arts & culture

Cola Ukulele Band rehearses for an upcoming performance.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Over the past decade or so, the ukulele has grown tremendously in popularity among a wide variety of people, helped by its use by popular artists such as Jason Mraz and Ingrid Michaelson.  The trend hit the Midlands recently when University of South Carolina music student Tim Hall got a grant to start the Cola (not Columbia, though that’s where it’s located) Ukulele Band.  Since its beginning, the band has attracted members of all ages, from elementary school children to grandparents. 

Travel, history, ghosts and more are among the many subjects of the USC Press' books.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

The Palmetto State has a prestigious name in the world of publishing: the University of South Carolina Press. Because it’s a non-profit, it can publish scholarly books on important subjects that would not make a profit for commercial publishers, according to Suzanne Axland. But that doesn’t mean the press doesn’t publish for the general interest. It prints a wide variety of books on art, history, Southern culture, beautiful photography and more, even novels, says Axland.

Concert venues may be built for the enjoyment of music, but could they also function as spaces where political engagement takes place? Jonathan Neufeld, a violist, music critic, and philosophy professor at the College of Charleston, thinks so. Jonathan's interests include exploring the link between public performances and the political public sphere. He has a book under contract with Oxford University Press entitled Music in Public: How Performance Shapes Democracy.

Music and Architecture in Harmony at Historic SC Home

Oct 24, 2017
Courtesy of Classical American Homes and The Richard Hampton Jenrette Foundation. Photo: John Teague.

With six massive columns, a strikingly symmetrical façade, and a remote location outside of Pinewood, SC, Millford has captured the eye since its completion in 1841. But on Saturday, September 23rd, the Greek Revival house and National Historic Landmark also captured the ear with The Classical Ideal: Music and Architecture in Harmony.

From Russia to the US and Back, a Mother and Daughter's Journey in Dance

Jul 21, 2017
Irina Ushakova at the Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville.
Makayla Gay / South Carolina Public Radio

At the Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, Irina Ushakova teaches ballet and pointe. A native of Russia, Irina says she’s definitely different from most American teachers. Irina’s strict teaching style is influenced by her training in Russia at the Perm State Ballet School. She now calls South Carolina home, but her daughter decided to follow in her footsteps by training in Russia. South Carolina Public Radio's Laura Hunsberger has more.

Artist Peter Lenzo with a collection of his sculpture at his home in Columbia, SC.
Makayla Gay / South Carolina Public Radio

South Carolina artist Peter Lenzo creates masterful sculpture that has gained the attention of collectors from across the country. His work draws inspiration from the traditionally African American art of face jugs and is currently on display at Columbia's If Art Gallery.

Carmen Cavallaro (1913 – 1989) was known as the “Poet of the Piano,” whose tender style created an ideal atmosphere for romantics worldwide. An outstanding pianist and a versatile performer, Cavallaro played everything from beguiling ballads to swinging jazz numbers and vibrant interpretations of Latin American melodies. He was McPartland’s guest shortly before he passed away in 1989. On this Piano Jazz, Cavallaro solos on his own arrangement of “Cole Porter Melody” and joins McPartland for a piece entitled “Lover.”

Allen Toussaint
Courtesy of the artist

Pianist, singer, composer and producer Allen Toussaint is one of the leading figures of New Orleans R&B. His hits include "Working in a Coal Mine" and "Lady Marmalade." He’s worked with artists including The Meters, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones and Elvis Costello. On this Song Travels, Toussaint joins host Michael Feinstein to talk about the iconic recordings of his original songs “Mother in Law” and "Whipped Cream." Toussaint also performs his compositions live, including "Get Out of My Life Woman" and "Southern Nights."

