Weekender: Hear Beethoven and Bach; See Lots of Art

Popular MFA Open Studios Thursday

Man at piano
Christopher Taylor will perform four concerts at Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts this season, and two are this weekend. (Courtesy photo)

Quick Summary

  • Find out about a climate-theme mural competition

Free MFA Open Studios today

Thursday, 5-8 p.m.

The Master of Fine Arts students, in one of the art highlights of the year on the UC Davis campus,  invite the public to view their studios and new work today, Nov. 4 from 5-8 p.m. Both the Art Studio Graduate Building and TB-9 will be open and the artists will talk about their work and practices.

The Open Studio features the work of first- and second-year students: Phillip Byrne, Morgan Cristine, Sofia del Pedregal, Emily Gordon, Melanie Hernandez, Kelley O’Leary, Helia Pouyanfar, Whitney Vangrin, Jordan Benton, Luka Carlsen, Justine Di Fiore, Alberto Hamonet, Will Maxen, Sam Rathburn, H. Gene Thompson and Seongmin Yoo.

This event is free and open to all.

View a campus map here.

Noon concert features Bach

Gordis-Hantaï Duo Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord, UC Davis Pitzer Center, 12:05 p.m., Thursday, free

  • Marin Marais: Pièces de viole in D Minor, Livre II (1701)
  • J. S. Bach: Sonate II for Obbligato Harpsichord and Viola da Gamba, BWV 1028
  • J. S. Bach: Prelude and Fugue in D Major, BWV 874 (Well-Tempered Clavier II)
  • François Couperin: Suite in E Minor (1728), Pièces de viole

Music-making between two people is perhaps the purest form of chamber music. Jérôme Hantaï (viola da gamba) and Lillian Gordis (harpsichord) have been performing as a duo since 2018, inspired as much by the contrast between the vocality of the viol and the cutting crispness of the harpsichord as by the mix of rich and varied timbres of their instruments. Together, they seek a common sound that lies between the singing inertia of the bow and the percussive attack of the keyboard. This ensemble is a chance for these artists to play with new energy, and to explore the fresh synergy nourished by their respective identities as soloists.

Forming this duo was self-evident for Jérôme and Lillian, who have sought to avoid an increasingly widespread culture of sightreading and have devoted themselves to developing a long-term dialogue between soloists. Their common musical culture and human connection enable them to transcend their generational difference to create an exceptional musical discourse. Their repertoire centers around the French virtuosos of the viola da gamba (Marin Marais and François Couperin) and the sonatas for viola da gamba and obbligato harpsichord of Johann Sebastian Bach.

More information, including details about attending and hearing the audio recording, here.

More on music from UC Davis — awards and honors

Alum's music premieres at symphony, faculty honored for book

Laura Rose Schwartz (B.A., music, ‘13) will have a new work, Figment, performed by the Camellia Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in Sacramento.

Woman head shot.

Conducted by Christian Baldini, UC Davis professor of music and music director and conductor of the Camellia Symphony Orchestra, Schwartz’s composition was commissioned by the orchestra.

More information here.

Anna Maria Busse Berger, distinguished professor of music, emeritus, has been awarded the 2021 Bruno Nettl Prize, given by the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), for her book The Search for Medieval Music in Africa and Germany, 1891-1961: Scholars, Singers, Missionaries. It is the second time Busse Berger has won the award from SEM.

Climate Raising: A 21st-Century “Barn Raising” mural competition

UC Davis undergraduate and graduate students (individually or as a team) are invited to identify a climate-related agricultural issue in the Valley, take a position on that issue, and develop a digital or hand-drawn mural proposal that visually communicates that position to the public. (Please note: Painting the mural itself on the barn is not a requirement.) The winning murals(s) will be awarded cash prizes and painted on the side of a local barn. (Barn side dimensions: 8'3" H x 64' 4" W)

Barn mural
A recent barn mural. (Courtesy photo)

The winning mural(s) will be awarded cash prizes and painted on a local barn.

From droughts to rising temperatures, fires to floods, the Sacramento Valley of California is feeling the effects of — and contributing to — our changing climate. At the same time, the Valley and the agricultural communities that comprise it, have a unique opportunity to be part of the solution.

With this mural challenge, we are seeking to answer the following questions:

  • How might agriculture be part of the climate solution in the Sacramento Valley?
  • How do we visually communicate this message to inspire local action?


  • First Place Prize $400
  • Second Place Prize $200


  • Dec. 15, 2021 submissions due
  • Jan. 15, 2022 winner(s) announced
  • March 19-27, 2022 mural(s) painted (UC Davis spring break)

Judging criteria

Final submissions will be evaluated by a jury composed of designers and artists. They will base their evaluation on five criteria: accessibility, feasibility, connectivity, defensibility and engagement.

More information and submit work here

Beethoven at Mondavi this weekend

Christopher Taylor, piano

Liszt Transcriptions of the Nine Beethoven Symphonies

Mondavi Center Presenting Program, Jackson Hall, Saturday and Sunday 

Legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz called the Liszt Transcriptions of Beethoven’s symphonies “the greatest works for the piano.” Who better than pianist Christopher Taylor, an innovative musician acclaimed as "seemingly possessed of superhuman powers" (Los Angeles Times), to tackle these demanding, illuminating works over four concerts. (Two are in April.)  

