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UNCSA’s spring semester goes out with a bang, and then some

by Mark Burger

The UNC School of the Arts will close out the performance season of its spring semester with a series of special events designed to showcase the talents of its students. First up, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday is the UNCSA Grand Symphony Orchestra’s concert at the Stevens Center (405 W. 4 th St., Winston-Salem), which features the combined talents of the UNCSA Symphony and the UNCSA Philharmonia.

The Grand Symphony Orchestra will perform Yevgeniy Sharlat’s Nocturne for violin and orchestra fearing UNSCA School of Music alumna and violinist Angela Story, Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini featuring UNCSA Concerto Competition champ and pianist Hsin-I Huang, and Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 4.” Story, who originally hails from Emerald Isle, NC and has a bachelor’s degree in violin performance, has served as concertmaster for both the UNCSA and Boston Conservatory symphonies, and has vast experience as a teacher, including faculty positions at Salem College and, now, at UNCSA. She performed live at the 50 th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles as the invitation of UNCSA Chancellor John Mauceri. She is also a member of both the Winston-Salem Symphony and the Carolina Chamber Symphony. Huang, who originally hails from Taiwan, is currently a highschool candidate for graduation from UNCSA, where he studies with artist/teacher Eric Larsen. Huang has performed throughout Europe, Asia and the United States, and has performed previously at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and as a soloist with both the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra and the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra. Brandishing the baton for this classical concert is internationally acclaimed flautist and orchestral conductor Ransom Wilson. Maestro Wilson, himself a graduate of the School of Music, is the new director of the Symphony Orchestra, as well as an artist/teacher at the School of Music. He is the founder and conductor of the Solisti New York Orchestra and the former artistic director of the OK MOZART International Festival in Oklahoma. Wilson, who has been the guest conductor of many prestigious ensembles (including the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the New York City Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, to name a few), has recorded 30 albums as both performer and conductor, earning three Grammy Award nominations along the way. Tickets are $12 (general admission) and $10 (students and senior citizens). For tickets or more information, see www.uncsa.edu/performances or call 336.721.1945. This being one of the biggest blow-outs of the UNCSA season, reservations would probably be a good idea.

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Not to be outdone, the UNCSA School of Filmmaking has its own program on tap to close out the semester: Screenings of its third- and fourth-year student films. Here’s a perfect opportunity to see for yourselves the sort of filmmaking talent being fostered at UNCSA. The 3 rd Year Student Film Screenings will be held on May 28 at 7 p.m. (Main Theatre) and 8 p.m. (Babcock Theatre) at the School of Filmmaking’s ACE Cinematheque Complex, located on the UNCSA main campus (1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem). The 4 th Year Student Film Screenings will commence on May 29 at 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. (Main Theatre) and 8 p.m. (Babcock Theatre). Admission is $5. Speaking of the School of Filmmaking, one of last year’s student shorts has been selected as a finalist for the 36 th annual

Student Academy Awards competition. Yes, the Academy Awards — the ones given out by AMPAS (the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). The historical drama 1915 is one of nine finalists in the “narrative” category. The film was directed by Marco Garcia (who graduated last year), produced by Cameron Strittmatter, written by Matthew Howlett, photographed by Jeff Taylor, edited by Kevin Tadge, with art direction by Mallory Holloway. Ben Yannette, a fourth-year School of Drama student, stars in the lead role. The film’s composer was Bruce Keisling, who graduated from the film music composition master’s program last year. Academy members will vote on the films and select the winners, who will receive their awards at a ceremony at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverly Hills on June 13. The UNCSA School of Filmmaking has a history with the Student Academy Awards competition: Randolph Benson’s Man and Dog won a gold medal in the competition 10 years ago, and the school has also honored regional winners. Last December, Garcia, the director of 1915, was awarded the Latino Student Award at the 14 th annual DGA Eastern Student Film Awards, hosted by the DGA (Director’s Guild of America) in New York, while cinematographer Taylor received an honorable mention in the undergraduate competition of the American Society of Cinematographer (ASC)’s Burton Stone Heritage Award for his work on the film. The Grand Symphony Orchestra concert and the 3 rd – and 4 th -year screenings are among the last chances to see the UNSCA students at work until the fall semester. Earlier this year, unfortunately, it was announced that the annual UNC Festival of the Arts (scheduled last month) and UNCSA Summer Performance Festival at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo (originally slated for June 23-Aug. 1) would be suspended for one year due to budget concerns. (Hopefully, they’ll be back in 2010 and better than ever!) For more information about UNCSA, see www.uncsa.edu.

To comment on this story, e-mail Mark Burger at marksburger@yahoo.com.

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