Arts Scene

Sundays at Noon on KLRE & at 5:30 p.m. on KUAR
  • Hosted by Ann Nicholson
  • Local Host Daniel Breen

Arts Scene explores what's happening in the arts in Arkansas. Since 1985, Ann Nicholson has produced and hosted this weekly fine arts magazine.

Where there is an arts performance, art exhibit, or a literary artist with a new book, Nicholson is there. She maintains close connections with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, UALR Artspree and Opera in the Ozarks at Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony in Eureka Springs.

"I want our listeners to gain a new experience from each program. I look for persons in the arts that I think will not only indulge my interests, but also those in the audience. I try to give them a little bit of extra personal background that they wouldn't get anywhere else," says Nicholson.

Born in India, the daughter of a British Army Officer, and educated in India, Kashmir, Scotland, and England, Nicholson immigrated to Canada in 1958 and then to the United States in 1962. She received a double BA degree in music education and music history from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. Nicholson continued her graduate education in Musicology at the University of Kentucky. Ann was the recipient of the 2003 Aha! Cultural Spirit Award, in recognition of her years of work supporting the arts community in Arkansas.

Contact information:

The 72nd Arkansas Writers Conference opens on Friday, June 3rd in the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 201 S. Shackleford Road in Little Rock. For 72 years the conference has focused on Arkansas Writers. Ann Nicholson, host of Arts Scene, had the privilege of interviewing some of the recent speakers brought in for the conference and, this year, the two highlighted are well known to her. These writers are Janis Kearney, who is being inducted into the Arkansas Writers Hall of Fame on Friday, June 3rd, and Laura Parker Castoro, herself an inductee in 2005.

Another change in the Little Rock theatre world is the retirement of Jay Raphael, UALR's Head of Theatre and Dance. He took over the position 11 years ago, after the department had been without an official leader for some time, which gave him a number of routes to follow. He is Ann Nicholson's guest on today's program and he talks about what led him into theatre and to UALR.

The Intimate Neighborhood Concert Series has been a most successful addition to the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra season, initiated in January 2013. That concert, the first of the series, is also memorable for the guest soloist and organist, Justin Bischof, performing the concerto by Francis Poulenc. Dr. Bischof is particularly noted for his exceptional ability as an improviser on the organ, which was heard when he followed the aforementioned concerto with an encore on the initials Philip Mann, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's Music Director Conductor. Dr.

Each year, Anne Nicholson, host of Arts Scene, looks forward to meeting two members of the current graduating class from the Clinton School of Public Service. This is the 10th class, since the first in 2004. That year, Anne had guests before the course had begun. Four came onto the program: two students escorted by Senator Pryor (Jean Pierre Bekolo and Greg Holyfield) and then two as graduates (Erika Hall and Jennifer Flowers). In the years since, there has been a wonderful mix of backgrounds and countries.

When it was announced this past January that Bob Hupp was to step down as producing/artistic director of the Arkansas Rep, it was "Front Page News" for the state of Arkansas, Little Rock, and all of those who benefited over the past 17 years from the remarkable variety of programs everyone has enjoyed. It is also important to mention the equally remarkable actors that have showcased their talents on the Rep's stages. Ann Nicholson, host of Arts Scene, bided her time and when Bob became available, he came into the studio and gave the interview attached above.

In this episode of Arts Scene, Dr. Andrew Morgan, Choral Conductor at Hendrix College in Conway, AR, comes on the air to discuss his career, as well as Hendrix's upcoming production of Carl Orff's famous cantata, "Carmina Burana."

The following biographical information on Dr. Morgan was obtained from

Since the age of four when he sang “Away in a Manger” at a Christmas Eve church service, Andrew Morgan’s life has revolved around music.


1.) Mark Boling, Guitarist - The Mark Boling Trio will perform at UALR on April 3.

The Mark Boling Trio will be performing music from their most recent recording “Trio Life.” The concert will include original compositions and arrangements of jazz standards with roots in the tradition of the great guitar trios led by Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Jim Hall, John Scofield, and Pat Metheny.

2.) Tatiana Roitman Mann & Cindy Wu - Performing at Harding University in Searcy on March 31.

Arts Scene: If All Arkansas Read The Same Book

Mar 24, 2016

If All Arkansas Read the Same Book is a project begun in 2001 when the Arkansas State Library chose a book that it then introduced statewide, also then bringing in the author to encourage a wider reading public. The first author was Terry Kay, and his book, To Dance with the White Dog.

