At the Academy: A weekly roundup of free events

At the Academy: Jazz, 'TED' talks and more are on tap

2013-09-05T00:00:00Z At the Academy: Jazz, 'TED' talks and more are on tapArizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
September 05, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Sept. 10

Jazz pianist featured in Tuesday concert

Pianist Daniel “Sly” Slipetsky will perform at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Arizona Senior Academy.

The concert will include solo jazz piano numbers including the works of Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington and Erroll Garner along with Latin jazz and the American songbook.

“I don’t write my own material,” Slipetsky said. “I would rather stick to the classics and the standards.”

Slipetsky started playing piano when he was 8 years old. In high school he began learning to play the tuba, attended a music camp and fell in love with jazz and improvisation.

He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Delaware and a master of music education degree with a concentration in jazz study from Arizona State University. He’s been earning his living as a musician ever since.

Though he specializes in jazz and salsa, he was classically trained, and is also proficient in gospel, blues, Dixieland, reggae and funk.

“Music is what I love to do best,” Slipetsky says. “As in anything, it is a lifelong learning process. Nothing thrills me more than being on stage in front of lots of people and performing. The greatest thing a musician can do is to share what he or she does with the world. If we can make the world a better place and move people, that’s the ultimate goal.”

His longest-running gig is at McMahon’s Prime Steakhouse, where he plays solo piano on Friday and Saturday nights. During the week he plays with jazz trios and quartets at other venues around Tucson.

Rita Miller

Sept. 11

Learn the snare drum’s place in musical history

The snare drum is one of the oldest and most revered instruments in the musical world. It has a long and fascinating history, intriguing mechanics, a wide dynamic range of tonal qualities, and a surprisingly diverse repertoire composed for it.

A presentation planned for Sept. 11 at the Arizona Senior Academy will explore all those facets of this much-loved drum.

Dan Kruse, well-known to the Academy Village from presentations concerning, among other subjects, the history of rock ’n’ roll and the mysteries of ethnomusicology, will be sharing his fascination and affection for the snare drum with a lecture and demonstration beginning at 11:30 a.m.

With him will be master percussionist Rick Puzzo, who will demonstrate the wonders of the snare, with Kruse joining him in some duet performances.

Both musicians have long and diverse experience. Kruse is a lecturer, ethnomusicologist, filmmaker, musician and local host of NPR’s “All Things Considered.” He has a degree in media from the University of Missouri and degrees from the University of Arizona combining ethnomusicology, anthropology and media arts.

His master’s thesis in musicology, “ZOOM,” a documentary on a tiny Tucson independent record label of the 1950s, was honored as “Best of Arizona” at the 2013 Arizona International Film Festival.

Puzzo’s percussion history began with the West Virginia Marching Band in the late 1970s and includes teaching and performing in venues from Nebraska to Ankara, Turkey. He is an expert solo marimbist, having performed on that instrument for 30 years. He’s working on a doctoratal degree in music arts.

Janet Kerans

Sept. 12

Senior Academy Features Four Selected TED Talks

The Arizona Senior Academy periodically features a selection of recent TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talks, streamed over the Internet and presented on a big screen in the Great Room of the ASA Building.

Four TED Talks will be presented Sept. 12 beginning at 3:30 p.m.

TED was founded in 1984 to disseminate “ideas worth spreading.” It now organizes a global set of conferences sponsored by the private nonprofit Sapling Foundation headquartered in New York City and Vancouver, B.C.

The four TED talks to be presented Sept. 12 at Academy Village are:

“A Tale of Two Political Systems” by Eric X. Li, a Shanghai venture capitalist and political scientist who argues that the universality claim of Western democratic systems is going to be “morally challenged” by China.

“Virtual Choir Live” by Eric Whitacre, a composer and conductor who has brought together “virtual choirs” — singers from many countries spliced together on video. In this presentation he creates the experience in real time, as 32 singers from around the world “Skype in” to join an onstage choir (assembled from three Southern California colleges) for an epic performance of Whitacre’s “Cloudburst,” based on a poem by Octavio Paz.

“The Social Animal” by New York Times columnist David Brooks, who shares insights into human nature from the cognitive sciences that he reported in his latest book.

“Cloudy With a Chance of Joy” by Gavin Pretor-Pinny, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society. As he shows “charming photos of nature’s finest aerial architecture,” Pretor-Pinney calls for us all to take a step off the digital treadmill, lie back and admire the beauty in the sky above.

Since June 2006, TED Talks have been available online on the websites of TED, YouTube and iTunes. By November 2012 they had been viewed more than a billion times.

H. Deon Holt

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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