Cook said that all is set for the exchange, except for visa confirmations for the Chinese group.

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A recent Gallup survey suggests a gradual cultural shift may be under way with the way Americans view gay individuals and gay rights.

Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs survey, conducted each May, shows that Americans' support for the moral acceptability of gay and lesbian relations crossed a symbolic 50% threshold in 2010.

In the survey 52% of those polled said they support the moral acceptability of gay and lesbian relations.

The survey findings are in keeping with a gradual increase in public acceptance of gay relations since about 2006.

Results were based on telephone interviews with 1,029 national adults, aged 18 and older. Below are some of its findings:

** The changes in attitudes is seen almost exclusively among men, and particularly men younger than 50.

** The percentage calling these relations "morally wrong" dropped to 43%, the lowest in Gallup's decade-long trend.

** There was a 16-point jump in acceptance among Catholics, nearly three times the increase seen among Protestants.

** The greatest movement toward acceptance is among independents and Democrats.

** There was a big jump in acceptance among moderates.

** Acceptance among conservatives continues to run low.

** Acceptance among Americans with no religious identity saw an increase.


The Monterey Jazz Festival not only presents excellent jazz, it's keen on identifying the
best and brightest high school jazz musicians in the country.

And Davis Senior High School student Jon Hatamiya is one of them.

Hatamiya has been chosen as one of 21 high school musicians from six states to perform in the 2010 Monterey Jazz Festival's renowned National High School All-Star Big Band

That band is known officially as the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Former members of the orchestra include the likes of Joshua Redman, Eric Marienthal, and Dave Koz.

The band will partake in a 10-Day North American Tour that Includes performances in Cleveland, Toronto, Montreal, and New York City, from June 30 - July 7.

The Next Generation Jazz Orchestra will also make a traditional Sunday appearance at the 53rd Annual Monterey Jazz Festival on Sept. 19.

That performance will see festival Artist-In-Residence Dianne Reeves sitting as a special guest.


The evolving field of video game music is getting its due next month.

That will happen when the San Francisco Symphony performs music from the Final Fantasy video game franchise.

Arnie Roth will guest conduct the SFS at Davies Symphony Hall, in an evening of the video game music on July 15 and 16.

The program will include the music of composers Nobuo Uematsu and Masashi Hamauzu.

As concert music, video game music is growing in popularity.

Whenever the SFS has programmed the music the concerts have been quick sell-outs.

Most noteworthy for these two concerts will be the North American premiere of Hamauzu's music from the Final Fantasy XIII and Nobuo Uematsu's Final Fantasy IX: Prima Vista.

Vocalist Susan Calloway, who sings on the just-released "Distant Worlds II: more music from Final Fantasy" CD, appears with the Orchestra both nights.

Calloway will sing "Memoro de la Stono-Distant Worlds" from Final Fantasy XI and "Kiss Me Goodbye" from Final Fantasy XII.

San Francisco Symphony
Music from Final Fantasy
WHEN: 8:00 p.m., July 15 and 16
WHERE: Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
TICKETS: $30-$115
INFORMATION: (415) 864-6000;

Free performances of Novo-Norteño and bluegrass music are in the offing at UC Davis as part of the Mondavi Center's "SummerMusic".

On July 10, the award-winning bluegrass band the Infamous Stringdusters will perform at the UC Davis Quad.

The Infamous Stringdusters is a six-person Nashville-based band that the Nashville Tennessean newspaper hailed as "pushing bluegrass into new territory."

The fresh-faced sextet burst onto the bluegrass scene in 2007, and gained acclaim for a traditional bluegrass sensibility infused with a jam band vibe.

On Aug. 27, the Tijuana-based Nortec Collective (featured, above) will bring its fusion of electronica, techno and Norteño music to the Davis Quad.

The band was formed in 1999 by producer Pepe Mogt (a.k.a. Fussible) as a four-person collective.

Today, its performances are rotated among two teams. August's performance will see Bostich (a.k.a. Ramon Amezcua) and Fussible perform.

The concerts, which are free to the public and open to all ages, start at 7:30 p.m.

The UC Davis Quad will open at 6:00 p.m. for picnicking on both dates.


The Infamous Stringdusters
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., July 10
COST: Free

Nortec Collective (featuring Bostich+Fussible)
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Aug. 27
COST: Free

INFORMATION: (530) 754.2787;


Sacramento, which has seen layoffs, furloughs and truncated seasons in its arts nonprofit scene, is not alone.

That much is made clear in a recent Alliance for the Arts report that states that New York City arts nonprofits are also struggling.

In its 2009-10 concert and performance season, Sacramento arts nonprofits, such as the Sacramento Philharmonic and Sacramento Opera, shortened seasons due to factors arising from the economy.

And the same has happened, or is happening in New York.

The alliance report states that of out of 114 New York cultural institutions polled in January, 42% anticipated cancelling or postponing programs this year.

And the number of groups that are postponing moves or capital projects there this calendar year is rising.

Layoffs at New York City arts nonprofits are continuing. More than 15% of the organizations in the city are planning to lay off employees this year. Fortunately, that number is down from 38% in 2009.

In Sacramento, several arts nonprofits have either laid off workers or eliminated administrative positions this past year - especially marketing positions. A recent Americans for the Arts Creative Industries report found that there are 1,515 arts related businesses in the Greater Sacramento area, and that those concerns employ 7,061.

In New York the nonprofit arts industry also has a huge impact on its economy. The most recent data, from 2005, shows that 40,000 jobs were attributed to nonprofit arts activities, accounting for $2.2 billion in wages.


First, it was Boston's Cushing Academy.

That school's Fisher-Watkins library went bookless in 2009 by replacing the majority of its 20,000 printed books with electronic sources.

Now, Stanford University is following suit as one the first universities to go completely "bookless," with its Physics and Engineering library.

That library is going all-digital in order to deal with the storage dilemma of how to house a vast and growing library of science books, periodicals and journals, according to a San Jose Mercury News article.

The move is meant to solve growth issues at Stanford.

Currently, the library purchases 100,000 books each year, and the university has a growth agreement with Santa Clara Co.

The library will offer an electronic reference desk, and four Kindle 2 e-readers on site. It will also offer an online journal search tool, called xSearch, that can scan 28 online databases, a grant directory and more than 12,000 scientific journals, the article said.

The trend towards bookless libraries is not new. Carnegie Mellon University and other such institutions have been making a transition to bookless libraries.

The trend to all-digital libraries is expected to change the way students access information, and will also have a significant impact on the career practices and prospects of librarians.


Think your online privacy is safe because you've disabled cookies?

Think again, says a recent study by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

That study concluded that web browsing activity and how a computer is configured creates an identifiable pattern called a "fingerprint."

And in some cases, that fingerprint information can be given to third parties without you knowing it, even if you disable cookies.

"Most browsers will turn over all of the fingerprint information... if a website requests it, said Peter Eckersley, Senior Staff Technologist with EFF in an email to the Bee.

