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Wednesday, March 31,2010

Local, vocal, plural

Partnerships, singers dominate Wharton’s upcoming season

by Lawrence Cosentino
The Wharton Center for the Performing Arts has to live up to the big “s” on its new glass fa'ade, but it’s not easy. Even the biggest classical, jazz, world and dance acts are usually less lucrative than Broadway shows, and some are downright loss leaders.
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Wednesday, March 31,2010

The stillness of Stowell

Visiting guitarist a quiet treasure

by Lawrence Cosentino
Stowell is striking before he plays a note. He holds the guitar at a loving 75-degree angle, like a baby, or a dance partner. It makes the listener feel a bit like a voyeur, but that’s how he gets his fingers around the dense, piano-like harmonies he loves.
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Wednesday, March 31,2010

Deep in the moment

Violinist Schmidt connects with LSO in rare communion

by Lawrence Cosentino
The vehicle for this rare communion was American Samuel Barber’s 1939 Violin Concerto. It’s music from a time of hope and dread much like ours. Barber’s mix of unabashed yearning and modern turbulence perfectly suited Muffitt, Schmidt and Lansing’s young orchestra.
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Saturday, March 27,2010

Lopsided love

MSU opera has high Juliettitude, low Romeosity

by Lawrence Cosentino
An insidious thought came to me during MSU Opera Theatre’s energetic “Miami Vice” remake of Charles Gounod’s 1867 Shakespearean opera “Romeo et Juliette.” I could flee the hall at halftime — that’s March madness for entr’acte — and walk away whistling the happy marriage duet that ends the opera’s first half. By the time stabbed and poisoned bodies started to pile up on stage, I could have been sipping a latte at Biggby’s while catching up on Kyle Melinn’s column. Even the opera’s doomed lovers agreed to this in principle: Better to slip out of the bedchamber while the nightingale is still singing, before the lark summons the cruel dawn. But I didn’t, and I’m glad. I would have missed the best part of the show.
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Wednesday, March 24,2010

Laughter, tears and pepperoni

MSU’s Artificial Language Lab celebrates 35 years.

by Lawrence Cosentino
Photos Lawrence Cosentino/City Pulse In 1974, Donald Sherman, disabled by a facial paralysis called Moebius syndrome, became the first person to use a computer voice to order a pizza. Last week he watched a tape of the event in the office of John Eulenberg, director of MSU’s Artificial Language Lab.
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Wednesday, March 24,2010

OMG, it’s in A minor

Violinist Schmidt is old-school, Web-savvy

by Lawrence Cosentino
It’s a digital life for a man with an analog soul. His parents played for the Philadelphia Opera Co., so he grew up in the Academy of Music’s Great Hall, home of the legendary Philadelphia Orchestra. The lush “Philadelphia sound,” nurtured by conductors Leopold Stokowski and Eugene Ormandy, pillowed his ears from youth.
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Wednesday, March 17,2010

Master P to masterpiece

Ella Joyce speaks for Rosa Parks in ’Rose’

by Lawrence Cosentino
“It’s the part I was born to play,” Joyce said. “I have actually felt her spirit right down inside of me on stage.” spur a court challenge to discrimina- Best known for her leading role in the tory seating practices on Montgomery socially conscious Fox sitcom “Roc,” which buses.
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Wednesday, March 17,2010

Gregarious guitars

L.A. Quartet finds strength in numbers

by Lawrence Cosentino
With arrangers like Kanengiser in the group, the entire universe of music is theirs to pillage, with one restriction: no electronics. In addition, all of the quartet’s material ' old, new, borrowed or blue ' has to make guitar sense. On Sunday’s slate, for example, is a crowdpleasing arrangement of six pieces from Bizet’s opera “Carmen.
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Wednesday, March 17,2010

Breaking new ground

by Lawrence Cosentino
On Tuesday morning, Kevin Waldman’s biggest headache was protecting big shots like architect Zaha Hadid, billionaire tycoon Eli Broad, Michigan State University president Lou Anna Simon and Gov. Jennifer Granholm from stepping in the March mud at the groundbreaking of MSU’s Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum.
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Wednesday, March 10,2010

Rainbows and monsters

Show spotlights artwork of autistic students

by Lawrence Cosentino
The show isn’t all rainbows. At Sunday’s reception, Ben Davis, a sophomore at Charlotte High School, stood proudly next to a display case of insectoid horrors made of ceramic, clay, wire and acrylic paint. Davis caught me looking into the blood-red mouth of a spidery thing with a lot of eyes.
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