Calendar Highlights: Oct. 27, 2009

Perkins ChapelService of Memory: SMU’s Office of the Chaplain and Religious Life and Perkins School of Theology invite faculty, staff and students to honor the University community members who have passed away in 2009 during the annual Service of Memory at noon Oct. 28 in Perkins Chapel.

Levine Endowed Lecture: Biblical studies expert Marvin Sweeney, professor of Hebrew Bible at Claremont School of Theology in California, will discuss “Reading the Bible after the Holocaust” in SMU’s 7th Nate and Ann Levine Endowed Lecture in Jewish Studies at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall.

Clements Center Lecture: Bob Moser, editor of the Texas Observer and an award-winning political reporter for The Nation, will discuss his new book on how changing attitudes and shifting demographics have created the potential for a Democratic Party revival in the South. “Blue Dixie: Awakening the South’s Democratic Majority” begins at noon Oct. 29 in the Texana Room, DeGolyer Library. Bring your lunch; books will be available for purchase. Presented by SMU’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies, the Geurin-Pettus Program in the Department of Political Science, and DeGolyer Library.

'The Wizard of Waxahachie' book coverInside baseball: Author Warren Corbett visits SMU Oct. 29 to discuss The Wizard of Waxahachie: Paul Richards and the End of Baseball as We Knew It, his new book on the life and 60-year baseball career of a Texan who became one of major league baseball’s legends, published by SMU Press. Reception at 6 p.m. in the Texana Room; lecture and book signing at 6:30 p.m. in the Stanley Marcus Reading Room. Presented by SMU Press, DeGolyer Library and Friends of the SMU Libraries.

Tech talk: SMU’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) presents its first annual Technology Fair 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center lower level. Meet vendor representatives; attend sessions on security, software and applications such as Locker and Office; or visit the Blackboard Help Desk and the Cell Phone First Aid table. The festivities include giveaways and a drawing for a USB hub. For more information, visit the OIT website.

Meadows Symphony Orchestra: The season’s second concert features Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major with international artist and Meadows faculty member Joaquín Achúcarro as soloist, as well as Above Light – a conversation with Toru Takemitsu by new Meadows faculty member Xi Wang and Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes of Weber by Hindemith. The music starts at 8 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30 and Nov. 1, in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 each for SMU faculty, staff and students. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

Achúcarro performs during Europe Week in D.C.

Joaquin Achucarro with Ambassador of Spain to the U.S. Jorge DezcallarJoaquín Achúcarro, Joel Estes Tate Professor of Piano in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, took part in the Spanish Embassy‘s celebration of 2009 Europe Week with a performance May 17 at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. Among the attendees was His Excellency Jorge Dezcallar, Spain’s ambassador to the United States. Achúcarro is a native of Bilbao.

Europe Week, sponsored by the Delegation of the European Commission to the USA and the Embassies of the Member States of the European Union, features events “designed to create a better understanding of the European Union” and “celebrating … the EU’s transatlantic relationship with the U.S.,” according to the EU’s Europe Week website.

The performance was one of the inaugural events announcing the Joaquín Achúcarro Foundation. Dallasite Janet Kafka, an honorary consul of Spain, conceived the idea to observe the 50th anniversary of Achúcarro’s debut by establishing a foundation in his honor. She developed it with two international artists who are also Achúcarro protégés: SMU faculty member Alessio Bax (’96, ’98) and his wife, Lucille Chung. The two are now the foundation’s artistic co-directors.

Emma and Joaquin Achucarro with Alessio Bax and Lucille ChungThe Joaquín Achúcarro Foundation will help provide young pianists with performance opportunities and grants for continuing study and travel, as well as help underwrite master classes for up-and-coming students. To date, the foundation has sponsored three master class series at Dallas’ Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

In addition, Achúcarro is the subject of a forthcoming DVD on the Opus Arte label that will include a new performance of Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto with conductor Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra. Achúcarro made his professional debut with the orchestra as the winner of the 1959 Liverpool Competition.