"Some of the information is turned over automatically. Some of it requires the website to send some code to your browser in order to cause the browser to send the information back to the website."

The study by EFF involved setting up a test site called the "Panopticlick project."

Participants invited to take part entailed 470,161 visitors to the Panopticlick site. Of those that did, 84 percent had a unique online fingerprint.

Eckersley called a fingerprint a "combination of facts about your browser."

"Think of a unique fingerprint as being like a unique serial number for your computer. On one hand, that doesn't automatically disclose your identity," he said.

"On the other, whenever you do something that identifies you - such as typing your name into a web form, or seeing an add embedded in a social network you're logged in to - more and more websites are able to know which fingerprint or serial number is yours, and link it to other things you do online."

An example of a fingerprint would be a combination of the being logged in from a Japanese time zone, using a computer screen with a resolution of 1600x1200, with Quicktime version 7.6.6, Flash Player version 10.0.39, and with running the computer without a Acrobat Reader, or Java.

That combinations forms a unique fingerprint (to identify how unique your fingerprint is go here.

"It's astonishing how much information browsers turn over to websites if the websites ask for it. And, while we thought that unique fingerprintability might be possible, it was a little astonishing to see that borne out in our results," Eckersley said.

So what can an individual to to protect their online activity?

It's not so easy, said Eckersley.

"If you're tech savvy, you can use tools like TorButton or NoScript to protect yourself," he said. "But for the time being they're quite fiddly to use."

"We hope that in the future, web browser manufacturers will start deploying some protections, so that when you select "private browsing" modes, you'll have some protection."

So, the more unique your fingerprint, the greater the chance that you can be tracked, regardless of whether you have cookies disabled.

The Nada Brahma Music Ensemble and its percussionist Alex Jenkins (featured playing the tabla, above) are performing a benefit concert to save a crucial and popular drumming program.

That program is called the "William Land Drum Class," and it recently lost a chunk of its funding from the Sacramento City Unified School District.

"We're having half of our funding cut and may have all of our funding at the school cut by next school year," said Jenkins.

The program, offered free to the public, is the brainchild of percussionist Jenkins.

It began in 2003, and is held at Sacramento's William Land Elementary School.

The classes meet for an hour, twice weekly. During class, roughly 40 students (grades 2nd to 6th) learn how to play a variety of hand drums including: the Djembe, Darbuka, Congo as well as the Snare Drum and Drum Set.

In addition, students learn the history, application and cultural heritage of each instrument.

Traditional rhythms from India, North Africa, West Africa and the Middle East are also part of the curriculum.

The class is unique in that it requires students to give up to six group performances throughout the school year. Each performance is recorded to track a child's progress.

At the end of the school year, each student receives an audio CD that includes the entire
years worth of performances from which he or she can assess musical improvement.

But the funding cut may put an end to all that.

"In the last seven years more than a hundred students have come through this program," he said. "And I stay in contact with them. Several have gone on to study percussion and have gotten in as percussionists in school bands."

To avoid shutting the class down, Jenkins and the Nada Brahma Music Ensemble will perform a benefit concert that will include performances from the William Land Drum Class and a 3rd grade recorder class.

"Everyone wants to keep this thing going, so that's why we're pulling this benefit together to make this work."

All proceeds will go towards funding next year's classes.

William Land Drum Class benefit concert.
When: Friday, June 11th
Time: 6pm
Where: William Land Elementary School, 2120 12th Street. Sacramento CA.
Cost: $6 for adults, $3 for children/students
A spaghetti dinner will be severed at 5pm and is included in the price of
Information: contact Alex Jenkins at (916) 799-8751 or


The state has announced a slate of summer concerts paid for by funds it has received from an antitrust settlement from CD companies and retail chains.

The concerts are wide ranging - from symphonic music to mariachi music to taiko drumming.

In Sacramento, one of the concerts will be a May 22 performance by Malo in Cesar Chavez Park.

In West Sacramento, an appearance by the Wicked Tinkers at the West Sacramento Galleria, on July 22 is part of the slate.

The concerts come as a result of a settled antitrust suit in 2002, where California, along with 42 other states, settled a case against five large music CD companies, and three national music retail chains.

The suit alleged that the companies were involved in fixing advertised prices for music CDs.

The final settlement ordered the companies to pay a total of $67.4 million, and provided $75.7 million in music CDs to schools, universities and libraries nationally, including distributing more than 660,000 CDs in California.

California's share of the remaining cash - $549,000 - was given to the California Arts Council to establish the one-time music presenting grants initiative.

For more information about the cultural grants, please contact (916) 322-6588 or go

For more information about the Department of Justice's Antitrust Law Section go


The 9th annual Sacramento French Film Festival has announced its line up of films that includes eight premieres, four classic films, and two midnight movies.

The festival runs June 18-20 and 26-27 at the Crest Theatre.

The films include the following premieres (exact dates and times to be announced):


* A l'ORIGINE (In the Beginning) - the festival opening film was directed by Xavier Giannoli and is a drama based on the true story of a small crook who builds a piece of highway leading nowhere.

* FAIS MOI PLAISIR ! (Please, Please me!) - a charming comedy by Emmanuel Mouret.

* LOUISE MICHEL - an anarchist comedy by Benoît Delépine & Gustave de Kervern, starring Yolande Moreau (acclaimed at last year's SFFF in Séraphine).

* L'ARMÉE DU CRIME (Army of Crime) - a historical drama by Robert Guédiguian retracing the true story of the Manouchian resistant group during occupied France in WWII.

* LES BEAUX GOSSES (French Kissers) - the first feature of comic book artist Riad Sattouf, best described as a John Hughes-style comedy.

* L'ARNACOEUR (Heartbreaker) - by Pascal Chaumeil, a sophisticated and witty comedy starring Vanessa Paradis and Romain Duris.

* RAPT - directed by Lucas Belvaux, is a social-thriller about the downfall of a powerful businessman portrayed by Yvan Attal.

* The Festival closes with OSS 117, RIO NE RÉPOND PLUS (OSS 117, Lost in Rio) the sequel to the uproarious spy-spoof comedy that opened the 2008 SFFF.

The classic film series is designed as a tribute to beloved French actor Jean Gabin, and will be presented on June 26 and 27.

* PÉPÉ LE MOKO by Julien Duvivier (1937) an undisputed classic of pre-WW II French cinema that combines poetic realism with gangster thriller.

* THE SICILIAN CLAN (Le Clan de Siciliens - 1969) - by Henri Verneuil. One of the most popular and best French suspense thrillers of the 1960s, Le Clan des Siciliens brings together three giants of French cinema: Jean Gabin, Alain Delon and Lino Ventura.

The SFFF will also present the following classic films on June 19th-20th:
* DIVA (1981) - by Jean-Jacques Beineix. A classy and visually stunning 1980's cult thriller - with a dash of opera.

