Arts and Music


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Grammy winning soprano and UC San Diego Professor of Music Susan Narucki presents how singing drives -- and is driven by -- a need to communicate and understand the human experience. She demonstrates, through singing, the possibilities of the unique fusion of word, sound and meaning that is integral to Western Art Music. Narucki's lecture is the fifth in the series, "To Be Musical," sponsored by Eleanor Roosevelt College at UC San Diego.

Renowned pianist and educator Cecil Lytle performs two late signature works by Ludwig van Beethoven: the monumental Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat Major ("Das Hammerklavier") and the dramatic Piano Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Beethoven's final composition for piano.

One of the most important composers in jazz history, Charles Mingus documented his lively impressions of Tijuana in "Tijuana Moods," a rarely performed suite. Join Grammy-winning jazz author Ashley Kahn; eminent alto saxophonist Charles McPherson, a longstanding member of Charles Mingus' band; Anthony Davis, UC San Diego professor of music and noted composer, pianist and improviser; and Steven Schick, UC San Diego professor of music, percussionist, and conductor, for an exploration of the legacy of African-American composer Charles Mingus and his historic Tijuana Moods album. Recorded on 01/20/2018.

The serenade is a venerable 18th-century form as practiced by Haydn, Mozart and others. In his "Serenade in D Minor" Antonin Dvořák adapted the form to his own purposes, scoring for an unusual combination of instruments and introducing an unusual thematic unity. The result is a piece of good-spirited, sunny music that reflects Dvořák's own optimistic personality. Recorded on 08/20/2017.

The Quintet in E-flat Major amply supports the contention that Mozart wrote superbly for wind instruments. Composing for an unusual combination of instruments, Mozart speaks directly to the character of each; the short and often rapid phrases for oboe, clarinet, bassoon, & horn are beautifully supported by the piano's rippling, fluid lines. This piece is not about virtuosity, but about musicians putting themselves at the service of the music. Recorded on 11/22/2017.

UC San Diego's Geisel Library hosts an annual Paper Theater Festival, celebrating an art form with roots in Victorian Era Europe. Paper theaters (also known as toy theaters) were used to promote productions. They were printed on paperboard sheets and sold as kits at the concession stand of an opera house, playhouse, or vaudeville theater. The kits were then assembled at home and plays performed for family members and guests, sometimes with live musical accompaniment. The theaters gradually declined in popularity during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but have enjoyed a resurgence in interest in recent years among many puppeteers, filmmakers, theater historians, and hobbyists. Presently there are numerous international paper theater festivals throughout the Americas and Europe, as well as several museums.

UCSB's award-winning Opera Theatre program presents Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's beloved opera buffa, Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). Opera Santa Barbara's General and Artistic Director, Kostis Protopapas,conducts the production, with Isabel Bayrakdarian (UCSB Assistant Professor of Voice) serving as Stage Director and Benjamin Brecher (UCSB Professor of Voice) serving as Music Director and Producer. The opera features many of the program's top graduate students, including Tyler Reece as Count Almaviva, Julie Davies as Countess Almaviva, Naomi Merer as Susanna, Byron Mayes as Figaro, and Kelly Newberry as Cherubino. Recorded on 02/08/2018.

Steven Schick leads a sharply varied program. Pulitzer Prize-winner Julia Wolfe has taken particular pleasure in writing music with film, and we hear her "Fuel," with a film by Bill Morrison. Young Artist Winner Anne Liu performs Camille Saint-Saens' witty "Second Piano Concerto," which has been described as "beginning with Bach and ending with Offenbach." The concert concludes with Jean Sibelius' mighty "Symphony No. 5," which drives to its triumphant conclusion on six shattering chords for full orchestra. Recorded on 5/5/2019.

The Beatles' final concert, their late-era conflicts, and the complicated history of director Michael Lindsay-Hogg's Let It Be documentary all arise in this discussion between musician Alan Parsons and Music Professor David Novak (UC Santa Barbara). Parsons was a teenage sound engineer at Abbey Road studios when he was assigned to record audio for the Beatles as they worked through this iconic album. Novak draws Parsons into dialogue about recording equipment, studio layouts, and the musical personalities of each member of the band. Recorded on 01/25/2019.

Young Artist Winner Anne Liu performs Camille Saint-Saens' witty "Second Piano Concerto," which has been described as "beginning with Bach and ending with Offenbach." Recorded on 05/05/2019.
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