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Charlotte Hendrix

Roger Brown, Navy Pier (detail), 1986, color lithograph and silkscreen, 12/50, Museum purchase and partial gift of the Brown family.

Exhibition Celebrating Alabama Roots of Brothers Roger and Greg Brown Opening May 2

By | News


John Seitz, Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University (

AUBURN, Alabama — A new exhibition of contemporary artwork from two of Alabama’s favorite sons, artist brothers Roger and Greg Brown, is opening at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University on Thursday, May 2. Exhibiting through Nov. 3, “Creative Cadences: Works by Roger and Greg Brown” features a provocative, eclectic variety of paintings, prints, sketches and sculptures by prolific Chicago Imagist Roger Brown and the printmaking, drawing and papier-mâché works of Montgomery-based visual artist and author Greg Brown.

The Brown brothers, who were raised near Auburn in neighboring Opelika in the 1940s and 50s, both showed significant creativity at an early age. Their parents encouraged this inclination, supporting Roger and Greg with private art lessons during their formative years.

“We were both tutored by Loneta Mason, the wife of Sam Mason, who was the football coach at Opelika High School,” Greg Brown said. “We received lessons from grade school all the way into high school.”

Roger Brown, six years older than Greg Brown, is described by his brother as someone who was very outgoing, attracted many friends, and always seemed to be engaged in an artistic preoccupation, from model-making to photography to theater.

“Roger’s passions resonated with me strongly growing up,” said Greg Brown. “He influenced me by his desire to be an artist. I had great admiration for what he was doing.”

Roger Brown moved from Alabama after high school and attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), where his career as a serious artist intensified. By the time of his death in 1997, Roger Brown had risen to international prominence as one of the leading artists to emerge from the Chicago Imagist school of the late 1960s.

Roger Brown’s distinctive style—vivid, simply composed images, that often feature shadowy, bold landscapes populated with silhouetted human figures—frequently expresses personal and political subject matter within the frame of dark, ironic humor. His images and sculptural objects included in “Creative Cadences” reveal the influences of folk art, pop culture, Early Renaissance painting and his Southern roots.

“Several of the pieces in this exhibition are informed by aspects of Alabama life and culture that Roger drew inspiration from,” said Cynthia B. Malinick, director and chief curator of the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. “The 1990 oil on canvas portrait of Hank Williams is a fairly clear example.”

Along with a diverse sampling from Roger Brown’s oeuvre, more than 30 of Greg Brown’s charcoal and pastel drawings, linocut prints and a series of papier-mâché sculptures will be featured in the exhibition. An Auburn University alumnus, Greg Brown is a working artist and published author currently the midst of a second book on his family genealogy. Unlike the 2007 folk art exhibition at the museum that exhibited only Roger Brown’s artwork, this year’s show places him in the spotlight alongside his much-lauded sibling.

“We’re brothers that had shared influences and similarities in how we grew up,” said Greg Brown. “But at the same time, we are very different artists. At this exhibition, people will be able to compare one with the other.”

Greg Brown sees his style as more object-oriented—less abstract and political than his brother’s. Many of his works, like the charcoal and pastel hat drawings done from 1976–77 while studying for an M.F.A. at SAIC, are examinations of people’s relationships to everyday objects like clothing.

“You can tell the type of person or personality by observing the clothes they wear,” Greg Brown said. “For example, a hat can reveal the personality of its wearer without one ever having to see the person who wears it.”

Regarding the influence of Southern roots in their work, Greg Brown believes Alabama was fertile soil for nurturing the artistic growth of both Roger and himself. “There is a richness in the South that benefits an artist,” Greg Brown said. “The climate, the beauty and the relaxed, free, laid-back lifestyle—it fills you full of poetry.”

To celebrate the opening, the museum is holding an evening reception on Wednesday, May 1, that will allow attendees an exclusive preview of the exhibition and the opportunity to meet Greg Brown and discuss his work and Roger’s.

“This opening reception is an ideal place for students, faculty and the wider community to connect with a contemporary artist like Greg Brown,” said Malinick. “The museum is dedicated to creating unparalleled experiences for direct interaction with art and artists.”

