No Small Talk, Ep. 29: A Steinway at the ASO | Rock Candy

Friday, September 28, 2018

No Small Talk, Ep. 29: A Steinway at the ASO

Posted By and on Fri, Sep 28, 2018 at 12:24 PM

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This week, we chat about about Blaze Foley, Alyssa Milano, Lydia Lunch and an underwater concert at UCA. Plus, we talk with Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Music Director/Conductor Philip Mann, longtime ASO Principal Keyboardist Carl Anthony and Steinway technician/gallery owner Stephen Wirges about a paragon of a piano that's been gifted to the Orchestra, just in time for the ASO's season opening this weekend.




First, though, we check in on a little arts and entertainment news:

The MacArthur Museum of Military History has reopened after a long hiatus.

And, a group of talented performance artists are putting on an underwater concert next weekend on the University of Central Arkansas campus. It's called "AQurld Waves at The Water About Us,” part of a weeklong series of activities meant to, as the press release states, "

highlight our relationship to water, its influence on our everyday lives, how our common reliance on it binds us together, and that our relationship to water is the source for stories about how we exist." Check out the full calendar of events for Conway Eco + Arts Fest 2018 here, of which "The Water About Us" is a part.

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The six 'Aqurld Waves' concerts, which take place at staggered start times on Thursday, October 4 and Saturday, October 6, are a collaboration between Core Dance, HEARding Cats Collective and Chauncey Williams. Artists will perform with "special instruments and devices underwater, project video on the water and on poolside screens, and execute movement sequences in the water and poolside." Audience members can sit poolside or join the artists in the pool itself. Check it out:

AQurld Waves from Zlatko Cosic on Vimeo.

"AQurld Waves at 'The Water About Us'" is free to attend, but you'll need to reserve tickets here.

click to enlarge Arkansas Symphony Orchestra - KELLY HICKS
  • Kelly Hicks
  • Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

This week (@ 5:03), we sat down with Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Music Director/Conductor Philip Mann, longtime ASO Principal Keyboardist Carl Anthony and Steinway technician/gallery owner Stephen Wirges to talk about a special gift made to the ASO from Pat and Jim Wallis in the form of a world-class piano.

Mann elaborates:

"We've had an ongoing conversation for the entire time that I've been in Arkansas, and this is my ninth season, about one kind of conspicuous absence in Central Arkansas, which is a really superlative, world-class concert piano. We were fortunate to be recruiting and attracting extraordinary talent from around the world to perform here, but we've never really had an instrument that was capable of fully translating their artistry to all of the welcoming ears of audience members. So this has been a little bit of a labor of love for me, to see this to fruition, to finally have a new instrument on our concert stage."

Fresh from an afternoon at Robinson Performance Hall preparing the Steinway for this weekend's performances from David Fung, Carl Anthony and the ASO, Wirges walks us through what makes a Steinway a Steinway (and what makes it such a ubiquitous choice for symphonies and concert pianists), and how the unicorn of an instrument made its way to Little Rock after being selected in person by concert pianist Tatiana Roitman Mann.

Get your tickets to check out the ASO's season opener, "Sorcerer's Apprentice," here, or by calling the ASO Box Office at 501-666-1761.


Finally, (@42:50) we make some recommendations:

Omaya suggests you check out Stephen Koch's story of "Blaze" in this week's Arkansas Times, the new film from Ethan Hawke starring Little Rock native Ben Dickey. Catch Dickey at Riverdale 10 Cinema this weekend, where the release of "Blaze" is followed by a Q&A with Dickey.

And, don't miss our accompanying Blaze Foley playlist:


Omaya recommends, too, that you check out The Film Comment's "Blaze"-centric podcast with Hawke in which he, among other things, argues that acting should be taught in film school.


Stephanie suggests you break your rules about following celebrities on social media and listen to Alyssa Milano, a prominent voice in the #metoo movement, on Twitter.

And The Move for the weekend: catch "no wave" queen/pioneer/provocateur/performance artist Lydia Lunch Retrovirus at Four Quarter Bar. It's gonna get heavy. 


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