To read is one of the greatest gifts. To be immersed in a book, in a story to the exclusion of all else. What could be better? It gets better with me, because I can talk about the book with the author. And the 2015 State Library choice is Jenny Wingfield, and her novel, her first: The Homecoming of Samuel Lake.

Arts Scene: UALR Opera Gala, UALR Shakespeare Scenes

Mar 9, 2016

Part 1: The Second annual UALR Opera Gala is a chance for those of us who are looking at the voice department with interest, following last year's gala under its director, Rosella Ewing. She is my first guest, and brings us up to date on the developments and activities during the past year and the program to be heard at the gala this coming Thursday.

The UALR Opera Gala is Thu., March 10 at 7 p.m. at the Clinton Presidential Center.

Arts Scene: Lynn Kompass, Lily Afshar, Joe Graves

Mar 9, 2016

Part 1: The third Artspree concert of 2015-2016 brings the Stallard-Eller-Kompass trio from the University of South Carolina. Just before pianist Lynn Kompass and I were to tape the following interview, the trio became a duo. The group’s soprano had an unexpected conflict. However, all three members have considerable careers as soloists, over and above their many faculty commitments, and so they had back up plans.

Part 1: Hendrix College in Conway has a wonderful tradition in the theater department, where, each Spring, a guest director is in residence for several weeks, working with students on the play of choice suggested by the director and approved by the department. This year, Melora Kordos is here. The play chosen is Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. Chicago-born Melora grew up in a theatrical family. An exceptionally fine high school laid the groundwork for what has become her career.

Arts Scene: Bobby Roberts

Feb 14, 2016

It was something of a shock to hear that Bobby Roberts, Director of the Central Arkansas Library System, was retiring. Under his leadership, so much has developed: in the buildings that now serve the downtown campus in the River Market District, a children's library, neighborhood libraries built where the need was apparent. Bobby came to talk about this decision, so, of course, we went back a bit. Born in Helena, well known for its blues festival, a graduate of Helena's Central High School - as he tells it - gave little indication of what he has since achieved and how he did it.

Arts Scene: Composer And Recordist Michael Fine

Feb 12, 2016

The last two weeks in January, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra had an extra-full engagement calendar. Neighborhood concerts, Masterworks pair, new works, visiting composers, and on the 31st, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Youth Orchestra's spring concert. Among the notables on-hand, was musician Michael Fine, a name to conjure with in the recording of classical music. And the recordings he has produced have won just about every major award in the classical recording industry.

Arts Scene: Linda Holzer And Caroline Doctorow

Feb 1, 2016
Kelly Hicks

Part 1: My first guest today, pianist Linda Holzer, has always brought new ideas to the recitals she presents at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, often with guests, friends or colleagues from the UALR music faculty, where she is professor of music and coordinator of piano studies. This by no means covers the whole range, which includes piano lessons and an interdisciplinary course with a professor from the UALR George W. Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology.

There are new works in her recital, but nothing of technology to challenge her audience. She opens the program, joined by baritone and faculty member Farris Allen in three songs, including Prayers and Blessings, a new work by well-known composer Gwyneth Walker. And Linda continues her concept of ear-opener in her program title Ear-Opener! A Celebration of the Known and the New.

Arts Scene: Mendelssohn And Visconti

Jan 28, 2016

Part 1:

What has been called the best-known violin concerto in the world, the best-loved, most easily recognized? All of these apply to the violin concerto by Felix Mendelssohn. An Arkansas audience will certainly be caught up in it from the opening measures January 30-31. The soloist, Kiril Laskarov, is the Arkansas Symphony's Concert Master. He is from Bulgaria, where he received his training, up to his bachelors degree, from the state academy of music in Sofia. In 1995 he won the Bulgarian national competition and all that implied before moving to America where he earned his masters degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He was brought to Arkansas by then-maestro David Itkin to be one of the newly established co-concert masters. He is now in his 17th year with the ASO. 

Peter and the Starcatcher

Part 1:

Arkansas Rep's fourth show of its 2015-2016 season was a bit upstaged by the headlines announcing its director Bob Hupp's resignation, but that news will be two weeks old when Peter and the Starcatcher opens on January 22. Another departure from the usual for Peter and the Starcatcher, is that this is a shared production with Theatre Squared, the northwest Arkansas repertory theater in Fayetteville, which held the production slot for its Christmas show which closed January 3. 