The exhibition is presented in part with generous support from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Alabama Bicentennial Commission as part of the museum’s ongoing celebration of the Alabama bicentennial.

The May 1 opening reception runs 5–7 p.m. and includes hosted beer and wine and light fare. Tickets are free to members; non-members pay $25. To register for the reception, visit “Creative Cadences: Works of Roger and Greg Brown” runs May 2–Nov. 3 and is free and open to the public. A recommended donation of $5 is appreciated.

Members of the Samford String Quartet

Samford Strong Quartet performs standards, Appalachian, sacred and new music

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Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents A Little Lunch Music with the Samford String Quartet on Thursday, Nov. 8 at Noon. Violinists Jeffrey Flaniken and Caroline Nordlund, violist Angela Marshall Flaniken, and cellist Samuel Nordlund will perform standard quartet literature, contemporary, Appalachian music, and sacred music. A gift from Friends of the Series has helped to make this performance possible.

The café menu is available online.

Samford String Quartet

Since the group’s inception in 2011, members of the SAMFORD STRING QUARTET have enjoyed performing around the nation and the world with concerts in England, France, the Dominican Republic, and a successful Carnegie Hall recital in 2016. The quartet is part of the Division of Music in Samford University’s School of the Arts. In response to the ensemble’s premiere concert, The Birmingham News extolled its “finely blended sound” and “rhythmic energy,” adding, “This quartet is on a fast track to putting Samford and Birmingham on the chamber music map.” In addition to performing standard quartet literature, the quartet’s repertoire includes very new music, Appalachian music, and sacred music. In the spring of 2016, they presented the world premiere of Joel S. Davis’s first string quartet, “Vespers.”

The Samford String Quartet is made up of two married couples, having previously held positions in major symphony orchestras, performed and taught at music festivals, and performed as recitalists. As professors at Samford, they work closely with students in applied lessons, chamber music, orchestral studies and pedagogy, giving concerts on campus and collaborating with School of the Arts faculty. They have taken the initiative to play for thousands of students in schools across the United States, interacting with the students through performances, teaching and masterclasses. The group was launched through a generous endowment from Drs. Wilton and Victoria Bunch who love music and love Samford University. The school, founded in 1841, is a private university located in a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama.

Close up of sheet music on top of piano keys.

Visiting Vocal Faculty Performing “Dueling Divas” Program

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Soprano Roza Tulyaganova and mezzo-soprano Jeanette Fontaine will perform a donor-supported concert with pianist Christy Lee at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University on Thursday from noon to 1:00 p.m. in the Auditorium as part of the museum’s weekly series, “A Little Lunch Music. The trio will present “Dueling Divas,” a program of duos by composers including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Giacomo Puccini, Georges Bizet, and Irving Berlin. All three performers are on faculty at Mississippi State Univeristy. An anonymous gift has helped to make this performance possible.The café menu is available online.

Soprano Roza Tulyaganova

Tulyagonova is a native of Uzbekistan. She has performed to acclaim such opera roles as Fiordiligi in “Cosí fan tutte” at Hubbard Hall Opera, Countess in Capital Opera’s “Marriage of Figaro,” and Lauretta in “Gianni Schicchi” with the Mississippi Opera. She completed graduate degrees at the Manhattan School of Music and Stony Brook University.

mezzo-soprano Jeanette Fontaine

Fontaine studied at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the University of Alabama. Her students have placed in both the National Association of Teachers of Singing and Mississippi Music Teachers Association competitions. She is the musical director and conductor for the Mississippi State University Opera and currently teaches Song Literature and Diction in English, German, Italian, and French. Dr. Fontaine is studying the Russian language and is an avid performer of Russian repertoire.

Pianist Christy Lee

Lee has worked as pianist, coach, and assistant conductor at Opera Memphis, Chattanooga Opera, Pensacola Opera, Cleveland Opera, Knoxville Opera, Crested Butte Music Festival, Lake Placid International Voice Seminar, Pine Mountain Music Festival, Lyric Opera Cleveland, and Dorian Opera Theatre. For six years Lee was on the faculty of the College of The Bahamas where she was a founding member of C Force, the school’s premiere chamber group. She holds degrees from Florida State University, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the University of Alabama.