Jay Leonhart
JonasMusicServices.com

Bassist Jay Leonhart is a highly sought-after session musician, a trio leader, and a one-man act. He got his start as a kid playing banjo and guitar with his brother in the '40s and '50s, and was inspired to take up the bass after hearing Ray Brown and the Oscar Peterson Trio. Leonhart has played with musicians from all genres and has been on the New York jazz scene for almost five decades. On this Song Travels, Leonhart brings songs and stories from his act and joins host Michael Feinstein for a duet of the Gershwin-inspired original tune "Problem."

Marian McPartland and Dorothy Donegan during the Piano Jazz recording session in 1983.
South Carolina Public Radio

This week Piano Jazz remembers NEA Jazz Master Dorothy Donegan (1922 – 1998) with an early session from 1983. Donegan's technical command of the piano was nothing short of breathtaking, and she was known for her onstage antics and flamboyance. In the house with McPartland, she attacks the piano—hammering away with her elbows and knuckles on "Darn That Dream" and "Stormy Weather." McPartland and Donegan play two pianos on "Lullaby of Birdland" and "Rosetta."

News Stations: Sat, Apr 08, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Apr 09, 7 pm

It may go without saying that Ken Lam, music director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, is well-versed in matters relating to the study and performance of some of the world's greatest works of music--several conducting awards and time spent learning from maestros like Leonard Slatkin are proof enough of that. What might be more surprising is that his resume also includes an economics degree from Cambridge and a decade of experience in law.

Courtesy of HHIPC

Click to listen to hear the winners of the 2017 Hilton Head International Piano Competition for Young Artists. 

First Place: Ray Ushikubo

Second Place: Andrew Li

Third Place: Jaeden  Izik-Dzurko

Hear Ray Ushikubo's interview with Fred Child here.

As Observatory Manager at the South Carolina State Museum, Dr. Matthew Whitehouse is keeping busy with a few preparations for the upcoming solar eclipse on August 21st—he has even written a piece of music inspired by the event. The astronomy educator is also an organist and composer, and doesn’t mind taking an interdisciplinary approach when it comes to celestial phenomena. In fact, merging seemingly separate fields is one of his major interests.

Barry Harris
Courtesy of the artist

Barry Harris is a seminal figure in the jazz world. As the “keeper of the bebop flame,” Harris is committed to preserving jazz through education and performance. His workshops play an important part in his life and in the lives of many young musicians. On this 2002 Piano Jazz, Harris demonstrates how he earned the reputation as one of the most inventive and respected pianists today when he solos on “It Could Happen to You.” Host McPartland and Harris show off their bebop chops on Charlie Parker’s “Au Privave.”

Old-Timey Piano Music

Dec 28, 2016
Courtesy of Artist

Ethan Uslan is a Charlotte based pianist who composes and improvises ragtime and jazz.  On this piano podcast a special edition of Your Compositions. Ethan talks about and performs two of his original compositions. Scroll down for audio. 

  Local theater is found both in quantity and quality throughout South Carolina. Today we hear from representatives of two of them: Columbia’s Town Theater is the oldest continually operating community theater in America, and will turn 100 in 2019. It specializes in musicals, but presents other known plays as well. Across town, Trustus Theater employs professionals to bring audiences new productions that sometimes “push the envelope.” These and many other theaters across the state help their cities both economically, drawing tourism, and, of course, enrich them culturally as well.

Inspired by Gershwin

Dec 13, 2016
Courtesy of artist

On this piano podcast listen to the Iranian born and Canadian trained Iman Habibi's piece Prelude a la Gershwin

The performer is pianist Deborah Grimmett who also happens to be the other half of the duo Piano Pinnacle with Iman, who also happens to be her husband. Terribly romantic...the way Gerswhin would want it. 

One can also subscribe to On the Keys via Itunes.

Elements of a Piano Piece: Melody

Dec 7, 2016
IMSLP

On this podcast an overview of melodies for the piano, how they work, what they are, and what makes them beautiful. You'll hear melodies from Bach to Thomas Ades. 

