Arts and Music


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Japanese woodblock prints (Ukiyo-e) depict images that evoke moments of pleasure and respite from everyday toils. In Malashock Dance's The Floating World, contemporary forms of music, dance and image-making draw inspiration from this aesthetic to reveal what it takes to create a 'façade of beauty' in the arts today. Choreographer John Malashock and UCSD-based filmmaker/projection artist Tara Knight co-conceived the work, including a four-sided video environment enveloping performers and audience. Bay Area 'avant' cellist, Zoe Keating provides the musical score and fashion icon Zandra Rhodes designed the costumes.

Yusef Komunyakaa, an internationally renowned poet who won the Pulitzer Prize for "Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems," reads and discusses his work while writer-in-residence at UC Santa Barbara. Recorded on 03/01/2017.

For more than a half century, John Lithgow has been delighting audiences on stage, in movies and on television. In a lively discussion with Peter Gourevitch, distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science at UC San Diego, Lithgow reflects on his preparations for the wide diversity of roles that have shaped his career and influenced the larger culture, from his star turn in "The World According to Garp" to his SAG-award-winning role as Winston Churchill in the Netflix original series "The Crown." Recorded on 10/11/2017.

In music, the serenade originated in the 18th century and is typically defined as calm, light music, often written in someone's honor or for special social occasions. For example, Benjamin Britten's Gemini Variations were written for a pair of young Hungarian prodigies of his acquaintance. Edward Elgar's Piano Quintet was likely inspired by the approaching end of his creative career, as both a sort of confrontation and a summing up. No one knows the occasion that inspired Antonin Dvorak to compose his Serenade in D Minor, but the result is a sunny, high-spirited piece that has remained a perennial audience favorite. Recorded on 8/20/2017.

La Jolla Symphony & Chorus performs excerpts from the season-opening "Crossing the Rue St. Paul" concert, with commentary from the stage by Conductor Steven Schick and questions from the audience. Recorded on 11/3/2017.

One of the most important composers in jazz history, Charles Mingus documented his lively impressions of Tijuana in "Tijuana Moods," a rarely performed suite. Join grammy-winning jazz author Ashley Kahn; eminent alto saxophonist Charles McPherson, a longstanding member of Charles Mingus' band; Anthony Davis, UC San Diego professor of music and noted composer, pianist and improviser; and Steven Schick, UC San Diego professor of music, percussionist, and conductor, for an exploration of the legacy of African-American composer Charles Mingus and his historic Tijuana Moods album. Recorded on 01/20/2018.

As suggested by the title, a divertimento was intended as light, relaxed music, a diversion for the audience. This description can't begin to do justice to Mozart's "Divertimento in E-flat Major," an expansive string trio widely considered one of Mozart's greatest chamber works. While "Divertimento" has the jaunty passages we associate with the composer, at times the mood is serious indeed, and the overall quality is somewhat bittersweet. As always, Mozart handles the simple structure of the sonata form with great sophistication. Recorded on 11/22/2017.

This centuries-spanning concert takes its title from the violin concerto by English composer Thomas Ades, but it may just as well refer to the unexpected paths that link 20th-century French composer Francis Poulenc back to his medieval countryman Guillaume Machaut, and onward to Thomas Nee Commission recipient Tina Tallon's premiere work for orchestra & electronics. Recorded on 12/10/2017.

Composer Francis Poulenc maintained that one need not be solemn to praise God, and that belief is echoed is his "Gloria." Indeed, listeners not otherwise informed may not guess it's the setting of a sacred text (in this case, the second part of the Roman Catholic Mass liturgy). Poulenc's score is by turns melodic, rhythmic, serene, piquant, high-spirited, slightly dissonant, subdued, or strident, but is never less than charming. Recorded on 12/10/2017.

Emmanuel Jal, an internationally recognized hip-hop musician, former child soldier turned activist and entrepreneur, shares his story and music. Jal was born into the life of a child solider in the early 1980s in the war-torn region of Southern Sudan. He calls upon all of us to engage with our world and become global citizens through scholarship, leadership and service. Recorded on 04/12/2018.
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