Close up of sheet music on top of piano keys.

Atlanta-Based Group Performing Beethoven’s ‘Archduke’ Trio

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The KKR Trio will perform a donor-supported concert at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University, from noon to 1:00 p.m. in the Grand Gallery as part of the museum’s weekly series, “A Little Lunch Music.” The group features violinist Helen Kim, cellist Charae Krueger, and pianist William Ransom performing Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Piano Trio, op. 97,” famously known as the “Archduke Trio.”

A gift from Janne Debes and Ken Autrey and gifts from Friends of the Series have helped to make this performance possible.

 The café menu is available online.

Helen Kim poses with her violin.

With two degrees from The Juilliard School, Kim is the recipient of more than one hundred national and international awards. She served as assistant and associate concertmaster for the Atlanta Symphony and is currently the assistant concertmaster of the Atlanta Opera Orchestra. She is Professor of Violin at Kennesaw State University and performs with new-music ensembles Bent Frequency, Sonic Generator, Thamyris, and recently joined the Atlanta Chamber Players.

Charae Krueger poses with her cello.

Krueger is principal cellist for both the Atlanta Opera Orchestra and the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and Cello Artist-in-Residence at Kennesaw State University. She has been featured on NPR’s Performance Today, WABE Radio Atlanta, and WGBH Radio Boston. She has recorded on albums of Bruce Springsteen, Faith Hill, and Natalie Cole. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from New England Conservatory and holds an Artist Diploma from the Longy School of Music.

William Ransom poses by the piano.

One of Musical America Worldwide’s “30 Musical Innovators,” Ransom collaborates with musicians including Yo-Yo Ma, Richard Stoltzman, and William Preucil, among others. A graduate of The Juilliard School, he is now Director of Piano Studies and the Mary Emerson Professor of Piano at Emory University. He is Artistic Director of the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta, the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival, and the Juneau Jazz & Classics Festival.

Members of the 2018 Auburn Indian Music Ensemble pose as a group.

Indian Music Returns to A Little Lunch Music

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Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents A Little Lunch Music with The Auburn Indian Music Ensemble on Thursday, Oct. 18 at from Noon to 1 p.m. in the Grand Gallery. The program will feature Indian classical, semi-classical, and folk music using traditional and modern instruments. The free concert is supported in party by a gift by friends of the series. The café menu is available online.

The AUBURN INDIAN MUSIC ENSEMBLE led by Chaitra Gururaja comprises Auburn University students, faculty, and community members in a semester-long class where they learn fundamentals of Indian classical and semi-classical music. The students in the group come from varied musical, educational and cultural backgrounds, bringing a rich diversity of experiences with them.

This music is based on the system of ragas (melodies) and talas (rhythms). Indian music is both elaborate and expressive with emphasis on improvisation. The vocal performances of the group feature a variety of traditional instruments such as harmonium (organ), tabla (drums) and tanpura (drone). Bansuri (bamboo flute), sitar (six-stringed lute) and veena (South Indian lute) are instruments that are sometimes featured in the group’s compositions.

Members of the fall 2018 class are Miles Horne on Sitar; Samuel Price and Ameya Kolarkar on percussion; Chelsea Cowan and Lakshmi Krishnaprasad on flute; Rasika Ramesh on Veena; Gauri Desai performing Kathak dance; and Edward Denton, William Skinner, Natalie Wire, Pavani Ankireddy, Savannah Blow, and Elizabeth Pittman on vocals.

Members of the 2018 Auburn Indian Music Ensemble pose as a group.

Sitting Left to Right: Ameya kolarkar, Sam Price, iishir Kolarkar, Rasika Ramesh, Miles Horne, Pavani Ankireddy Standing left to Right: Lakshmi Krishnaprasad, Savannah Blow, Natalie Wire, Chaitra Gururaja, Edward Denton, William Skinner, Gauri Desai, Chelsea Cowan.

Chaitra Gururaja is the instructor and leader of the Auburn Indian Music Ensemble.

