more stories

Stories on the contemporary music scene in Columbia, SC (page 12); interviews with artist James Busby (18) and actor Anna Camp (page 11)

A day at the festival: six hours, four concerts, two centuries

Spoleto: First weekend highs and lows. 

A dive into a museum’s hidden design gems

Mark Rothko: The decisive decade a high point in museum history

Charleston Artists A Huge Part of Art Fields

Alison Saar show at MOAD feels big and important


The Museum of the African Diaspora’s solo exhibition by Alison Saar feels like it contains many more than 26 artworks and encompasses a larger time frame than it actually does.

This 26-work exhibition of art nearly all from the past three years includes both large and small figurative

Entering the exhibition, one is greeted by three spider-like bronze sculptures looking like giant daddy long legs. The “body” is a heart (just a bit larger than life size) on spindly artery and vein ‘legs.” At the other end of the gallery stands a female figure (at seven feet tall, again larger than life) made of light-colored paper. Where the heart sculptures seem to skitter across the floor even made as they are of heavy metal, the figure stands stiff and grounded, but because of the material and color almost floats. Saar knows how to make her material do what we least expect of it.

At the center of the gallery as woman is perched on a scale, her worth weighed by a cast iron skillet, coal bucket, horseshoe, boxing gloves and other cast off items.

A small figure is weighed down by a cotton sack (a bag cotton pickers filled with the crop) that is about three times the size of the figure extending over the edge of the pedestal all the way to the floor and threating to bring the figure down with it.

Cotton-Eater-headCotton also show up in other places, as with a beautifully carved blue-lack head that is being either eating or vomiting cotton – maybe both.

Although the artist has lived in California her entire life, the South – in the form of cotton and other material – shows up frequently in her art, as does her knowledge of folk and outsider artists from that region. One can also see the influence of her mother, the artist Bettye Saar, an important member of the black arts movement in the ‘70s whose work challenged stereotypes, and her father Richard Saar who did conservation work on ancient artifacts.

Anyone who knows Saar’s work will most likely be surprised by Saar glass pieces, but after the initial shock one can see how they fit perfectly with her other work. These are also about the body often referring to human organs and bodily functions.

“Still Run Dry” of glass, copper, lead and steel, very much looks like a set of lungs and other internal organs. In “Black Lightening” viewers are invited to squeeze a bulb that sends red water flowing from a pair of glass boxing gloves, and into a tin bucket on the floor next to a mop. The viewer can do the same, but probably doesn’t want to, with “Mammy Machine” where rubber bags mimicking beasts release a trickle of water into a bucket below. There are only three of these pieces, but they hold more power than their number would imply.

Saar is quite masterful in printmaking as well and this exhibition includes 10 prints, most woodcuts, that echo the surfaces of her sculptures.

With 10 of the works in “Bearing” being works on paper, that leaves only 16 sculptures, and as noted earlier everything was done recently. This exhibition, well organized in a single long gallery by museum exhibition director Emily Kuhlmann with works borrowed from the artist and her gallery, feels so much bigger and more important than that.

– A Beast in the Jungle, San Francisco arts site


Long-time musician friends tackle tall Beethoven’s violin and piano sonatas

5810ce2cd00e7.imagePianist Phillip Bush and violinist Aaron Berofsky have been on an extensive musical journey though the complete Beethoven violin and piano sonatas. The longtime colleagues’ trip brings them to Columbia as they perform all 10 sonatas in a three-night run.

The concert is part of a project the two musicians have been working on for several years. They performed and recorded the sonatas in 2009 and 2010 at the University of Michigan and performed them last year in a three-consecutive-night series there.

The three-CD recording came out just before the duo made another three-night run last May at Merkin Hall in New York.

Performing the pieces back to back is demanding, but also the high point of the project.

“Getting so immersed in this work for a few days is pretty cool,” says Berofsky, an associate professor at the University of Michigan. “There aren’t that many chances to do something like this. For Phillip and I, they keep getting better and we find new things to explore.”

Being so familiar with the sonatas, the duo knows the music intimately enough to uncover new aspects of it each time.

“We’ve performed these over a span of five years, so it’s not like doing it from scratch,” says Bush. “We could probably get up in the middle of the night and give a pretty unified interpretation.

“But we never really stop tinkering with them. Aaron and I have an easy working relationship so we’re usually batting ideas back and forth.”

