Weekly Update

SUMMER ARTS RETURNS FOR THIRD SEASON

By Rob Klevan

CSU Summer Arts is back! With an impressive array of guest artist performances, the third season of CSU Summer Arts at CSU Monterey Bay gets underway with evening events starting on June 30th and running through July 26th. Over 30 public events including concerts, lectures, and demonstrations will be presented on the college campus at various venues that include the World Theater, Tanimura and Antle Library, Visual and Public Arts building, and, for the first time ever, the Otter Sports Center,

This year, Summer Arts will have a special focus on the art of dance and will kick-off the lux-aeterna2season on Monday, June 30, with a performance by Lux Aeterna, an interdisciplinary dance and physical theatre company that has developed an eclectic and powerful movement vocabulary through fusion of various art forms such as contemporary dance, breaking, and circus. The event takes place in the University’s Otter Sports Arena and will be sure to thrill young and old alike. On July 23rd, dance fans will be sure to enjoy a lecture/demonstration by Sylvia Waters, a former member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater who joined the company in 1968 and, in 1974, was personally selected by Ailey to be the Artistic Director of Ailey II which she directed for over 38 years.

Concert musical performances at Summer Arts the past two years have been stellar, and the 2014 season looks to be equally as exciting. On Monday, July 7, famed Latin Jazz musician and five-time Grammy Award nominee John Santos will be joined by Brazilian drum master Mario Pam in a lecture demonstration of the rhythms and styles of music from Cuba and Brazil. Later in the week on July 10, audience members will be treated to an evening of musical hits sung by famed Broadway actress and Tony Award nominee Susan Egan who played the original part of Belle in the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast. Ms. Egan has over forty recording credits to her name as well as several appearances in major Broadway productions, film, and television.

To read Rob’s complete Summer Music report click HERE.

STATE LEGISLATURE’S BIG BUDGET INCREASE FOR ARTS COUNCIL

On Friday, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the 2014-15 state budget, which includes an additional $4 million for the California Arts Council, as approved by the Senate and Assembly two days earlier. This is the first increase for the agency in 11 years, and a 400 percent jump over the $1 million ceiling that has been in place since 2003-04. (The legislature had funded the council to the tune of $31 million in 2000-2001.) The Arts Council issues grants to nonprofit arts groups and arts education programs.

Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks) took the lead in proposing $10 million for the council. While $5 million isn’t a lot of money, “It’s a step in the right direction, it’s a turnaround,” said Nazarian spokesman Dan Savage. “It’s hugely shy of where [arts funding] needs to be, but it shows there’s a desire to do it.”

METROPOLITAN OPERA CANCELS A SIMULCAST THIS FALL

The Metropolitan Opera has announced its decision to cancel its Live in HD simulcast to cinemas around the world, and its radio broadcast, of John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer, on Nov. 15. The announcement was praised by some Jewish groups who object to the opera, which depicts events during the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship by members of the Palestine Liberation Front, including the murder of wheelchair bound Leon Klinghoffer. Though controversial since its premiere in 1991, many consider the opera one of Adams’ finest, for its substance, social relevance and music. It gives balanced voice to all sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The decision was made after discussions between the Met administration and the Anti-Defamation League, which said that “while the opera itself is not anti-Semitic, there is a concern the opera could be used in foreign countries to stir up anti-Israel sentiments or as a vehicle to promote anti-Semitism.”

Composer John Adams released the following statement in response to the cancellation: “My opera accords great dignity to the memory of Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer, and it roundly condemns his brutal murder. It acknowledges the dreams and the grievances of not only the Israeli but also the Palestinian people, and in no form condones or promotes violence, terrorism, or anti-Semitism. The cancellation of the international telecast is a deeply regrettable decision and goes far beyond issues of “artistic freedom,” and ends in promoting the same kind of intolerance that the opera’s detractors claim to be preventing.”

NEW EVIDENCE OF MENTAL BENEFITS FROM MUSIC TRAINING

In the June 18 edition of Pacific Standard magazine, Tom Jacobs writes “Harvard-based researchers find a link between early musical training and cognitive capacities…” He goes on to cite a new study from Boston Children’s Hospital that provides a possible explanation. “It reports musical training may promote the development and maintenance of a key set of mental skills. These executive functions which are coordinated in the brain’s frontal lobe, ‘allow for planned, controlled behavior,’ writes a research team led by Harvard University scholar Nadine Gaab. They enable us to manage our time and attention, organize our thoughts, and regulate our behavior—abilities that are crucial to success in school, as well as later life.”

Jacobs continues, “Gaab and her colleagues caution that more research will be needed to show causation. ‘Replacing music programs with reading or math instruction in our nation’s school curricula in order to boost standardized test scores,’ the researchers warn, ‘may actually lead to deficient skills in other cognitive areas.’”

To read Jacobs’ full article, click HERE.

MORE FRESH CONTRIBUTIONS TO PAMB
Susan Meister profiles soprano Katherine Edison on our Performing Arts People page—click HERE—and reviews Jessye Norman’s memoir “Stand Up Straight And Sing” on our At Large page HERE.

Scott MacClelland, editor