Author Archives: John Lambert

RIP Jane Hawkins Raimi


Pianist Jane Hawkins (1950-2017), Professor of the Practice and former Chair of the Department of Music

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Department of Music mourns the passing of Jane Hawkins (September 17, 1950—November 27, 2017). A member of the piano faculty since 1978, she was Chair of the Department of Music from 2010-2014. She also served two terms as Director of Performance.


Born in Swansea, South Wales, Jane Hawkins began her career in the United States after graduating with distinction from the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she studied both cello and piano. Recognized as an inspired and significant collaborator in her work with instrumentalists, vocalists and artists of various disciplines, in recent years she appeared in the United States with the Dorian Wind Quintet, the Chicago Symphony Chamber Players, and the American Chamber Players at the Library of Congress, among others. She concertized in Europe and China with Duke University’s Ciompi Quartet. Other tours included South Africa and Canada.

A beloved teacher and mentor, Professor Hawkins taught both piano and chamber music, sharing her love of music with generations of Duke students. She was a founding member of Durham’s Mallarmé Chamber Players and an active and enthusiastic contributor to the North Carolina musical community.

“Jane will be remembered in so many ways,” said Stephen Jaffe, Interim Chair of Music.  “At Duke, she was a teacher-performer admired by countless students of piano and chamber music, and she was also admired as a funny and very agreeable colleague, who when the time presented itself, took on the role of leading the Department of Music, the first performer and first woman to do so in forty years. She had a way of bringing us together by reminding us that our enterprise could be shared and celebrated.  Especially, Jane was a fine musical artist—a superb collaborative pianist in chamber music and in the intimate song literature at which she excelled—I can think of her performances of Fauré’s Piano Quartet Op. 15, Schubert’s Winterreise, and Mozart’s ‘Kegelstatt’ Trio, K. 498, for clarinet, viola and piano among many other works she set her hands to playing. Taken together, perhaps it was all of the elements of her generous personality–the talent, the loving-kindness, and the humor that attracted so many friends to want to work with her.”

“We are heartbroken by this loss, and send our warmest wishes to Fred Raimi, her daughter Lisa, and son Daniel and their families. Jane will be sorely missed by her students, friends, and colleagues.”

Professor Hawkins is survived by her husband Frederic Raimi of Durham, also a member of Duke’s faculty in Music; daughter Elise Raimi and her husband Jeremy Graham of Spokane, Washington; son Daniel Raimi and daughter –in-law Kaitlin Raimi of Ann Arbor, Michigan; and two grandchildren, Hayden and Zeni Jane Graham.

A memorial service for Jane Hawkins will be announced at a later date. Memorial donations may be sent to Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, or a charity of your choice in Jane’s honor.

(Reprinted with the permission of Duke’s Department of Music.)

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Here, There, and Everywhere


Now it’s Philadelphia, as one of that city’s top critics gets his tent folded for him by his big commercial paper. So we’re hardly alone here, in NC, as dailies in Raleigh and Durham and Winston-Salem and Charlotte have given up reviews. You may read about the latest collapse, in Phila., here:

Meanwhile, if you care about the services CVNC provides and if you want us to carry on, please contribute now. To do so, click here.

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Another One Bites the Dust


Another critic bites the dust – an exceptional writer in Cincinnati – just before their revamped hall reopens. (Sound familiar? It happened here, in Raleigh, 16 years ago – and local arts groups are still looking for space and coverage, too.)

Read the Cincinnati story here:

Listen, folks, we’re not kidding: if reviews and robust calendar services mean something – anything – to YOU, now’s the time to step up and contribute to the platforms – like CVNC – that are still in business. When they’re gone – remember Spectator? – remember classical concert reviews in Independent? – it’s too late to save them.

Donate today, Donate now.

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An Update from CVNC


September 6, 2001: Classical Voice of North Carolina (CVNC) was officially incorporated in North Carolina. Here’s a little update on CVNC’s activities.

