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Far-Ranging Quartet

Festival of Four to bring its multidirectional sounds to Ventura this weekend.

November 17, 2000|JOSEF WOODARD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

When does a group become a festival? When the musicians involved cover enough varied terrain to turn a performance into a multidirectional celebration. Such is the agenda for the group known as the Festival of Four, playing Saturday at the Church of Religious Science.

The quartet has no compunctions about mixing classical repertoire and sounds from South American--and specifically Andean--music.

The three-guitar front line includes well-known classical player Marc Teicholz, flamenco player Guillermo Rios and composer-arranger Richard Patterson, joined--and contrasted--by the sound of Chilean-born flutist Viviana Guzman. She brings dozens of flutes, suiting the shifts in music.

Fittingly, the concert is part of the annual "Performances to Grow On" concert series, subtitled "Pieces of the World."

DETAILS

Festival of Four at the Church of Religious Science, 101 S. Laurel St., Ventura, 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $15; 646-8907.

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Birthday Party: Ventura County's classical music scene would be remiss if it didn't join the all-purpose party for the late, great American composer Aaron Copland, who would have been 100 this year. The intriguing new Ventura Chamber Music Series kicks off Saturday with a Copland focus at Ventura City Hall.

The composer's "hit," "Appalachian Spring," is embedded in the public ear and in the standard classical canon. But his output was huge, and varied, over his 90 years.

This Sunday's concert takes a smart, broad approach to its Copland tribute. In addition to music by Copland, the program includes music by his mentor, Nadia Boulanger, and his unofficial protege, Leonard Bernstein, who, like Copland, managed the neat juggling act of making serious music popular, and vice versa. Bernstein's Cello Sonata will be performed by Howard Wolf, a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Copland's "Clarinet Concerto" will be performed by Michele Zukofsky, who performed the work under Copland's own baton (he was an avid conductor, and one of the illustrious music directors of the Ojai Festival long ago). We will also hear his engaging favorite "Old American Songs," sung by baritone Roberto Gomez.

DETAILS

Copland Centennial Recital, 8 p.m. Saturday in the Ventura City Hall atrium, 500 Poli St. Tickets are $15 general, $10 for students; 643-1751.

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Operatic inklings: Vicki Harrop, whose work as a director was recently seen and admired in the premiere of John Biggs' opera, "Hobson's Choice," has been involved in developing a new performance entity in town.

Its cheeky name, "Opera Unplugged," was inspired by the San Francisco-based "Pocket Opera" and promises intimate, inventive performances. The group's first event, with soprano Harrop singing arrangements by Gary Poirot, will be "Make a Joyful Noise," a mini-holiday fest at the Laurel Theater on Saturday.

DETAILS

"Opera Unplugged," 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Laurel Theater, Main and Laurel streets in Ventura; tickets are $18 general, $12 students and seniors; 641-3839.

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Santa Barbara jazz report: This was the first autumn in a dozen years without the Santa Barbara Jazz Festival, which is taking a year off after last year's ambitious but sparsely attended event. But jazz is hardly a stranger to the town's concert venues of late. The Lobero Theater's impressive jazz concert series opened with Charles Lloyd in October, and on Monday featured the duo of Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter in what has to be the jazz highlight of the year in these parts.

Shorter and Hancock, whose 1997 album "1+1" introduced a unique quasi-classical, semi-improvisational dialogue, have a long history together--dating back to the great Miles Davis Quintet of the '60s. When they're as on as they were on Monday, attuned to the improvisational muse and the acoustic atmosphere of the hall, they commandeer a special mode of musical conversation. Jazz, per se, is just one subject in a freely floating discussion.

Santa Barbara's jazz concert roster continues this Sunday at UCSB, when respected violinist Regina Carter brings her quintet for a concert at Campbell Hall. In recent years, Carter has overcome the obscurity of her instrument in the jazz world, gaining broad acclaim and choice gigs, including work with Wynton Marsalis in his epic "Blood in the Fields" project and as a side-person for Kenny Barron, Cassandra Wilson and others.

Meanwhile, she's working hard to find herself as a leader--to sift through her versatile palette of influences and directions to find a voice of her own. A new CD, her second for Verve, is called "Motor City Moments" and is a toast to the musical legacy of her hometown, Detroit. The material runs from Thad Jones to Stevie Wonder and Alex North, whose theme from "Spartacus" is the album's choicest cut.

Sunday's concert promises to be another fine jazz evening.

DETAILS

Regina Carter, 8 p.m. Sunday at UCSB's Campbell Hall. Tickets are $13-25: 893-3535.

Josef Woodard, who writes about art and music, can be reached by e-mail at joeinfo@aol.com.

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