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Minnesota Orchestra appoints principal bassoon; Open Streets is Sunday on Lyndale

ALSO: Five Year Anniversary Party at Icehouse; the Saint Anthony Park Arts Festival; Opening reception for “Liar! Liar!” at SooVAC; and more.

Fei Xie
Courtesy of the Minnesota Orchestra

Fei Xie (Fay Shee-eh) has won the position of principal bassoon with the Minnesota Orchestra. He comes to Minnesota from Baltimore, where he has been principal bassoon since 2012, the first Chinese-born bassoonist to hold such a position in a major American symphony orchestra. Xie will begin his Minnesota Orchestra role at the start of the 2017-18 season. 

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Born into a musical family – his parents and uncle are Peking Opera musicians – Xie started piano lessons at 3 and bassoon studies at 13. He has degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Rice University; one of his primary teachers and influences was Benjamin Kamins, professor of bassoon at Rice, who was the Minnesota Orchestra’s associate principal bassoon from 1972-81. Xie is also an educator on faculty at the University of Maryland.

“I am extremely excited to move to the Twin Cities and to join the Minnesota Orchestra,” Xie said in a statement. We expect him to stay awhile. The Minnesota Orchestra’s last principal bass, John Miller Jr., held that position for 45 years.

2017 McKnight fellows announced

Four Minnesota composers have been named McKnight Composer Fellows, the American Composers Forum announced Wednesday. Each will receive $25,000 in unrestricted funds from the McKnight Foundation.

Courtesy of the American Composers Forum
deVon Russell Gray
  • deVon Russell Gray (St. Paul), aka dVRG, is a classically trained composer and multiinstrumentalist whose compositions have included orchestral and operatic works, hip-hop and jazz. A member of Heiruspecs, he also performs with Brother Ali and Chastity Brown and collaborates with other artists on socially conscious sound and art.
  • Linda Kachelmeier (St. Paul) is a composer, conductor and professional singer with a passion for choral music and art song. Some of her more than 40 works have been commissioned and performed by the Rose Ensemble, Cantus, The Singers and One Voice Mixed Chorus.
  • Andrea Mazzariello (Northfield) is a composer, performer, writer and teacher whose concert music has been performed by contemporary music ensembles including So Percussion, Mobius Percussion, and NOW Ensemble. He performs on keyboard, drum set, voice and electronics; his first book, “One More Revolution,” comes out this year.
  • Jake Runestad (Minneapolis) is an award-winning, often-performed composer of musical works for orchestra, wind ensemble, chorus, chamber ensembles and opera. A “choral rockstar,” he has written for VocalEssence, The Singers, Craig Hella Johnson and Conspirare, Seraphic Fire and many more.

The ACF also announced this year’s McKnight Visiting Composers. Paul Gless of Philadelphia and Kristin Norderval of New York will each receive $15,000 to spend at least two months in Minnesota pursuing a self-designed community residency project.

Announced last week by Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota, the 2017 McKnight Media Artist Fellowships support midcareer artists living in Minnesota. All four of this year’s fellows will receive $25,000 cash awards, opportunities to meet with local and national art professionals, assistance to attend the annual Film Independent Forum in Los Angeles, and learning opportunities through IFP Minnesota.

  • Rini Yun Keagy is a filmmaker and interdisciplinary artist based in the Twin Cities. Her work in video and 16mm film investigates race and labor, disease, and sites of historical and psychological trauma; her films are crossovers between cinema and art, fiction and documentary, narrative and non-narrative , abstraction and representation.
  • A Moth StorySLAM winner, a featured performer for Mortified and producer of “The Comedy Comedy Festival: A Comedy Festival,” Naomi Kao is a filmmaker, actor, and storyteller.
  • Keri Pickett is a producer, director and director of photography whose work focuses on family and community, documenting those who seek to right a wrong and sharing stories of how one person can make a difference. Her award-winning films include “First Daughter and the Black Snake,” about environmental activist Winona LaDuke, and “The Fabulous Ice Age.”
  • Filmmaker Brenan Vance has won three Emmys for his work as director of photography for Twin Cities PBS. His feature directorial debut, “The Missing Sun,” recently won a special jury prize at the Ashland Independent Film Festival.

The picks

Courtesy of SooVAC
“Liar! Liar!”