* THE STORY OF A CHEAT (Le Roman d'un tricheur - 1936) - by Sacha Guitry, a comedy where its central character tells his tale by narrating the story of his life.


Two midnight movies for mature audiences will be followed by discussions:

* THE TENANT (Le Locataire - 1976) - the classic psychological thriller and Kafkaesque fantasy by Roman Polanski.

* MAN BITES DOG (C'est arrivé près de chez vous - 1992) - An unsettling black comedy by Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel & Benoît Poelvoorde. A cult classic.



What's that strange customized bus (pictured, above) parked in front of Sacramento's Martin Luther King Jr. Technology Academy?

It's not a bus but a rolling media studio. And it's here from Washington D.C. to teach students how to make a documentary.

This comes way of the Academy being one of only nine U.S. schools selected for the Kennedy Center's "On Location" program.

Now in its second year, that program is designed as a three-week effort that will teach students how to produce a documentary that tells the story of an arts organization or an artist in their community.

Students at the MLK Tech Academy are producing a video on Sacramento Area Youth Speaks.

Learning how to make a documentary is a timely idea given that this is a golden era for the documentary.

Currently, two media teaching artists are working with the students on storytelling techniques and media skills.

The completed video will be uploaded to the Web site maintained by the Kennedy Center, and shared around the world.

Participating schools get other benefits, such an installed Media Lab consisting of a computer, digital editing software, cameras, sound recording equipment, and accessories valued at approximately $5,000, plus $1,000 for the school to support the project.

Best of all, the project develops an ongoing relationship with the Kennedy Center's Education Department and the opportunity to work on additional projects with the Center through ArtsEdge online program.

Will craigslist be able to make video play as a new platform?

Certainly, video is the direction craigslist is headed with the recent launch of its "craigslist TV" venture.

The above craigslist video is an example of one of 14 videos to be posted online. The video features fashion designer Michael Mullen tempting Sandra Bullock to use his fashion designs for the 2010 Oscars.

The new effort is conceived as a documentary series that follows real craigslist users, in real time, to use craigslist to reach the online public.

It's designed so that interested craigslist users can click an "opt-in" button if they think their posting deserves to be followed.

Although an interesting idea, it's unclear how this option will play out for craigslist.

Surely, it's not offering anything new that you can't get elsewhere online.

And it's hard to imagine how the "opt-in" option will play out - especially if most of the posters "opt-in" from the site's racier "personals" offerings.

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A new study published in the journal "Intelligence" argues that listening to Mozart won't allow it better performance, as has been commonly believed.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Vienna, contradicts a well known 1993 study published by University of California at Irvine psychologist Frances H. Rauscher in the journal "Nature."

The 1993 study suggested that college students, after listening to Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major K. 448, did better with the ability to visualize spatial patterns and mentally manipulate them over a time-ordered sequence.

The impact of that music on the brain was thereafter known as the "Mozart Effect,"

Ever since, the significance of the Rauscher study has been a cause for much debate in the science community.

In Vienna, researchers Jakob Pietschnig, Martin Voracek and Anton K. Formann found that there were no increases in spatial task performance when students listened to the same Mozart Sonata.

"On the whole, there is little evidence left for a specific, performance-enhancing Mozart effect," the Vienna research states.


Sacramento region philanthropists take notice - ground has just broken on a new concert hall at Stanford University.

And it's the type of hall that Sacramento needs - badly.

The Bing concert hall, named after major donors Helen and Peter Bing, will be an 844-seat hall designed to accomodate everything from operas, large force orchestras, chamber ensembles and soloists.

Although the hall is a tad bit small for Sacramento ( a 1,000 seat hall would be more appropriate) the Bing concert hall is close to the scope of a hall that would suit the Sacramento Opera, Sacramento Philharmonic, and the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra.

All of these organizations currently struggle with the task of filling the gargantuan 2,400-seat Community Center Theater. And more importantly, these organizations must live with the fact that the hall is not especially friendly to symphonic music or singers.

It's an unpsoken fact that some opera singers will not take on gigs in Sacramento because they prefer not to have to project in such a big hall as the Community Center Theater.

Total cost for Stanford's new concert hall: $111.9 million.

Barring the inclusion of a concert hall in any future railyards plan, the likelihood of such a hall being built in Sacramento anytime soon is close to nil.

Unless there is a lightning strike donation from a local philanthropist.

This leaves the city in the unenviable position of being one of the few such cities without a dedicated concert hall.

The Bing Concert Hall is designed by Polshek Partnership Architects. It's acoustics are being designed by Yasuhisa Toyota, of Nagata Acoustics - one of the world's foremost acousticians. Toyota's credits include the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

The hall is slated for completion in 2012, with the first public performances in January of 2013.

Which leaves this question: when will the city of Sacramento get the concert hall that it deserves?

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What's a woman's day like in Sacramento?

Woman's Day magazine has taken a stab. The magazine asked local resident Kate Washington about her favorite Sacramento places, and they appear in its June issue.

Her answers will come as no surprise to Sacramentans.

Though some will not agree that the best of the city has been offered.

The best movie theatre in town is the Tower Theatre?

Hmm. What about the Crest Theatre?

But you can't find quarrel with her choice of Gunther's Ice Cream shop or the California State Railroad Museum as the best of their kind.

Though I'm sure lovers of Vic's Ice Cream and the Crocker Art Museum would not agree.

Regardless, the article is a good (albeit short) primer. And because it is written for the magazine's more than 20 million readers - most of who know little about Sacramento - it's a good start.

But the question always arises: does one magazine page really capture the charm of a city like Sacramento?


Hip-hop. Jazzy horns. The strafe of multiple guitars. These are the sounds of the musical style known as "Hiplife."

It's infectious music, that came to the fore in the African country of Ghana in the 1990's. "Hiplife" is sung in English, pidgin and the dialects of Twi, Ewe, and Ga.

No doubt, the music reveals musical roots in reggae and dance hall music. And its stars go by the names Eddy Blay, Kofi Babone and Mensa Ansah.

The music is explored in the film "Home Grown: Hiplife in Ghana" by Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi. The film will be shown on May 19 as part of UC Davis' Black Family Week.

The screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Jacobs-Fantauzzi and a talk by Halifu Osumare, associate professor in the university's African American and African Studies Program.

"Home Grown: Hiplife in Ghana"
WHEN: 7 p.m., May 19
WHERE:Wellman 2, UC Davis, Davis
COST: Free
INFORMATION: contact Halifu Osumare at (530) 752-1548 or at

It's safe to say that few classical music composers are as hot right now as 28-year-old composer Nico Muhly.

In the above clip, Muhly talks about composing. And the way he describes the composing process is as interesting and fresh as is the quality of his music.

Muhly recently had his piece "Detailed Instructions" performed at the New York Philharmonic's "Contact!" new music series, at Symphony Space.

The three movement work is curiously absent of violins. Instead, Muhly doubles up on violas and cellos.

The show at Symphony Space was a sell out.

