String quartet brings TSO quality to Academy

A few of their favorite things — that’s what the musicians of Tucson-based Kingfisher Quartet are bringing along when it returns to Academy Village Tuesday for a 7 p.m. concert at the Arizona Senior Academy.

Patrons are likely to share the tastes of these four musicians — Benjamin Nisbet and Ellen Chamberlain, violins; Emma Votapek, viola; and Anne Gratz, cello.

With a program of Mozart, Turina, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Coleman, patrons are in for a treat.

All four players are members of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. They got together to form a quartet back in 2008, with the goal of collaborating with other arts organizations and being dedicated to standard quartet literature and contemporary works, such as the Coleman “Lullaby” on their Academy Village program, which comes from his second string quartet.

There’s something from the 18th century to the 21st on the bill, including light classicism, buoyant classicism and Spanish impressionism to the evening. And any program that features Tchaikovsky Quartet No. 1, with its lovely, moving and melancholy andante, is just about a must.

The concert will honor Academy members and nonmembers who have contributed financial support and time to the nonprofit organization in 2013.

— Susan Isaacs Nisbett


Lecture focus on women artists in UA art museum

Carolyn Rivers, a docent at the University of Arizona Museum of Art, will present a lecture, “Celebrating Women Artists,” at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

An overview of women artists, the presentation will focus on those with works of art in the UAMA collection. Ranging from the Renaissance to Impressionism to Surrealism to Photorealism the talk will cover a wide scope of time and artistic styles.

Rivers will introduce early artists such as Marietta Tintoretto, a Venetian painter, whose oil painting, “Head of a Bearded Man” (1580-1590), is part of the UAMA permanent collection.

Also considered is the French artist Elisabeth Vigée-LeBrun, one of the most technically fluent portraitists of the 18th century. The UAMA owns her portrait “The Countess von Schönfeld With Her Daughter.”

Later artists to be discussed are three Americans: Lilla Cabot Perry, an Impressionist who was influenced by Claude Monet; Dorothea Tanning, whose early work was influenced by Surrealism; and Georgia O’Keeffe, whose American landscapes and still lifes have become iconic.

Among contemporary artists considered in Rivers’ lecture is Audrey Flack, an American known for her pioneering contributions to Photorealist painting. The UAMA owns “Marilyn,” one of three monumental paintings in Flack’s Vanitas series. As a vanitas (a still life that alludes to the vanity of worldly pleasures), “Marilyn” serves as a meditation on the life and death of Marilyn Monroe.

Rivers has been a docent at the UAMA since 2002 and currently is coordinator of the museum’s adult-outreach program.

— Priscilla Moore

Feb. 6

How happy are we?

Can we be happier?

America’s Declaration of Independence identifies the pursuit of happiness as an “unalienable right,” but happiness among peoples is far from uniform, and happiness-related goals are often in conflict. Indeed, some aspects of one person’s or one nation’s quest for happiness may actually bring significant pain to others.

How do we determine a society’s happiness, collectively and individually, and what are the rules for pursuing it? Are we happier now than we were in years past? Does happiness change with age, education, income level, religiosity or marital status? Where do the happiest people live?

The answers to these and other questions offer insight into our search for happiness as individuals as well as providing guideposts for fostering greater happiness in society as a whole.

Next Thursday, University of Arizona professor Celestino Fernández will discuss how social factors influence happiness. This presentation will be similar to one he delivered to kick off the “Happiness Lecture Series” at the Fox Tucson Theatre last October and November.

Fernández is a distinguished outreach professor and director of undergraduate studies in the UA’s School of Sociology. He completed his master’s and doctoral degrees at Stanford just before joining the UA faculty. He conducts research on various issues pertaining to culture, Mexican immigration, ethnic diversity and education, and every year teaches a popular course on happiness.

— Stan Davis

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