The sonatas are cornerstones of the chamber music repertoire; the “Spring” (No. 5) and “Kreutzer” (No. 9) sonatas are the best known. The sonatas are truly for violin and piano — not violin with piano accompaniment.

The pianist and violinist have a history that predates this project by about 20 years.

They met when Berofsky was a high school student at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where Bush had friends. They later crossed paths when Brofsky was attending Julliard and Bush worked there as an accompanist. Berofsky became a soloist and active chamber musician, while Bush mixed solo and chamber performances with extensive work in the Philip Glass and Steve Reich ensembles.

Eventually they both ended up teaching at the University of Michigan. Bush left Michigan for Columbia five years ago to join his wife Lynn Kompass, who is on the faculty of the USC School of Music and where he began teaching this semester.

Bush and Berofsky both had a strong attraction to the sonatas before they started the project, in part, says Bush, “because we’re both Beethoven freaks.”

“Aaron had  done a similar project with the Mozart violin sonatas and this was the logical next mountain to climb,” Bush says. “I was happy to climb with him.”

The sonatas were sometimes written as groups, other times singly. The first cycle of three came in 1798 when the composer was 28. The fourth and fifth, completed in 1801, are strange bedfellows. No. 4 is almost intentionally off-putting; Bush calls it “so darn weird and experimental.” Then he wrote No. 5, which is such a work of pastoral lyricism it’s called “Spring.”

In 1803, Beethoven completed four more — including the famous No. 9 or “Kreutzer,” named for a violinist who never played it because it was too difficult. The “Kreutzer” sonata burst through the emotional and technical bounds of most chamber music of the time.

“It opens like a Bach solo, unfolds like a symphony and finally sweeps all before it with titanic power,” London music writer Nicholas Kenyon recently observed. The work places extreme demands on the violinist, who opens the piece “naked and lost,” as Peter Gutmann describes it. At nearly 40 minutes, it is a huge sonata. The sonata has been described as a journey in which the violin and piano try to find a connection. It’s thought that Beethoven’s innovations in the sonata guided his next composition — the “Erocia” symphony.

At that point, Beethoven seemed done with the violin and piano sonatas — not that he wasn’t busy. Along with “Eroica,” during the next decade he wrote his Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth symphonies. Then, in 1812, he unveiled the final violin and piano sonata, which is considered the most calm and beautiful of the cycle.

“Having these 10 written over this period gives you an idea of his evolving thinking,” Bush says. “He goes from real classical models to something more radical.”

Free Times, Columbia, SC

An amazing journey through the long tradition of Lowcountry basketry  

basket1In the early fall, I was driving from the Francis Marion National Forest down toward Charleston on Highway 17. It had been a while since I’d been down the road and I was appalled. The sprawl of shopping centers and developments stretches nearly all the way to Awendaw.

My dismay at this rapid and ugly development has to be dwarfed by that which must be felt by the basketmaking communities and the basketmakers who have lived and sold their work along the highway for almost 100 years. It’s a bit ironic since the paving of the highway in the 1920s and the tourist traffic it brought was what helped keep the basketmaking tradition, that goes back to the first African slaves brought ashore at Sullivan’s Island, alive.

You can learn about the pressures development puts on the basketsmakers, the history and technique of the craft and its roots in the extraordinary “Grass Roots: African Origins of American Art” at USC’s McKissick Museum.

The exhibition, which is touring the nation with stops at the Smithsonian Institute and the Museum for African Arts, draw heavily upon the McKissick collection of baskets. The museum began collecting them in the 1970s and in 1986 mounted the show “Row Upon Row.” That exhibition was curated by Dale Rosengarten who is also curator of “Grass Roots.”

The exhibition is about equally divided among baskets makes from Mount Pleasant down to St. Helena Island and from many parts of Africa. The research never uncovered a direct link between one place in Africa and the baskets of South Carolina, but it follows the many possible links.

One of the major links was rice cultivation. It was a big crop in African and became one in South Carolina making rice plantation owners some of the richest people in the world. Of course they made it through the sweat of slaves.

The exhibition does address the issue of slavery with reproductions of ads for slave sales as well as the early 20th century nostalgia white expressed for those lost times that were so good for them without every addressing how horrible they were for blacks. (This is particularly pointed in the watercolors of Alice Ravenel Huger Smith; she was not too long ago held up as a someone who created lovely romantic images, but has more recently become poster girl for the brutal racism of the region.)

