News & Notes: Good news for Cappella Romana, OBT and human understanding

Cappella Romana is off to DC after all, OBT hires a new school leader, Blue Sky lecture added

Nothing but good news, rainbows and sunshine today on News & Notes! (We’re saving the bad stuff for later in the week, when we’re better able to handle it…)

The government shutdown ended just in time to save Cappella Romana’s trip to Washington, D.C, to sing at the National Gallery of Art with a stop in Richmond the day before to perform at the Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

Icon of the archangel Michael (detail), first half 14th century, tempera and gold. Athens, Byzantine and Christian Museum

Icon of the archangel Michael (detail), first half 14th century, tempera and gold. Athens, Byzantine and Christian Museum

The National Gallery was closed by the shutdown along with its exhibit “Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections,” which was to have opened on March 6. Now, both Byzantine art and its choral tradition are back on the docket, and Cappella Romana, which had almost decided to back out of the commitment because of the uncertainty around the event, will be airborne soon, executive director Mark Powell said.

The chorus will sing October 26 in Richmond and the 27th in the high-profile National Gallery’s music series. They’ll be singing a wide-ranging program starting with ancient Byzantine chant, its entanglements with the Crusades and Venetian empire, including polyphonic music from Crete, and then to 20th century expressions of the tradition.

Cappella Romana will also perform in Los Angeles when the exhibition moves to the Getty, April 9-August 25, 2014.

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Oregon Ballet Theatre has found a replacement for Damara Bennett to lead its well-regarded ballet school. He’s Anthony T. Jones, who has spent time at Pacific Northwest Ballet, where he was a soloist from 1990-96, and who, like artistic director Kevin Irving, knows his way around the choreography of Balanchine, having studied at the School of American Ballet, the school of New York City Ballet, Balanchine’s home company. Since James Canfield and Haydee Guierrez through Christopher Stowell and Bennet, the artistic director and the head of the ballet school at OBT have been on the same aesthetic page. The Jones-Irving pairing makes similar sense.

Jones has been teaching dance in Dresden, Germany, most recently, according to the OBT press release, and he’s had extensive experience as artistic director of the Huntington Dance Centre in New York and the Ridgefield Civic Ballet and Conservatory of Dance in Connecticut, since ending his dancing career.

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Philip Glass's face gets a weave./Courtesy Blue Sky Gallery

Philip Glass’s face gets a weave./Courtesy Blue Sky Gallery

How did photographer Chuck Close print his photographs of famous artists on those textiles in his “Tapestries” show at Blue Sky Gallery? For some of us, “magic,” may be enough, but others demand an answer. The process involves detailed digital scanning and Jacquard looms and a company called Magnolia Editions, but add that up and it still spells “magic” to me.

So to make it all clear, Blue Sky has just announced a free lecture by Shelley Socolofsky, who teaches at the Oregon College of Art & Craft and has worked with the translation of artist images into textiles. That work has included study of the Jacquard looms in question, so even Luddites have a shot at understanding what’s going on. (The Luddites were actually weavers themselves, so of course they’d understand!)

She’ll be talking at 6 pm, Thursday, Oct. 24, at Blue Sky, 122 NW 8th Ave., on the North Park Blocks.

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I’ve been following Pink Martini’s European Vacation, I mean Tour, via Facebook, and noted that the group played in London this weekend, converting the skeptical London critic of the Telegraph, Helen Brown, to their cause.

“It’s fitting that the evening’s biggest cheers are for an elderly Turkish audience member who dances alone at the foot of the stage, shaking her white hair and becardiganed bosom in time with Storm Large and singing along to the Turkish folk song Uska Dara. As we leave, balloons descend on the crowd and we feel happy as children. International children, mind. The balloon I take home for my kids reads: Get Glücklich!”

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