College of Fine Arts News Archive

February 2016

  • SFA pianist to perform recital with his children

    SFA pianist to perform recital with his children

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    Mario Ajero, associate professor of piano pedagogy at Stephen F. Austin State University, will present a recital with his children, Olivia, 7, and Antonio, 11, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    February 8, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    Mario Ajero, associate professor of piano pedagogy at Stephen F. Austin State University, will present a faculty recital at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    The piano concert, which also features Ajero’s children, Antonio, 11, and Olivia, 7, is a joint presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music and is part of the Cole Performing Arts Series.

    Ajero has performed before SFA audiences with his son, who is an award-wining pianist, on several occasions.

    “Many people are familiar with my 11-year-old son Antonio due to his recent accomplishments,” Ajero said. “Not a lot of people realize his 7-year-old sister Olivia also plays piano and shows similar promise. I am looking forward to this opportunity to share the stage and piano with my two kids.”

    The program includes Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 81a as one of the featured works. It is sometimes known as the “Les Adieux” sonata, according to Ajero. The work was started in 1809 and depicts the departure of Beethoven’s patron Archduke Rudolf who fled Vienna due to the advancing Napoleon and his army upon the city.

    “The first movement is entitled ‘Das Lebewohl’ and is a musical farewell to the archduke,” Ajero said. “The opening motive imitates a distant horn call where Beethoven makes his intentions known by writing the word ‘Le-be-wohl’ over the three notes. The second movement, ‘Das Abwesenheit,’ expresses Beethoven’s feeling of loss and loneliness due to the departure of the Archduke. The third movement, ‘Das Wiedersehen,’ is a brilliant display of musical euphoria on Beethoven’s hope to see his friend once again some day.”

    Two pieces from “Estampes” by French impressionist composer Claude Debussy will also be on the program. The first piece, “Pagodes” demonstrates the heavy influence of Asian music on Debussy after he witnessed a Javanese gamelan group at the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris, Ajero explained.

    “His ability to bring this distinct Asian sound to the piano, especially in this piece, was quite revolutionary,” he said. “‘Jardins sous la pluie’ (Gardens in the Rain) is a toccata showpiece with a wide palette of chromatic, whole tone, major and minor keys and relentless rhythms to evoke the imagery of rain-soaked gardens. Within the work, Debussy incorporates French folk tunes for moments of respite, but the storm builds up again to a climax until the sun breaks through as the tonality shifts from minor to major at the end.”

    The performance will also feature “Romance” by Sergei Rachmaninoff, which comes from two pieces for six hands at one piano and was composed in 1891 for three sisters who were cousins of the composer.

    Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

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  • SFA theatre students to perform in ‘Clybourne Park’

    SFA theatre students to perform in ‘Clybourne Park’

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    February 8, 2016—Robbie Goodrich

    The School of Theatre at Stephen F. Austin State University will present “Clybourne Park” by Bruce Norris at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Feb. 23 through 27, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

    Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for drama, “Clybourne Park” was written in response to the classic “A Raisin In the Sun.” Passionate, balanced, funny and as timely as today’s headlines, “Clybourne Park” is a play for every American to see and to ponder, according to Zach Hanks, assistant professor of theatre at SFA and the play’s director.

    “I saw ‘Clybourne Park’ at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis a few years ago, and the experience was everything I go to the theatre to do – I laughed, I ached, and I thought deeply about myself, my attitudes and my culture,” Hanks said. “The themes around racism, discrimination and privilege are as timely now as they ever were. We’re in a post-Civil Rights Movement era, but grappling with the new versions of the same old injustices and conflicts.

    “This play shows us that the more things change – from ‘the Greatest Generation’ in Act I to the ‘Generation X’ characters in Act II – the more things stay the same,” he said.

    The School of Theatre produced the classic “A Raisin in the Sun” to enthusiastic audience response in 2010. In “Raisin,” an African American family in 1959 Chicago is moving to a white neighborhood, Clybourne Park. The first act of the newer play is set on the same day as one scene in “Raisin,” in the house that the family is buying. The second act is set in the same house 50 years later, with the tables turned – a white family now seeks to buy the house from a black family.

    “But many painful issues are still unresolved,” Hanks said.

    “Clybourne Park” features mature themes, suggestive dialogue, and very coarse language, including some profanity, which may not be suitable for younger audiences. Cigarette smoking is simulated in the production. In other media, this show might be rated “R” or “TV-MA.”

    “The strong language and mature themes make this a play for mature audiences, surely, but the social issues addressed are certainly ones we hope adult theatergoers may be inspired to discuss with their children the following day,” Hanks said.

    Single tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for students/youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

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