Most of the South Carolina baskets in the show were made during the 20th century, sold largely to the tourist trade. They’re practical sorts of things – a place to toss keys and change, maybe serve as a bread tray or sewing baskets although some are modeled on the large shallow “fanners” used to separate rice kernels from the husk. (That’s a method still used in many third-world countries.)

The baskets are made mostly of golden green sweetgrass with contrasting details in deep red-brown pine needles. Some incorporate heavier rush reeds which were the dominant material pre-tourism. In the distant past men were the basketmakers, but in the early 20th century basketmaking became the craft of women although more and more men have returned to it.

The African works (also included are wooden sculptures used in harvest ceremonies) are much more colorful and in recent year the basketmakers there even started using brightly colored wires in their work.

Few really old baskets exist – they were worn out or rotted. This exhibition though has two very old recently discovered baskets: one from around 1850 and another thought to be nearly 100 years older than that. Both are dark and noble with age and solidity.

One of the best parts of the show is several videos. In one Leroy Browne St. talks about making baskets at the Penn Center on St. Helena Island; the baskets were part of the early 20th century movement to use traditional crafts to create jobs in rural areas.

Others show basketmakers working or hanging their wares on the stands that still dot Highway 17. Many of the basketmakers talk about the difficulty of continuing the craft – especially how hard it is to find grass. When traditional harvesting areas like Seabrook and Kiawah islands were developed into gated communities baskermakers were no longer welcome. (That’s changing a bit.)

The major problem with the exhibition is that the McKissick Museum simply does not have enough space or the right space to display “Grass Roots” properly. It is broken up into two wings of the museum’s second floor as well as into a couple of side rooms which makes it disjointed and confusing.

Although the text panels in the exhibition are extensive, they barely graze the surface of the subject. A catalog published in conjunction with the exhibition contains extensive, in-depth, but accessible essays by Rosengarten and her husband historian Ted Rosengarten, co-curator Enid Schildkrout of the Museum for African Art, one on rice cultivation and “Plantation Painting as Progaganda” by John Michael Vlach. Anyone who sees the show should take along $35 for the book.

-Free Times



IT’S NOT EVERY DAY that South Carolina gets an exhibition that also stopped at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

Nor are we visited often by a big exhibition from one of the hottest, young(ish) artists in the nation, if not the world. And an African-American woman to boot. And we have a museum willing and able to host it.

All that is the case with the retrospective of Lorna Simpson’s work at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston.

Simpson, 46, burst onto the art scene in the late 1980s. This exhibition, organized by the American Federation of Arts in New York, covers her entire career.

Simpson, who lives in New York, began making black-and white photographs that appear part documentary, part social commentary. These pictures often feature black women and explore notions of race and sexuality, but never in a direct way. In one, titled “She,” we see only the torso of a woman dressed in a man’s suit. Black women’s hair also is a constant source for Simpson. And much of this work also includes text that can be read a variety of ways.

The exhibition has about 20 of these early photos, which have maintained their stark beauty and slight mystery through the years.

Such concerns still are present in her art, but it has become more refined, more visually and intellectually complex, with an expanded notion of narrative.

Much of the exhibition showcases Simpson’s film and video work. In fact, the galleries in the museum have been turned into six movie theaters.

Some videos show couples engaged in intimate but incomplete conversations that defy interpretation.

Another is set up as set of intersecting and overlapping telephone conversations, which takes the viewer from place (living room) to place (bar) and character (Asian woman) to character (black man).

Also in the show are many newer photos that contain fragmented narratives using both images and text. Some are printed on felt panels, which then are mounted like puzzles on walls.

While Simpson’s work is impressive and powerful, what the Gibbes Museum has done with it is, too.

Most of the photographs are presented in a fairly straightforward manner in the museum’s three stacked-box galleries (which were a modern addition to the circa-1900 building).

The large second-floor exhibition space (which looks better suited for balls than art) has been transformed. Two viewing rooms have been built in the center, and the outsides are covered with other art.

The museum has another space even more difficult to deal with: a reception area with a stained-glass cupola and many doors and windows.

Only one piece is installed in this room: a new multiple-image color photograph. It provides a stark and simple introduction to the two smaller side galleries where videos play.