Nellie Luchter, circa 1950
Public Domain

Nellie Lutcher (1912 – 2007) started out playing piano at fifteen but soon transitioned to singing. She built a career as a prominent jazz vocalist in the 1940s and 1950s with hits such as “Fine Brown Frame.” She joined McPartland for Piano Jazz in 1986. Lutcher performs two of her most popular compositions, “Hurry on Down” and “Real Gone Guy.” McPartland solos on “Love Is the Sweetest Thing,” and the two combine their talents on “I’ve Got a Right to Sing the Blues.”

News Stations: Sat, Nov 19, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Nov 20, 7 pm

Brennan Szafron Recording Bedard
David Kiser

On this edition of Your Compositions Canadian pipe organ music played by a Canadian organist on a French Canadian organ. Brennan Szafron recorded the Suite Romantique on the Twichell Pipe Organ, a 50-some rank Casavant on the campus of Converse College. Our composer is the prolific Denis Bedard who writes contemporary music that in the words of Dr. Szafron does not sound like cats scratching each other. 

Here are Denis Bedard's notes on his piece: 

"Islands of Light," Maxwell Hills, Duncan Park Lake, 293 West Park Drive. Lights On – 6:30 p.m.
Stephen Stinson

The city of Spartanburg has unveiled a public art project with the help of a $1 million grant from the Bloomberg philanthropies public art challenge.

Nine light art projects by award-winning light and digital media artist Erwin Redl serve as the catalyst to bring the Spartanburg Police Department and community groups together to use art projects to promote community safety.

Spartanburg is one of just four cities out of some 240 that competed to be awarded the $1 Million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2015. 

Carolina Live Program Listings

Oct 20, 2016

Jan 21st & 23rd

Greenville Symphony Orchestra: The Great EscapeEdvard Tchivzhel, conductor; Edwin McCain, narrator

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 3 in D
Copland: Lincoln Portrait
Gershwin: An American in Paris

The concert featured on this edition of Carolina Live was titled "The Great Escape," and the Greenville Symphony Orchestra offers music to transport you.  They begin with Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 3, then take you back in time with Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait. The final excursion is to the City of Lights—George Gershwin's An American in Paris.  Bon voyage!

Jan 28th & 30th
Greensboro Symphony Orchestra: Not So Classical
Dmitry Sitkovetsky, conductor and violin

Haydn: Overture to Lo Speziale
Mozart: Violin Concerto in G Major
Chopin: Prelude No. 15 in Db Major
Borodin: Symphony No. 2 in b-minor

Dmitry Sitkovetsy, Music Director and conductor of the Greensboro Symphony, is also a world-renowned violinist, and in the concert we feature he plays Mozart's Violin Concerto in G Major in addition to leading the orchestra.  There's also an overture by Haydn, a prelude by Chopin transcribed by Sitkovetsky for string orchestra and the oh-so-melodic Symphony No. 2 in b-minor by Borodin.  Enjoy a true Maestro and some wonderful musicians on Carolina Live.

Feb 4th & 6th
Greenville Symphony Orchestra: Musical Deserts and Magic
Edvard Tchivzhel, conductor; Roman Kim, violin

Rossini: La gazza ladra Overture
Paganini: Violin Concerto No. 1 in D
Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 in e-minor

Music and magic—a wonderful combination on this edition of Carolina Live…Maestro Edvard Tchivzhel and the Greenville Symphony Orchestra are featured in a concert that includes a favorite operatic overture by Rossini, the Violin Concerto No. 1 in D by the brilliant violinist and composer Paganini, and the very popular Symphony No. 9 in e-minor "From the New World" by Dvorak.  Roman Kim is the guest violinist, so be our guest for the broadcast.

