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.

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Steve Owen at Artspree & Dublin Guitar Quartet

Mar 30, 2014

Rachel Barton Price and Geoff Robson with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra talk about "Rock Camp," a three-day intense music camp for youth happening March 28-30.

Alan Douglas and Case Dillard discuss "Tuesday at Morrie," a play that opens at the Weekend Theater in Little Rock on April 4. 

The Hourglass Project

The Hendrix College Department of Theatre, Arts, and Dance will produce the world premiere of The Hourglass Project, by award-winning playwright Lee Blessing, on Wednesday, March 5, through Friday, March 7, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 8, at 2 p.m. in Cabe Theatre.

Admission is free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended.  

Martina Filjak

Pianist Martina Filjak is a guest on this week's program. She is set to perform Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto # 1 in B minor with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, as part of the ASO's Masterworks season opener. She discusses her childhood in Croatia and how she kept focus on her training despite undergoing the hardships of her country's War of Independence. She comments both on her career since that difficult time and on the piece she is slated to perform at her upcoming concert in Little Rock.

Sasha Cooke

Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano, opens this year's Artspree Season at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's Stella Boyle Smith concert hall. Cooke is a well established opera singer,  fostering a career that may place her in the next generation of memorable singers. She talks about her background and growing up in Texas. There she was raised by parents who loved all forms of art: exhibits, theater, concerts, etc.

Pal Joey & Artist INC

Sep 2, 2013

Producer Peter Schneider and writer Patrick Pacheco discuss how they have reshaped The Rogers and Hart 1940 musical Pal Joey. The new production will have its premiere outing at the start of the Arkansas Repertory Theater's 2013-14 season.

Rembrandt Self-Portrait from 1665
American Federation of Arts

Todd Herman, Director of the Arkansas Arts Center discusses the Kenwood House exhibit, featuring works from Rembrandt, Van Dycke, Gainsborough and other masters. Herman tells how the exhibit came to Little Rock, one of only four U.S. cities to host it (Houston, Seattle, Milwaukee were the others) . He answers those pressing questions 'Why?' and 'How?' this impressive exhibit could possibly reach this small city. The exhibit closes September 28th.

Fantasy Author & Heifer Advocate Patrick Rothfuss

Jul 14, 2013

Patrick Rothfuss, author of The King Killer Chronicle, discusses this ongoing trilogy of fantasy novels.  He has already published The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear, both now in paperback.  His third work in the trilogy is eagerly awaited by many.

In this program he describes his passion for reading all subjects, particularly Fantasy, and discusses genre as well as his approach to writing. Rothfuss is also admired locally for his efforts to raise money for Heifer International.

America And Its Trees

Jul 7, 2013

Eric Rutkow, author of the book American Canopy: Trees, Forests & The Making of a Nation, is a guest on this week's program. He was also a featured author at the 10th annual Arkansas Literary Festival this year. He talks about how this book first came about while explaining his fascination with trees and their unique role as seen through the lens of history. 

2013-14 ASO Masterworks Concert Series

Jun 30, 2013

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Music Director Philip Mann introduces the 2013-14 Masterworks Concert Series. He describes how he put together this season's selections which include works by Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Mahler. Mann talks about the soloists who are coming to perform and the ASO's "Composer of the Year," who will give a world premiere of a work written for the ASO musicians.

Double Reed Players & Chris Brubeck

Jun 23, 2013

English Horn player Beth Wheeler and Lorraine Duso Kitts, an oboist, are heading to the International Double Reed Conference in Los Angeles. They have been invited there by composer John Steinmetz. Steinmetz also composed the piece that he, Wheeler and Kitts will perform as the DDG Trio. The theme of this year's conference is American Composers. All three talk about how excited they are to be part of the event. 

Also, Chris Brubeck of the group Triple Play, explains how his father Dave's last appearance was recorded. It is now available on CD.

New Opera & Theatre Productions In Arkansas

Jun 16, 2013

Tom Cockrell is the Artistic Director of Opera in the Ozarks. He elaborates on his preparation for this year's festival auditions and works which include Madame Butterfly, Elixir of Love and The Pirates of Penzance.

Also, Bob Hupp, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre's producing Artistic Director discusses the highlights of the upcoming 2013-2014 season. The reasons behind these selections are topics of this conversation.

