Author Archives: John Lambert

RIP Margaret Clyburn, Pianist and Teacher

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Margaret Clyburn, pianist and teacher, widow of James Clyburn, died Dec. 26. She was a mainstay of musical life in Raleigh.

The service will be held Monday, Jan. 2, at 2:00 p.m., at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Raleigh, NC. Visitation will follow the service.

We extend our sympathies to her family, friends, and many, many students.

The obit is here.

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Short Days, Cold Nights, and Needy Arts Groups

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As a general rule we don’t refer our readers to articles on the local arts scene by folks who write for what some view as the competition, but IndyWeek scores a hit this week with two columns, one on the erosion of affordable theatre space in the Triangle – on the closing of Common Ground Theatre and the shaky ground on which Sonorous Road stands – and the other on the possible loss of Raleigh’s Community Music School.

Available and affordable performing space – and not just for the theatre community – is, with adequate and predictable funding, essential to the survival of the arts we seek to serve. This is a point some of us have made repeatedly to arts councils and commissions hereabouts.

All arts non-profits always need more money than is available solely from these councils and commissions. And most performing arts organizations are not blessed with their own facilities (or with deals guaranteeing them their choice of space when they want it, often with subsidy); they never have enough access to available and affordable space. This has rarely been better articulated than in IndyWeek, in Byron Wood’s column, available here.

And don’t forget folks: we need to support ONLY the arts groups we want to preserve, so if one means something to YOU, your obligation is to GIVE TO IT.

The other worthwhile article in IndyWeek deals with the Community Music School and the possibility that it will fold if it doesn’t raise $100K a.s.a.p.

This is sad indeed for an outfit providing music lessons (and much, much more) to disadvantaged kids. Music specifically and the arts in general have long been the escape valves for kids seeking better lives. Look at all the great fiddlers who escaped from Russia to dazzle the world. And many are the fine professionals working today on national and international stages who got their starts with loaner instruments and fifty-cent lessons. Do we care? If we do, we need to reach out.

By the way, the articles that have appeared in commercial papers hereabouts have not bothered to tell readers HOW to give. Here is the school’s “donate” page: http://www.cmsraleigh.org/howtohelp/individual-giving/. And here’s Sonorous Road’s: https://sonorousroadtheatre.com/support-us/.

And don’t forget CVNC, which is a 501c3 non-profit online arts journal,

Years ago the NY Times campaigned at year-end to “remember the neediest.” Charity starts at home. If Sonorous Road or the CMS or your performing or educational organization of choice or CVNC matter to you, make a contribution. Now.

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Scholarship Fund in Memory of Greg McCallum

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A memorial scholarship fund in memory of Greg McCallum is being set up with the North Carolina Federation of Music Clubs.

The scholarship endowment will award $500 – $1000  annually (depending on the amount of money raised) to a graduating high school senior from the state of North Carolina who intends to pursue a music degree in piano performance.

The Gregory McCallum Memorial Scholarship for Piano is meant to remember Greg’s path by helping another NC senior high school student with aspirations to pursue piano as a music major in North Carolina or elsewhere realize their dreams.  (Greg studied at the University of North Carolina, the University of Maryland, and Eastman School of Music.)

If you would like to help carry on Greg’s legacy in teaching piano, contributions can be made by sending a check made out to NCFMC with “Gregory McCallum Memorial Scholarship Endowment” in the memo line of the check.  Please mail checks to:

Joel Adams, President NCFMC
301 Fayetteville St., Unit 3108
Raleigh, NC  27601

or

Norma Alexander, Treasurer NCFMC
208 Cliffside Dr
Kannapolis, NC  28081

Your contributions are greatly appreciated.   Donations are tax deductible.