In Taylor’s last Mondavi Center appearance, he performed J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations in their entirety on a rare dual-manual Steinway piano. 

Here are the events for this weekend:

Saturday, Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m.

Symphony No. 1, Symphony No. 2, Symphony No. 5   

Sunday, Nov. 7, 2 p.m.

Symphony No. 4, Symphony No. 3   

Pre-Performance Talk with Christopher Taylor and Mondavi’s Don Roth in this video.

Find more information and purchase tickets here

Professor Martin video work in group show

“Take Breath is Breath (Breathe),” Professor Darrin Martin’s new video in response to the pandemic, makes its premiere as part of “Interconnected,” a group show curated by Jackie Clay and Jillian Crochet at San Francisco’s Southern Exposure. The exhibition includes the work of 16 artists with disabilities living and working in the Bay Area whose work “address themes of (or longing for) connection and community.” Artists participating include Joseph Alef, Crystal Azul, Sharmi Basu, Carlos Fernandez, Luis Garcia, Felicia Griffin, Shana Harper, Steph Kudisch, Tricia Rainwater-Tutwiler, Clio Sady, Ruth Tabancay, Anthony Tusler, Rachel Ungerer, Monica Valentine, George Wilson as well as Martin.

The exhibition runs through Nov. 20. 

Southern Exposure (SoEx) is an artist-centered nonprofit organization committed to supporting visual artists, located at 3030 20th Street, San Francisco.

Last chance for Manetti Shrem fall exhibitions

If you haven’t seen the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum’s fall exhibitions, now’s your chance. Friday, Nov. 12, will be the last day the museum is open to the public before closing for the season. (The museum will also be closed Nov. 11, in observance of Veterans Day.) We are running a story here from last week's blog so you don't miss the information.

The three exhibitions are:

Arnold Joseph Kemp: I would survive. I could survive. I should survive. This solo exhibition of four works by Chicago-based artist Arnold J. Kemp features paintings, sculpture and photography that asks us to consider the sensorial gestures that form the self and a people, the personal and the political, the historical and the present. Closes Nov. 12.

Students view Arnold Kemp's exhibit of black-and-white art
Students view the exhibition of Arnold Joseph Kemp pieces at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. (Hung Pham/UC Davis)

Wayne Thiebaud Influencer: A New Generation celebrates the legacy of Professor Emeritus Wayne Thiebaud (who turns 101 on Nov. 15) through highlighting 19 contemporary artists, including a selection of his former students, who have been inspired by him as a painter and teacher. Closes Nov. 12.

Working Proof: Wayne Thiebaud as Printmaker: Numerous printing “proofs,” many worked by hand, underscore the importance of printmaking in Thiebaud’s artistic practice. Closes Nov. 12.

The museum, which reopened June 3 after a 15-month pandemic closure, will be closing to bring visitors three new exhibitions in January 2022. Free, advance timed tickets are recommended; walk-up visitors are welcome based on capacity.

In Sacramento: arts festival this weekend

Friday through Monday, Nov. 5, 6, 7, SAFE Credit Union Convention Center (formerly Sacramento Convention Center)

Hours: Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets at the Door - $8 Adults, $7 Seniors, Children under 12 Free

The 24th Annual Sacramento Arts Festival comes to the brand new SAFE Credit Union Convention Center (formerly Sacramento Convention Center). The festival features 225 of America's best contemporary craftspeople and fine artists offering more than 15,000 original works. The event has become not only the premier art and craft show in Sacramento, but is also developing into one of the top art festivals in the county; many of the artists who exhibit at such renowned events as the Sausalito Art Festival, the Cherry Creek Arts Festival in Denver, and the Ann Arbor Art Fairs, now also exhibit at the Sacramento American Arts Festival.


The festival, unlike many other fairs, is strictly juried with exhibitors selected for the originality and quality of their work. And festival visitors have the exciting opportunity to meet and talk with these talented artists and craftspeople about how they make their unique items.

Visit the Sacramento Arts Festival site here.

Coming up

Group in snow
Pamyua will perform later this month at the Mondavi. (Courtesy photo)

Ticket deal for Mondavi

Performance is Sunday, Nov. 21 for Pamyua, but get your tickets now.

Every month through May, staff and faculty can buy $10 tickets (maximum two per person) during a specified period of time for a specific show at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

Tickets are available through Nov. 15 for a culture-infused, music-and-dance performance by Pamyua at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21. The Anchorage-based Pamyua blends traditional Inuit drum-dance melodies and R&B vocal styles in a genre often described as Inuit soul. Or maybe it’s tribal funk. Either way, Pamyua, formed in 1995, has become a symbol of pride for Alaska’s Indigenous people who see their Inuit traditions performed masterfully and with sincerity. This performance is associated with the SHAPE course “Radical Storywork: Performing Relational Approaches to Inuit Food Fermentation and Food Security.” SHAPE stands for Science, Humanities and Arts: Process and Engagement.

The Well-Being Ticket Deal is available:

  • By phone — Call 530-285-0992 from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Online — Use Promo Code BEWELL2122.

Find more information here.

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