And that says tons about what is happening in contemporary classical music.


Theater director Marcia Milgrom Dodge (pictured, right), who directed "Guys and Dolls" for California Musical Theatre last summer, and who returns this summer to direct "Oklahoma!," is among those who have received 2010 Tony nominations.

Dodge received her nomination for her direction of the $4.4 million Kennedy Center revival of "Ragtime," that transferred to a short run on Broadway.

Dodge began her relationship with CMT in 1996 when she directed its production of "Kismet." She has directed more than 10 productions at CMT since.

Dodge and CMT director Glenn Cazale are the only two directors that frequently work with the company that have made inroads on Broadway.

"We've had many Music Circus actors go on to be nominated and win Tonys, and many Tony nominees come to work for us, but the circle of Tony-nominated musical theatre directors is very small," said Christopher McSwain, Community Affairs Director of CMT.

"We're very excited to have Marcia coming back to Music Circus this summer as our first Tony nominated director -- we're crossing our fingers that she'll come back a winner," he said.

Dodge was not the only frequent face at CMT's stage to get a nomination at the 64th annual Tony Awards, which were announced this morning.

Actor Montego Glover, who performed the role of Sarah Brown under Dodge's direction of CMT's "Guys and Dolls," was nominated in the 'best actress in a musical' category for her performance in "Memphis."

And Kate Baldwin, last seen here in the role of Eliza for CMT's 2008 production of "My Fair Lady," was nominated for her role in "Finian's Rainbow."


Jazz musicians from the Sacramento region have made a big impression with Downbeat magazine.

The Rio Americano High School band "Spaghett!" was named the 'Best Jazz Group' in Downbeat Magazine's 33rd Student Music Awards, in the high school band category. The awards will appear in Downbeat Magazine's June issue.

Also picked as a winner by the magazine was Zach Giberson, named 'Outstanding Performer' in the original song category, for his composition "The Ladder". Giberson was also named 'National Winner,' in the jazz arrangement category, for his treatment of Sun Ra's "A Call For All Demons".

Add those awards to two awards that Folsom High School won and an award won by Folsom's Sutter Middle School Jazz Band from magazine this year, and it's clear that the Sacramento region can hold its own with any as regards its high school jazz musicians and ensembles.

And the opportunity to win more awards is not over yet for Rio Americano High School. Members of its AM Ensemble big band are off to New York this week to participate in the Essentially Ellington Festival at Lincoln Center.

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So... what are they putting in the water in Folsom?

Two Jazz ensembles at Folsom High School have been awarded the 2010 Most Outstanding High School Performance Award by Downbeat Magazine. And Folsom's Sutter Middle School Jazz Band snagged the 2010 Outstanding Performance Award for middle schools from the magazine, too.

Folsom High's Jazz Band "I" and Jazz Choir "A" won the awards. This brings the high school's total awards from Downbeat magazine to a proud 17 awards.

The nod from the highly respected jazz magazine comes on the heels of Folsom High Jazz musicians performing at the Monterey Next Generation Jazz festival earlier this month, where it won top prizes. Its Jazz Choir "A" took first place, with vocalist Nina Hadzi-Antich awarded the Outstanding Soloist award. The Jazz Band "I" won 3rd place at the festival.

Winning the awards at the festival means that both the choir and the band will get to perform at the Monterey Jazz festival this Sept.

The two Folsom High School ensembles will perform their last concert of the school year on May 7.

Family Night Picnic and Jazz
WHEN: 5:00 p.m., Friday May 7
WHERE: Outdoor Amphitheater, Folsom High School, 1655 Iron Point Rd.,
COST: Free


What do classics like "The Chocolate War," "To Kill A Mockingbird" and "Catcher in the Rye" share in common?

They're on the list of the most challenged books at libraries and schools.

These time-tested works are included in the top 10 list of the most frequently challenged books of last year, compiled by the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom (OiF).

This year Lauren Myracle's best-selling young adult novel series "ttyl," tops the list. That book is the first-ever novel series written entirely in instant messaging style.

A challenge is defined by the OiF as a "formal, written complaint, filed by either a library or school, requesting that the books be removed or restricted because of content." The OiF received 466 requests to remove or restrict books in 2009.

It estimates that this number reflects only 20-25% of the challenges actually made at public libraries, school's and school libraries.

Here's the 2009 Top Ten List:

1. "ttyl", "ttfn", "l8r", "g8r" (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs

2. "And Tango Makes Three" by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: Homosexuality

3. "The Perks of Being A Wallflower," by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Anti-Family, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide

4. "To Kill A Mockingbird," by Harper Lee
Reasons: Racism, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

5. "Twilight" (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

6. "Catcher in the Rye," by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

7. "My Sister's Keeper," by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: Sexism, Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide, Violence

8. "The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things," by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

9. "The Color Purple," Alice Walker
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

10. "The Chocolate War," by Robert Cormier

The ALA also released a list of the most challenged books of the last decade.

By Edward Ortiz

When a musician is deeply connected to his or her instrument you get the feeling they've tapped into a well of musical energy.

That thought came to mind while watching the violinist Midori, who gave a brilliant performance Saturday evening at the Community Music Center Theater.

The evening was a showpiece for how this 39-year-old violinist has crafted a stellar sound. It's a sound that was already praised for its maturity when she burst onto the concert scene at age 11.

For this performance Midori showed her deft hand at crafting interesting and compelling concert programs. Here the music ranged from a work by Bach to one by Paul Hindemith and a piece by Manuel de Falla, too.

It was an evening where Midori never addressed the audience, and where there were no introductions.

But with Midori, none are needed.

By Edward Ortiz

Anyone who doubts whether music can outlast an evil moment in history should see the Sacramento Children's Chorus' winsome production of the children's opera "Brundibár."

Written in 1938 by Czech composer Hans Krasa before his incarceration in the Terezin Nazi concentration camp in World War II, this opera has survived as a joyous example of how music triumphed during the darkest of times.

3W21ELLIE.highlight.prod_affiliate.4.JPGIn this production, a combination of local forces was used. Those included the chorus members under the direction of Lynn Stevens, along with the members of the Sacramento Youth Symphony under the direction of Sacramento Opera conductor Timm Rolek.

Thursday's performance at Hiram Johnson High School's auditorium was made more powerful because Ela Weissberger (left), who was in the original cast when the opera was performed at Terezin, accepted an invitation to attend, coming to Sacramento from her home in Tappan, N.Y.


Sometimes, when you want something to happen, you have to do it on your own.

That's the route taken by four local teen musicians who have formed the Trubaek Quartet.

The rationale for forming the quartet?

It's an altruistic one. The quartet was formed to give a benefit concert on April 17 to raise funds for recent earthquake victims in Haiti.

The musicians, (pictured, from left to right) include violist Camille Getz, violinist Nicole Hwang, cellist Rachel Baek and violinist Ray Anthony Trujillo. All are in high school, except for cellist Baek.

