Fit for a president 


Although planners of the Clinton Presidential Center had many uses in mind for the facility, being the best place for chamber music probably wasn’t high on the list.

But the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra had long been looking for the biggest and best place to hold its Chamber Series, and when the Clinton Library came online, the ASO found its answer.

“Without a doubt, without a DOUBT,” David Itkin, the ASO music director, said with emphasis. “We love it, the audience loves it. It’s great.”

The ASO’s Sturgis Quartet will be joined Monday, March 20, by ASO performers David Belcher on piano and violinists Andrew Irvin and Meredith Maddox for “Rags and Riches,” featuring music covering three centuries by such composers as Ravel, Tchaikovsky, William Bolcom and more. The performance begins at 7 p.m.

In the past several years, the ASO’s three resident chamber quartets — the Sturgis, Quapaw and Rockefeller quartets — have tried their shows in the Symphony’s rehearsal facility in the Heights, at the Darragh Center in the Main Library on Rock Street, and at the Arkansas Arts Center.

“It took us awhile to find the right place,” Itkin said. “The room itself is acoustically lovely for chamber, it has all hard surfaces, all wood and glass, with a big high ceiling. It sounds lovely and is just the right size, seating just over 300 people.”

Itkin estimates that the previous sites were, at best, big enough for 200 to 250 people. Also, parking was a problem when the ASO used the Main Library.

At the Clinton Library, shows this year have been selling out, he said. The six-concert series was already two-thirds sold out to subscribers before any tickets were available to the general public. The move to what Itkin feels is the chamber groups’ permanent home has brought added attention, he said. And when people attend one show, they’re almost certain to return.

“To add to the acoustics, there is the marvelous view. People look past the performers through the completely glass wall toward the night skyline of downtown. The beauty of the hall is it sounds beautiful in there, you don’t need any help in there with microphones. It’s perfect.”

Shows often include guest artists, from the Symphony and on tour, with the four-person chamber groups. A surprise violinist is planned for October, Itkin said.

The March 20 program ends the Chamber series season. Ravel’s “Tzigane will show off the piano and violin talents in a piece inspired by Gypsy music. A Spanish style is evident in Navarra by Sarasate. Tchaikovskys String Quartet No. 3, Schoenbergs Phantasy and the opening, jazzy Graceful Ghost Rag by William Bolcom, for solo piano, round out the show.

Tickets are $25 through the ASO box office (666-1761 or www.arkansassymphony.org).


Sign up for the Daily Update email


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Trump-Putin: As bad as expected. At least.

    The reviews of Trump's meeting with Putin are not kind to the American.  Those who think the United States has been demeaned and diminished by a lying thug, it might be time to take a knee.
    • Jul 16, 2018
  • One dead, another wounded in NLR skate park shooting

    North Little Rock police say one man was fatally shot and another wounded  in an apparent robbery about 3:45 a.m. today at the Riverview Skatepark along the Arkansas River at 2800 River Road, North Little Rock.
    • Jul 16, 2018
  • The Malvern connection: Millions flow through it

    How a couple of former senators from Malvern find themselves in a legal controversy over a $4 million finder's fee paid to a Texas lawyer.
    • Jul 16, 2018
  • More »

More by Jim Harris

  • Travs return

    And much more.
    • Apr 5, 2018
  • More »

Latest in Top Stories

  • Good for the soul

    The return of Say McIntosh, restaurateur
    • Jun 1, 2010
  • Robocalls are illegal

    Robocalls -- recorded messages sent to thousands of phone numbers -- are a fact of life in political campaigns. The public doesn't like them much, judging by the gripes about them, but campaign managers and politicians still believe in their utility.
    • May 31, 2010
  • Riverfest winds down

    With Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm, Steve Miller Band, Robert Cray, Ludacris and more performing.
    • May 30, 2010
  • More »

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation