Weekender: Theatre Performance Debuts; Lectures Center on Black Experience In Art; Rhythm

Many Events Are Free; Plenty of Music on Tap

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Two musicians in diptich
Pianists Garrick Ohlsson and Kirill Gerstein will play a concert at Mondavi on Sunday. See story below. (Courtesy photo)

Painter, sculptor of Black experience delivers lecture Thursday

Art Studio Visiting Artist Lecture Series: Simphiwe Ndzube

March 3, 4:30-6 p.m., Community Education Room, Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art

Painted portrait, figure with red hat, blue background
Simphiwe Ndzube, "Portrait of Daluxolo," 2021, acrylic, collage, and spray paint on canvas, 51 x 39.5 in. (Courtesy of the artist)

Simphiwe Ndzube is a painter and sculptor who uses flamboyant color and theatrical space to tell a story of the Black experience in post-apartheid South Africa. His work was most recently the subject of a 2021 exhibition “Simphiwe Ndzube, Oracles of the Pink Universe” at the Denver Art Museum. Other major shows include “Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon” (Nicodim Gallery, LA, 2021); “The Fantastic Ride to Gwadana” (Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2020, a solo exhibit); and ”Where Water Comes Together with Other Water,” The 15th Lyon Biennale (Lyon, France, 2019). His work is collected by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Denver Art Museum; Musée d’art Contemporain de Lyon, France; Iziko South African National Gallery, South Africa; Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, South Africa; and many others. Ndzube has held residencies at the Dalton Warehouse Studios, South Central, LA (2018) and Greatmore Studios, Woodstock Cape Town (2016), and was awarded the Culture Creators Innovators & Leaders Award in Art (2019).

Ndzube lives and works in Los Angeles and Cape Town, South Africa.

Organized by the Department of Art and Art History. Supported by the UC Davis College of Letters and Science and co-sponsored by the Manetti Shrem Museum.

Time and life’s cycle explored in theatre performance this weekend

Clouds from a Crumbling Giant, March 3-5, 7-8:15 p.m., $10 Adults / $8 Faculty and Staff / $5 Students and Seniors, Wright Hall, UC Davis

Stage photo of actor with dark background
Ann Marie Dragich and Edward Talton-Jackson perform in Clouds from a Crumbling Giant, a collaborative performance at Wright Theatre. (Katherine Hung/UC Davis)

Clouds from a Crumbling Giant, a collaborative performance project, will be presented by the UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance March 3-5 in the Main Theater, Wright Hall.   Devised by Granada Artist-in-Residence Shinichi Iova-Koga, the project follows the birth and death of a species, an empire, a universe, a flower. Time unfolds on stage like a revolving wheel represented by an automated turntable. Vibrations — sounds created by the cast and musicians — emerge to shape the earth, rocks and people. Clouds from a Crumbling Giant teems with movement, spoken text, song and sound.

“The materials begin the process,” said Iova-Koga. “The place, the people, the machinery, the Zeitgeist. The environment offers clues for how a stage work will unfold. Our research touches on creation theories, political structures and concepts of time. The most fundamental part of the work is the exchange with the student performers, musicians and artists to synthesize an experience that converses with this moment, this place and each audience.”

The performers include UC Davis graduate and undergraduate students and San Francisco Bay Area musicians Suki O’Kane, Edward Schocker and Jon Raskin.

The production’s scenic environment has been coordinated by Catherine Kunkel, staff scenic technician, and created in conjunction with students from DRA 126A: “Topics in Entertainment Engineering” who, under the supervision of instructor Steven Schimdt, have installed a large turntable with full automation on the stage. 

The creative team includes guest lighting designer Allen Willner; staff costume and make-up coordinator Rebecca A. Valentino; and guest composer and music director Dan Cantrell. Four graduate students are working on the project: Ann Marie Dragich, assistant choreographer/cast member; Edward Talton-Jackson, movement coach/cast member; Miriam Wolodarski, dramaturge; and J.R. Yancher, musician/cast member.

