Spencer Beckwith On The Arts

Twice A Month During KUNM's Broadcast Of NPR's "Weekend Edition Saturday"

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.

© 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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.

  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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Fri. 3/7 10a:  Maxine Thévenot, Director of Cathedral Music at the Cathedral of St. John in downtown Albuquerque, joins Spencer Beckwith for a look at the Cathedral's series of Friday night concerts taking place during Lent, from March 7 through April 11.  Featuring local and visiting musicians, the series uses both the Cathedral and its more intimate Kaseman Hall.

Thurs. 3/6 10a:  John Corigliano's "Fern Hill," based on the poem by Dylan Thomas, is the centerpiece of a program looking at ideas of home, when Quintessence: Choral Artists of the Southwest performs on March 8 at Immanuel Presbyterian Church and on March 9 at St. John's United Methodist Church.  Artistic Director Matthew Greer joins Spencer Beckwith for a preview of the Albuquerque concerts.

Wed. 3/5 10a:  Founded in 1959 by retired Albuquerque Public School music teacher Kenneth Lloyd Higgins, the Hummingbird Music Camp will again this summer welcome young people ages 8 to 14 to in-depth musical instruction in the mountains north of Jemez Springs.  Spencer Beckwith talks with the Camp's Music Director, the son of Kenneth Lloyd Higgins, horn player Elliott Higgins.

Fri. 2/28 10a:  On March 8, Albuquerque guitar makers, Pimentel & Sons, continues its popular concert series at the National Hispanic Cultural Center with a solo concert by Cuban-born classical guitarist Manuel Barrueco.  The public is also invited to a master class with Barrueco on March 7 at the NHCC.  Spencer Beckwith talks with the President and Vice-President of Pimentel & Sons, guitar makers Rick Pimentel and Robert Pimentel.

Thurs. 2/27 10a:  As part of its program, "Here and Now", on March 7 at the Scottish Rite Center, the chamber music ensemble Serenata of Santa Fe premieres works by two local composers, Kelvin McNeal and Ron Strauss.  Spencer Beckwith talks with Kelvin McNeal about the new set of songs he has written for soprano Gail Springer.

Wed. 2/26 10a:  Husband and wife, Frank Leto and Pilar Leto, along with his band PANdemonium and her Odara Dance Ensemble, are back on February 28 and March 1 with the annual Carnaval celebration at Albuquerque's National Hispanic Cultural.  Spencer Beckwith talks with Frank Leto about the 2014 production, an original musical set on the streets of Brazil, New Orleans, Cuba, and Trinidad.

Fri. 2/21 10a:  In addition to established performers like violinist Regina Carter, vocalist René Marie and saxophonist Joshua Redman, the spring season at Albuquerque's Outpost Performance Space, which opens on March 6, will showcase some exciting emerging musicians both from the national music scene and from here in the Southwest.  Spencer Beckwith is joined by the founder and Executive Director of the Outpost, Tom Guralnick.

Thurs. 2/20 10a:   Students in the University of New Mexico's Opera Theater program are joined by professional artists and the UNM Symphony Orchestra for a production of Mozart's "The Magic Flute," February 20-23 in Keller Hall on the UNM campus in Albuquerque.  Spencer Beckwith is joined by one of the co-Directors of the Opera Theater, Leslie Umphrey.

Wed. 2/19 10a:  On February 23 at Congregation Albert in Albuquerque, the Chamber Music Cooperative of the Southwest plays music with an expressionist kick by Hindemith, Mahler, Victor Ewald and contemporary Italian composer Caludio Dall'Albero.  Spencer Beckwith speaks with one of the founders of ChamberCHOPS, flutist Suzzanne Bloom.

Fri. 2/14 10a:  The New Mexico Philharmonic's Assistant Principal violist, Kim Fredenburgh, will be the soloist on William Walton's Viola Concerto when the Philharmonic presents one of its Classical Concerts at Popejoy Hall in Albuquerque on February 22.  Also on the program is Dvorak's Symphony No. 8.  Spencer Beckwith speaks with Kim Fredenburgh about the Walton Concerto.

Thurs. 2/13 10a:   The premiere season of Albuquerque's Orchestra of Discovery features three Tuesday night "Discovery Concerts," designed to engage audiences through music and liberal arts presentations.  The second Discovery Concert of the season, featuring a chamber orchestra arrangement of Mahler's Symphony No. 4, takes place on February 25 at the First United Methodist Church.  Music Director David Oberg joins Spencer Beckwith for a look at the new organization.

Wed. 2/12 10a:  Music Director Roger Melone joins Spencer Beckwith for a preview of the New Mexico Symphonic Chorus concert on February 23 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque.  The program features opera choruses of Verdi, songs by Debussy, Puccini and Brahms, and the world premiere of "Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal" by New Mexico composer Daniel Cummings.

Fri. 2/7 10a:  Over President's Day Weekend, from February 14 through 16, Congregation Nahalat Shalom in Albuquerque hosts its 12th annual celebration of the music and dance of the Eastern European Jewish people.  KlezmerQuerque 2014 features concerts with visiting and local performers, along with music and dance workshops and dance parties.  Spencer Beckwith speaks with the organizer of KlezmerQuerque, cantorial soloist and music director at Congregation Nahalat Shalom, Beth Cohen.

Thurs. 2/6 10a:   Violinist Cármelo de los Santos, cellist Joel Becktell and pianist Carla McElhaney are REVEL, with an informal and convivial approach to classical music.  On February 9, REVEL joins Albuquerque's Chatter for two separate performances:  REVEL performs in the morning for Chatter Sunday at The Kosmos, and in the late afternoon for the Chatter Cabaret at the Hotel Andaluz.  Joel Becktell joins Spencer Beckwith for a preview.

Bass LeRoy Lehr

Feb 5, 2014

Wed. 2/5 10a:  Until his retirement in 2010, LeRoy Lehr spent 19 years as a soloist with the Metropolitan Opera.  He now makes his home in New Mexico and on February 16, LeRoy Lehr performs Brahms' "Vier ernste Gesänge (Four Serious Songs)" in the New Mexico Philharmonic's Brahms chamber music program at Albuquerque's KiMo Theatre.  LeRoy Lehr joins Spencer Beckwith for a preview of the concert.

Fri. 1/31 10a:  Maestro Guillermo Figueroa leads the Figueroa Project Chamber Orchestra in music by Baroque masters Corelli, Vivaldi, Haydn and Bach, February 2 at the Cathedral of St. John in Albuquerque.  Organist Maxine Thevenot is the Orchestra's guest soloist for Handel's Organ Concerto No. 3.  Guillermo Figueroa joins Spencer Beckwith for a preview of the concert.