Worldly Art Opportunities In Town This Month

By Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky, Healthy Planet Arts Editor

What could be better in the middle of winter than a trip around the world? Not in your budget just now? Maybe it is, and you won’t even need a passport. Check out these worldly ARTful opportunities right here in town this month:
The Sheldon Classics Series kicks off with a celebration of French impressionism. In a program on February 9, “French Impressionism” features Mark Sparks on the flute and Yoland Kondanassis on the harp, all in the perfect acoustics of the Sheldon Concert Hall at 3648 Washington Blvd. Monet’s Water Lilies, a painting from the collection of the St. Louis Art Museum, provides the inspiration for beautiful French music by Saint-Saens, Debussy, and Lili Boulanger. St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s principal flutist Mark Sparks and internationally recognized harpist Yolanda Kondonassis bring their acclaimed musical skills to this magical evening. Having performed throughout the United States, Europe, South America and Asia, Mr. Sparks has such credits to his name as guest appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony and Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Widely regarded as today’s most recorded classical harpist, Yolanda Kondonassis made her debut at age 18 with the New York Philharmonic. She appeared as soloist with such major orchestras around the world as the Cleveland Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Add to that, a 2010 Grammy nomination for best chamber music plus the sale of over 100,000 of her albums worldwide and it’s no wonder why she holds top honors in the Affiliate Artists National Audition in New York and the Maria Korchinska International Harp Competition in Great Britain.

Arrive early for the 7:10 pre-concert talk with pianist Peter Henderson. Visit www.thesheldon.org for details. Tickets range from $15 student to $30 for orchestra seats. Wear a French beret, maybe!

Then we’re off for a hot night of Spanish classical and flamenco guitar music at the Ethical Society on February 26. Following last month’s award-winning guitar performer, St. Louis Classical Guitar Society brings yet another jaw-dropping performance to St. Louis with Grisha Goryachev. A native of St. Petersburg, Russia, this guitarist is being acclaimed worldwide for his “blinding virtuosity and extraordinary musical sensitivity,” according to William Ash, Executive Director of SLCGS. “Following his debut at the age of nine, Mr. Goryachev enjoyed an extensive career as a child prodigy, performing regularly before large audiences in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and other major cities in the Soviet Union.”

The performance begins at 8 p.m., with ample parking at The Ethical Society, 9001 Clayton Road in Ladue. The program will feature both Spanish classical and flamenco works by composers Albeniz, Rodrigo, Granados, with special tributes to Sabicas and Paco de Lucia. Tickets are just $22, or $20 for seniors and students. Call 314-567-5566 or visit www.guitarstlouis.net now, before the concert sells out. How about going out for Spanish tapas before the concert?

While you’re thinking about international food, jump in the car and drive to St. Charles for The Foundry Art Centre’s Grand Lunch. Every Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., The Foundry hosts a full lunch, catered by some of the area’s best, for just $12 ($6 for children). From Greek greats to Italian favorites and Mexican delights, the food is always wonderful. Finish dessert, and stroll the galleries to view the latest exhibitions of work by regional, national and international artists. Head upstairs to watch artists at work in their studios or sign up for an art class to create your own masterpiece. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are encouraged. Just call 636-916-1454 or visit www.foundryartcentre.org. to inquire about the menu. The Foundry is located at 520 N. Main Street.

The New York Times told its readers recently that, if one had only a few hours to spend in St. Louis, PHD Gallery on Cherokee Street is a must-see. Feather, Leather, Lipstick combines Jeff Kapfer’s bright paintings of exotic birds, Jerry Miller’s hand-formed leather masks and Mark Florida’s backstage drag photography in a celebration of fantasy and masquerade. Visit www.phdstl.com for info.

Next on this world tour is the St. Louis Art Museum. Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea opens on February 13 in the main exhibition galleries. Tickets are required for admission to this special exhibition, so phone ahead (314-721-0072) to reserve yours.
How’s that for a world tour?!

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