For the performance, each musician will play solo as well as play as a quartet.

The program includes all four performing on the Adagio non troppo from Mendelssohn's String Quartet No. 1, as well as Getz tackling "Schon Rosmarin" by Kreisler, cellist Baek on the first movement from Elgar's Concerto E minor, violinist Hwang performing the third movement from Henri Wieniawski's Concerto A minor, and Trujillo on John Corigliano's "Red Violin Caprices" as well as his performance of two movements from Hindemith's Solo Sonata.

Trujillo's performance, especially, should be one to watch. He's a prodigious talent and recent winner of the Sacramento Philharmonic and Jammies Classical Music Competition for Young & Local Artists.

Also slated to perform is cellist Eunghee Cho, who will play the first movement of Shostakovich's Concerto Eb major.

The only help help that these four musicians had in putting this concert together was getting rides to and from rehearsals by respective parents, said Pat Getz, mother of violist Camille Getz.

And for young classical musicians that may be as as good an education about the the world of classical music presentation as can be had in the business.

Trubaek Quartet
WHEN: 8 p.m., April 17
WHERE: Northminster Presbyterian Church, 3234 Pope Ave., Sacramento
TICKETS: $20; $10 Students
INFORMATION: (916) 487-5192


It's looking like the audio book is likely headed towards the dustbin of product history.

And the e-book is to blame.

At least that's the implication that can be gleaned from the latest report from the Association of American Publishers.

That report, released yesterday, is an annual estimate of U.S. book sales and shows that e-book sales overtook audio book sales in 2009 - with a whopping 176% increase in yearly sales.

However, audio books are not dead yet - sales for 2009 totaled a robust $192 million. But that amount was a decrease of 12.9% from the prior year, the report said.

To make its estimate the association uses data from the Bureau of the Census as well as sales data from eighty-six publishers that includes most major book publishing media market companies.

Those estimates showed that U.S. publishers had net sales of $23.9 billion in 2009, down from $24.3 billion in 2008, a 1.8% decrease.

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The violinist Midori is coming to Sacramento to slay an 18 year long drought of performing in the city.

The 39-year-old old violinist, known as much as a champion of music education as she is for her violin playing, will perform Saturday evening at the Community Center Theater, with pianist Robert McDonald.

Midori comes by invitation of the Sacramento Philharmonic. The orchestra is making this concert especially youth-friendly by offering free tickets to children 17 and under with the purchase of a regular priced adult ticket.

Midori will perform a program that includes Manuel De Falla's "Suite Populaire Espagnole for Violin and Piano," Tzigane" by Ravel, Bach's Sonata for Solo Violin in G minor, and Paul Hindemith's Sonata for Violin and Piano in E Flat Major, Op. 11, No. 1, among others.

The last time Midori performed in the city was in 1992, when she appeared with the Sacramento Symphony in a performance of Saint-Saëns' Violin Concerto No. 3.

WHEN: 8 p.m., Saturday
WHERE: Community Center Theater, 1301 L St., Sacramento
TICKETS: $25-$65 (ages 17 and under free w/regular priced adult ticket purchase)
INFORMATION: (916) 808-5181 or


Jazz combos and ensembles from Sacramento State University are figuring big at this year's Monterey Jazz Next Generation Festival.

The festival, which takes place April 9-11, offers a portal to the next generation of talented jazz musicians. Winners are slated to perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival in September.

In the Next Generation festival, six competitors are invited in each of various divisions, ranging from high school to college-age jazz groups.

CSUS received two of the six invitations in the Open Combo Division, another two in the college Vocal Ensemble Division and an invitation in the College Big Band Division.

This year's lot represents the largest number of CSUS groups invited to the festival since the department started going to the festival five years ago.

Being chosen is a feather in the cap of a jazz program as competitors are chosen through a blind listening conducted at the Berklee School of Music in Boston. The selection process involves listening to submitted CDs, with many of the works submitted the original works of ensemble musicians.


Sure, the The San Francisco Opera Merola program owns a stellar reputation as a training ground that kicks out the most promising opera singers around.

But this weekend, when singers performed and competed in the prestigious and uber-competitive Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, three of the five winning spots were awarded to Merola grads.

Soprano Leah Crocetto (pictured, right) who participated in the Merola program in 2008, and is a current San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow, joined soprano Lori Guilbeau (Merola '09) and tenor Nathaniel Peake (Merola '08 & '09) as winners of the 2010 auditions.

Of the nine finalists, two others were also Merola alumni: soprano Rena Harms ('08) and mezzo-soprano Maya Lahyani (Merola '09 and a current Adler Fellow).

Each winner receives $15,000. But the plum is not the cash-it's the exposure winning gives a singer. It helps launch a major operatic career. Many singers that now command center stage in the opera world are past Met Auditions winners, including Stephanie Blythe, Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Nathan Gunn, Samuel Ramey, and Deborah Voigt.

The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions are held annually in 45 districts and 15 regions across the United States and Canada. District winners go to the semi-finals in New York and the finalists have the chance to perform on the historic Met stage for an audience that includes the artistic staff of prestigious opera companies, artist managers, music critics, and other key figures in the opera world.


A cash strapped opera company in Florida has taken a bold jump into the digital world by using animation for its productions.

As reported in The Toronto Star, the Florida Grand Opera has chosen the route of animation to give an new vibe to their productions while allowing it to cut costs.

That move, if successful, may prove a fruitful paradigm for regional opera companies like the Sacramento Opera.

The Miami-based Florida Grand Opera was forced to think creatively after having to trim its annual budget from $18 million to $12.5 million, and its mainstage productions to four from six, this year.

As part of cost saving measures the company approached the Miami-based Lava Studio animation company and decided to go with one team to design or produce its sets and costumes for its season, instead of hiring talent separately for each opera.

The animation company devised a 22-by-40-foot screen at the rear of the stage and projected images that served the aims of its production of Rossini's "The Barber of Seville."

But, the use of animation in opera is far from a new idea. In 2006, theTeatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy used animation in director Wayne McGregor's production of Purcell's Opera 'Dido and Aeneas' (pictured, above). The animated sequence was used to show the passage of time in the opera.


Music in the Mountains' conductor Gregory Vajda isn't wasting any time making headway in the Golden State.

The 37-year-old Vajda, who was recently picked to head the Grass Valley-based Music in the Mountains classical music presenter, will be making his Walt Disney Concert Hall debut on March 9.

Vajda will conduct works by fellow Hungarian Peter Eötvös as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's adventurous and popular Green Umbrella contemporary music series.

Vajda, who is also resident conductor of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, will conduct Eötvös' "Snatches of a Conversation" and "Korrespondenz," featuring the Calder Quartet.

Trumpeter Brandon Ridenour and opera singer and performance artist Timur Bekbosunov will also perform.

For fans of new music, and especially those of Eötvös' music, this will be a must see performance.

