Weber State University’s Cultural Affairs program is one of the only performing arts series along the Wasatch Front to offer a little bit of everything. No matter what your taste you’ll find it in Ogden – chamber, folk and world music along with dance and theater. And that’s exactly how Cultural Affairs director Diane Stern wants it. She wants to expose her audience not only to classical music but to the rich diversity the performing arts have to offer.
And today, that diversity crosses genres. The first concert of the new season is a perfect example of that. This Friday cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley join forces in a program that will extend the boundaries of what’s been traditionally considered classical music. “Both artists have always thought outside the box,” Stern said. Neither performer will divulge the program beforehand. “They’ll be announcing it from the stage,” she said. And you can expect anything from Bach and Chopin to Piazzolla and Radiohead.
Haimovitz and O’Riley (whom most people know as the host of the long running and popular radio show From the Top, which airs locally Saturdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. on Classical 89) will be arriving in Ogden early, because they each have other events they’ll be taking part in before Friday’s concert. On Thursday at 12 p.m. Haimovitz will give a flash concert at Queen Bee, 270 Historic 25th St., Ogden. Friday at noon, O’Riley will be in WSU’s Student Union Building in a “meet the artist” type of informal setting. “I invite everyone to come to Matt’s flash concert and to Chris’ chat,” Stern said. “Both are going to be a lot of fun.”
On the classical side, the Brentano Quartet will be coming to WSU on Dec. 3 with music by Schubert, Bartók and Beethoven. “I saw them for the first time at the La Jolla festival in California 11 years ago and they were just amazing,” Stern said.
In between these two concerts, Stern has invited choreographer Aszure Barton. “One of the pieces her company will be doing is called ‘Busk’ and deals with street performers,” Stern said. “Aszure’s company is stunning. They’re physically strong and their work is strong.” That performance takes place on Oct. 22.
The rest of the season will see the Yuval Ron Ensemble coming to Ogden on Feb. 11, 2012, and Solas on March 23, 2012. Both of these shows will take place in Peery’s Egyptian Theater.
“As a group, Yuval Ron’s mission is peace,” Stern said. “Their music is taken from Arabic, Jewish and Christian traditions. They make beautiful music and they make this happen.”
Solas is a Celtic band, but with a local twist. “They tell the story of Irish immigrants in Montana a hundred years ago,” Stern said. She added that there is a personal connection between the group and The Treasure State: one of the members of the ensemble had a grandfather who was working the mines in Montana at the turn of the last century and was murdered in a dispute between the Irish and the other miners. “This should be an interesting show because they will bring films and pictures from that time which will be screened during the performance.”
Rounding out the season, O’Riley will be returning to Ogden on March 8, 2012, to host a live taping of From the Top. “I’m anxious to have local Utah youth in the show, because there is a lot of music in this state,” Stern said. The kids have to audition to be on the show, and to that end Ray Kimber, who has a recording studio at WSU, will make a professional grade recording they can send to the show’s producers. To arrange an appointment for a recording session call the Cultural Affairs office as soon as possible at 801-626-6570.
Below is a rundown of concerts. Start time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available online at www.weberstatetickets.com or by phone at 800-978-8457.
Sept. 16, Austad Auditorium, Val Browning Center, Weber State University: Christopher O’Riley and Matt Haimovitz ($15/$12).
Oct. 22, Allred Theater, Val Browning Center, Weber State University: Aszure Barton ($15/$12).
Dec. 3, Allred Theater, Val Browning Center, Weber State University: Brentano String Quartet ($15/$12).
Feb. 11, 2012, Peery’s Egyptian Theater, 2415 Washington Blvd., Ogden: Yuval Ron Ensemble ($15/$12).
March 8, 2012, Austad Auditorium, Val Browning Center, Weber State University: From the Top ($10).
March 23, 2012, Peery’s Egyptian Theater, 2415 Washington Blvd., Ogden: Solas ($15/$12).
What: Christopher O’Riley and Matt Haimovitz
Location: Austad Auditorium, Val Browning Center, Weber State University
Time and Date: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16
Tickets: $12 and $15
ALSO: Matt Haimovitz Flash Concert, Queen Bee, 270 Historic 25th St., Ogden, 12 p.m. Sept. 15, free.
ALSO: Christopher O’Riley in a “Meet the Artist Chat,” Student Union Building, Weber State University, Sept. 16, 12 p.m., free.