Gary Ferrington

Gary Ferrington is a University of Oregon Sr. Instructor Emeritus whose career spanned over 30 years as the College of Education’s Instructional Systems Technology program director. He has been, since retiring in 1998, actively involved in the Eugene arts community serving for nine years on the Board of Directors for the Downtown Initiative for the Visual Arts Center where he also coordinated its online and print public relations efforts. Since the closing of the center during the Great Recession he has committed himself to advocating for the performance of contemporary music and dance. He is a volunteer with the Eugene Ballet Company and is an advocate for the UO School of Music and Dance programs in music composition, Intermedia Technology, and jazz studies. His articles for Oregon ArtsWatch, focusing primarily on music, dance and occasionally theatre in Eugene, can be found online at artswatcharticles.blogspot.com.

 

The soul of humanity and the fate of the planet are intertwined

Raising environmental awareness through music with Anima Mundi

Scene from 'A Time For Life.' Photo by Robert Kyr.
Scene from ‘A Time For Life.’ Photo by Robert Kyr.

An exciting array of artists is featured in the Ashland-based Anima Mundi Productions Heart of Humanity concert series this spring, including the choral ensemble Cappella Romana, Third Angle New Music, soprano Estelí Gomez, guitarist Colin Davin, and the HEX Vocal Ensemble. The series, now in its second season, began on April 18 with the world premiere of Robert Kyr’s new film, A Time For Life, an environmental oratorio performed by Cappella Romana and Third Angle New Music. The webcast of this beautiful choral work highlights Anima Mundi’s stated mission to bring audiences “… the power of the arts to stir the soul, foster community, and address urgent social and environmental problems.”

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A year of hope and resilience

Music Today Festival celebrates imagination and determination

It has been a year of hope and resilience for the University of Oregon Composers Forum (OCF) whose members first met one another online in September and have continued to meet virtually. This cadre of undergraduate, master and doctoral composition majors are engaged in planning and producing the 2020-2021 Music Today Festival, a biannual event celebrating contemporary composers and musicians. Most every concert since the festival’s founding in 1993 has been held in the UO School of Music and Dance’s venerable Beall Hall. This year, because of the pandemic, all performances have been pre-recorded and webcast to audiences around the world.

Wyatt True, Eric Alterman and Kimberlee Uwate,of the Delgani String Quartet, rehearse new music for string trio by OCF composers. Photo by Gary Ferrington.
Wyatt True, Eric Alterman and Kimberlee Uwate,of the Delgani String Quartet, rehearse new music for string trio by OCF composers. Photo by Gary Ferrington.

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Beat the pandemic: Travel for the homebound

Virtual walks provide an escape from the pandemic.

Safely traveling anywhere during the pandemic, beyond taking care of essential needs, is difficult. That’s especially true for those of us who have mobility and health related issues. Even now, with a vaccine, we will need to remain vigilant in following social distancing, mask wearing, and other precautions.

You become an active participant when taking a virtual walk.
Credit: Gary Ferrington Screen Capture

Earlier this year I discovered what are called virtual tours. These experiential videos first appeared when treadmill and stationary bike manufacturers added flat screen monitors for use in fitness facilities. Going on a virtual run or biking trip through the countryside was much more enjoyable than viewing oneself exercising in a gym mirror.

The virtual tour today is a way to venture beyond home during the pandemic. One can vicariously engage in the sights and sounds of distant cities, museums, cultures, nature, and much more, from the safety of the living room. The virtual experience can transport you to a hike on a mountain trail, a stroll through the streets of Amsterdam, or a browse of the works at the Van Gogh Museum.

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Bringing light to winter’s darkness

Composer-centric Music Today Festival goes online for 2020-2021

Scene from Joanna Na’s Contemplation, MTF Concert 1. Screen capture by Gary Ferrington.
Scene from Joanne Na’s Contemplation, Music Today Festival, Concert 1. Screen capture by Gary Ferrington.

“During these unprecedented times, music and the arts have a crucial role to play in the healing process of individuals and society,” Dr. Robert Kyr, director of the Music Today Festival 2020-2021 and University of Oregon Composition Chair, told ArtsWatch as he and the Oregon Composers Forum prepare to host this year’s celebration of new music.