Less than two weeks later, Vajda will kick off his first full Music in the Mountains season during its SpringFest, which begins March 24 with works by Strauss, Schoenberg and Mahler. That festival runs through March 28.

Green Umbrella
Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Gregory Vajda, conducting
WHEN: 8 p.m., March 9
WHERE: Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles
TICKETS: $26-$51
INFORMATION: (323) 850-2000 or

Music in the Mountains
WHEN: March 24-28
WHERE: Amaral Family Festival Center, 11228 McCourtney Rd., Grass Valley
TICKETS: $5-$32
INFORMATION: (530) 265-6124 or


There's more to Aaron Copland than meets the eye.

That's the focus of a Sunday performance and lecture at the Mondavi Center titled "Copland and the Cold War," hosted by artistic director and noted music historian Joseph Horowitz.

That event, which takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday at Mondavi's Studio Theatre, may prove one of the most unusual musical events of the year.

The performance will plumb how the Red Scare of the 1950's affected Copland, best known for composing such works as "Appalachian Spring" and "Fanfare for the Common Man."

More specifically, and unusual, will be the reenactment of Copland's traumatic testimony in 1953 before Senator Joseph McCarthy's closed-door hearings on communism in the United States. Many artists were blacklisted after testifying at the McCarthy hearings.

Copland is believed to have perjured himself during his testimony, said Horowitz.

As the artistic director of "The American Piano Project," Horowitz is also bringing pianists Steven Mayer and Anthony de Mare to Mondavi to perform and talk about the black virtuoso piano tradition. That event takes place on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Mondavi's Studio Theater and is in two parts - with the second half kicking off at 8 p.m.

But, undoubtedly, it is Sunday's Copland event that will prove most timely and compelling.

For those who find this fraught era in America's history of interest, that performance and talk will be a must-see event.

The American Piano Project
Copland and the Cold War
When: 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center, UC Davis
Tickets: $30
Information: (530) 754-2787 or

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There are many conductors deserving of ultimate praise, but few are quite like San Francisco Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas.

And so, it is no mystery that this protean conductor has been selected to receive the nation's highest award for artistic achievement: the National Medal of Arts.

That award will be presented by President Barack Obama Thursday afternoon at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, where Tilson Thomas will be recognized for his contributions to American culture.

So what sets Tilson Thomas apart from today's list of prestigious conductors?

Perhaps it is the fact that Tilson Thomas is currently in his 15th season as music director of the San Francisco Symphony. And in that time he has solidified the orchestra's stature as a champion of 20th century works.

Or maybe it is the fact that he has turned this orchestra into a top-notch interpreter of Mahler's symphonies.

And then there is Tilson Thomas' other job - as founder and artistic Director of the New World Symphony, the nation's premier orchestral academy for gifted young musicians.

Or maybe it is his willingness to embrace the digital world, as was evidenced last year when he conducted an unusual classical music concert when he led the YouTube symphony orchestra in a digitally-inspired performance at Carnegie Hall.

No doubt, it is his work with the SFS that is his crowning achievement. This year, the orchestra was awarded three Grammy awards for its standout live recording of Mahler's Symphony No. 8.

It was the latest installation in the orchestra's successful Mahler cycle of recordings. Those recordings have earned the orchestra seven Grammy awards to date.

Ultimately, Tilson Thomas may have outmatched his competitors because of his excellent outreach efforts, which includes the San Francisco Symphony's "Keeping Score" series.

That series involves a synergy of televised PBS series, radio programming, interactive websites and a K-12 education program. In that vein, Tilson Thomas has eloquently introduced composers like Berlioz, Ives and Copland to a general audience.

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Fans of classical spanish dance will be very interested in the the Camellia Symphony's
next concert at Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium this Saturday evening.

The program for that concert will see the orchestra performing Manuel de Falla's enchanting "El Amor Brujo," with spanish classical dancer Fanny Ara (pictured, right), and mezzo-soprano Zoila Munoz performing.

Ara began dance studies at age three, studying ballet and contemporary dance in France. She later trained in the Spanish classical dance idiom with Catalina Gommes.

Ara has also pursued intensive flamenco studies with Juana Amaya, El Torombo, and Manolo Soler, and studied at the prestigious Mario Maya academy. She is now an established performer in the Bay Area, and a member of the Caminos Flamencos dance company.

The concert program, which will be conducted by artistic director Allan Pollack, also includes Dukas' "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring."

Camellia Symphony
"Charms, Spells and Enchantments"
WHEN: 8:00 p.m., Saturday
WHERE: Memorial Auditorium, 1515 J St., Sacramento
TICKETS: $25; $20 seniors; $15 students; $8 children
INFORMATION: (916) 808-5181 or


The Sacramento Community Concert Association announced its 57th season with the presenter bringing the likes of Canadian all-woman string and piano ensemble Angele Dubeau & La Pietà (pictured, right), the San Diego-based Presidio Brass ensemble and Opole -The Philharmonic of Poland, to Sacramento, among others.

SCCA's 2010-2011 season:

The Lowe Family
WHEN: 8:00 p.m., Sept. 24
WHERE: Community Center Theater, 1301 L St., Sacramento

Presidio Brass
WHEN: 8:00 p.m., Oct. 27
WHERE: Community Center Theater, 1301 L St., Sacramento

Tango Buenos Aires
WHEN: 8:00 p.m., Jan. 20, 2011
WHERE: Sacramento Community Center Theater, 1301 L St., Sacramento

Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà
WHEN: 8:00 p.m., March 5 2011
WHERE: Sacramento Community Center Theater, 1301 L St., Sacramento

Opole, Philharmonic of Poland
WHEN: 3:00 p.m., March 20, 2011
WHERE: Sacramento Memorial Auditorium, 1515 J St., Sacramento

Subscriptions tickets are now on sale. Single tickets will be available 30-days before each concert. A five concert subscription is $90. Single tickets cost $46.50. For information call (916) 974-1357 or visit


The refrain "Assassin's Creed II" may be heard more than once at the upcoming award ceremony for the growing genre of video game music.

After all, the video game has been nominated in six categories by the Game Audio Network Guild (G.A.N.G.), the non-profit dedicated to the advancement and recognition of game music and audio.

The music will be honored during the 8th Annual G.A.N.G. Awards on March 12th, in San Francisco during the Game Developers Conference.

The awards are evidence that video game music is coming into its own.

As a result, orchestras devoted to playing video game music are sprouting up on both coasts, and game music composers - like Nobuo Uematsu, who wrote the music for the "Final Fantasy" series - are now big celebrities.

