Steven Levenson’s “If I Forget” began its Off-Broadway run a year ago, closing just six weeks before the now 33-year-old playwright won the Tony Award for writing the book of the acclaimed musical “Dear Evan Hansen.” Cut to February 2018, and South Florida already has its own exquisite production of “If I Forget,” thanks to GableStage artistic director Joseph Adler. Levenson’s fun..
In a career that continues to soar two decades after his first play was produced, Michael McKeever has premiered his dramas, comedies and short plays at theaters all over South Florida. Nearly always, he’s involved in those productions as the author, sometimes as an actor, at times as a set designer. The plays get their start here, then go on to productions (sometimes multiple product..
When M. John Richard decided to leave the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in late 2008 to become president and chief executive officer of Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, he arrived in South Florida with a vision, myriad ideas and a long-term exit strategy. “I knew in 2008 that I had a 10-year run in my tank,” says Richard, 65, who plans to retire from his Arsh..
Friendships can bring seemingly unlike people together to sometime form a strong bond. Such is the case in Walter Dean Myers’ coming of age novel, Darius & Twig. According to the summary notes of the book “Two best friends, a writer and a runner, deal with bullies, family issues, social pressures, and their quest for success coming out of Harlem.” It’s a tale of endurance, perseverance, an..
Kristoffer Diaz’s searing, hilarious and all-too-resonant play “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” isn’t new to South Florida. The 2009 script, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, made its area debut in 2012 in a fierce and fine production at Boca Raton’s Caldwell Theatre Company just a few months before the long-running regional powerhouse folded. Now “Chad Deity” has ret..
“This is no camera, nothing cut. This is real," says Tranee Wallace, whose story is one of three live radio plays in Dan Froot and Company's "Pang!" at Miami Light Project's Light Box at the Goldman Warehouse. Hers is one of a triptych of oral histories adapted into plays of families facing adversity: A Los Angeles single mom who loses the home she and her nine children live in after..
When it comes to farces, Michael Frayn’s “Noises Off” is one of the great ones. The 1982 comedy has made it to Broadway three times, and American audiences all over the country have embraced it in countless regional productions. Actors’ Playhouse is having a go at “Noises Off” as the second show of its 30th anniversary season. The play fits like a period glove on the main stage at the..
The intricate alchemy of inspired theatrical art is on full display in Zoetic Stage’s darkly hilarious, gripping world premiere of Christopher Demos-Brown’s “Wrongful Death and Other Circus Acts.” Demos-Brown, a rising theatrical star whose play “American Son” will open on Broadway in November, has drawn on his experience as a lawyer working on wrongful death cases to create a savage exami..
My Barbarian wanted to take Miami on a boat ride. “We wanted to interact and be out in the public,” Alex Segade reveals over the phone from Los Angeles, where he just got out of rehearsal for My Barbarian’s first Miami show, coming up this Saturday at the Miami Light Project, as part of Miami-Dade College’s Museum of Art and Design’s “Living Together” performance series this season. ..
The time seems right for Karen Finley to be visiting Miami, to be performing in the black box space of the Miami Light Project at the Goldman Warehouse, and to present her latest performance-art manifesto about the current political landscape, “Unicorn Gratitude Mystery.” In the show, which she began developing as a response to the U.S. presidential election in 2016, Finley plays a unicor..
When the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater returns to town this week, Miami native son Jamar Roberts will take center stage. As one of the company’s star dancers, he has long shined as a performer. B..
He says his dance comes from his dreams. French-Algerian choreographer Hervé Koubi’s most recent work, “What the Day Owes the Night” combines Sufi rhythms with cutting edge b-boy moves, class..
A world premiere always comes with a drum roll. And, throughout the years, Miami City Ballet has brought to light its fair share of resounding new works. Still, Brian Brooks’ freshly-minted O..
Wednesday night at the Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall the South Florida Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with the Martha Graham Dance company presented “Appalachian Spring Suite” and “The R..