Iova-Koga is the artistic director of the physical theater and dance company inkBoat. The company has received five San Francisco Izzie awards and has toured in Asia, Europe and the U.S. Iova-Koga’s approach to mobility, composition and time stems from his experience with Anna Halprin, Daoist Internal Arts, Butoh dance, Aikido, improvisation and Noh theater.

Content warning: Clouds from a Crumbling Giant contains adult language and the production employs fog effects. 

Performances begin at 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the UC Davis Ticket Office, located on the north side of Aggie Stadium, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, by phone 530-752-2471 during the same hours, or online here

Find more information here.

Lecture focuses on rhythm in popular music Thursday

Valente Lecture: "Braiding the Rhythm: How Vernacular Discourse May Inform a Music Theory for the 21st Century," Thursday, March 3, 4-5:30 p.m., Everson Hall 226

Based on a review of vernacular terms and concepts from the United States and Latin America, and relating them where possible to published scholarship, this presentation will suggest a framework for talking about rhythm in popular music. It is offered as a response to calls for diversity, equity and inclusion in music studies and the need to expand the scope of music theory core courses, which are based on classical music and taught in a uniform way across most university music programs. The standard theory core is especially deficient in relation to rhythm, a dimension of popular music that has not only been ignored by theorists, but historically racialized and trivialized in the discourses surrounding popular music.

Man with red shirt on
Shannon Dudley 

Shannon Dudley is professor and head of Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses and directs the UW steelband. He is the author of Carnival Music in Trinidad (Oxford University Press 2004), Music from behind the Bridge (Oxford 2008), and numerous articles about Caribbean music. He was a curator of the bilingual museum exhibit American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music, which debuted at the Experience Music Project in Seattle and toured 18 cities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico from 2007 to 2015; and is co-author of the recent book by the same name (University of Washington Press 2018). He coordinates the UW Ethnomusicology program’s community artist residencies, and is active in promoting dialogues between community “artivists” in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Mexico and elsewhere.

Jazz Combos of UC Davis at Pitzer

Thursday, March 3, 4-5:30 p.m., Free; Recital Hall, Ann E. Pitzer Center

The Jazz Combos will be playing music of Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Horace Silver.

Lecture Demonstration: Concordian Dawn with Sarah Kay

Friday, March 4, 3-4:30 p.m.

Recital Hall, Ann E. Pitzer Center

Concordian Dawn, ensemble for medieval music, and Sarah Kay, troubadour scholar and Professor of French Literature, Thought and Culture at New York University, come to the campus of UC Davis to present a performance-lecture on music and texts from twelfth- through fourteenth-century France. Highlighting material from their forthcoming publication/recording collaboration, Medieval Song from Aristotle to Opera (Cornell University Press and MSR Classics) and the ensemble’s debut studio album, “Fortuna Antiqua et Ultra” (MSR Classics), the program will include songs from the troubadours, trouvères and Guillaume de Machaut to Guillaume Du Fay, along with instrumental dances, polyphonic motets, and conductus of the Notre Dame tradition.

Orchestra member playing wind instrument
The UC Davis Symphony Orchestra, Jazz bands and multiple other music ensembles will play concerts this weekend and next week. (Courtesy photo)

UC Davis Symphony Orchestra: ‘Pastoral Moods’

Saturday, March 5, 7-9 p.m., $12 Students and Children / $24 Adults, Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center

The program features Joseph Peterson: Three Pieces from the Pandemic, Miguel Farías: Kuyén (Violin Concerto) with Rachel Lee Priday and Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 8

Evoking a multitude of feelings brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, UC Davis graduate student composer Joseph Peterson—winner of the 2022 UCDSO Composition Award—names the three “Pandemic” pieces: (1) Scrolling; (2) Hope in these uncertain times; (3) and We are the flood. The work as a whole attempts to capture the sometimes-at-odds-with-one-another feelings we have each had during these pandemic years: anxiousness, calm, and mourning. And yet, the pieces end with a final hopeful glimmer.

