Acclaimed cellist to play at GOCA, speak to class

Sept. 9, 2013

Cynthia Jeub
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Classical strings concerts tend to be one-sided: the audience listens while the musician plays.

When performing his concert tonight, however, cellist Charles Curtis will draw from the observers’ participation to formulate his performance.

“He plays based on what he’s getting from the audience and will move around throughout the concert,” said Colin McAllister, VAPA music program coordinator and lecturer, who helped in getting Curtis to come to UCCS. “Once he may be in one spot, once another.”

Described as “a vital arena in creative music and sound art which focuses on pure acoustics and spatial relationships,” the event will draw on Curtis’ years of expertise as a cellist.

Rather than merely defining himself as an excellent performer, Curtis is internationally acclaimed for his experimental work to redefine the cello and what’s expected of the instrument.

His past work includes leading La Monte Young’s legendary Theatre of Eternal Music String Ensemble for more than 20 years.

The event was arranged as a collaboration between GOCA and the Peak Frequency Creative Arts Collective to combine both visual art and music. Two artists’ work will be showcased during the cello concert.

Pattie Lee Becker focuses on pattern and color to communicate subconscious places in her art. Suchitra Mattai paints in bright colors to contrast nature with humanity’s impact on nature. She focuses on identity and the abstract, but her paintings are clear in their outlines and titles.

In addition to the 7 p.m. concert, Curtis will be a guest speaker at McAllister’s Music 2850 class from 3:15-4:20 this afternoon in Columbine Hall 136.

Students who aren’t registered for the classical music history course are welcome to attend. Curtis will speak to the students and play a piece from the 14th century.

McAllister has known Curtis for years and said he wanted him to perform at UCCS because he’s a great musician all around: “I’m in San Diego every month to hear him play.”

When the two men met, McAllister was a graduate student and Curtis was a faculty member at the University of California, San Diego.

“If I was talking to someone who isn’t [studying music] I’d say, ‘Hey, just come to check out the gallery,'” said McAllister of the venue, where GOCA regularly switches out different art displays. “I would much rather go to a visually-stimulating venue.”