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Chamber Music Society of Minnesota to premiere new work in memory of George Floyd

ALSO: Homes by Architects Tour goes virtual; Illusion Theater presents “Five Minutes of Heaven” on Zoom; and more.

From “How Many Breaths”
Courtesy of the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota

COVID-19 robbed us of the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota’s June 14 concert with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw, along with its fall 2020 season. Instead, “in the wake of the loss of George Floyd and much unrest in our beloved Twin Cities,” the esteemed CMSM has created a special presentation that will premiere this weekend.

On Sunday (Sept. 27) at 4 p.m., the time when its resident artists and guests would normally perform live in Hamline’s Sundin Hall, CMSM will present a new multimedia work for solo violin and spoken word called “How Many Breaths? In Memory of George Floyd and Countless Others.”

Created by CMSM’s co-artistic director and violinist Ariana Kim, Penumbra’s Lou Bellamy and Sarah Bellamy and composer Steve Heitzeg, produced in collaboration with Walker West Music Academy, “How Many Breaths?” will include original music by Heitzeg, original text by Sarah Bellamy and narration by Lou and Sarah, combined with images and video of street art and demonstration footage from around the Twin Cities.

Kim, daughter of CMSM founder Young-Nam Kim, is a Grammy-nominated violinist and former member of the Aizuri Quartet, Grand Prize winners at the 2018 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition. Heitzeg is an Emmy-winning composer of music that addresses social and environmental issues and celebrates nature.

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The virtual premiere will be streamed from Walker West Music Academy and followed by a Q&A with the artists moderated by anti-bias education specialist Sherine Onukwuwe. After that, everyone is invited to a post-event reception and informal discussion with the artists. Register here. The event is free, but donations are welcome to CMSM, Walker West and/or the National Lawyers Guild.

It won’t be the warm, intimate and beautiful chamber music concert CMSM usually plays at Sundin. But this generous and caring gesture fits well within their mission.

The picks

V is for virtual, L is for live and in person.

L Opens today (Thursday, Sept. 24) in the windows of the Minnesota Museum of American Art: “1.5: A Southeast Asian Diaspora Remix.” The Southeast Asian Diaspora (SEAD) Project is a nonprofit that engages and shares knowledge in Khmer, Hmong, Lao and Viet diaspora communities. “1.5” describes those who arrived on American soil as children. Curated by SEAD’s Chandia Phaengdara Potter and the M’s Laura Joseph, this exhibition showcases work by Southeast Asian diaspora artists, including several commissioned by SEAD and the M. View it in the museum’s exterior windows on 4th and Robert streets and in the St. Paul skyway. A series of related events – some virtual, some live – will take place over the next few months, including a virtual exhibition kick-off and tour tonight at 6 p.m. on Facebook Live. FMI. Note: As other museums reopen, the M will remain closed through June 2021. Executive director Kristin Makholm was fired in July, and Chris Widdess, former managing director of Penumbra Theatre, is serving as interim director while the M figures out a way forward.

Courtesy of the Minnesota Museum of American Art
From “1.5: A Southeast Asian Diaspora Remix”
V Starts Friday (Sept. 25) at the MSP Film Society’s Virtual Cinema: “RBG.” Director Betsy West’s documentary celebrating the life and lasting influence of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the opening night film at the 37th Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival in 2018. It’s back as part of MSP Film’s “We the People: Required Watching” series. Magnolia Pictures will donate all of its proceeds to the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, co-founded by Justice Ginsburg in 1972. FMI including trailer and tickets ($6.99). Available through Oct. 1. On Tuesday evening at 7 p.m., MSP Film Society programmer Craig Rice will be in conversation with Attorney Rachel Paulose. Register here.

V Friday (Sept. 25) on CrowdCast: Roy Hargrove Tribute. Because of Hargrove’s long relationship with the Dakota, Twin Cities musicians and music fans had the chance to see him play many times. One of the greatest trumpeters of his generation, Hargrove died in 2018 at age 49. This will be the third year people have gathered to remember him and his music; maybe this will be an annual thing? As part of the Rondo Community Music Series, Walker West faculty and friends Jeff Bailey (bass), Kevin Washington (percussion), Kavyesh Kaviraj (pano), Omar Abdulkarim (trumpet) and Solomon Parham (trumpet) will play Hargrove’s music and some of their own in a livestreamed event. 7 p.m. Free. Register here. Note: This replaces a previously announced show by DeCarlo Jackson.

V Starts Saturday (Sept. 26): 13th Annual Homes by Architects Tour. Of course this year’s tour will be virtual! But think of it this way: Your $15 digital pass ($10 if you’re a student) will get you two weeks of exploring 17 new and remodeled homes throughout Minnesota, on your own schedule and as often as you like, plus access to five virtual Architect Live Chats and 10 Instagram takeovers with behind-the-scenes insights and opportunities to connect with the architects. Here’s a demo of what a virtual tour will look like (except your view won’t be blocked by an annoying black box when you go full screen). Here’s a peek at each of the tour homes (click through the images at the bottom of the page). FMI and tickets. Perhaps AIA Minnesota will keep the virtual tour as an option in the future?

Courtesy of SooVAC
Vitus Shell, L to R: "When the Smoke Clears” (2018), “Sky High” (2018)
L Saturday (Sept. 26) at SooVAC: Reopening with three new exhibitions. Soo Visual Arts Center closed its physical space in March but continued to commission and present artists online. Three new shows that open Saturday are in the gallery and may be viewed in person, with COVID restrictions: maximum six people at a time, masks required. Vitus Shell’s “New Age Nostalgia” features large-scale paintings of the Black experience. Chris Heidman and Lauren Krukowski’s “Full Spectrum” reflects on the contours of our existence. Christopher Selleck’s “PLATES: New Polymer Photogravures and Ceramic Work” is a portrait series of body builders and a small selection of cast ceramic weight plates that together explore rigid definitions of masculinity. Gallery hours are Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

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L Saturday (Sept. 26) at Franconia Sculpture Park: 24th Annual Art & Artists Celebration and Opening Reception for “New Domestics” in Franconia Commons. A big day at Franconia, the 43-acre outdoor museum in the St. Croix River Valley. The Art & Artists Celebration (3-9 p.m.) will include art-making demos by artists in residence, tours of sculptures created in 2020, food trucks and live music. Here’s the schedule. “New Domestics,” curated by Ginger Shulick Porcella, Franconia’s new ED, is the inaugural exhibition in the Mardag Gallery at Franconia Commons, which has its grand opening this weekend. The public reception is scheduled for 4-6 p.m. The exhibition will run until Dec. 31. FMI. Register in advance here, observe social distancing and wear a mask. 

V Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 26 and 27) on Zoom: Illusion Theater presents “Five Minutes of Heaven.” Part of Illusion’s virtual fall season, Michael Egan’s stage adaptation of Guy Hibbert’s award-winning screenplay is a story about violence and reconciliation, tribalism and belief. Beginning in 1975 during the “troubles” in Northern Ireland, part is based on a real incident: the murder of Jim Griffin, a 19-year-old Catholic man, by Alistair Little, a 17-year-old member of the Protestant Ulster Volunteer Force. Here’s a brief video in which Egan explores “Why this play? Why now?” Michael Robins is the director. 1:30 p.m. both days. FMI and tickets. Free, but registration is required.