Trained in classical and semi-classical traditions of South India, CHAITRA GURURAJA has been the director of the Auburn Indian Music Ensemble since fall 2018. She has been an empaneled artist for South Indian music on All India Radio in Bengaluru and an artist affiliate and director of the South Indian Music Ensemble at Emory University in Atlanta.

Through her cultural entrepreneurial initiative, Sunada Acadamy of Music and Yoga, she is striving to bring the music of the East to the West to further cross-cultural understanding. Since 2008, she has been training students in America in South Indian classical music, or Carnatic music, since 2008, and has students learning online from different parts of the country.

Consider the power of art with For Freedoms

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The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University is proud to be one of many distinguished arts organizations throughout the country participating in the momentous For Freedoms 50 State Initiative. Founded by artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, For Freedoms was inspired by Norman Rockwell’s 1943 paintings of the four universal freedoms articulated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1941—freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

The museum is actively participating in For Freedoms through the display of four works of art from its permanent collection. The works will be identified with special gallery signage and the For Freedoms logo, prompting visitors to consider the power of art in the context of a democracy. In addition to the artworks on display, two programs in the Community Films and Conversations series will be branded as For Freedoms initiatives and will include voter registration opportunities hosted by the League of Women Voters of East Alabama.

Logo For Freedoms 50 State Initiative
Leopoldo Méndez The Revolutionary, 1946 Linocut Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University; Robert B. Ekelund Jr. and Mark Thornton Collection

Freedom of Speech

The title of this print is “The Revolutionary.”

  • What do you assume about the action in this scene?
  • Where is the viewer placed in relation to the young man?
  • How is holding his body? Think about his shoulders, chest, and chin
  • Describe the expression on his face.

Leopold Méndez, The Revolutionary, 1946, Linocut, Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University, The Robert B. Ekelund and Mark Thornton Collection.

Freedom from Fear Christina Cordova (American, b. 1976) Mi Familia, 2010 ceramic and metal wire Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University Museum purchase with funds from the 1072 Society

Freedom from Fear

Our first feelings of security come from our relationships with our families.

  • Think about how the figures are arranged?
  • What besides the title suggests that this group is a family?
  • How do the people feel? How do you know?
  • What might the metal birds represent?

Christina Cordova, Mi Familia, 2010, ceramic and metal wire, Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University, Museum purchase with funds from the 1072 Society.

Seated Figure of Gautama Buddha China, Ming Dynasty, Yongle era, 1403 – 1425 Gilt bronze Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University. The Joan Cousins Hartman Collection of Tibetan Bronzes.

Freedom of Worship

Inscribed on the top of the lotus platform is “Da Ming Yunglo nien shi,” or “Done (or donated) in the Yongle era of the Great Ming Dynasty).” This sculpture was sent from the Ming court as an offering to a ranking member of the Buddhist religious community in Tibet. The reason this sculpture and other Tibetan religious artifacts came into personal and public collections in the mid-twentieth century is that the Chinese People’s republic annexed Tibet in 1950 and began a systematic suppression of Tibetan culture and Buddhist practice. Temples and monasteries were destroyed, and many deconsecrated religious artifacts came onto the art market. This object is an essential example of the importance of JCSM’s mission to preserve, enhance, research, and interpret works of art in our collection. The Buddha, situated on a lotus platform, reaches down with his right hand to touch the ground. This gesture is recognized in Tibetan Buddhist iconography as an invocation for the earth deity to bear witness to his awakening.

  • What parts of the sculpture convey spirituality and enlightenment?
  • Think about the material, texture, and composition of the object, the pose of the figure, and the facial features of the Buddha.
Installation of Ben Shahn's Hunger from Art Interrupted exhibition, 2012

Freedom from Want

  • How did the artist convey the child’s need?
  • Think about the implied position of the viewer, the prominence of the boy’s hand, the treatment of his face and neck, and the use of color.

Ben Shahn, Hunger, 1946, gouache on composition board, Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University, Advancing American Art Collection.

Alabama institutions also participating in For Freedoms include Alabama Contemporary Arts Center (Mobile), Birmingham Public Library, Birmingham Museum of Art, Coleman Center for the Art (York), Institute for Human Rights (University of Alabama Birmingham), Mobile Museum of Art, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Paul r. Jones Museum of Art at University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, and Wiregrass Museum of Art (Dothan). Visit FORFREEDOMS.ORG for full details.