Tonight at SooVAC: Opening reception for “Liar! Liar!” by AmCor®. How good are you at detecting deception? This provocative show is a humorous critique of state surveillance and control, with you as a potential subject. It’s a wry commentary on facial recognition software, the culture of fear perpetuated by institutional authority, and our unmitigated trust in objective technologies. Also opening tonight: “The Landscapes of Katia or Tight Squeeze Through a Birds-Eye View: A Travelogue” by Katia and “End of Times 2: The Time is Now (An International Broadside Exchange).” One gallery, three international exhibitions. 6-9 p.m. Free. All end July 15.

Tonight (Friday, June 2) through Sunday at the Charles M. Schulz – Highland Arena: Brownbody Presents CoMotion. African Americans telling stories from their history in their way – on ice skates. That’s not something you see every day. Deneane Richburg grew up in Maplewood and spent 20 years as a competitive figure skater, a rare career path for an African American woman. She founded Brownbody in 2007 to make the ice welcoming to communities of color and explore topics and issues ice shows don’t cover – like reconstruction and the rise of Jim Crow. Her SAGE Award-winning “Quiet as It’s Kept,” which deals bluntly with those topics, is paired with two works by New York-based dance company Urban Bush Women, translated to ice. One is an homage to civil rights activists; the other was inspired by John Coltrane. It’s a night of powerful, emotional skating without a single sequin or spangle. At the talkback following Thursday night’s preview, one young woman with a head full of braids said, “I really want to get on some skates!” P.S. Richburg was just named a 2017 McKnight Choreographer Fellow. Tonight at 7:30, Saturday at 2 and 7:30, Sunday at 2. Tickets here ($33 advance, $35 door) or call 651-440-4675. If you go, dress warmly.

Tonight through next Thursday at Icehouse: Five Year Anniversary Party. Hard to believe Icehouse has been around for five whole years. It started out awesome and stayed that way, with a solid commitment to all kinds of music, a creative kitchen, a smart bar and a welcoming vibe. For seven nights, the club on Nicollet will offer a strong and varied lineup with $5 covers, a “best of” food menu and Jim Beam-based drink specials. FMI on all the shows, from James Buckley to Rogue Valley, Tim Sparks, Solid Gold, JT’s Jazz Implosion, Dosh, Marijuana Deathsquads and The Gang Font.

Saturday in Saint Anthony Park, St. Paul: Saint Anthony Park Arts Festival. We like this festival a lot. It’s a manageable size (about 70 juried artists), laid back and beautifully sited in a charming neighborhood with plenty of shade available. It has good art, good food, live music and fun things to see and do. Now in its 48th year, the festival is a benefit for the neighborhood’s historic Carnegie branch library. Be sure to visit the famously good used books sale in the library’s basement. At the corner of Como and Carter Aves. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. FMI. Free.

Sunday on Lyndale Avenue South: Open Streets Minneapolis. When else can you walk, run, skate, bike or dance down the middle of Lyndale from 22nd St. to 54th St.? Each summer, Open Streets Minneapolis closes super-busy streets to cars, trucks and buses and invites us to play, stopping for pop-up performances, activities, exhibits, food and drink stands. On Sunday you can take a yoga class at 11:30 a.m., chat with someone at a Minnesota Timberwolves table, learn about the Minneapolis Log Rolling Club, watch some wrestling, and check in with the Sierra Club. Why not? 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. FMI, map and link to a free Metro Transit pass. Free.

Photo by Art M Altman
Kenny Werner

Sunday at Hamline’s Sundin Music Hall: Kenny Werner and the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota. Violinist Young-Nam Kim is a distinguished member of the classical music world. The CMSM’s founder and artistic director has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, as a soloist with many orchestras, and in concerts with artists including Yo-Yo Ma and Leon Fleisher. But Kim also has close ties to great jazz musicians he met through composer Gunther Schuller’s Festival at Sandpoint. Last June, he brought tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano to town for an afternoon of “Third Stream” music, a term coined by Schuller to describe a synthesis of classical music and jazz. This year it’s pianist and composer Kenny Werner, a lyrical, expressive virtuoso whose playing is a channel to his heart. The program includes a world premiere of a set of Third Stream works written by Werner for string quartet and jazz piano trio. 4 p.m. FMI and tickets ($25/$20 seniors/$15 students).