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HB2 Toll Rises as San Francisco Symphony Cancels April Concerts

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The great West Coast orchestra was to have played two concerts in April for Carolina Performing Arts. The price of HB2 continues to rise. Here are the relevant portions of the SFSO’s announcement:

SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY CANCELS PLANNED CONCERTS IN NORTH CAROLINA DUE TO STATE’S HOUSE BILL 2

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Symphony (SFS) today announced the cancellation of two planned performances in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, April 5-6, 2017 in response to that state’s House Bill 2 (HB2), a law which overturned protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals earlier this year. Scheduled tour performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall April 7-8 featuring Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, John Cage’s The Seasons, and Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 performed by Gautier Capuçon remain unchanged.

Soon after the bill was passed and signed into law, San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee issued a statement barring publicly-funded City employees from traveling to North Carolina on business. While the San Francisco Symphony is not a city entity, it honors its role as a cultural ambassador to also include the values of the city whose name it carries.

“The Symphony today made the decision to cancel its appearances in North Carolina,” stated Executive Director Brent Assink. “In the months after HB2 became law, we have closely watched the fluctuating political landscape in hopes that the law would be overturned. Because that has not yet happened, and due to pressing internal travel deadlines, the San Francisco Symphony has made the decision to cancel its concerts at this time.

“This decision is not a reflection of our regard for Carolina Performing Arts, which is a valued artistic partner, but a response to the North Carolina state legislature’s decision to enact HB2. We would have loved to perform at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a community that in many ways is consonant with our own San Francisco Bay Area. But we also feel we must join our city, our state, the NBA, NCAA, and the many artists, organizations, and businesses who have chosen to not visit or contribute economically to North Carolina until legislation denying protection for the LGBT community has been overturned. The San Francisco Symphony, its Board of Governors, and Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas wholeheartedly support this decision, as they support all those striving for equality and inclusiveness in their community and beyond.”

“The San Francisco Symphony should be applauded for taking a leadership role in our community,” stated longtime California State Senator and civil rights advocate Mark Leno. “Michael Tilson Thomas and the Orchestra have been active and vocal leaders nationwide in many ways and I am proud to see them taking this stance in the name of equal rights for all. Both our city and state have restricted official travel to North Carolina in response to HB2, and the Symphony lends its voice in defending San Francisco values.”

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RIP Andrea Lawson, Longtime State Arts Council Employee – Memorial 12/15 at 3pm

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Big Hr

You are cordially invited to a
Commemorative Artistic Tribute in Honor of Andrea M. Lawson

Thursday, December 15, 2016
The tribute starts at 3 p.m., followed by a reception at 4:30 p.m.

North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
State Archives & History Building
Auditorium, first floor
109 East Jones Street, Raleigh

Please wear bright and festive attire.

Visitor parking is located directly across from the State Archives building.

www.NCArts.org

Big Hr

To honor Andrea and continue her work, donations may be sent to:
North Carolina Arts Council Foundation
PO Box 26263
Raleigh, NC 27611
or made online at http://www.artsfoundationnc.info/p/contributions.html
Contributions are tax deductible as a charitable gift.

Please indicate In Memory of Andrea Lawson in the memo line or Special Instructions box.

***

The following message reached us … November 15:

Dear Colleagues:

It is with great sadness that I share the news that Andrea Lawson passed away suddenly on Sunday.

Andrea joined the North Carolina Arts Council as Performing Arts Director in 2002. She was an uplifting presence who believed strongly in the power of art to bridge divides, heal suffering and inspire joy.

Andrea relished the opportunity to collaborate with arts organizations and artists across the state to bring the arts to our citizens and to communities large and small. In the process, she made many friends for our agency and for the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

In recent years Andrea took on added responsibilities for the African American Heritage Development and Community Engagement programs. Among other accomplishments, Andrea was one of the originators of African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina, which has elevated the visibility of many of our state’s great rhythm and blues, jazz and funk musicians.

I know that you will join with me and the staff here at the Arts Council as we send prayers and condolences to Andrea’s family and friends.