Soprano Jacquie Cruz

Inspirational singer performs classical, Broadway, and patriotic Music

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On Thursday, September 6, from noon to 1:00 p.m., JCSM presents soprano Jacquie Cruz with pianist Gary Klarenbeek for A Little Lunch Music. An inspirational singer and formally trained soprano, Ms. Cruz will perform works by Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as well as a collection of well-known Broadway tunes, hymns, and patriotic songs. A gift from Friends of the Series has helped to make this performance possible. The café menu is available online.

Headshot of Jacquie Cruz, soprano

There has never been a time when music wasn’t part of the life of soprano Jacquie Cruz. Born into a musical family in which her dad is a music minister, singing was as natural as breathing. As a child, she discovered her passion for vocal music following her family’s move to Auburn, Alabama in 2001. She has performed with her father in churches throughout Alabama, Iowa, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas.

Noted composer and arranger, Mary McDonald shares, “Jacquie Cruz has the voice of an angel! Music stemming from the depths of her soul journeys from heart to heaven as she gives flight to every note she sings. She loves sharing her faith through her music and will captivate her audience with inner and outward beauty that lights up a room.”

Derric Johnson, award-wining composer, arranger, writer, educator and minister of music, discovered Jacquie’s vocal abilities during a trip to Auburn in 2017. Jacquie sung for him and his wife Debbie Johnson, who has sung for four United States presidents and in over thirty-five thousand performances with the Voices of Liberty at Epcot Center. This meeting led to a collaboration which resulted in the production of Jacquie’s first professional album.

Derric shared, “To hear Jacquie Cruz is to remember her forever. Her stage presence is charming, her delivery is sparkling and her inspiration is enduring.”

Jacquie feels equally at home delivering a Gospel standard or offering a power ballad. She hopes to convey a message that is transparent and at the same time powerfully poignant, presenting faith and courage to all who hear. These ideals led to the title of “HopeFull” for her first professional recording project.

Jacquie is a perennial favorite in the Auburn-Opelika area, whether performing the “National Anthem” for thousands of fans at Auburn University sporting events or in concerts throughout the southeast. A graduate of Auburn High School, she went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance and Communications from Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music in Columbus, Georgia.

Jacquie states, “Whether I sing a simple hymn, sacred classics, a Broadway show tune, or a dramatic sacred ballad, my goal is to dedicate all I sing to Him, my Creator who gave me this gift. To Him be the glory. My greatest passion is to use the gift He’s given me to bring a message of strength and hope to the listener.”

Jacquie and her husband, Melvin, (Wally) were married in 2008 and have a two young sons, Wally J and Jackson, and a daughter, Lacey Jane, who is one year old.

Gary Klarenbeek was born and raised in the small farming community of Rock Rapids, Iowa. He discovered his musical passions at an early age when he began studying piano at age four. From piano he continued on to study organ, voice, and trumpet. In addition, he had a great passion for musical theatre and played lead roles in numerous musicals including “Once Upon a Mattress,” “Music Man,” “Oliver,” “Guys and Dolls,” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Gary graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a triple major in Church Music and Organ and Voice performance from Westmar College in LeMars, Iowa. Following college, Gary and his bride, Julie, his childhood sweetheart, moved to St. Louis for his first church appointment. Gary has since served churches in Houston, Texas; Naples, Florida and currently serves as Director of Music Ministries at Auburn United Methodist Church in Auburn, Alabama.

Besides his musical passions, Gary enjoys travel, spending time at the beach, reading, shopping (especially for ties and antiques), cooking for family and entertaining guests, and gardening. Most of all, he cherishes quality family time at home.

The Klarenbeeks are parents to Jacquie Cruz. They have a second daughter, Ashlee. She is a graduate of Auburn University and now works and resides in Athens, Georgia with her husband Terrell and son Cooper.