At our last meeting, CVNC’s Board of Directors approved a new Advisory Board to help us improve communications with the arts community we serve. In alphabetical order, the new people are composer and conductor William Henry Curry, ethnomusicologist and cellist Jonathan Kramer, vocalist and teacher Waltye Rasulala, and concertmaster and pedagogue Yang Xi.

Have you responded to our homepage question asking “Who reviews your favorite performing artist or group? It used to be your local newspaper. Is this still true?” The News & Observer no longer publishes cultural reviews, effective September 1. (Their long-time critic rejoins us while he continues to do previews for the daily….) The Charlotte Observer abandoned their reviews earlier this summer. This is happening all over our state (really everywhere!).

We hope we can press on, but funding remains a challenge.

Local and state grants provide 25-30% of our funds each year. This year we have received grants from the following agencies and organizations:
NC Arts Council: $8,500 – this funds roughly 70 reviews
United Arts of Raleigh & Wake County: $2,300 – this funds roughly 18 reviews
City of Raleigh Arts Commission: $10,300 – this in effect funds 82 reviews (although it’s actually operating support…)

Foundation gifts from donor-advised funds include:
Winston-Salem Foundation: $1,000 – this funds 8 reviews at the UNCSA

This adds up to 178 reviews we could publish in 2017-18. In recent years we have published as many as 450 reviews. The shortfall in funds is equal to 272 reviews.

The difference is up to you.

Please consider a tax-deductible gift. If you work for a company that matches your contributions, please tell us. If you are a presenter, please advertise with us – and then invite your patrons to consider supporting us, too.

We must have increased financial support from our readers to provide the statewide calendar services and reviews you have come to expect.

Now’s the time! We are all in this together.

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NCAC Celebrates 50 Years of Service



The celebration includes tributes from 50 artists who share their NC arts stories and reflect on why public funding for the arts matters. See

The council has published and will update a calendar of events all over that salute the arts and the NCAC’s influence. See (And note that presenters are invited to share individual listings with CVNC for its statewide calendar throughout the year. Instructions are here:

Podcasts enliven the proceedings. See

YOU may participate in or support this work. To learn how, click here:

For much more information, see

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Bad News from Buncombe Co. – And Not Yet Reversed, So Let’s Keep up the Heat in Asheville!


Diana Wortham Theatre

Dear Friends and Supporters:

Thank you.

We are deeply humbled by the overwhelming wave of support that came in the form of emails and calls to Buncombe County Commissioners in the wake of the release of their proposed budget draft cutting 50% of the operational funding for Diana Wortham Theatre and The Asheville Art Museum. We are, of course, deeply disappointed that, despite the large show of support, the budget was passed without further discussion.

This is a sudden decision handed down at a time when the Diana Wortham Theatre is in great transition. On July 1, we begin a new fiscal year, which includes a major transition in leadership. The Next Stage Campaign is in its final stages and, thanks to your support, the Diana Wortham Theatre is poised to expand programming for thousands of Buncombe County residents and visitors. A cut of this magnitude will require a major organizational shift to overcome, but overcome we shall.

Please take a moment to follow up with the commissioners to respectfully thank them for their time and for listening:,,,,,,

Respectfully let them know what their decision to reduce funding by 50% – in effect cutting vital funding by $175,000 – means to you as a community member. Now, more than ever, we must continuously communicate the importance of the vital programming and services that Diana Wortham Theatre has provided to this community for more than 20 years.

This budget cut is a challenge, but one we will face head on. Rest assured that the staff and board at Diana Wortham Theatre remain unwavering in our dedication to this community and the programming that brings the performing arts to more than 50,000 patrons each season, allows 10,000 children learn through the arts, and provides a home to more than 20 arts groups.

With sincere gratitude,

Rae Geoffrey,
Incoming Managing Director

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106,491 Pageviews/Month — But Who Appreciates Our Work?


How Do We Convert that Readership to Revenue?

Classical Voice of North Carolina ( has posted in 2016-17:

•  3,437 unique events
•  6,325 individual performances & exhibits

•  362 features and reviews
•  115 previews provided by presenters with ad buys/exchanges
•  Links on Facebook ( and Twitter (CVNCorg)
8,261 total reviews, features and previews in archives

•  Do you use calendar to find events to attend?
•  Look for previews to learn more about a presentation?
•  Read our reviews and share them with friends?

