Festival of Arts kicks off year-long celebration of SOU’s 150th anniversary

The Sphinx Virtuosi, featuring Black and Latinx artists, will close the Festival of Arts Oct. 7 with "Songs for Our Times," a collection of new compositions for chamber orchestra.
September 19, 2022

Festival with ‘something for everyone’ starts Friday, continues through Oct. 7

By Jim Flint for Ashland.news

The Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University kicks off a year-long celebration of Southern Oregon University’s 150th anniversary with a Festival of Arts from Friday, Sept. 23, to Oct. 7.

Promising “something for everyone,” the festival will feature classical piano, chamber music, art exhibits, orchestra, guest artists, and a theatrical romantic comedy.

“I am most excited to partner with Britt Education and Chamber Music Concerts to bring the creative voices from Black and Latinx communities in Sphinx Virtuosi,” said Kimberley Andresen, the marketing, public relations and box office manager for OCA. “They are phenomenal.”

They are the closing act of the festival, appearing at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7 at the SOU Music Recital Hall, 450 S. Mountain Ave. in Ashland.

The group will perform “Songs for Our Times,” a collection of new compositions featuring Tommy Mesa on cello and Amaryn Olmeda on violin. The self-conducted chamber orchestra serves as the flagship performing entity of the Sphinx Organization, a social justice nonprofit that promotes diversity in the arts.

“I am also thrilled that we are able to reset the production of ‘Hearts Like Fists’ that was canceled due to COVID last spring,” Andresen said.

Several theater students who either had lead roles or were stage managing the production were graduated in June.

“They all were able to return to SOU to make the show happen this fall and we are delighted to have them back,” she said.

“Hearts Like Fists,” by Adam Szymkowicz, is comic-book rom-com noir featuring a homicidal mad scientist, a trio of nurses who double as butt-kicking crime-fighters, a lovelorn Dr. McDreamy intent on devising an unbreakable heart, and a femme fatale growing angsty about the hearts she has broken.

The play will be performed Oct. 6-16 at the SOU Black Box Theatre with shows at 2 and 8 p.m. See event details at OCA.sou.edu/events.

There will be a special CVA Galleries Exhibition Oct. 3-28 at 555 Indiana St. on the SOU campus from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The fall exhibition, held in six galleries, provides students and community artists an opportunity to gain experience by showing their work in contemporary gallery spaces. An opening reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 7.

Other Festival of the Arts events include the following, all at the SOU Music Recital Hall:

The first installment of the 2022-23 Tutunov Piano Series will open the Festival of Arts Sept. 23 with a concert by husband-and-wife team Maria José Souza Guedes on piano and Luis Meireles on flute.

Sept. 23, 7:30 p.m.: the opening of the 2022-23 Tutunov Piano Series, featuring Maria José Souza Guedes on piano with Luis Meireles on flute, simultaneously streamed over the OCA YouTube Channel. The two international guest artists are husband and wife who perform both as a duo and in solo guest appearances. The program will include works by Bach, Beethoven, Reinacke and Brahms.

Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m.: a concert by saxophonist Joseph Murray. The recently retired sax professor at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania has premiered more than 100 new works and is a noted clinician and recording artist. He will perform a wide variety of repertoire, including jazz and classical compositions.

Anthony De Mare will perform the music of Stephen Sondheim selected from works crafted for piano by 50 world-class composers, celebrating the music of the late composer.

Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m.: “A Sondheim Celebration,” featuring the Liaisons Project with Anthony De Mare, pianist. Through the project’s efforts, 50 world-class composers created piano solos out of their favorite Sondheim songs. The concert will include “A Little Night Fughetta,” “Sunday in the Park — Passages” and “Everybody’s Got the Right,” among other Stephen Sondheim works crafted for the piano tribute.

Sept 30, 7:30 p.m.: the Eroica Piano Trio, presented by Chamber Music Concerts. The Grammy-nominated trio is known for its technical virtuosity and passionate performances. The New York Times writes, “There is an edge-of-the-seat intensity to every note they produce.”

The OCA box office is open from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour prior to performances. It is at 451 S. Mountain Ave. between the music and theater buildings. The box office can be reached at 541-552-6348 or by email at boxoffice@sou.edu.

Online event tickets are also available at sou.universitytickets.com. Find festival details at OCA.sou.edu/events.

Reach writer Jim Flint at jimflint.ashland@yahoo.com.

In partnership with Chamber Music Concerts, the Festival of Arts will present the Eroica Piano Trio at the SOU Music Recital Hall on Sept. 30. The trio is known for its technical virtuosity and passionate performances.

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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