The museum recently did a reinstallation of some of its permanent collection, which reflects the tastes and times of the white elite that ruled Charleston. Walking from that into Simpson’s show serves up a satisfying — and shocking — smack.

The State



Spoleto’s Italian operas explore
anguish, remorse, and regret 

The Spoleto Festival’s usual opera offerings are a mix of popular pieces like Don Giovanni and Lakme, brand-new operas such as this year’s Matsukaze and the recent Feng Yi Ting and Émilie, and occasional long-lost treasures like the colonial-era, Charleston-connected Flora and Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Merlin’s Island.

This year’s older operas, being performed together on a double bill, fall into the latter category. Giacomo Puccini and Umberto Giordano are well known, but their one-act operas Le Villi and Mese Marianoare not. While the two operas are very different in style, both are about jilted women. In Le Villi, the spirit of a woman haunts the man who betrayed her; the “villis” of the title are the spirits of all abandoned women. The woman in Mese Mariano has been seduced and left to raise her son alone. The man she eventually marries forces her to leave the boy at an orphanage.

“These are characters who, although defeated by life, are courageous and are fighters, in existential contexts filled with immense melancholy,” says Stephano Vizioli, who is directing both in his Spoleto debut.

Premiered in 1884, Le Villi put the 26-year-old Puccini on the map, but it isn’t often performed, being overshadowed by the composer’s 40-year string of hits including Edgar, Manon Lescaut, Madama Butterfly, La Bohème, and Tosca. Giordano was no Puccini, but hisFedora, which starred a then-unknown tenor named Enrico Caruso and Andrea Chenier, guaranteed his place in opera history. Those rare folks who know Mese Mariano say appreciation of it is long overdue.

Spoleto’s Mese Mariano will be the first time it has had a full staging in the U.S. Neither Spoleto Festival General Director Nigel Redden nor Jennifer Rowley, the soprano singing the lead, had ever heard of it. Vizioli discovered it 15 years ago when he staged a student production in Italy.

“At the time, it was completely unknown to me, and when I studied it, I fell in love with the plot and the music,” says Vizioli, who has directed at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teatro dell’Opera of Rome, and the Santa Fe Opera Festival, among other places. “Working with Spoleto gives me the opportunity to propose this opera in more prestigious and courageous contexts.”

In conceiving Mese, Vizioli was inspired by the great post-World War II Italian actresses Anna Magnani, Silvana Mangano, Sofia Loren, and Titina de Filippo, “who gave an unforgettable interpretation” of Mese Mariano in a television production, he says. “Prepare your handkerchiefs, because I want to see everyone crying at the end,” he says. “Otherwise I will have failed in my intentions.” The opera is also close to his heart because his grandfather was friends with Giordano and Mese libretto writer Salvatore di Giacomo.

Le Villi is very different from Puccini’s big hits. “It is the only time that Puccini explores the themes of fantasy and dreams with the appearance of ghosts, the resurrected dead, and other horrors typical of German Romanticism,” Vizioli says. “Le Villi has always interested me for its magical aspect.”

The opera also provides an opportunity to explore more contemporary social and psychological issues, he says. “These ghosts of deluded women, killed by the indifference of men — how much does it instead not refer to the internal remorse of the male protagonist? I mean, the ghosts are none other than our own anguishes of remorse and regret.”

The opera will be set in the “flowery and saccharine world” of the 1950s, where the anguish of the lead character is gradually revealed. The two operas will be conducted by Maurizio Barbacini, former conductor of the Finnish National Opera and the Opera Company of Philadelphia, who has led orchestras at the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, and Deutsche Oper Berlin. Both are being designed by Neil Patel, who has designed for the Santa Fe Opera, the Houston Grand Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Gate Theatre. He’s also won two Obie Awards.

The lead female roles in both operas will be sung by Jennifer Rowley, who didn’t even have to audition. Working as the “cover” or understudy for Desdemona in Otello at the Metropolitan Opera, Rowley caught the eye and ear of Lenore Rosenberg, associate artistic administrator of the Met and Spoleto Festival, who recommended her for the operas.

“I don’t think they were written just for me, but they could be,” says Rowley, who is making her Spoleto debut. “The women are nearly polar opposites in what they go through emotionally … two different kinds of love and abandonment. Both are great juicy emotional roles and I really feel like I can get to the core of each woman. Emotionally and vocally, they fit just right, like a glove.”

