Arts Calendar


Bland Simpson
Bland Simpson

Simpson rambles in
to talk music, culture

The Voyages of Discovery lecture series continues with an appearance by Bland Simpson, the UNC Chapel Hill distinguished professor who also performs with the Red Clay Ramblers. He will discuss “Eastern North Carolina Culture in Music and Literature” on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. in Wright Auditorium.


The popular Holiday Exhibition and Sale, the annual showcase of works by School of Art and Design students in a variety of media, will take place at the Wellington B. Gray Gallery Dec. 1–3. Sales benefit individual artist guilds within the school. The Art of Influence, an exhibit of art and design using metals, will be on display at the gallery Jan. 13–Feb. 18. Works by nearly 50 artists of national and international prominence will be on display.

Student ensembles

The Percussion Players present a concert on Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall. The Wind Ensemble Chamber Players will perform on Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m., also at Fletcher. The ECU Guitar Ensemble performs on Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Fletcher, and the School of Music Combined Jazz concert is scheduled for Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Wright Auditorium.

The School of Music’s annual holiday concert will be Dec. 4 at 3 p.m., and will feature portions of Handel’s Messiah, featuring the ECU Symphony Orchestra and the University Chorale, as well as community and church choirs, all under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Ward. A separate holiday music program by ECU choral ensembles is scheduled for Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. On Feb. 11, the symphony will perform Beethoven’s Fidelio Overture, Op. 72; Richard Strauss’ Concerto for Oboe in D, with ECU faculty member Bo Newsome as soloist; and Brahms’ Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Op. 56, the “St. Anthony” Variations.


Above: New York Voices, the Grammy-winning jazz ensemble, will perform Jan. 20

Four Seasons to play 'Ghost' trio


hree piano quartets, including an early 20th century work by English composer Frank Bridge, highlight the second concert in this year’s Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival, with performances on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. at A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall.

Joining artistic director and violinist Ara Gregorian for concerts will be ECU faculty member and pianist Benjamin Hochman, violist Maria Lambros and cellist Amit Peled. The latter two are faculty at the Peabody Conservatory. Other works on the program are Schumann’s Piano Quartet in E-flat, Op. 47, and Brahms’ Piano Quartet in C-minor, Op. 90.

A more intimate program is planned for Jan. 12 and 13, with two piano trios and a sonata for violin and piano. Gregorian will be joined by frequent Four Seasons guests Thomas Sauer, piano, and Colin Carr, cello, to perform Beethoven’s Piano Trio in D, Op. Kannen70, No. 1, named the “Ghost” trio, and Shostakovich’s Piano Trio in E-minor, Op. 67. Gregorian and Sauer will perform Brahms’ Sonata for Violin and Piano and A, Op. 100.

The second of two “Next Generation” concerts is scheduled for Jan. 22, when the featured guest artist will be cellist Michael Kannen (right), director of chamber music at the Peabody Conservatory. The concerts are played by ECU string and keyboard faculty members, current ECU string students, a guest artist and at least one ECU music school graduate.

S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series

Chris BottiThe 50th anniversary season of the arts series continues with performances by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. in Wright Auditorium. Now directed by Ben Jaffe, son of the band’s co-founders, Preservation Hall comes to ECU after appearances this season in London and Lincoln Center in New York.

Other concerts in the performing arts series include New York Voices, a Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble renowned for their excellence in jazz and the art of group singing, which will appear on Jan. 20. The quartet performs music with jazz, rhythm and blues, Brazilian, classical and pop influences.

Jazz instrumentalist Chris Botti (right), whose four No. 1 albums have earned several Grammy Awards, will appear on Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. in Wright Auditorium. He has performed with Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon, among others, as well as at the World Series and a Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.


The Family Fare series continues on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. in McGinnis Theatre with Locomotion, a play based on the book by Jacqueline Woodson about an African American boy growing through sadness to hope. This will be a production of the Kennedy Center Theatre for Young Audiences on Tour.

The ECU Loessin Playhouse offers Dance 2012, the annual extravaganza by School of Theatre and Dance students showcasing original choreography in ballet, modern, tap and jazz styles.

A guest artist will join the cast for the performances Jan. 26–31.

The playhouse next offers The Elephant Man, by Bernard Pomerance, on Feb. 23 and 24. All performances begin at 8 p.m.

-- Steve Rowe