Your financial support is vital to the future of We want to maintain our current level of services, but to do that we need current donors to step up, and we need your help to identify new donors. We can no longer sustain shortfalls – our cash reserves have been exhausted.

How do we keep the website running without donations? As of May 31, we needed $11,070 to end the fiscal year in the black. We pay our writers, editors, website providers, and all administrative costs on a small budget.

CVNC is the only 501c(3) nonprofit online arts journal covering all of North Carolina. This year we’ve published reviews of soloists, university music, theatre, and dance ensembles, touring artists of all kinds, and a bit of visual arts. Do you see this array anywhere else? Would you miss us if we ceased publication?

DONATE  TODAY.  Go to to learn how you can support our work.

CVNC Budget 2016-17

$57.405      Programs (editors, contracted writers’ fees, internet charges)
$17,120      Administrative (salary, postage, printing, etc.
$74,525      TOTAL EXPENSES

Income to date
$21,820     Contributions from individuals & foundations
$30,048     Government, org. & corporate grants
$11,502      Advertising income
$       85      Interest, etc.
$63,455     TOTAL INCOME

$11,070     NEED TO RAISE by JUNE 30

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With Heavy Hearts We Bid Farewell


Three important figures in the arts in central N.C. took leave of us in the past week. All were passionately devoted to their work. All significantly enriched the lives of those they intersected in their careers. In the overall scheme of things, each departed too soon. All will be missed. Our hearts go out to their families, their many friends, and all who were touched by them.

Conductor Robert Gutter was 79. With thanks to Norman Lebrecht: “The daughter of Robert Gutter, former music director of the Springfield Symphony and founder of the International Institute of Conducting, has posted news of his death.

“Gutter was director of orchestral activities for the past 20 years at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Born in 1938 in New York City and graduating from Yale, he also studied in Siena with Franco Ferrara.

“He was Principal Guest Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine in Kiev from 1996-2000 and subsequently of the Philharmonic Orchestra Mihail Jora of Bacau, Romania.”

He also served as Music Director of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra immediately prior to Fouad Fakhouri’s ten-year tenure – alas, this was before CVNC extended its reach to Cumberland County.

His name appears in 23 reviews in CVNC, starting in 2001, mostly at UNCG, where he led orchestral programs and opera, and also with the Philharmonia of Greensboro. Use the site’s search engine to call them up.

A photo and video and additional comments are here.

And there’s additional information from the N&R here.


Jeannie Opperman Mellinger, 70, served as communications director of the NC Symphony from 2000-12 and was editor of the orchestra’s Opus Magazine during that tenure. In these capacities we CVNCers and other workers in the music business were in frequent contact with and frequent beneficiaries of her tireless efforts to promote the work of our state orchestra within N.C.

Her son Sam posted notice of her death on Facebook:

“Hello friends. An update from Jeannie’s family – sadly, she passed away early Thursday morning. No pain, no suffering, but a huge hole in all of our hearts.”

The memorial will be held Friday, June 9, at 2 p.m.. at the Washington Duke Inn.

“If you are so moved, please send donations (in lieu of flowers) to one of two organizations she loved and supported:

Mallarme Chamber Players ( where she served as a board member

Kidznotes: Changing the life trajectory of underserved K-12 students through orchestral training (

“Thanks to everyone for your well wishes and support. She would have loved all of them.”


Chuck Davis, 80, was truly a larger-than-life figure here and beyond as a principal exemplar of African and African-American dance, chiefly but not totally within the context of his African American Dance Ensemble. His death leaves a void that will require many folks to join together to begin to fill. He was without exception always a positive force to be reckoned with in public although it is a fact that he was the gentlest and most gracious of giants backstage. We last saw him in action during the memorial service held at Archives and History for Andrea Lawson late last fall. We are richly blessed by the ongoing work of Davis’ many students around the world, so his legacy absolutely lives on.

His formal obit is here.

