Heights Arts highlights May programs

Resonance, by Achala Wali. Mixed media on paper.

In medicine, the noun "syncope" (SINGkuhpee) refers to a fleeting loss of consciousness. In phonetics, it’s when sounds or letters are not pronounced aloud (“probably” becomes “probly”). On view through June 6, Heights Arts’s new exhibition, Syncope, pairs works by Cleveland artists Rachel Beamer and Achala Wali that suggest the moments between loss and what remains.

In Beamer's color photographs, themes of space, surface and memory are explored through compositions that hint at elements not present. Wali’s abstract drawings bring forth buried thoughts and memories of landscapes from her Indian childhood. Using pencil, pen and ink, brushes, and sometimes pastel and acrylics in nontraditional ways, Wali’s work combines color with black-and-white fields to effect subtle moments and passages, or sparks of feeling.  

On Thursday, May 21, at 7 p.m., the community is invited to EKPHRASTACY, an evening of conversation with Beamer and Wali, plus a reading of original poems created in response to the art on view by invited regional poets. Each free EKPHRASTACY talk grows in popularity, so it’s recommended that all come early for seating and refreshments.

The Cleveland Bluegrass Orchestra (formerly Academy of Bluegrass in the Fields) presents the finale to Heights Arts’s Close Encounters chamber music series on Sunday, May 17, on a downtown Cleveland rooftop with 360-degree views. Five musicians from the Cleveland Orchestra with exceptional but little-known bluegrass talents, will perform a program of light classical and traditional bluegrass favorites on instruments which they don’t normally play in concert—fiddle, mandolin, saxophone, guitar, string bass, viola and banjo. 

“We like to mix a lot of things together and enjoy surprising people,” said Mark Dumm, who will play fiddle, mandolin and banjo in the concert. “We like validating the bluegrass music, which is earthy and authentic. And people love seeing orchestra members letting down their hair!” Besides perennial favorites such as “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” and “Orange Blossom Special,” concertgoers can expect to hear some exciting hybridizations of music composed by bluegrass artists performed in a classical style and vice-versa—think “Bach does bluegrass.”

The five-member Cleveland Bluegrass Orchestra comprises Cleveland Orchestra members Mark Dumm, Jeff Zehngut, Trina Struble, Henry Peyrebrune and Derek Zadinsky. Orchestra members Isabel Trautwein and Tanya Ell join for the classical portion. Tickets ($40–$50) are available in advance at Heights Arts, 2175 Lee Road, or online at www.heightsarts.org. Discounted $15 tickets are available for students, age 8–23, and an accompanying parent (if the student is younger than 16). For more information about May events, contact Heights Arts at 216-371-3457.

Mary Ryan

Mary Ryan is on staff at Heights Arts, a nonprofit community arts organization.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 5:48 PM, 04.30.2015