Feb 11th & 13th
Winston-Salem Symphony: All-Mozart
Edwin Outwater, conductor; John Hammarback, oboe

Mozart: Divertimento No. 2 in D
Oboe Concerto in C
Symphony No. 38 in D – "Prague"

The setting for this edition of Carolina Live is Winston-Salem, with guest conductor Edwin Outwater leading the Winston-Salem Symphony in an all-Mozart concert.  The great Amadeus supplies his Divertimento No. 2 in D, the Oboe Concerto in C with guest soloist John Hammarback, and the Symphony No. 38 in D – "Prague."  Brilliant composer, talented orchestra…a great combination on Carolina Live.
[ORIGINAL AIR DATE FEB 2017]

Feb 18th & 20th
Greenville Symphony Orchestra: Secrets Behind Inspiration
Edvard Tchivzhel, conductor

Edward Elgar: Enigma Variations
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in d-minor

Rutherford Chamber Consort: Belle Perle di Primavera

Martinu: Madrigal for Violin and Viola
Gliere: Duets for Violin and Cello

Piazzolla: Oblivion for Clarinet in A
Williams: Air and Simple Gifts

You'll find an interesting mixture of symphonic and chamber music on this program.  Edvard Tchivzhel leads the Greenville Symphony in the mysterious Enigma Variations of Edward Elgar and the powerful Symphony No. 5 by Dmitry Shostakovich.  Then it's a chamber concert from the Rutherford Chamber Consort, with selections by Bohuslav Martinu, Reinhold Gliere, Astor Piazzolla and more.  A wealth of variety and excellent performances for you to enjoy.
[ORIGINAL AIR DATE FEB 2017]

Feb 26th & 28th
Greensboro Symphony Orchestra: Hope Springs Eternal
Dmitry Sitkovetsky, conductor; Sergey Antonov, cello

Smetana: Overture to The Bartered Bride
Dvorak: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra
Bach: Sarabande
Schumann: Symphony No. 1 in B-flat – "Spring"

Spectacular music for cello and a joyous symphony by Schumann are the focal points of this program, with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra and their concert "Hope Springs Eternal."  The music begins with the ever-popular Overture to The Bartered Bride by Smetana, then Dvorak's Concerto for Cello and Orchestra is performed by guest artist Sergey Antonov.  The concert concludes with Robert Schumann's "Spring" Symphony No. 1.  Our "hope" is that you'll join us.
[ORIGINAL AIR DATE  JAN 2017]

Mar 4th & 6th
South Carolina Philharmonic: American Originals
Morihiko Nakahara, conductor

Bernstein: Overture to Candide
Copland: Symphony No. 3

Beethoven and Blue Jeans (second concert)

Mozart: Overture to Cosi van tutte
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat

Carolina Live features music from two concerts by the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra.  Morihiko Nakahara conducts American Originals with music by Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland, and he's also at the podium with selections by Mozart and Beethoven from a concert in the Beethoven and Blue Jeans series.  Two strong musical events, and you get to sample both on this edition of Carolina Live.

Mar 11th & 13th  
Greensboro Symphony Orchestra: French Masterpieces
Dmitry Sitkovetsky, conductor; Inna Faliks, piano

Ravel: Noble and Sentimental Waltzes
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2 in c-minor
Liszt: Paganini Etude No. 3 in g#-minor
Debussy: La Mer
Ravel: Daphis and Chloe, Suite No. 2

 The title of the concert featured on this edition of Carolina Live tells the story: French Masterpieces.  Vivid examples of favorite pieces by Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy are brought to life by the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra and conductor Dmitry Sitkovetsky.  In addition, Ukranian-born pianist Inna Faliks joins the orchestra for the dramatic Piano Concerto No. 2 in c-minor by Sergei Rachmaninov, plus a charming encore of a piece by Franz Liszt.

Mar 18th & 20th
Winston Salem Symphony Orchestra: Mighty Mahler
Robert Moody, conductor

Mahler: Symphony No. 1 in D "Titan"

Piedmont Wind Symphony: Gershwin Plus
Matthew Troy, conductor

Gershwin: Cuban Overture
Schoenberg: Theme and Variations
Gershwin: An American in Paris

Two orchestras from North Carolina's Piedmont Triad provide the stirring music on this program.  The Winston Salem Symphony and conductor Robert Moody play the Symphony No. 1 in D "Titan" by Gustav Mahler,  then the Piedmont Wind Symphony offers the Cuban Overture and An American in Paris by George Gershwin, plus a piece by Arnold Schoenberg.  Interesting variety in both music and musicians on this Carolina Live.

