Spencer Beckwith On The Arts

Twice A Month During KUNM's Broadcast Of NPR's "Weekend Edition Saturday"
Spencer Beckwith
Spencer Beckwith
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8:26 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Elders Share Memories In "Lifesongs"

Acushla Bastible with one of the "Lifesongs" participants.
Credit www.aloveoflearning.org/programs/lifesongs

Months of creative collaboration between local artists and the elderly culminate in a musical performance, "Dancing By Moonlight," on May 9th at the Lensic Center in Santa Fe.  Since 2007, the Lifesongs program has been working with patients in local care centers and hospices to document the voices of our elders and their insights gained at the end of life.  Originally created as an outreach program of the Santa Fe Ope

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8:30 am
Fri April 3, 2015

2015 Fiestas: Albuquerque Celebrates Its 309th Birthday

Dancers performing in the 2014 Albuquerque Fiestas
Credit www.cabq.gov/culturalservices/

Every spring, the City of Albuquerque commemorates its founding in 1706 with live performances representing the City's cultural heritage.  Musician and historian Chuy Martinez, Events Supervisor for the Cultural Services Department, discusses how he has organized the musical performances for this year's Fiestas de Albuquerque, which will be offered free to the community on Saturday afternoon, April 18, in Histori

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8:29 am
Fri March 20, 2015

SITE Scholars: Student Artists Get A Helping Hand

SITE Santa Fe, 1606 Paseo de Peralta
Credit www.sitesantafe.org

In 20 years now of exhibitions, SITE Santa Fe has helped launch the careers of hundreds of emerging artists from around the world.  Recently, the contemporary art center in the Santa Fe Railyard has started taking under its wing young artists close to home.  Joanne Lefrak, SITE's Director of Education and Outreach, describes the SITE Scholar program, designed to help students from colleges and universities in northern New Mexico transition into th

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9:42 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Area Designers Are The Focus Of 2015 New Mexico Fashion Week

One of the 2014 New Mexico Fashion Week designers on the runway with his models.
Credit www.newmexicofashionweek.com/

Designer and educator Melissa Lea Beasley wants to build a fashion industry here in New Mexico.  Melissa and the organization she founded, the Albuquerque Apparel Center, have invited designers and fashion professionals from around the state, and around the country, to the Albuquerque Convention Center on March 25-29 for the second annual New Mexico Fashion Week.  One of the goals of Fashion Week, Melissa says, is to bring area designers together with the

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9:01 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Rock And Rhythm: Helping Kids Feel At Home With Music

The Rock and Rhythm Youth Orchestra in performance
Credit www.rockandrhythmfoundation.org

More and more research tells us that music programs are an important part of a public school education.  Sadly, many of the kids who could most benefit from these programs are deciding not to take part.  Musician and educator Robb Janov discusses why some kids feel intimidated by public school music programs and how the non-profit he founded, The Rock and Rhythm Foundation, is using rock to help Albuquerque kids feel "at home" in music.

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8:56 am
Fri February 13, 2015

An Isolated Tower In The Gila National Forest

The view from the tower.
Credit www.philipconnors.com

In 2011, writer Philip Connors recounted his experiences as a wilderness lookout in southwestern New Mexico in the award-winning field narrative, "Fire Season."  In a new memoir, "All the Wrong Places, A Life Lost and  Found," published this month by Norton, Connors reveals the family tragedy that set him on a journey of  discovery and introspection that eventually led to the solace of that 50-foot tower.   Philip Connors signs copies of the new book on February 19 at Bookworks in Albuquerque and on February 20 at Collected Works in San

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7:00 am
Sat January 31, 2015

Don't Starve. Make Art.

Credit www.keshetdance.org

A new research center in Albuquerque is working to provide practical business support and education to New Mexico's artists and arts organizations.  The Keshet Ideas and Innovation Center (KIIC) opened last July in the Keshet Dance Company's Center for the Arts.  KIIC's goal is job creation for New Mexico; as the Center's Director, Marla Wood, says, a "thriving arts and culture environment is a precursor to strong economic development."  

