The Front Row, 07/12/2006

Houston's American Festival for the Arts concludes it's summer season this week with a flury of music-making, with the young artists from all of the Festival's departments putting on last-call performances over the next four days. . .

Houston Ballet Ben Stevenson Academy DancersThe 11th anunual summer musicξconservatory for middle, junior high and high-school aged musiciansξis inξit's final week.ξ There are several concerts this week including one ofξthe festival's biggest closing affairs, the ChoralξCelebration, which happens tomorrow night at 7:00 at ξSouth Main Baptist Church. Another of this week's highlights includes the annual World Premieres Showcase, which features new dance pieces, choreographed and performed by young dancers from Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy, accompanied by original scores created byξAFA student composers. MichaelξRemson is the Executive Director of the American Festival for the Arts, Shelly Power is Associate Director of teh Houston Ballet Academy and Dr. Kenneth Fulton, Professor of Choral Studies and Chair of the Division of Ensembles and Conducting at Louisiana State University, directs the AFA Chroal Department. They all spoke with KUHF's Alison Young. Audio here.ξξ

The Mariinsky Theatre during one of those white nightsThe hardy souls participating in KUHF's Summer Arts and Performance Tour of Russia and Finland have completed the first leg of their trip, having experienced - over the last two nights - performances of two very different kinds of authentically Russian music at the fabled White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg. TFR Producer Bob Stevenson talked with the program's regular host Dean Dalton by phone this morning to find out how he and his intrepid travelers have been doing. Audio here.ξ

For information about KUHF's upcoming Arts and Performance tour to the Balkans click here.

Louis Markos Some of the most heralded movies in the motion picture history have been the epic costume dramas set in Ancient Rome. In spite of some of those film's visual excesses, script deficiencies and the actors' undisguised New York and British accents, many of them were surprisingly accurate in their depiction of the look, culture and history of the Roman empire in it's glory days. . .that's the assesment of Dr. Louis Markos, Prof. of English at Houston Baptist University. He'll discuss Roman Portraits: Ancient Rome on Film, and show clips from the movies he's talking about, in this month's Artful Thursday program tomorrow evening in the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Mr. Markos spoke with KUHF's Eric Ladau. Audio here.ξ

Woody Guthrie He emerged out of the Great Dust Bowl at age 23 in 1935, another unemployed "Okie" who joined the migration westward to California. But this lanky, curly-haired young man had a set of special gifts: an empathy for millions of hi fellow Americans who were suffering under privation of the Depression, a tendency toward populist politics, a way with words, and some facility at playing the guitar and the harmonica. And so Woodrow Wilson Guthrie became the musical voice of teh Average Joes, the acknowledged godfather of four generations of folk singers who have pleaded for a fair break for their fellow human beings. This evening, PBS, as part of it's American Masters series, premieres a new documentary about Woody Guthrie. It was produced, written and directed by award-winning, 25 year veteran film-maker, Peter Frumkin, who spoke by phone with KUHF's Bob Stevenson. They where joined in the conversation by Woody Guthrie's daughter, Nora, co-founder and manager of the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives. Audio here.ξ

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