New Plays Festival & Artist LaToya Hobbs

Jun 9, 2013
TheatreSquared Logo
TheatreSquared Facebook page

Bob Ford and Martin Miller are, respectively, the Artistic and Managing Directors of TheatreSquared. The northwest Arkansas company will be hosting its 5th annual New Plays Festival this month (June 14-16). The festival will feature readings of four new plays by several professional actors as well as performances of 10 minute plays by Arkansas High Schoolers and a 24-Hour "Play-Off".

The cast of Avenue Q
John David Pittman / Arkansas Repertory Theatre

Robert Kolby Harper is director of the Arkansas Rep's final show this season, Avenue Q. He explains the appeal of this unusual musical, winner of 3 Tony awards and why it is great fun.

Also, Music Director Peter Bay and General Director Todd Cranson of the 18th Hot Springs Music Festival continue their discussion about this year's theme for the festival, "Coming of Age". The festival also celebrates the 100th birthday of Benjamin Britten as well as the 200th of Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi.

On this week's program: Debra Mathis, Little Rock native, activist, political writer and journalist is the keynote speaker for the 69th annual Arkansas Writers Conference on May 31st and Junes 1st in Little Rock. She tells about where she's been and what she's been up to since leaving Arkansas' capital city around 1992.

Clinton School Graduates & Local Author Garry Powell

May 20, 2013

Two graduates from the 7th class of the Clinton School of Public Service, Andrea Price and John Vollertsen, both from Arkansas, discuss their experience at the school and their future plans.

Bobby Roberts, Director of the Central Arkansas Library System, discusses the building of the new Children's Library. Other topics include the CALS's next event, part of a lecture series presented by the Architecture and Design Network, where Roberts and architect Reese Rowland will describe process. The lecture takes place at the new library at 6 pm, Tuesday May 14th.

Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra Conductor Geoffrey Robson, Concert Master Taylor McKie and Principle Viola Olivia Richardson talk about their upcoming side-by-side concert with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Both McKie and Richardson are High School Seniors. Olivia is also winner of the ASO Guild SBS Young Artist Competition in piano. The three guests also talk about the visit of internationally acclaimed violinist Midori to Little Rock.

UALR Opera & Scotsman Brian McNeill

Apr 28, 2013

Chair of the UALR Music Department, Karen Bryan chats about the university's  Opera Workshop production of Gian Carlo Menotti's two short operas, "The Telephone" and "The Medium." She also discusses her future plans.

Also, Brian McNeill, Scottish musician, singer and composer is a guest of the Little Rock Folk Club on May 2nd. He delves into his history at the Royal Scottish Academy of Drama and Music, where he he was head of the Scottish Music. He explains why he left that institution in order to return to his first love, performing and composing. / John David Pittman

Movie and Television Actor Robert Walden plays Willy Loman in the Arkansas Repertory Theater's production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. In this episode of the Arts Scene, he talks about his background and connection to the play. He also reveals his approach to the role.

Wikimedia Commons

Author Richard Ford, recipient of a Pulitzer Prize (for Independence Day) and featured guest of the 10th annual Arkansas Literary Festival, talks about his latest novel, Canada.  The process of writing, the development of characters and setting are topics of this discussion with the writer who once called Little Rock home.

Violinist Midori & Jazz Musician Chris Brubeck

Apr 7, 2013

Internationally acclaimed violinist Midori visited Little Rock to perform with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and work with young musicians in the area. She talks about her performances, philanthropic efforts and the need for youth orchestras.

Also, Chris Brubeck of the group Triple Play discusses  writing symphonic music for orchestra, jazz and the need to keep improvising, while touching on the influence of his father, Dave Brubeck.

Kevin Cole: Straight From the Soul

Oct 21, 2012

Native son, Kevin Cole, returned to the city of Pine Bluff to showcase and celebrate 25 years of artistry with a retrospective exhibition hosted by the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Poetry Slam Champ Reads at UALR

Feb 6, 2012

A reading by poet Patricia Smith will take place at UALR on February 6, 2012.

Patricia Smith is the author of six books of poetry, including the 2008 National Book Award finalist Blood Dazzler, chronicling the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, and Teahouse of the Almighty, a National Poetry Series Selection.