Pianist plays songs from the 1970s

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On Thursday, August 30, from noon to 1:00 p.m. in the Grand Gallery, Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents a free concert by pianist Mary Slaton. Though specializing in over six decades of popular music, for this concert Ms. Slaton will spotlight the 1970s. Her program, “It’s All Coming Back to Me,” will feature music made famous by artists such as Neil Diamond, Bette Midler, Roberta Flack, The Eagles, Simon and Garfunkel, Lionel Ritchie, Elton John, Billy Joel, Chicago, The Beatles, Jimmy Buffett, and more. The performance is made possible in part by a gift from Stanley Sistrunk and a gift from Friends of the Series.” The café menu is available online.

Over the years, MARY SLATON has entertained thousands with her distinctive piano arrangements, and is known throughout the southeast as one of the region’s premier soloists. She knows popular music from the 1930s to present day, and specializes in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s including songs from classic movies, radio, and the canon of great American standards. While earning her Master’s degree at Memphis State University, Mary was a regular soloist at the Hilton and the Hyatt Regency. After Memphis, she lived in the Atlanta area where she played the Omni Hotel, the Hilton, the Atlanta Country Club, the Marietta Country Club, the Atlanta Athletic Club, and the 1848 Restaurant. Through her solo piano career, she boasts to have met many famous and colorful characters.

Mary grew up with her six brothers and one sister in Lee County, Alabama, in the Beauregard community on the Lazenby family farm. Her brother remembered her playing by ear at six years old. After earning her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Montevallo, Mary taught choir and piano at Beauregard School, and started bands at Beauregard and at Macon Academy in Tuskegee.

Having returned to Lee County, now in the Auburn-Opelika area, she has been featured at venues such as the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, the Terra Cotta, the Saugahatchee Country Club, and the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center at Grand National. She enjoys entering her private students in district and state competitions, and has taught at Southern Union Community College. She leads the Mary Slaton Trio, and founded the East Alabama Community Band in which she serves as coordinator and French horn player.

Mary has one son, an architect in Birmingham. She loves spending time with her two grandchildren and growing flowers in her yard whenever possible.

Chris Krupinski (Hurricane, WV) Pears and Plums

Awards judge names winners in juried watercolor competition

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The “Watercolor Society of Alabama 77th Annual National Exhibition” features more than seventy pieces from artists all over the country. The exhibition is on view through Sunday, July 29.

Awards judge, Barbara Nechis, an artist and resident of Napa, California, is the former director of the Watercolor Society. “When making my selections first I look at the work and pay attention to which pieces I respond to without analyzing why. I look for work that appears to be particular to each artist and try to choose what I believe could be recognized as such even without a signature,” said Nechis.

“Emotional content is important to me but drawing and compositional skills, control of paint, shape and edge, an understanding of the proportions of figure or landscape, considered rather than random color, brush strokes that are purposeful, not arbitrary and works that demonstrate intent rather than accidental results are among my other considerations.”

Congratulations to the winners.

Chris Krupinski (Hurricane, WV) Pears and Plums

Award of Excellence

Chris Krupinski
(Hurricane, WV)
“Pears and Plums”

Joanna Ellington (Miramar Beach, FL) Storm on the Way

Board of Directors’ Award

Joanna Ellington
(Miramar Beach, FL)
“Storm on the Way”

Debra Scoggin/Myers (Ewing, MO) Father Is Always Working

Patron Fine Art Award

Debra Scoggin/Myers
(Ewing, MO)
“Father Is Always Working”

Iain Stewart (Opelika, AL) Two Boys and a Bike—Gothenburg, Sweden

Patron Fine Art Award

Iain Stewart
(Opelika, AL)
“Two Boys and a Bike—Gothenburg, Sweden”

Charles Rouse (Vista, CA) Hanging Out at Half King

Patron Fine Art Award

Charles Rouse
(Vista, CA)
“Hanging Out at Half King”

Z. L. Feng (Radford, VA) Roots

Patron Fine Art Award

Z. L. Feng
(Radford, VA)

Bruce Little (Savannah, GA) Ferry at Night

Patron Fine Art Award

Bruce Little
(Savannah, GA)
“Ferry at Night”

Tuva Stephens (McKenzie, TN) Norm’s World II

Patron Fine Art Award

Tuva Stephens
(McKenzie, TN)
“Norm’s World II”