Since its founding in 1993 the UO School of Music and Dance’s biennial festival has been a Eugene-based event, with most performances held in the School of Music and Dance’s esteemed Beall Concert Hall. However there will be no brick-and-mortar venue for concerts this year given the social constraints the pandemic has created for all the performing arts.

Scene from Jared Knight’s I Hide Behind My Music, MTF Concert 1. Screen capture by Gary Ferrington.
Scene from Jared Knight’s I Hide Behind My Music, MTF Concert 1. Screen capture by Gary Ferrington.

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Sound art for a walk in the park

Third Angle premieres series of soundwalk recordings

Mt. Tabor setting for Branic Howard’s Overlay soundwalk. Photo by Julia Carey.
Mt. Tabor setting for Branic Howard’s Overlay soundwalk. Photo by Julia Carey.

Portland’s innovative Third Angle New Music ensemble is engaging local artists in the composing and recording of soundwalks that can be downloaded for free and enjoyed by listeners wanting to escape their pandemic isolation with a guided stroll in one of the city’s many parks.

The first listening experience, Overlay, is now available from 3A’s Soundwalk Series website. New walks will be released on the 15th of each month through August. A cadre of outstanding artists has been lined up to compose an exciting collection of soundscape adventures for walkers including: Darrell Grant, Branic Howard, Crystal Quartez, Julie Hammond, Yuan-Chen Li, Amenta Abioto, Loren Chasse, Sarah Tiedemann, and Andy Akiho.

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Channeling Oregon Sounds and Sights

Experiencing the natural acoustic and visual worlds of Don Latarski


Story by GARY FERRINGTON
Photos and Videos by DON LATARSKI


Don Latarski is fascinated by how easily people can distract themselves from today’s human-created cacophony by adding layers of sound — from a TV, radio, or ear buds. The Eugene-based composer/guitarist suspects most people have become quite uncomfortable with silence. Even he, like most musicians, has listened to hours of recorded music as background. “Is this why the TV is on in many homes 24-7?” he wonders. 

Don Latarski

A more rewarding respite for Latarski comes not from adding more human sounds, but instead from the soundtrack of life that nature once provided. And he’s found a fruitful way to bring those sounds to the ears even of people disconnected from nature — by combining them with original music. Latarski’s new album,Wind Water Wing: Nature Voices of Oregon, blends the sounds of Oregon’s birds, frogs, flowing streams, and other environmental sources with the musical drone of his unique wind and water guitars. The result, he suggests, will remind listeners of a hike through the wetlands, up a forested mountain trail, or along a lake or flowing stream — a soundscape experience that he believes will be “good for the brain and soul.”

Latarski’s embrace of nature transcends its sounds. Recently, he has also found in photography another way to explore its wonder and mystery.

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A tree grows in Eugene

Eugene Ballet showcases a revival of "Alice in Wonderland" and the premiere of "The Large Rock and The Little Yew" at the Hult Center

The Eugene Ballet Company continues its 41st season on February 8 and 9 with a revival of Alice In Wonderland, last performed in 2010, and the introduction of an exciting new work, The Large Rock and The Little Yew

The new ballet “The Large Rock and the Little Yew” tells astory of life’s challenges and perseverance. Photo courtesy of Eugene Ballet Company

World Premiere

The world premiere of The Large Rock and The Little Yew  is based on a children’s book written by Oregon author and  arboriculturist Gregory Ahlijian and choreographed by Eugene Ballet’s resident choreographer Suzanne Haag

Ahlijian’s book tells a heartwarming story of a yew seed that falls into the crevice of a large rock. The rock awakes and, angered at the yew’s presence, tells the young seed that it will never grow into a tree. Though discouraged at first, through courage and perseverance the seed takes root and seemingly, against all the constraints and challenges the rock presents, grows into an amazingly strong yew tree full of hope and self-respect. The message of overcoming hostile environments and obstacles through determination and willpower is one not only for children, but adults as well.

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