Recently, Rowley has gotten a lot of attention for winning the top prizes at the Opera Index Vocal Competition, William Mattheus Sullivan Musical Foundation Awards, and Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition. She also makes her Met debut next year as Musetta in La Bohème. All this from someone who didn’t even seriously consider a singing career until college.

Rowley studied ballet for many years when she was young, and she liked singing so she began doing musical theater. Her high school choir director in the suburban Cleveland town where she lived told her she had a good voice and should take lessons at the nearby Oberlin Conservatory, but she remained just as interested in playing volleyball and softball as singing.

“I was like, ‘OK, I’ll try it,” she says. When she started college, she was studying music education, not performance. Then she finally saw an opera while in Argentina on an exchange program. “I saw La Traviata in a boxing arena with jumbo TVs and cameramen on stage and I wept through it,” Rowley says. “That made me completely fall in love with opera.”

Charleston City Paper


 The East’s Unknown Art Deco

Japanese art deco — what in the world could that be?171_Toraji (1)_0

This is not a unique question. As an exhibition of Japanese art deco objects has traveled around the country during the past year, this has been the regular response. And that’s what Robert Levenson heard when he began searching for Japanese art deco two decades ago.

“We were told it didn’t exist,” says Levenson, a retired anesthesiologist who has put together a definitive collection of Japanese art deco works. The exhibition Japan and the Jazz Age, drawn from the Robert and Mary Levenson collection, opens at the Columbia Museum of Art on Friday.

The exhibition (organized by Art Services International) is made up of 130 works ranging from posters and paintings to kimonos, vases, boxes, pieces of jewelry and knick-knacks showing how between 1920 and World War II, a love of art deco swept the Land of the Rising Sun. It reveals that the clean lines of deco and traditional Japanese arts and crafts are not such odd companions.

Art deco is a catchall term that refers to the use of stylized design and decoration — sometimes exaggerated and showy, other times stripped down and abstracted — on buildings, furniture and decorative objects, or even trains, planes and automobiles. The style originated in France in the 1920s and became popular throughout Europe and the United States in the 1930s. Contrasting deco styles can be found close to the museum on Main Street at the Kress building, the Nickelodeon Theatre and the Tapp’s Arts Center.

Levenson, who had long been collecting Japanese objects, was living in Miami, a city with a strong deco heritage, which got him thinking: “I wonder if the Japanese did anything like this.”

As he asked people in the art world, he was repeatedly told in no uncertain terms, “No.” But when he discovered a Japanese deco vase at an art and antique show, he knew he was on to something.

“These things don’t exist in a vacuum,” Levenson says. “Deco is a total and universal style that exists in art, in buildings, in clothing — so I knew other things had to be out there. But when I started, there was so little information about it.”

The search wasn’t easy.

“I pestered a lot of dealers who would finally say ‘Alright, I’ll look for it,’” he says. “I counted it up one day and these pieces came through four dozen different dealers.”

While the show doesn’t have an immediate popular appeal, its uniqueness should be a draw.

“It’s exciting when you have an exhibition that taps into a story people are not familiar with,” says Victoria Cooke, a curator at the Columbia Museum overseeing the show. “These are also very approachable objects — things people would have in their homes — and there is so much variety.”

If bewilderment has been the first reaction to “Japanese art deco,” the second has been public and critical embrace.

When the exhibition was at the Japan Society in New York last year, one writer called it “unquestionably the most important exhibit in New York City right now.”
Levenson, who lives in Clearwater, Fla., relishes his memory of seeing the exhibition there.

“Walking through the gallery, I’d hear Japanese people saying to one another, ‘I didn’t know we did this.’”

Free Times

Spoleto Festival USA 2012 - Bankk of America Chamber Music

Music veterans play alongside newbies
at the chamber series

The chamber music series at the Spoleto Festival usually aims to provide the widest possible range of music — audience and musician favorites, hidden gems of the past and newer music, and works that play on the strengths of the musicians. This year, the series has all that in spades.