Below are the nominees for the 8th Annual G.A.N.G. Awards listed below by category:

Assassin's Creed II
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Need For Speed: Shift
Resident Evil 5
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Assassin's Creed II
AVATAR: The Game
Dragon Age: Origins
Halo 3: ODST
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Assassin's Creed II
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Need For Speed: Shift
Resident Evil 5
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Assassin's Creed II
Brutal Legend
Dragon Age: Origins
Tom Clancy's: H.A.W.X.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Assassin's Creed II
Halo 3: ODST
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Gran Turismo (PSP)
Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier (PSP)
Mecho Wars (iPhone)
Resistance: Retribution (PSP)
The Secret Of Monkey Island: Special Edition (iPhone)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Left 4 Dead 2
Need For Speed: Shift
Resident Evil 5
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Assassin's Creed II
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Brutal Legend
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Resident Evil 5
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

"Ezio's Family" - Assassin's Creed II
"Flight Over Venice" - Assassin's Creed II
"Spirit of Bladehenge" - Brutal Legend
"Sonny Tang" - Eat Lead
"Reunion" - Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

"Venice Rooftops" - Assassin's Creed II
"A Creature Shall Rise" - Brutal Legend
"Sad Theme" - Tom Clancy's: H.A.W.X.
"Washington Under Seige" - Tom Clancy's: H.A.W.X.
"Halls of Iron" - World of Warcraft: Fall of the Lich King

"I Am The One" (High Fantasy Version) - Dragon Age: Origins
"Lelianna's Song" - Dragon Age: Origins
"Silent Melody" - inFAMOUS
"Best Friends Menu Theme" - Littlest Pet Shop Friends
"Pray - Theme Song" - Resident Evil 5
"Plants vs. Zombies" - Plants vs. Zombies

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Forza Motorsport 3
Left 4 Dead 2
Resident Evil 5
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Brutal Legend
DJ Hero
Guitar Hero: Van Halen
Rock Band: The Beatles
SingStar: Queen

"Avoiding Tedium - Fighting Repetition in Game Audio" - AES Conference Paper
"Dynamics of Narrative" -
"The Future of Game Audio / The Game Audio Mixing Revolution" -
"Less is More" - Game Developer Magazine
"Surviving the Crunch - Being Healthy Sound Designers" - Designing Sound
"Surviving Your First Composing Gig" -

If you watch or listen to KQED you might want to know that the Northern California Public Broadcasting group now has a new President and CEO: John L. Boland.

Boland is currently the group's content chief - the first such position at any public broadcasting group in the country. He succeeds Jeff Clarke, who is retiring.

Boland will oversee television stations KQED, KTEH and KQET, and radio stations KQED and KQEI. The group is currently the most watched public television broadcaster in the country.

In a written statement from KQED, Boland was praised for moving the group's stations boldly into digital realms, and for forging partnerships with iTunes, YouTube and Hulu.


These days corporations are the ones kicking in extra money to encourage creativity while fostering arts education.

One recent example is the company Apple & Eve which makes "Fruitables". They're searching for the best school music mash-up in America (a music mash-up is a medley of two or more songs).

And they're giving the winning school chorus, choir, glee club, or vocal group $10,000 for the best video.

The search for the best school music mash-up is a part of the company's mission of supporting underfunded music and arts programs in schools across America.

Kudos to them.

Elementary and middle school choruses, grades K-8, are eligible to enter by submitting a video of their mash-up performance via the Fruitables Facebook fan page.

Entries must be received no later than April 30, 2010 and can be submitted via Facebook at

For a complete set of contest rules and regulations, visit beginning February 15th.


Next up for the Light Opera Theatre of Sacramento - "The Mikado."

This comic opera in two acts, by Gilbert and Sullivan, will be performed with full, live orchestra conducted by David Möschler.

Soprano Katie Baad will sing the role of Yum-Yum.

The Mikado, considered one of Gilbert and Sullivan's masterpieces, was their longest running work. It ran for 672 performances after its debut.

As is the case with their other works, "Mikado" offers librettist W.S. Gilbert's trademark biting wit and brilliant satire anchored to Arthur Sullivan's inventive music.

WHEN: 8 p.m., Feb. 12-21
WHERE: 24th Street Theatre, 2791 24th St., Sacramento
TICKETS: $10-$20
INFORMATION: (530) 400-1858 or


Fans of George Gershwin will be elated, or will scratch their heads, with Steven Spielberg's latest casting choice.

Online sites like and others are reporting that the director is prepping a biopic on the famous composer and has tapped Zachary Quinto to play Gershwin.

Quinto will be well known to most for his portrayal as Spock in J.J. Abrams' 2009 film "Star Trek," and for his work on the T.V. show "Heroes."

Biopics are notoriously hard to pull off. Luckily, few people know much about Gershwin's persona, so Quinto will not have to live up to a known standard.

Brilliant casting choice or not, it's always a good thing when the life of a composer hits the big screen, especially an American treasure like Gershwin.

Maybe it will give a big bump to Gershwin's music... like what the 1984 film "Amadeus" did for Mozart's music.


The latest evolution of the popular Google online application Google Maps, may soon allow views of the inside of retail establishments.

As much was made clear when a photographer working for Google entered the 14 year-old Oh Nuts nut and candy retail chain in Brooklyn, N.Y. to photograph the inside of the store last last week.

"The Google people came in to our stores with cameras and took photographs every six feet, from top to bottom and on all four sides of the store with their special camera technology," said Ari Tahover, website manager for Oh Nuts.

Tahover said the photographer made sure to photograph both floors of both Oh Nuts stores and that the photographer took specific photographs of specific store items like gift baskets. Those would be added as reference items on the store's Google Maps page for the store location, he was told.

Google chose not to confirm whether it is adding a store view option to its Google Maps application.

"We are always experimenting with new features for Google Maps," said a Google spokesperson about the company's photo shoot at Oh Nuts.

But a source at the Moutain-view-based company said Google has been shooting the inside of stores in San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, and that there are plans to someday add the store view photos to Google Maps' "Street View" function.

For Tahover, allowing Internet shoppers to transit into a store online via the Google Maps application seems like a great idea.

"I think this is going to be great for business, as people will be able to locate products and tour the whole store before they come in," he said.


With the San Francisco Symphony snagging 3 Grammys last night, isn't it time for the orchestra to be included in the top 10 of any ranking of world orchestras?

At last night's Grammy Awards, the SFS' won the awards for Best Classical Album, Best Choral Performance and Best Engineered Classical Album.

The awards were given for its live concert recording of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 8 and the Adagio from Symphony No. 10, conducted by Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas.

The recording is the last in a cycle of the orchestra's excellent recordings of Mahler's symphonies.

With these three awards, the SFS's Mahler cycle has now received a total of seven Grammy awards.

Clearly, this is one of the nation's best interpreters of Mahler's works, if not the best. And that is saying a lot.

But, the SFS has always lingered in the second tier of orchestras in the ranking of the 20 best orchestras in the world by the British classical music mag Gramophone.

In Gramophone's staid mind the orchestra ranks 13th (see rankings, below).

Sure, rankings like this are silly and irrelevant. Yet some people live by them.

Certainly a cursory look at the rankings shows a clear Euro-centric bias.

Ultimately, these rankings are like comparing apples to oranges. How can anyone compare the SFS to, say, the Vienna Philharmonic or the Royal Concertgebouw?

