Slowly but surely, the vaccine is being distributed. In the meantime, area arts and cultural organizations are finding ways to keep audiences virtually engaged. Here’s a quick peek at four inspired music programs.
Florida Studio Theatre
Carole J. Bufford is a rising star in the New York cabaret and jazz scene. To quote Stephen Holden of The New York Times: “She’s the real thing: You know it when you see it. The way her voice, with its blues inflections, cut a swath, leaving nothing standing, tempts me to describe her with groveling hyperbole as an earthier, more acerbic 21st-century Barbra Streisand.” Bufford is bringing her earthy vocals back to Florida Studio Theatre, in “Vintage POP!” a revue exploring the evolution of popular music from the 1920s to the 1980s. Bufford puts her own spin on vintage songs by the likes of Janis Joplin, Sting, Barbra Streisand, Sophie Tucker, Ethel Merman, Judy Garland, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and others. Bufford says the FST engagement is one of her first since the pandemic hit. “I’m so happy that my first series of performances will be at FST. It feels like coming home,” she says. March 24 to April 18; FloridaStudioTheatre.org.
Sarasota Concert Association
Like so many presenting organizations around the region and nation, the Sarasota Concert Association had to pivot quickly to keep its subscribers engaged. After canceling its six-concert 2021 Great Performers Series season, newly appointed Executive Director Linda Moxley designed a virtual series called Musically Speaking. This three-part program features concerts by preeminent musicians followed by informal artistic conversations. World-acclaimed pianists Garrick Ohlsson and Kirill Gerstein launched the series in February. Violinist Samantha Bennett and percussionist George Nickson will share their magic March 11. Academy of St. Martin in the Fields concludes the series March 25. The series is free, but registration is required. Each link will be viewable for seven days. For more information and to register, visit SCASarasota.org.
New Music New College
Pianist Vicky Chow, called “one of our era’s most brilliant pianists,” is celebrated for her nuanced interpretations of contemporary compositions. New Music New College presents Chow in concert April 24. Steve Reich’s minimalist “Piano Counterpoint” is the program’s highlight, in an arrangement created by Vincent Corver. Reich’s piece revolves around a relentless eight-beat rhythm. Chow will play in counterpoint to a recording of four other pianists following this beat. As the composition progresses, the recording’s accompanying rhythm pattern gradually shifts out of phase. As you listen, you’re forced to pay closer attention. You finally find yourself absorbed in Chow’s playing — defiantly keeping her own beat in the river of music flowing around her. “Vicky has been a champion of new and creative approaches to the piano,” NMNC Director Mark Dancigers says. “This concert promises to abound in discoveries and offer a window into the work of a fearless and gripping performer.” Artistic Conversation: 5 p.m. April 22. Concert: 8 p.m. April 24. (Pre-concert talk is 7:30 p.m.) Locations and formats TBD; visit NewMusicNewCollege.org.
Perlman Music Program Suncoast
The Perlman Music Program Suncoast cultivates audiences of all ages through classical music performances and education outreach programs, including hosting the PMP Winter Residency and presenting “PMP Alumni: Around Town” and “PMP Alumni: In Schools” performances. For this season of social distancing, Perlman Suncoast created “PMP Alumni: At Home,” a series of free virtual concerts by PMP graduates. Here’s the lineup: Stella Chen, violin, March 11; Michelle Cann, piano, April 15; Ilya Gringolts, violin, May 6. Learn more about the artists and to view at PerlmanSuncoast.org.
And a feast for the eyes: Sarasota Art Museum
The multitalented Janaina Tschäpe sends out a range of messages in a variety of mediums, including drawing, installation, painting, photography, performance, sculpture and video. Sarasota Art Museum’s “Between the Sky and the Water” offers a mid-career retrospective of her work in an exhibition curated by Anne-Marie Russell, the museum’s executive director. That title nicely conveys the ambiguous spaces of her mind’s eye. Tschäpe specializes in terra incognita and unmapped territories. “Where am I?” is the eternal question. Her art replies, “You are here,” but it’s not a final answer. Both identity and location are in constant flux in Tschäpe’s art. From a woman’s claim to the territory of her own body, to Kafkaesque metamorphoses, that change is the only constant in her work. That perpetual change applies to both her inner and outer worlds. There is no final answer — except for the beauty of Tschäpe’s art. That’s answer enough. Through May 2. 1001 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; 941-309-7662; SarasotaArtMuseum.org.
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