Sincerely,

Wayne Martin, Executive Director
North Carolina Arts Council

***

Updated Nov. 17: Andrea’s initial memorial will be in Ohio in the coming days. Efforts are underway to schedule a memorial here next month. Details to follow.

***

The following biographical information is adapted from the AAAE website:

Andrea Lawson, the NCAC’s Music, Dance, Community Engagement Director, also worked with African American Heritage Development & Cultural Tourism for the North Carolina Arts Council, a State agency of the Department of Cultural Resources. She was with the Arts Council for 13 years. For ten and a half years she was the Performing Arts Director which included Theatre, Music and Dance. Andrea’s constituents were music, dance and presenting organizations, local arts council, and individual artists of North Carolina. She conducted three grant panels a year, consulted with arts organizations, and participated in different council initiatives throughout the state. In the fall of 2013, she taught the undergraduate Theatre Management course at NC Central University in Durham, NC.

Ms. Lawson was dedicated to arts administration mentorship and spoke with students at university arts management/administration programs and summer internship programs such as UNC-Greensboro, Elon University, NC A&T University, Virginia Tech, and Eastern Carolina University (ECU), and the American Dance Festival (ADF).

Before her work at the NC Arts Council, Andrea was the Managing Director and Development Director of the Freed Center for the Performing Arts at Ohio Northern University, Ada, Ohio. There she managed a 550-seat performing arts venue, technical and scenic staff, box office staff, student volunteers, and contracted with ten headliners each season. Some of her most rewarding experiences at Ohio Northern were developing and teaching two undergraduate courses: Intro to Arts Administration and Grant Research &Writing. Prior to Ohio Northern, she was the Public Relations Manager for the African American Dance Ensemble, Chuck Davis, Founder and Artistic Director from May 1996-May 1999.

Andrea held a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts, Arts Administration from Virginia Tech, where the MFA program director and her master teacher was George Thorn; and a Bachelors in Arts in Music from Cleveland State University, where she studied viola privately with Cleveland Orchestra member Lucian Joel.

***

Here’s the obit: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/morningjournal/obituary.aspx?n=andrea-michelle-lawson&pid=182640240&fhid=17560.

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Winds of Change Waft over Brevard

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American guitarist Adam Holzman has been chosen to begin a new classical guitar program at Brevard Music Center in Summer 2017. The program is tailored for high school and college age students from 14-29. Admission will be by audition, and the course of study will include private lessons, chamber music, and ensembles in addition to masterclasses on solo performance, technique, teaching, and stagecraft.

The storied summer orchestra festival flirted with adding classical guitar to the roster of instrumental coaching over 15 years ago. This latest initiative comes just over 30 years after the June 2, 1987, death of Andrés Segovia, who spent a lifetime tirelessly advancing the classical guitar to academe and the world’s leading composers.

Holzman, who was twice chosen to perform in the historic master classes of Segovia, said, “As a young guitarist and musician, I was fortunate to attend some of the great music festivals. Those experiences have enriched my entire career. Exposure to world’s finest artists helped shaped my musical thought and created a vision of who I wanted to be as I matured…. Getting to know and study with other instrumentalists and singers was an invaluable part of my own training. My intention is to foster the new generation of young guitarists within a similar opportunity as I had and hopefully continue to do so at Brevard for a long time to come.”

According to the BMC website, “Advanced students will have the opportunity for chamber music (study and performance), drawing on the wealth of talent from the other festival participants. Concert opportunities, both on and off campus, will be offered to those ready for performance, and the course will culminate in a class recital.” Holzman will have an assistant, “to teach a morning technique workshop and aid in scheduling and guitar ensemble (coaching) with some of the younger students.”

Holzman’s artistic credentials make him a good fit at the Brevard Music Center. His background is substantial. Winner of five major international competitions; solo and chamber performances at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Kaufman Hall, the 92nd St. Y, Merkin Hall, and Carnegie Recital Hall in New York; and engagements at music festivals and series worldwide including Europe, Canada, Mexico, and Central and Latin America.