The music performed during the 17-day, 11-program, and 33-concert series will cover 299 years of music composed between 1714 and May 2013. The youngest performer is 24, the oldest 84. Newcomers include pianist Pavel Kolesnikov (he’s the 24-year-old) and Steven Schick, the first percussionist to play in the series. The musicians will play Brahms, Bach, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, and series director Geoff Nuttall’s favorite Haydn, but also John Cage — another first for the series — and a brand new work by a 27-year-old composer. The St. Lawrence Quartet will be on stage again as it has been since 1995, but so will the Brentano Quartet, which is making its festival debut. Series founder Charles Wadsworth (the 84-year-old) will give his last public performance at the final concert.

“We’re going from the Baroque period to the modern,” says Nuttall, violinist with the St. Lawrence Quartet. “For me it’s always a balancing act — what I’m excited about, what people want to hear, what we want to play.”

Bringing in another quartet is something Nuttall has wanted to do since he took over the series four years ago. Brentano has always been at the top of the list, since Brentano and St. Lawrence were formed around the same time, the members know one another and have played together.

“If there was any way I could finagle to get them, I wanted to do it,” Nuttall says.

He had a couple of musical carrots to tempt them with. The quartet is performing with competitors at the Van Cliburn International Piano Festival in early June, so Nuttall and the group agreed they’d play the Antonín Dvorak and Brahms piano quintets they’ll play at Van Cliburn. They also get to perform a string quintet by Franz Schubert with series regular Alisa Weilerstein, a coupling Nuttall calls “a dream match.”

Brentano, named for Antonie Brentano, who was thought to be Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” was formed in 1992. The quartet became part of Chamber Music Society Two at Lincoln Center its inaugural year in ’96 and won the Royal Philharmonic Award for Most Outstanding Debut the next year. They’re the quartet-in-residence at Princeton University. The group gained widespread attention last year when their performing was featured in the movie A Late Quartet starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christopher Walken.

“This is something we’ve been trying to make happen for a long time,” says Misha Amory, Brentano violist. He and Nuttall have known one another for 20 years. Amory’s wife, violist Hsin-Yun Huang, has been performing in the Spoleto series for several years.

“She’s raved about the festival and Charleston for years,” Amory says, but he’s never even been to the festival or seen his wife perform there. He has usually stayed home minding their two children, and even though both are playing this year, neither will be there at the same time.

Composer Samuel Adams attended Stanford University, where St. Lawrence has long been in residence, and although he didn’t know them well then, they crossed paths. He’s the son of John Adams, composer of the operas Nixon in China, Death of Klinghoffer, and Dr. Atomic, and he has also written several works for the St. Lawrence Quartet.

Last year the younger Adams wrote a piece for the Academy, a development program for young players backed by Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School, and the Weill Institute of Music, and sent it to Nuttall. “He called me the next day and was excited about it,” Adams says. Early this year they worked out the details for Adams to write a piece for the group and come to the festival.

Adams recently came into the spotlight with his Drift and Providence for orchestra and live electroacoustic processing, performed by the New World Symphony and San Francisco Symphony Orchestra last year. The piece for St. Lawrence has four short movements (and maybe five) that tap into classical music idioms like a “wild remixed minuet” and “reimagined chorale,” all “maintaining the weird energy that’s my own,” he says.

Adams isn’t the only promising talent Nuttall has recently encountered and courted for Spoleto. Last year he performed with Pavel Kolesnikov at the Honens International Piano Competition in Canada. “He was amazing,” Nuttall says. The competition judges thought so as well and gave Kolesnikov the $100,000 top prize.

Kolesnikov will play Brahms’ Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34 with the Brentano String Quartet and Maurice Ravel’s La Valse for two pianos with festival regular Pedja Muzijevic.

Charles Wadsworth, who turned 84 this month, will perform one of his favorite pieces, Francis Poulenc’s Trio for Oboe, Bassoon, and Piano, at the final concert in what will be his last public performance.

“I was with him at a party and he said ‘I’m playing well, but I’m going to retire from playing and I want my last performance to be in Charleston,'” Nuttall says. “He knows the piece so well and it will be fun.”

Having an unknown young pianist playing beside Wadsworth — the man who started the chamber series at the Festival Dui Monde in Spoleto, Italy in 1960, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in 1969, and the Spoleto series in 1977 — exemplifies what chamber music is all about, Nuttall says.

“With chamber music, age and fame don’t matter,” Nuttall says. “When you’re on stage, everyone is totally equal.”

Charleston City Paper



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