An article from the New York Times is available here.


We will update the other two reports if and when longer write-ups are available and all three when memorial details are known.

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Krisztina Dér and Wayne Reich: Flutist and Video Artist Meet at the Cutting Edge


By Nicholas Rich

April 28, 2017, Greensboro, NC: In Central North Carolina, an unlikely duo is exploring the boundaries of multimedia art. Flutist Krisztina Dér and videographer Wayne Reich have joined forces for And Then There Was Light, an intermedia project combining contemporary flute music with lighting concepts.

Dér’s interest in combining sound and light began when she performed George Crumb’s 20th-century masterpiece Vox Balaenae. In his score, Crumb asks the performers wear masks and perform under blue lighting. “I’m fascinated by the idea of utilizing light and sound — both forms of kinetic energy — in a single, synergistic work of art” says Dér.

While pursuing her M.M. degree at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Dér delved deeper into the intersection of flute and light by commissioning Michael Rothkopf‘s “I Dream of Coloured Inks.” Now completing her doctoral studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Dér has devoted her dissertation research and performance energy to this project, commissioning a further four pieces.

Dér found a like mind in Reich, a photographer, videographer, and musician interested in the potential of merging the aural and visual. “Krisztina and I met over coffee” says Reich, “and our ideas about music and light seemed to line up so well.”

In addition to the original Rothkopf composition, the project includes works by Anna Meadors, Jacob Thiede, Kyle Rowan, and Stuart Saunders Smith. Dér asked each of the composers to include a lighting concept as part of the piece. The results encompassed a huge variety of aesthetic and technical realms.

“In Dr. Rothkopf’s piece, the lighting is controlled by a computer program that is connected to three lighting units” explains Dér. “In the Meadors, a lighting technician executes the lighting design by controlling a lighting board. And in the Smith, the lighting element is performed by eight ‘lumanists,’ or individuals holding flashlights.”

Reich brought the project to life with compelling and carefully-staged video productions. His role was more than to document; Reich brought his artistry to bear on the complex task of rendering spatial art in video.

“My goal was to serve the music and each composer’s intention by creating a cinematic video of Krisztina’s performances while working around the constraints of the lighting design already in place” says Reich. “Most of my creative expression came in the form of camera position and operation, lens selection, editing, and color-grading. In a few places, I employed supplementary lighting where necessary.”

Three of the five pieces are by composers with ties to North Carolina. Rothkopf is on the composition faculty at UNCSA, while Thiede and Meadors both completed Master’s degrees at UNCG.

Rothkopf is known for designing sophisticated audio software that interacts with live performers. “I Dream of Coloured Inks” expands this concept by using interactive software to create both an electronic sound accompaniment and visual responses to two flutists. This is a crafty, angular piece characterized by shimmering metallic sounds from the computer and wonderfully jagged melodies in the flutes. The lighting is warm, soft, and immersive, enveloping both stage and musicians.

Jacob Thiede, currently a doctoral student at the University of North Texas, also used software to create his piece, “And Everything In-Between.” Thiede crafts a rich aural tapestry by not simply pairing digital and acoustic, but actually mixing them: the electronic accompaniment uses recorded and processed flute samples to spread out the performer’s sounds both spatially and temporally. As the sounds fragment, so do the projections. Mysterious blues and greens blink on and off rapidly in simulated malfunction and decay.

Anna Meadors, a PhD student at Princeton, chose an entirely acoustic landscape with “At Daybreak.” Don’t let the lack of computer fool you: by specifying timbral effects in the flute and adding a live percussionist, Meadors builds a powerful sonic fabric. Mirroring her approach to the music, Meadors asks a live lighting engineer to accompany the musicians. With every artistic element controlled in real time by human hands, “At Daybreak” has a wonderful elastic quality.

And Then There Was Light is a bold and compelling project. Asked to summarize her goals, a humble Krisztina Dér looks outward to her community.

“I hope to stimulate further adventures in music and light intermedia as a holistic art form — both for performers and composers.”

Note: See installments of the project as they are released at Krisztina Der’s blog:

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