Cooking may be Dan Froot’s favorite thing. This is saying a lot since Froot is also a composer, a dancer, a sax-player, a play-wright, an oral-historian -- an all-around performance artist an..
With the closing of Tigertail Productions last year, Miami lost one of its preeminent artistic champions. Under the direction of founder Mary Luft, Tigertail brought an endless parade of boundary-..
Anytime would be a good time to devote a dance program to the works of Jerome Robbins, our most versatile and celebrated American-born choreographer. But, given that 2018 marks the centennial..
Due to winter storms in the Northeast impacting travel, with great regrets the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company announced the cancellation of the Saturday, Jan. 6 performance. At age..
It is fitting at this time of the year that our thoughts often turn to what connects us not what divides us. Whether we are driven by religious or secular motives, many of us are in the spiri..
Nikolaj Znaider played in an orchestra for the first time at the age of nine, two years after he began to study violin. He still remembers the sense of discovery, as he listened to the children playing around him.“It’s like if you've only seen a garden,” recalls the now renowned violinist and conductor who will be performing with the Cleveland Orchestra this week. “And then all of a sudden you get to see a forest.”
After winning the International Carl Nielsen Violin Competition at age 16, Znaider soon found himself performing with the world’s top orchestras. But even as his reputation as a soloist soared, he would often slip into the violin section after playing a concerto in the first half of a concert, so he could keep playing after intermission, as a member of the orchestra.
“I had an ambition very early on to start conducting,” he says over the phone, while on a break from conducting an opera in Italy. “So it was a great way to familiarize myself with the impact the conductor has on an orchestra -- and with the feeling of being an orchestral musician.”
Baton now firmly in hand, Znaider is sought after as a conductor, notably serving as the principal guest conductor of the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra since 2010. Yet he keeps coming back to his 1741 Guarneri violin – and to the piece that won him prestige as teenager: the Nielsen Violin Concerto.
“It's like if they give you 10 flowers to smell,” he muses, “you might like all of them, but there's going to be some that you just love, that you want to smell again.”
Composed in 1911, Nielsen’s Violin Concerto is full of lyricism. The orchestra coddles the violin as it cries out a string of memories from long ago. Though he was born and raised in the same country as Nielsen, Denmark, Znaider claims to feel no nationalistic connection to the composer.
Instead, he learned the piece at the urging of Milan Vitek, a famous Czech violin teacher working in Copenhagen at the time. “He loved the piece,” he recalls, “so I learned it with him.”
The bravura embedded in this concerto attests to Nielsen’s own mastery of the violin, and make this virtuosic part severely demanding for the best violinists. But not for Znaider. “When you learn something at 16, it stays with you so deep,” he explains.“All these pieces I learned at that age, you can wake me up in the middle of the night, and I'll play you any of them, without practicing. I can't do that with the pieces I learned when I was 30 or 35.”
For several years, Znaider put the Nielsen concerto aside. Then, he recorded it a second time, in advance of the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth in 2015. “I discovered I liked it even more,” he observed. “Once you come to know the piece, you shed yourself of everything and you return once more to just the pure feeling of the music.”
When conductor Franz Welser-Möst invited Znaider to play the Nielsen at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the violinist jumped at the chance. Having collaborated with the Cleveland Orchestra before, he is eager to get back to what he calls their “wordless dialogue.”
“That’s the magic you feel in the hall,” he continues. “When you feel good musicians thinking together, responding to each other, and you get this feeling in the audience of something being created -- you have the feeling that this piece of music reorganized your molecules somehow.”
If that does happen, might Znaider sneak into the violin section of the Cleveland Orchestra for the concert’s second half
“What are they doing, Sibelius what?” he asks.
Jean Sibelius, Symphony No. 2.
“Yeah, why not?” Znaider laughs. “That could be fun. If they let me.”Nikolaj Znaider performs the Nielsen Violin Concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, 8pm on Thursday Feb. 2 and Saturday, Feb. 4, Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; tickets $39-$173; Arshtcenter.org.
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