Voice of the Arts

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

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Warren Davidson - Mar 1, 2023

Warren Davidson discusses his upcoming concert playing viola with the Academy String Quartet , He introduces examples of the pieces on the playing recorded recently in this conversation with Jim Cunningham.


Academy Concerts - Academy String Quartet Deep Roots is happening on Sunday, March 12, 2023 at 04:00PM EDT at Allegheny UU Church with tickets starting at $15.0

Academy Concerts - Academy String Quartet "Deep Roots"

In the intimate, friendly space of historic Allegheny Church, great music deeply rooted in the soul and the people.

The 8th quartet of Dmitri Shostakovich is one of the most important works of the 20th century. It is a spiritual journey, a soulful exploration of the tragedy of World War II, of our response to evil. Shostakovich puts himself at the center of the problem by building the entire work around the series of notes D, E flat, C, B - which in German is D Es C H: D for Dmitri, SCH for Shostakovich. The 8th quartet pays tribute to the suffering of European Jews in its use of traditional Jewish melodies.

Adolphus Hailstork writes many pieces out of the African-American experience. His one-movement work for string quartet, Variations on Swing, Low, Sweet Chariot, treats the spiritual tune in a variety of surprising ways.

Lighter, happier emotions will be expressed when bassist Gino Faraci joins the Academy Quartet for arrangements by founding member Warren Davidson of songs and dances from Croatia, Serbian songs from Kosovo, and tango tunes. Dr. Davidson has spent many years performing and teaching music from Slavic nations and in recent years has been a devotee of Argentine tango. Dancers welcome!

The Academy Quartet, active since 2006, is violinists Jorie Butler-Geyer and Leah Givelber, violist Warren Davidson, and cellist Robin Hasenpflug.

Double Bass Symposium - Feb 28, 2023

The 2023 Pittsburgh Double Bass Symposium takes place Sunday March 5th at Carnegie Mellon University.  Tania Grubbs, Peter Guild, Jeff Grubbs, John Moore, and Micah Howard stopped by to talk about the Symposium with Jim Cunningham.  

Evren Ozel - Feb 24, 2023

Pianist Evren Ozel makes his Pittsburgh debut for The Steinway Society of Western Pa Sunday February 26 at 2:30. Evren spoke about the program of Ligwti, Rameau, Schumann, Bartok and Debussy with Jim Cunningham. He has enjoyed success at the Warsaw Chopin Competition and in the US and several other competitions after his early playing in Minneapolis and his work with Mitsuko Uchida and his pursuit of a Masters degree at New England Conservatory.

Benjamin Grosvenor - Feb 24, 2023

Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor adds a new disc to his catalog of seven with Decca. He will return to Pittsburgh to play Liszt in May of 2024 having lost a concert due to the pandemic in the process but gaining a last minute chamber music concert at Heinz Hall. He speaks with Jim Cunningham about his Schumann Kreisleriana, Blumenstuck and 3 romances plus Clara Schumann's Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann and a Brahms Intermezzo. And is he the Grosvenor family of Grosvenor Square in London---the family that dates back to the 15th century and will he be back at the BBC Proms next summer?

Brian Worsdale & Lee Savile-Iksic - Feb 24, 2023

A Whole New World Musical Magic From the Silver Screen is the plan for the Sunday 3:330pm concert by the Three Rivers Yong peoples Orchestra with music Director Brian Worsdale and the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus conducted by Shawn Funk. Chorus Executive Director Lee Savile-Iksic joined Brian Worsdale and Jim Cunningham to talk about the program with Disney hits Mary Poppins, Frozen, Aladdin and scores by John Williams, Alan Menken and Elton John. It’s free but register in advance on the website if you can. Lee and Brian discuss the passion of their young musicians and how to join the ensembles.

Blaine Siegel - Feb 24, 2023

Blaine Siegel, Manager of Public Programs at Carnegie Museum of Art, discusses the 58th Carnegie International Film Festival with Jim Cunningham. Blaine also relays his work as an artist and where he can be found at Pittsburgh International airport, his role at Conflict Kitchen and Wilkinsburg High School before joining the Museum of Art staff. The Film Festival runs March 3 through 12, 2023. Rasha Salti, an independent film and visual arts curator and writer, has organized an historic and expansive collection of films that oscillates between “morning” and “night” and provides expanded context into Is it morning for you yet?, the 58th Carnegie International. 

The selections for the festival highlight the cinemas of Central America as well as Algeria, Morocco, Senegal, Lebanon, France, and the United States. Drawn from the geopolitics of the Cold War, these films present a version of history that challenges the impunity of the victors, confronts imperial powers with their legacies of devastation, and forges their own paths for repair. 

Films will be screened at Carnegie Museum of Art and Row House Cinema in a festival format. 

Stefanie Cedro Mohr - Feb 24, 2023

Stefanie Cedro Mohr, Director of Marketing and Engagement at Carnegie Museum of Art, updates the reception of the 58th Carnegie International “Is it Morning for You yet” and the related events, encourages you to drop in for daily 1pm tours, visit the Film Festival and Refractions theater events and podcast series Artists in the World. Jim Cunningham wants to know what’s in her closet from her years in New York working at some of the most famous cosmetics companies in the world L’Oreal and Estee Lauder and representing Target plus her years as a singer and actress.