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10:22 am
Wed January 7, 2015

On the Map: Unfolding Albuquerque Art + Design

Credit www.abqonthemap.com

Starting this month and continuing through June, major arts institutions in Albuquerque will be collaborating with local private galleries on an exploration of the art of central New Mexico.   The exhibitions, lectures and performances will focus on contemporary art but also look back to the area's cultural history.   One of the organizers of "On the Map," Andrew Connors, Curator of Art at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, talks about how Albuquerque art has always been characterized by an "openness to new technologies." 

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10:11 am
Wed December 17, 2014

A Nutcracker for the Southwest

The cactus flower corps de ballet from "The Nutcracker in the Land of Enchantment"
Credit www.festivalballetabq.org

It was 1954 when George Balanchine summoned up memories of a festive holiday ballet from his Russian boyhood and remounted the production for the New York City Ballet.  Ever since, "The Nutcracker" has been a holiday tradition around the U.S.  There are several versions of Tchaikovsky's classic on stage this season in New Mexico, and one of them sets the story right here, in the New Mexico Territory of the 19th Century.  Choreographer Patricia Dickinson Wells, Artistic Director of Festival Ballet Albuquerque, talks about the company's "Nutcracker in the Land of Enchantment," on stage Decemb

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9:09 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Exploring Sacred Music With Schola Cantorum Of Santa Fe

Credit www.schola-sf.org

In 1990, during his tenure as Director of Music at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis in Santa Fe, Dr.

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8:15 am
Fri November 28, 2014

The Albuquerque Boy Choir Sings for the Holidays

The Choristers, the youngest of the Albuquerque Boy Choir's three ensembles.
Credit www.abqboychoir.org

Over the years, thousands of young men and boys in New Mexico, ages 6 to 18, have benefited from the musical training and comradeship offered by the Albuquerque Boy Choir.  Founded in 1937, the Choir is one of the state's longest-running arts organizations.  The current director of the Concert Choir, Kent Wall, talks about the 2014 winter concert, taking place on December 7 at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque.  For information, visit, a

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8:15 am
Fri November 14, 2014

"The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound"

The Harvey Girls in an undated photograph.
Credit Northern Arizona University, Cline Library

From the 1870s to the 1960s, over 100,000 young women left home and traveled west for jobs at the Harvey Houses.  The successful restaurant and hotel chain was created by entrepreneur Fred Harvey to serve passengers on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad's route to the west.   Los Angeles-based filmmaker, and UNM graduate, Katrina Parks talks about her documentary "The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound."  Screenings and discussions about the film will take place at Albuquerque's KiMo Theatre on November 22 and at the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe on December 7.  For information

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8:57 am
Wed October 15, 2014

A Lost Work From The Golden Age Of Opera

Composer Franco Faccio
Credit www.http://operalounge.de

Conductor Anthony Barrese, Artistic Director of Albuquerque's Opera Southwest, has been working for ten years to reconstruct a 19th Century operatic adaptation of Shakespeare's "Hamlet."  A collaboration between composer Franco Faccio and librettist Arrigo Boito, "Amleto" premiered to acclaim in Italy in 1865, but Faccio withdrew it from circulation after a disastrous revival in 1871.  This month, Opera Southwest presents the first production of "Amleto" in 143 years.  Barrese talks about the history of "Amleto" and the research and reconstruction effort that resulted in his new critical ed

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12:13 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

"Chakra," A Danced Love Story From Southern India

Indian classical dancer Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala.
Credit http://www.kalapradarshini.com

The UNM Indian Student Association hosts classical dancer Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala, along with eight members of her dance company, in a musical journey through multiple layers of Indian culture.  The Ghantasala company, based in the state of Tamil Nadu in Southern India, presents "Chakra -- A Myriad of the Four Seasons" on October 12 at Albuquerque's National Hispanic Cultural Center.  The Secretary of the UNM Indian Student Association, Indian classical dancer Trupthi Panickor, talks about the production.