Miguel Farías’s Kuyén was written for violinist Rachel Lee Priday and conductor Christian Baldini, and was commissioned by UC Davis Symphony Orchestra with funds from Ibermúsicas. In this violin concerto, Kuyén is represented by the violin soloist. Kuyén creates bright resonances against the orchestra, which represents the Earth. The connections made between the two entities are sometimes represented in harsh and rustic sounds, exploring the roots of humanity. Kuyén comes from the Mapudungun word küyen of the Mapuche people, who are indigenous peoples from portions of Chile and Argentina. Kuyén is a personification of the moon in their culture—the feminine of creation. Antu, the sun, and the most powerful pillán (deity) chose Kuyén as his wife, which caused the envy of the rest of the Wangulens (female stars), and ended with a revolt. Antu punished the rebels, and the Wangulens lost their luster, so, after that the brightest light of the night was Kuyén.

As the title of the program suggests (“Pastoral Moods”), a little bit of nature is present in every piece on the program. Antonín Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony in particular is filled with natural imagery: the songs of calm rolling hills, complete with solo flute lines that echo across orchestral landscapes. Should any audience member become lost in the bucolic and waltz-like nature of the first three movements, they’ll be awoken by a dramatic trumpet call in the final movement, which gives way to a rousing finale evocative of Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances. 

Find more information and purchase tickets here

Garrick Ohlsson & Kirill Gerstein piano duo at Mondavi

Sunday, March 6, 2 p.m., Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center, UC Davis

Since his triumph as winner of the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition, pianist Garrick Ohlsson has established himself worldwide as a musician of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess. Kirill Gerstein’s playing is distinguished by its clarity of expression, discerning intelligence and virtuosity, and an energetic, imaginative musical presence that places him at the top of his profession. This concert brings the two generational talents together in a program featuring highlights of the two-piano repertoire: Adès suite from his groundbreaking opera Powder Her Face; Busoni’s homage to Bach, the Fantasia Contrappuntistica; Rachmaninoff’s own arrangement of his exhilarating late career Symphonic Dances; and the virtuosic La Valse

Find more information and purchase tickets here.

Coming up next week

Jazz Bands of UC Davis

March 8, 2022 - 7 p.m. - 9 p.m., $12 Students and Children / $24 Adults, Recital Hall, Ann E. Pitzer Center

Songs include “A Child is Born,” ”Joshua,” ”Nostalgia in Times Square.”

From Moment to Movement: A Conversation on Art, Protest and Public Engagement

A Davis Humanities Institute Conversation, co-sponsored by the Manetti Shrem Museum

March 8, noon., free, via Zoom

Whether through painting, public murals, film and media, or installations, the visual arts perform an essential role in not only interrogating and protesting social and political orders, but also in offering a view of alternatives. Taking inspiration from curator Susie Kantor's exhibition From Moment to Movement: Picturing Protest in the Kramlich Collection, on view at the Manetti Shrem Museum, this conversation addresses the vital role of artists and art in the public sphere today and the challenges of critical and creative interventions in a media-saturated culture. The panel includes Susie Kantor, M.A., Associate Curator, Manetti Shrem Museum; Fiamma Montezemolo, Ph.D., artist, cultural anthropologist and Professor, Cinema and Digital Media, UC Davis; Marina Pugliese, Ph.D., Director of Public Art, City of Milan; and moderator Katharine Wallerstein, Associate Director, UC Davis Humanities Institute.

Register here

Passage by Kinetech Arts at Mondavi, low-cost event

March 9, 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and March 10, 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m., Tickets $35 and under

Jackson Hall

Kinetech Arts combines the work of dancers, scientists and digital artists to create innovative and socially responsible performances. Its piece PASSAGE is an immersive experience that explores the relationship between entropy and time through dance, sound and video installations. The perpetual increase of disorder, or entropy, defines the one-way direction of time. PASSAGE embraces the transience and uncertainties of each moment—and the infinite future possibilities that are inevitably collapsed into memory as we pass through time.

This performance is being presented as part of SHAPE (Science, Humanities and Arts: Process and Engagement), an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded program in which UC Davis students encounter the humanities, arts, and sciences integrated to express and examine the power each holds as a means of responding to our world.

Find more information and purchase tickets here. (Cost is $35 and under)

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