Staff Picks Featuring UCSD-TV Arts Producer, John Menier

Choosing a few favorites from among hundreds of worthwhile programs is a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. Let’s begin…

SummerFest: Tan Dun’s Water Passion
I’ve twice had the privilege of interviewing Chinese composer Tan Dun, best known for his movie scores (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Hero) and ceremonial music for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Water Passion, which draws from traditional Chinese music for inspiration, is an excellent example of his signature use of organic materials to fashion instruments.

San Diego OperaTalk: Pagliacci
UCSD-TV’s association (and mine) with San Diego Opera and OperaTalk host Nic Reveles stretches back over 20 years and dozens of operas. In the Pagliacci episode Dr. Nic brings his playful erudition and stellar musicianship to bear on Leoncavallo’s verismo masterpiece.

Pay Attention: The Stuart Collection at UC San Diego
The Stuart Collection of 20 site-specific public art installations is one of the glories of the UC San Diego campus. UCSD-TV has documented various artworks from the Collection over time, and Pay Attention is the first comprehensive history and overview.

Malashock Dance + SACRA/PROFANA: Snakeskin
San Diego choreographer and UCSD-TV creative partner John Malashock is a leading exponent and practitioner of dance theater, wherein movement is used in service of a narrative. In Snakeskin Malashock combines forces with composer Krishan Oberoi from the ensemble SACRA/PROFANA to tell a mythic story set in a small Southern town.

High Notes: The Case for Music Education
Your Humble Correspondent has a longstanding interest in arts and music education as a vital component of the curriculum. In High Notes Dalouge Smith, the president and CEO of the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory, guides us through an exploration of the value of learning music in school. Students in music programs have shown improvement in test scores, class attendance, cognitive development, self-esteem, and the ability to work with others.

UC San Diego Library: Celebrating Paper Theater
UC San Diego Library’s Scott Paulson is renowned for innovative live events and exhibitions, including the Teeny-Tiny Pit Orchestra and Short Tales from the Mothership. The 16th Annual Paper Theater Festival showcases over 50 items from Paulson’s personal collection of miniature dioramas and books, table-top re-creations of vintage European theaters, and hand-made projects Paulson designed himself for student-penned plays.

Author Luis Urrea in Conversation with Steven Schick
Born in Tijuana, raised in San Diego, and a UC San Diego alumnus, Luis Urrea writes about “border life” from a uniquely bicultural perspective. Urrea’s lively conversation with Distinguished Professor of Music Steven Schick highlights the same wit, erudition, and compassion he brings to his work.

La Jolla Symphony & Chorus: Copland’s Quiet City
La Jolla Symphony & Chorus is a mainstay of UCSD-TV’s programming, and their performance of Aaron Copland’s haunting Quiet City is a personal favorite of Your Humble Correspondent. Copland’s urban nocturne features beautifully melancholy interludes for trumpet and oboe, performed by Stephanie Richards and Carol Rothrock respectively.

Jewish Music – From Bessarabia to Broadway
UC San Diego Professor of Music Emeritus Cecil Lytle serves as impresario, host, and performer for this entertaining survey of Jewish musical traditions ranging from liturgical songs to Klezmer to Yiddish theater. Lytle’s guests include bassist Bertram Turetzky, singer Eva Barnes, and the Second Avenue Klezmer Band.

Patricia Patterson: Aran Canvas
As a young art student in 1960 Patricia Patterson traveled to Inishmore (Inis Mór), the largest of the rugged islands in Ireland’s Galway Bay. The simplicity of life there affected her deeply, as did the relationships she developed during stays over the next 30 years. Patterson’s memories of Aran became a source of inspiration for numerous paintings, sketches, and photographs.