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6:19 am
Sat September 27, 2014

The Albuquerque American Indian Arts Festival

Cellicion Traditional Zuni Dancers
Credit www.indianpueblo.org

On October 4 and 5, Albuquerque's Indian Pueblo Cultural Center celebrates the music, art, food and dance of the American Indian.  Over fifty Native artisans will be talking about and selling their work, there will be performances by dancers from local pueblos, a Native fashion show, and a special courtyard concert by Native flutist R. Carlos Nakai and his colleagues, luthier William Eaton and percussionist Will Clipman.  Travis L. Suazo, Executive Director of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, offers a preview of the Festival.

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6:18 am
Sat September 6, 2014

Albuquerque Veterans Tell Their Stories

A scene from a previous Telling Project production.
Credit www.TheTellingProject.org

Since 2008, The Telling Project has traveled to cities around the United States offering military veterans an opportunity to deepen their connections with the communities they live in.  This month, in "Telling, Albuquerque," eight New Mexico veterans and military family members share their stories with audiences at the South Broadway Cultural Center.  The local producer of the show is New Mexico poet Caroline LeBlanc, who is also a retired U.S. Army nurse, as well as an Army wife and Army mother.

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6:49 am
Sat August 30, 2014

Santa Fe Symphony Looks For New Artistic Leader

The Santa Fe Symphony in concert at the Lensic Center.
Credit www.santafesymphony.org

The sixty-five musicians of the Santa Fe Symphony will be looking closely at, and listening closely to, a number of guest conductors during the Symphony's upcoming 31st season at the Lensic Center.  Maestro Steven Smith left the orchestra two years ago, after 14 seasons.  The Founder and General Director of the Santa Fe Symphony, trumpet player with the orchestra, Greg Heltman, talks about the Symphony's search for a new principal conductor.

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6:46 am
Sat August 16, 2014

Dancing Earth Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary

Rulan Tangen, Director of Dancing Earth
Credit © Paulo T. Photography

In 2004, choreographer Rulan Tangen and her company Dancing Earth began creating new movement inspired by the rituals and culture of Native America.  The Santa Fe-based "indigenous contemporary dance company" has since shared those explorations with audiences around the country, and in Canada and New Zealand.   Dancing Earth commemorates its 10th anniversary with an outdoor collaborative performance on August 24 at the Skylight Music Hall in Santa Fe.

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8:34 am
Sat July 19, 2014

The International District Live!

van hanh lion dance
Credit www.idabq.com

A four square-mile area in Albuquerque's Southeast Heights, the "International District," is home to recent immigrants from Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America, along with a sizable Hispanic community and the city's largest concentration of Native Americans.  New Mexico poet Valerie Martínez and artists from the local non-profit organization Littleglobe have been working with members of the District since 2011 on a variety of community storytelling projects.  The public is invited to view those projects, along with performances, exhibitions and other events, at locations all around the

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8:22 am
Sat July 12, 2014

Marc Neikrug on the 2014 Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

Credit wwwsantafechambermusic.com

A distinctive element of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival is that its artistic leadership is in the hands of a composer.  Marc Neikrug's programming features an ongoing commitment to works by his fellow contemporary composers, alongside music by 18th, 19th and 20th Century masters.  This year's Festival, from July 20 through August 25 in both Santa Fe and Albuquerque, includes the world premiere of a highly anticipated work for string quartet and soprano by Australian composer Brett Dean.

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6:16 am
Sat June 21, 2014

The 2014 Albuquerque Comic Expo

Credit www.abqcomicexpo.com

15,000 people, many of them in costume, are expected at Albuquerque's downtown Convention Center the weekend of June 27.  The 4th annual Albuquerque Comic Expo is a three-day celebration of popular culture and comic book culture, with national exhibitors, panel discussions, screenings, and Q&A's with celebrity guests.  The Expo's Media Manager, Jyllian Roach, explains.

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6:30 am
Sat June 14, 2014

Currents 2014: New Mexico Composer E.L. Bearer

Credit www.currentsnewmedia.org

E.L. Bearer balances a distinquished career as a composer with her work as a biomedical scientist at the University of New Mexico Medical School.  Dr. Bearer talks about her new musical collaboration, "Songs and Elements," an interactive multimedia performance which will be presented on June 21 at El Museo Cultural, as part of Currents 2014, Santa Fe's 5th annual new media festival.