Merit Award: James Brantley, (Opelika, AL), “Survivor”
Merit Award: Matthew Bird, (Sykesville, MD), “For You”
Southern Watercolor Society Award: William H. Mckeown, Quincy, FL, “The Old Salt”
Georgia Watercolor Society Award: Sophie Repolt Rogers, Tuscumbia, AL, “My Kinda Red Flags”
Louisiana Watercolor Society Award: Heike Covell, Huntsville, AL, “Proud”
Tallahassee Watercolor Society Award: Suzanna Spann, Cortez, FL, “Friday on Frenchman Street”
Texas Watercolor Society Award: Anne Hightower-Patterson, Leesville, SD, “Waiting In the Light of the Sun”
Signature Members Award: Keiko Yasoka, Houston, TX, “Happy Anniversary”
Signature Members Award: Barbara O’Neal Davis, York, SC “Proud”
Signature Members Award: Corky Goldman, Mobile, AL, “Generations”
Signature Members Award: Chuck Jones, McCalla, AL, “Cold Water School”
Signature Members Award: Florene S. Galese, Vestavia, AL, “Lazy Croc”

A Little Lunch Music, 5/17/2018: UA Violin and Piano Faculty Performing Stravinsky, Grieg

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On Thursday, May 17, from noon to 1:00 p.m., the series will present a free concert by violinist Jenny Grégoire with pianist Edisher Savitsky. The duo will perform “Suite Italienne” by Igor Stravinsky and “Sonata no. 3” by Edvard Grieg. A gift from Friends of the Series has helped to make this performance possible. The café menu is available online.

Musicians Gregoire-Savitsky by Demondrae Thurman

Born in Québec, Canada, Grégoire is assistant professor of violin at the University of Alabama. She has served as concertmaster for the Mobile Symphony Orchestra since 2001. She also performs with the Tuscaloosa Symphony, the Meridian Symphony, and the North Mississippi Symphony, and played one season with the New World Symphony in Miami, Florida, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas.

On Thursday, the duo will perform “Suite Italienne” by Igor Stravinsky and “Sonata no. 3” by Edvard Grieg.

Stravinsky, who died in 1971, was at the forefront of changes in concert music during his time. He was known for pieces that still challenge the way listeners perceive harmony and rhythm, such as his ballet “The Rite of Spring” and his chamber music work, “The Soldier’s Tale,” both written in the 1910s.

In contrast, Stravinsky’s ballet “Pulcinella,” written in 1920, helped mark the beginning of his neoclassical period. “Suite Italienne” is a set of dances from the ballet arranged for violin and piano. “I really like his music, Grégoire said. “He really explored colors.”

During this time, Stravinsky borrowed conventions from works written 150 years prior. The music may remind listeners of works composed by Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. “But he added his twist to it,” Grégoire said of Stravinsky.

Grégoire says in parts of “Suite Italienne,” Stravinsky used dense harmonies that stray far from suggesting the familiar sounds of Classical Period composers like Mozart and Haydn. “The finale gets really thick,” she said. But she says clear rhythmic ideas from the older style contrast with the newer harmonic experiments.

There are other similar contrasts. “In the Minuet, it’s very melodic,” Grégoire said. “But the chord progressions in the piano make it so interesting because it’s not what you expect.” She says the combination of singable melodies and simple rhythms with newer, complex ideas make the music compelling. “I really like his music.”

Grieg wrote music mostly in the late 1800s during Western music’s Romantic Period. His third violin sonata was written for Adolph Brodsky, a Russian violinist. “It’s very dramatic,” Grégoire said, also calling it tempestuous. “It starts very strong and passionate so you know the character right away.”

Grégoire says the pieces she likes to play showcase the pianist’s abilities equally to those of the violinist. She says Grieg’s second movement demonstrates this by starting with 44 measures of melodic and beautiful solo piano.

A critically acclaimed pianist, Savitski is a winner of the International Piano-e-Competition, the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, and the William S. Byrd International Piano Competition. He has appeared at music festivals and venues in Austria, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Israel, Morocco, Japan, New Zealand, and the U.S. He is an assistant professor at the University of Alabama.

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