There are several recordings on the Naxos label, and Mr. Holzman‘s debut effort for HRH Records as well as the recordings for Naxos are widely referenced for precision and artistic expression.

As a teacher, he founded the Guitar Program at the University of Texas in 1989. He also founded the Austin Guitar Society, which has grown into one of the premier guitar societies in the world. His students have won a vast array of international and national prizes and perform and teach around the world. He has been named Parker C. Fielder Regents Fellow in Music at the University of Texas at Austin where he commands a thriving guitar studio consisting of many award-winning emerging artists.

He held the title of “Maestro Extraordinario” from the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Monterrey, Mexico, where he served as artist-in-residence. He was awarded the Ernst von Dohnanyi Prize for Outstanding Achievement from Florida State University,

The study period is June 22 – July 15, 2017. An outline for the program can be found here: https://www.brevardmusic.org/institute/highschool/classicalguitar/.

***

With thanks to former editor Roger A. Cope and Maestro Holzman for their contributions to this blog post.

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Paying Commercial Papers to Cover the Arts? What’s Wrong with this Picture?

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What’s happening in Boston – and in Greensboro, too – is a problem. SFCV, CVNC, and CVNA have far better and more ethical solutions. Support your local 501c3 arts journal. Don’t pay commercial papers to do what they ought to be doing routinely, as part of their nominal commitment to “public service” that used to be at the core of their mandate to operate news outlets. And for Pete’s sake don’t pay them with funds from non-profit foundations!

See: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/nov/01/boston-globe-subsidised-classical-music-critic-dangerous

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Robert C. Christesen R.I.P.

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We note with sadness the Oct. 12 death of Robert C. Christesen, distinguished baritone, teacher, and administrator. His career as a professional singer took him from the Manhattan School of Music to a 13-year run in Frankfurt and Dortmund with numerous guest engagements along the way. From the mid-’80s he served the Wake County Public Schools, retiring as vice principal of West Cary Middle School in 2009.

The obit is here.

A memorial gathering to celebrate his life will be held on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 6:00 p.m. at Mitchell Funeral Home, 7209 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh.

We join his many colleagues, students, and friends throughout the world in mourning his loss as we extend deepest sympathies to his family.

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Pianist James Fogle Pays a Return Visit to the Triangle

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Pianist James Fogle, a mainstay of the keyboard department at Meredith for longer than he may wish to recall, lives in Florida now, where he is failing retirement because he is involved in so many different projects. But he was back in town recently for a visit and to present two programs at his old school. The first of these, given in Jones Chapel on the afternoon of the 11th, was dubbed “September 11, 2001: A Meditation.” It was the sort of program that, like weddings and funerals, didn’t lend itself to review. The music was by Mohammed Fairouz, Bach, Debussy, Phil Kline, Robert Ward, William Bolcom, Horace Parlan, and Eve Beglarian. The somber affair, devoid of applause, was just what some of us needed on the 15th anniversary of those attacks on our nation, and the fine program notes set all the music in well-nigh perfect contexts.

His second program, offered in Carswell Concert Hall on the evening of the 13th, was a lecture-recital titled “Impaired and Enabled: Music and Disability.” It featured ten pieces by seven composers who suffered various physical, mental, and/or developmental issues, interspersed with extensive commentary by the presenting artist. The spark for this program was “a remarkable concert” Fogle heard a while back, “put on by the Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss [at which] all the pieces performed … were composed by people with varying degrees and types of hearing loss and also performed by musicians with hearing impairments.”

This presentation didn’t really lend itself to review, either, but the lecture was so remarkable we felt it important to preserve it in some way, so with Fogle’s gracious consent and cooperation, we are pleased to be able to do so. Alas, we don’t have his pianistic illustrations, but with thanks to the resource that is YouTube we have nearly everything covered. To read the talk and hear the examples, click here.

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