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6:13 am
Sat May 17, 2014

Introducing Young Audiences to the World of Opera

A scene from the Santa Fe Opera's Family Opera Production.
Credit www.santafeopera.org

Professional singers perform in three short original operas for young people in the open-air Gaddes Rehearsal Hall on the grounds of the Santa Fe Opera, Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons, May 31st through June 8th.  Andrea Fellows Walters, Director of the Education Program at the Santa Fe Opera, offers a preview of the productions.

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6:53 am
Sat May 10, 2014

Back In Her Hometown With An Autobiographical One-Woman Show

Lisandra Tena

  Actress Lisandra Tena had a hit in Chicago in 2012 with her show, "Guera," which recounts her experiences growing up in Albuquerque.  From May 16th through the 25th, Lisandra brings the interactive show to the performing arts center at her alma mater, Working Classroom, in downtown.  Lisandra talks about her teenage years and how they've informed her work and career.

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7:21 am
Sat April 26, 2014

Chatter at the Albuquerque Rail Yard

The Yards

Built just after the turn of the 20th Century, the 25,000 sq. ft. Blacksmith Shop at the Albuquerque Rail Yard has been largely unused since the City closed down the Yard in 1986.  The Shop will be back in the public eye on May 3 when the Albuquerque chamber ensemble Chatter converts the space into a concert hall for music by J. S. Bach, Alfred Schnittke and Arvo Pärt.   KUNM's Spencer Beckwith speaks with the Artistic Director of Chatter, violinist David Felberg.

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9:19 am
Fri March 21, 2014

A Final Bow for Steven Smith

Fri. 3/21 10a:  For 14 seasons, from 1999 to 2013, Steven Smith served as Music Director of the Santa Fe Symphony.  On April 13, the Maestro returns for a final concert, leading the orchestra in Mahler's Symphony No. 7 at the Lensic Center.  Spencer Beckwith speaks with Steven Smith about Mahler's Symphony and about his fondest memories of his years with the Santa Fe Symphony.

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9:13 am
Thu March 20, 2014

The University of New Mexico's John Donald Robb Composers' Symposium

Thurs. 3/20 10a:  For six days, from April 5 through April 10, the public is invited to concerts, workshops, panel discussions and master classes focused on new music in venues around Albuquerque and on the UNM campus.  The centerpiece of the 2014 John Donald Robb Composers' Symposium is a new chamber opera, "Cuatro Corridos," presented on April 7 at the South Broadway Cultural Center.   Spencer Beckwith speaks with the co-Artistic Director of the Symposium, UNM Assistant Professor of Composition, Peter Gilbert.

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9:25 am
Fri March 14, 2014

The Santa Fe Youth Symphony Spotlights Young Talent

Fri. 3/14 10a:  Young musicians from northern New Mexico will perform selections from Broadway and Bach, and from jazz and pop, on March 15 at the Scottish Rite Temple in Santa Fe.  Joining the young performers will be Grammy-winning composer and pianist, David Grusin.  Proceeds from the concert benefit the Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association.  The SFYSA's Artistic Director, Dana Winograd, joins Spencer Beckwith for a  preview.

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9:27 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Opera Southwest: "The Pearl Fishers"

Thurs. 3/13 10a:  From March 23 through March 30 at Albuquerque's National Hispanic Cultural Center, Opera Southwest presents its first-ever production of Georges Bizet's romantic triangle set in colonial Ceylon, "The Pearl Fishers."  Spencer Beckwith is joined by the opera's director, Nathaniel Merchant.

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9:24 am
Wed March 12, 2014

The 2014 Southwest Irish Theatre Festival

Wed. 3/12 10a:  This month and next, New Mexico's theater community joins together in a celebration of Irish plays and playwrights.  The Southwest Irish Theatre Festival opens on March 14 with a production of Seán O'Casey's "Juno and the Paycock" at Albuquerque's Vortex Theatre and continues with six other productions in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe.  Spencer Beckwith is joined by the co-organizer of the Festival, UNM Professor Emeritus, and born-and-bred Dubliner, Alan Hudson.

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