Wouldn't do any of those orchestras justice.

Maybe the only thing that can be said with any accuracy and relevance is that great orchestras are great in their own way... like unhappy families are unhappy in their own way.

Below are Gramophone's ranking of the world's top 20 orchestras:

1. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam
2. Berlin Philharmonic
3. Vienna Philharmonic
4. London Symphony Orchestra
5. Chicago Symphony Orchestra
6. Bavarian Radio Symphony
7. Cleveland Orchestra
8. Los Angeles Philharmonic
9. Budapest Festival Orchestra
10. Dresden Staatskapelle
11. Boston Symphony Orchestra
12. New York Philharmonic
13. San Francisco Symphony
14. Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra
15. Russian National Orchestra
16. Leningrad Philharmonic
17. Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
18. Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
19. Saito Kinen Symphony Orchestra
20. Czech Philharmonic

January 29, 2010
HellaCappella is back


The popular HellaCappella showcase of a cappella groups is back.

After attracting a crowd of 800 at UC Davis' Freeborn Hall last year, this Northern California showcase hopes to sell out the 1,300 seat hall this year, said Greer Shively, member of the UC Davis a cappella group The Spokes (pictured, right).

This year's line up offers eight college-based groups, including UC Berkeley's Decadence and Stanford's Fleet Street, as well as hometown favorites The Spokes.

And given the newfound interest in a cappella music after the four-part TV show "Sing-Off" on NBC, it's likely that HellaCapella will outdraw last year's big crowd.

And The Spokes know a little about NBC's "Sing-Off," too.

"We were invited to compete," said Shively. "Unfortunately, we couldn't make it to Los Angeles for the competition because it took place during the school year."

WHEN: 8 p.m. Feb. 27
WHERE: Freeborn Hall, UC Davis
TICKETS: $8; $5 students; $10; $8 students at the door
INFORMATION: (530) 752-1915


Let's face it, opera can seem like the most intimidating of art forms, especially for the newbie.

But it need not be so. Truth is, opera is as sexy, gritty and fresh as any other art form.

And the The Sacramento Opera's Joey Castañeda would like nothing more than to show you how.

As its Community Engagement Coordinator, Castañeda will be hosting one hour talks about opera, in Fair Oaks and Elk Grove.

Castañeda plans to strip opera of its elitist aura and will explain how to make a night at the opera as easy and enjoyable as watching an episode of CSI or Top Chef.

Topics will include the history of opera, the types of opera, opera voices and how they relate to character, the influence opera on modern music, and how opera has made its way into pop culture.

Commentary and discussion of the Sacramento Opera's upcoming production of "La Traviata" is also included in the talk.

A prize drawing for two free tickets opera tickets will be held at each event.


6:30 p.m., Feb. 10
Fair Oaks Library
11601 Fair Oaks Blvd, Fair Oaks

1: 30 p.m., Feb. 13
Franklin Library
10055 Franklin High Rd., Elk Grove

3:00 p.m., Feb. 18
Elk Grove Library
8900 Elk Grove Blvd, Elk Grove

INFORMATION: (916) 737-1000 or

They call him the "singing policeman".

That's the moniker that has stuck to tenor Daniel Rodriguez ever since he sang a moving rendition of "God Bless America" directly after 9/11.

And now he's coming to Folsom to sing at the Oak Hills Church, courtesy of the Folsom Lake Community Concert Association.

Nowadays, Rodriguez is touring and bent on a career that he would like to include Broadway, opera and beyond.

That's a tall order. So, does he have the chops?

There is only one way of find out.

WHEN: 3:00 p.m. Feb. 14
WHERE: Oak Hills Church, 1100 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom
INFORMATION: (916) 934-0869 or


If you love American folk music, one of the coolest, but more obscure, webstreams out there can be found at the Southern Folklife Collection at the Wilson Library, at the University of North Carolina.

Although you would think this kind of thing was common, it is highly unusual for a library to offer a webstream from its collection.

Perhaps this will set a trend among libraries to unleash great collections?

The growing offerings of music that the Wilson Library is streaming is broken down into "channels," with the following categories:

Channel 1: Southern Folklife Collection - Old-time Music
Channel 2: Southern Folklife Collection - Country and Bluegrass
Channel 3: Southern Folklife Collection - Folk Revival
Channel 4: Southern Folklife Collection - Rhythm, Blues, and Boogie
Channel 5: Southern Folklife Collection - SFC Mix

Also, fans of American folk music and culture should note that the site is also a wonderful online collection of over 100 hard-to-find documentary films on folk music.

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Well, it's about time.

Singer-songwriter Elvis Costello will be making his Mondavi debut on April 7, it was announced by the Mondavi Center for the Arts this afternoon.

Costello will perform solo for this concert.

WHEN: 8 p.m., April 7
WHERE: Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center for the Arts, UC Davis
TICKETS: $35-$65; $$17.50-$32.50 Students
INFORMATION: (530) 754-2787 or at



In Susan Froemke's documentary "The Audition," it becomes painfully clear that even uber-talented singers have no assurance of success in the audition process at the Metropolitan Opera.

This excellent feature length documentary airs Wed. evening at 9 p.m. on KVIE Channel 6.

The doc is a behind-the-scenes look at the Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions. Each year thousands of singers compete for a cash prize in the auditions, plus the chance to sing on the Met stage-and lay the foundation to a major operatic career.

The film follows a set of singers in one dramatic week leading up to the finals of the 2007 auditions. The dramatic focus is on three tenors: Michael Fabiano, a fervent 22-year-old grappling with inner demons; Alek Shrader, a 25-year-old with movie-star looks who attempts to sing nine high Cs in the difficult aria that made Pavarotti a star; and Ryan Smith, who at 30, and with scant training, pursues a dream of having an opera career.

The documentary is well paced, and offers joys intermingled with the bittersweet. The voices are all top-notch.

This film is an absolute 'must-see' for anyone with any interest in the arts.


Call it the little-known violin festival with serious street cred.

That's the best way to describe the Violin Festival at UC Davis.

This gem of a mini-fest is directed by Dan Flanagan (pictured, right). Local audiences will know Flanagan as the concertmaster of the Sacramento Philharmonic and Sacramento Opera orchestras.

The festival is co-directed by Michael Sand, founding member and first musical director of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

This year a festival highlight will be the Friday evening performance of violinist Fritz Gearheart, a member of the Oregon String Quartet. Gearheart will perform Mozart's Sonata in E Minor, K. 304 and Debussy's Sonata for Violin and Piano, with pianist John Cozza.

On Saturday, cellist Marc Vanscheeuwijck and harpsichordist Phebe Craig will perform with baroque violinist Jaap Schröder.

The festival also offers performances, master classes, and other activities.

When: 7 p.m., Jan. 22 and 23
Where: Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center, UC Davis
Tickets: $18.00; $ 9.00 (student)
Information: (530) 752-5537 or