Mar 25th & 27th
Greensboro Symphony Orchestra: Zuill Bailey Plays Elgar
Dmitry Sitkovetsky, conductor; Zuill Bailey, cello

Wagner: Overture to Tannhauser
Elgar: Cello Concerto in e-minor
Dvorak: Symphony No. 7 in d-minor

One of the world's great cellists lends his name to a concert featured on this Carolina Live program: Zuill Bailey Plays Elgar is the concert's title, and Mr. Bailey solos brilliantly on Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto in e-minor.  Conductor Dmitry Sitkovetsky also leads the Greensboro Symphony in Wagner's Overture to Tannhauser and the Symphony No. 7 in d-minor by Dvorak.  Stirring pieces from iconic composers on this Carolina Live…

Author Pat Conroy in 2013, talking with students about their entries in USC’s annual high school writing contest.
Courtesy Aida Rogers, USC Honors College.

The University of South Carolina’s honors college sponsors a writing contest each year to encourage students to write, and to get readers for these talented young people, according to college Dean Steve Lynn, who originated the program.  The incentives to enter are several.  Not only does it award cash prizes, but the best writings are gathered together each year in a book published by USC Press to give permanent exposure to young writers.   In addition, the judges are high-profile, nationally known writers. 

Sidney Foster
Courtesy of Justin Foster

Sidney Finkelstein (changed later to Foster) was born in Florence and lived on West Evans Street. He attended the famed Curtis Institute of Music and played at Carnegie Hall numerous times. 

The Cantaloupe Thief

Oct 12, 2016

In the new novel, The Cantaloupe Thief (2016, Lion Fiction), protagonist Branigan Powers decides that too many people are staying silent about a ten-year-old murder case. Powers, an journalist, knows a good story when she sees one—and the ten-year-old cold case of wealthy Alberta Grambling Resnick's murder definitely makes the cut. Now Branigan must do some serious digging to get her story.

"Resumption," A Musical Interpretation of the Flood

Oct 3, 2016
Recording "Resumption" at South Carolina Public Radio.
AT Shire/SC Public Radio

Resumption is a violin, drums, and piano composition inspired by the flood in South Carolina last year. The trio attempts to capture the musical personality of the storm from early rain to recovery using the diverse expression of our instruments.

Edwin McCain and his band on stage at the Charleston Music Hall.
SCETV

In cooperation with South Carolina ETV, the Charleston Music Hall has been the scene of a growing series of televised concerts known as Live at the Charleston Music Hall. Co-produced and hosted by Mark Bryan, guitarist of South Carolina’s Hootie and the Blowfish, the series has provided four shows for ETV and South Carolina Public Radio.

Jitterbug Vipers
Clayton Hodges

Austin, TX based quartet the Jitterbug Vipers play 1930s-style viper jazz. Their original music recalls classics by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Cab Callaway. The Jitterbug Vipers are vocalist Sarah Sharp, bassist Francie Meaux Jeaux, percussionist Masumi Jones, and guitarist Slim Richey (who passed away in 2015). We remember Slim Richey this week with the group’s Song Travels session. The band presents a set sure to make you want to get up and dance!

News Stations: Sun, Oct 02, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Oct 02, 6 pm

Grammy and Emmy Award-winning conductor, pianist, composer, and arranger Lee Musiker has long worked with leading jazz, classical, pop, and Broadway performers. He conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the National Orchestra in the US and Canada. He has also worked as a music director for top artists, and his work can be heard on the soundtracks of Hollywood films. Musiker brings a wealth of knowledge to this 2005 Piano Jazz, performing "Fascinating Rhythm" with McPartland.

News Stations: Sat, Oct 01, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Oct 02, 7 pm

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