Top right: Joaquín Achúcarro and Ambassador of Spain to the United States Jorge Dezcallar. Lower right: Alessio Bax, Emma and Joaquín Achúcarro and Lucille Chung. Photos © Greg Schaler.

Alessio Bax wins 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant

alessio-bax-2009-300.jpgPianist Alessio Bax (’96, ’98), a faculty member in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, has been awarded a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant, as announced last week by the Avery Fisher Artist Program in New York City.

The program, administered by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, is one of the most prestigious in the music world. The $25,000 Career Grants give professional assistance and recognition to talented instrumentalists who are considered to have great potential for solo careers. Artists do not apply, and the nomination process is secret. Past winners include such artists as Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Pamela Frank, and SMU faculty members Chee-Yun and Andrés Díaz.

Additionally, Bax recently was selected for a 3-year residency at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, to begin in fall 2009. As a member of the CMS Two program for outstanding musicians, he will be featured in various performances at Lincoln Center and on various CMS tours and projects. In March 2009, he made his Lincoln Center debut with a sold-out concert in which he worked with and performed music by Grawemeyer Award-winning composer Sebastian Currier.

In 1997, at age 19, Bax took first prize at the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in Japan. In 2000, he won the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, considered the Olympics of international piano competition. His performances have been described as “real music-making that makes its own world on stage and invites the audience in as guests” (The Independent), and “successfully combining authority and poetry” (Daily Telegraph). He has appeared with major orchestras from Dallas and London to Rome and Tokyo and has worked with conductors including Marin Alsop, Vernon Handley and Owain Arwel Hughes.

Bax’s 2004 debut CD, Baroque Reflections (Warner Classic), was selected as “Editor’s Choice” by Gramophone magazine and “Best Buy” by Classical FM magazine. His second CD, Bach Transcribed (Signum Records), will be released in summer 2009.

A student of Joel Estes Tate Professor of Piano Joaquín Achúcarro, Bax received his Artist Certificate and his Master’s degree in music from SMU.

(Photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco, courtesy of Herbert Barrett Management.)

Alessio Bax performs in Meadows Distinguished Artist Series Mar. 1

Alessio BaxInternational award-winning pianist and SMU faculty member Alessio Bax will perform in the Meadows School of the Arts’ 2007-08 Distinguished Artist Recital Series Mar. 1. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center.

First-prize winner of both the renowned Leeds and Hamamatsu international competitions, Bax has played with major orchestras from London to Tokyo to Dallas and with significant music festivals worldwide. His concert program features Bach’s “Air” from Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major and “Siciliano” from his Sonata for Flute and Harpsichord; Beethoven’s Sonata in F Minor, Op. 57 (“Appassionata”) and Brahms’ Four Ballades, Op. 10 and Variations on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 35, Book 1.

A student of Joaquín Achúcarro, SMU’s Joel Estes Tate Professor of Piano, Bax received his Artist Certificate (1996) and Master of Music degree in piano performance (1998) from the University.

Tickets are $7 for SMU faculty, staff and students. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 8-2787 (8-ARTS).

Pianist Joaquín Achúcarro to play in Distinguished Artist Recital Series

Joaquin AchucarroJoaquín Achúcarro, international performing artist and Joel Estes Tate Professor of Piano in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, will perform in the School’s 2007-08 Distinguished Artist Recital Series Nov. 16. His performance begins at 8 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center.

Achúcarro will perform Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann Op. 9, Rhapsody Op. 79 and Klavierstuke Op. 119; Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit; and five preludes by Debussy.

The Spanish artist launched an internationally acclaimed piano performance career with a victory at the Liverpool International Competition in 1959. Since then, he has performed in 59 countries with more than 200 orchestras and 300 conductors, and has been described as “one of the greats” by ABC in Madrid and “the consummate artist” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Tickets are $7 for faculty and staff. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 8-2787 (8-ARTS).