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Arts & Culture

Arts and culture news, criticism, and programming from TPR/NPR.

Courtesy of the Criterion Collection.

A painter may paint a picture, a composer may write a beautiful melody for solo piano, but in the world of the theater (and here I count motion pictures as well), one person may have a vision, but production is a collaborative art. W. S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan worked together on a total of 14 comic operas, of which “The Mikado” is far and away the most popular, and arguably the best. Two new releases from the Criterion Collection highlight the work of Gilbert and Sullivan in different ways.

Theodore Presser

"There are not many composers in the modern world who possess the lucky combination of writing music of substance and at the same time exercising an immediate appeal to mixed audiences. Zwilich offers this happy combination of purely technical excellence and a distinct power of communication."

Subito Music Corp.

Judith Lang Zaimont’s music is internationally acclaimed for its drama and expressiveness and has been programmed around the globe by major ensembles such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore and Mississippi Symphonies, Berlin Radio Orchestra, Czech Radio Orchestra, Kremlin Chamber Orchestra, Women’s Philharmonic, Connecticut Opera, New York Virtuosi, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestras (New York and Boston), American Guild of Organists, Harlem String Quartet, International Double Reed Society, World Viola Congress, Norway’s Bergen Wind Quintet, Zagreb Saxophone Quartet and others.

Nathan Cone

"Natural Selection," shot in Smithville with a Texas crew, won a total of six awards at the South By Southwest 2011 Film Festival, including the Grand Jury Prize and the audience pick for Best Narrative Feature.

The movie is a dark comedy about a woman (Rachael Harris) who goes searching for answers when she finds her husband's been keeping secrets from her — including fathering a son (Matt O’Leary). 

“We wanted her to go on a journey in which she discovered…that there are some things you might not be able to fix,” says Annie Howell, speaking about Sarah Sparks, the technology-obsessed character Howell co-created with Lisa Robinson. Together, the two women wrote and directed a series of webisodes for Sundance Channel featuring Sarah Sparks.

Courtesy Photo / Institute of Texan Cultures

If you're looking for a quiet activity to wrap up Spring Break, think about hoofing it downtown to the Institute of Texan Cultures for the "Head to Foot" exhibit.  You'll find an array of shoes, boots, hats and spurs of famous — and inspiring — Texans, which tell their unique Lone Star State stories.

There are the mud-caked boots optimistically worn by Kinky Friedman during his run for governor. 

Nathan Cone

A few years ago, Vikram Gandhi began work on a documentary about the yoga industry, but the more he learned, the more interested he became in the gurus that people follow.

Gandhi began to wonder just what people believed in, and decided to find out from the inside. Gandhi grew out his hair and beard, dressed in flowing robes, moved to Phoenix, and added an “e” to his middle name to become “Kumaré.” 

Kino Lorber

The Canadian pianist Glenn Gould had a storybook entrance into the concert world. A famous concert in Washington D.C. of highly unusual repertoire (for the time) drew rave reviews, and shortly thereafter an exclusive recording contract with Columbia, one of this country’s biggest labels. Gould’s first release should have left classical listeners cold; he chose to an abstract sleeping pill written by J.S. Bach for a student’s insomniac patron. But surprising everyone, the album became a best seller which has not gone out of print in 55 years.

As an African-American, George Walker had no prospects for a career in 1940s America. But incredibly, by 1996 he would be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for music.

Walker was born in 1922 in Washington, D.C.  He began piano lessons at age five, and entered Oberlin at 14 and the Curtis Institute at 19, after meeting Rudolf Serkin, who took him as a student there. Walker completed a Doctorate at Eastman.  He would then continue to study in Europe with Nadia Boulanger.

David J. Dowling

As the holiday season winds down, another season important to movie lovers is shifting into high gear. Awards season has expanded from just the Oscar race to a dizzying parade of broadcasts and ceremonies, including the Golden Globes, the SAG Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Directors Guild Awards, and many other “kudocasts,” as the industry sometimes calls them.

 

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