Georgia State University

Carroll Freeman is one of the three judges who will be in Little Rock January 16 for the Metropolitan Opera National Council, Arkansas District auditions. He is an acclaimed singer and performer, known in Arkansas for the years he spent directing Opera in the Ozarks.

Arts Scene Archive: Debi Holmes Binney

Jan 3, 2016

The fourth and final holiday special from the Arts Scene Archives: An interview with author Debi Holmes Binney that first aired Dec. 15, 2000.

Writer Debi Holmes Binney, on a quest for some resolution in her life, spent 40 days and nights alone in the Great Salt Lake Desert keeping a log of the procession of time and what happened to her within it.

Her book, Desert Sojurn, chronicles that experience and how she survived. A few years ago, from November 11, to December 20, she had some truly extraordinary moments. From life threatening to sole satisfying.

Arts Scene Archive: A Cup Of Christmas Tea

Dec 27, 2015
A Cup of Christmas Tea

The third holiday special from the Arts Scene Archives: Author Tom Hegg reads from his poems A Cup of Christmas Tea and A Memory of Christmas Tea.  He and Nicholson also discuss Hegg's life and writing. This program originally aired Christmas week of 1999.

Arts Scene: The Willows in Winter

Dec 20, 2015

Arts Scene host Ann Nicholson performs her yearly Christmastime reading of The Willows in Winter.

Arts Scene Archive: Victor Kulbak

Dec 13, 2015
"VKwikilastanim" by Victor Koulbak - Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Commons -

The first of four holiday specials from the Arts Scene Archives: Silverpoint artist Victor Koulbak speaks with Arts Scene.

Silverpoint drawing is a technique that had long fallen into disuse from its heyday in the 15th and 16th centuries when it was favored by such masters as Leonardo DaVinci and Hans Holbein.

Part 1:

The Arkansas Chamber Singers has given its Christmas Concerts recently in the Old State House Museum, a setting not only artistically, but more importantly, acoustically satisfying, so satisfying that it bids fair to becoming a tradition. John Erwin, director of Choral Studies at UCA in Conway, is the artistic director and conductor of the Chamber Singers, and gives details of the program as well as the theme for the 2015-16 season.

Part 2:

The DDG Trio, Linda Holzer

Feb 19, 2015

Ann speaks with the DDG Trio about its upcoming  performances in the ASO's River Rhapsodies series and with pianist Linda Holzer about her recent performance at UALR.

Anonymous 4 will perform at Christ Episcopal Church in Little Rock, Friday, February 13 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Ann talks with Marsha Genensky, the group's American music researcher, about this program, which focuses on songs of the American Civil War.

The UALR Department of Theatre Arts and Dance presents Scotland Road. Ann sits down with Jay Raphael to discuss the production.

Baritone Mischa Bouvier And Theatre Squared

Feb 1, 2015

Baritone Mischa Bouvier will visit Arkansas to perform for the Chamber Music Society of Little Rock Thursday, February 5.

Theatre Squared in Fayetteville will present Look Away by Bob Ford. Performances run now through February 22.


Jul 25, 2014


Robert Ford, artistic director of TheatreSquared

An interview with author Carla Killough McClafferty about her latest book, Fourth Down and Inches: Concussions and Football's Make-or-Break Moment.

Wildwood Academy of Music and the Arts Summer Program

Jul 13, 2014

Guest: Dr. Tatiana Roitman Mann, Wildwood’s Music Director

From June 9 to July 18, students will work with internationally recognized musicians and artists in two and three week sessions. More experienced students will participate in orchestra and various ensembles, including piano.

The Wild Music Suzuki program will engage beginners in daily Suzuki violin classes. During the Orchestra session, young players from all instrument groups will explore orchestral repertoire ranging from the classical era to the 21st century.

Arkansas Literary Festival & Arkansas Choral Society

Apr 20, 2014


Catherine Coulter, best-selling author coming to Little Rock for the 11th annual Arkansas Literary Festival

Kent Skinner, Director of Arkansas Choral Society 


Christopher Theofanidis, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's Composer of the Year. He talks about the work he was commissioned to write for the symphony's musicians.

Bob Ford and Martin Miller with TheatreSquared. They talk about their production of Hamlet in the Studio Theatre at Walton Arts Center's Nadine Baum Studios.