Wednesday, May 28, 2014

“Introspection” Native American Art in Bigfork

The art currently on display at The Edge Center Gallery in Bigfork, titled "Introspection", is by Steve Premo, a Native American artist from Minnesota who lives and works in the state. Some of his public work can be seen at the Hinckley Minnesota Fire Museum, in the Mille Lacs and Hinckley Casinos, Grand Makwa Cinema, in the Mille Lacs band Government Center and District 3 Health Care Center, and Lac Courte Orellies Cultural Center. Recently, he created a War Memorial plaque honoring Native Americans who served in American wars. It is on display at the Veterans Mall at the Minnesota State capitol. “Introspection” shows some of this past works along with many new ones.  The exhibit includes paintings, blankets, and fabric designs. At the Edge Gallery from May 29 to July 5 with the Opening Reception on May 30 from 5PM to 7PM with an opportunity to meet the artist and enjoy refreshments. The exhibit and reception is free and open to the public Thursdays through Saturdays 10AM to 4PM.

Above is the artist with one of his works depicting the red shawl dance performed at some powwows by Native American women who have been affected by violence. The following are excerpts from the Steven Premo Bio for the exhibit program and best describes the artist and his work.  The following split painting is titled "The tree of life".

“My art is, or I would like my art to be, a story of a historical Native narrative.  Though not literal events, I strive to honor my heritage through emotional interpretations. If I painted my cultural icons, it would just be a record of my background.  But if I paint in the language of the majority as it relates to my culture, then there initiates a dialogue.  Thus, a better understanding."

“At a young age I knew I wanted to create. At age 15 I had a great urge to paint and use color.  After working on my drawing skills, which I considered the basis of all painting, I finally began painting several years later.  Primarily self-taught, I did have some instruction…”

“Rembrandt was a great influence in my beginning years.  His grasp of light intrigued my sensibilities for allegory.  The storytelling in the late of the evening served as a reminder to me of growing up on the reservation gathered around the kerosene lamp.  Van Gogh’s 'Potato Eaters' was a recollection of my house. A later influence was Kathe Kollwitz’s incredible charcoal drawings and prints telling of suffering.”

“Currently I work for my tribe as a graphic designer at Grand Casinos Hinckley and Mille Lacs.  It is very gratifying to be a creative problem solver.  Through my partnering in 1983 with Ignatia Broker on the book ‘Night Flying Woman’ and later with Cindy Goff in 1996 to write and illustrate a comic book titled ‘A Hero’s Voice’, I became known to my community and was sought after to illustrate books, posters, and logos.”

The below Premo art is titled "He smokes his pipe and speaks of horses".

“I was also invited to create the Mille Lacs Band Pendleton blanket and won a National design contest for the a 40th Anniversary commemorative Pendleton blanket for the National Indian Education Association…”

“For the Hinckley Fire Museum I painted a mural of an old man’s survival story of the 1896 fire. Along with George Parry, I participated in painting a large mural at the Lac Courte Orellies Cultural Center.”

The below image is of the Hinckley mural fire on display outside of the museum. It was done as a five year display and is still available 14 years later.

“Two of my most recent achievements and honors was (first) being asked to create a War Memorial plaque honoring the Minnesota American Indian Veterans…Then on January 15, 2014 in Las Vegas I received the National Pyramid Award for the 2013 Mille Lacs Band calendar that I created.” Below is the award winning National Pyramid Award and calendar.

Steve Premo is not a new artist to The Edge Center and its gallery.  He has been a guiding force as The Edge moves toward more involvement in Native American culture and exhibits. His work was part of the gallery’s exhibits "This is Displacement" and "Powwow Perspectives."

The current exhibit, "Introspection", is his first one-man show. The Edge invites you to see this colorful and impressive exhibit. Come anytime from May 29 to July 5 during open gallery hours on Thursdays through Saturdays from 10AM to 4PM, or better yet attend the free Opening Reception on May 30 to meet the artist, and enjoy refreshments. The Edge Center Gallery is in Bigfork next to the Bigfork School.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Enchanting Clarinet and Piano Music at The Edge

This musical concert by two world-renowned classical musicians at The Edge Center in Bigfork will provide enjoyment, a greater appreciation of music, and a chance to hear beautiful music in a space designed just for such an event. Clarinetist Igor Begelman accompanied by pianist Rieko Aizawa are part of the Piatigorsky Foundation's program of sending some of the best classical musicians in the world to small towns all over America. With top national and international awards, Igor Begelman is also an active educator who strongly believes in musical education for young people.  With a career starting at 13 years old at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, Rieko Aizawa’s capabilities and performances have grown to incredible levels. There will be two performances on Friday, May 16th, one private for students and a second open to the public on 7PM. Prices for the public performance are $10 for adults, $5 for children.

Igor Begelman

Clarinetist Igor Begelmann has a gracious sense of style and an excellent musical personality that have become his musical signature.  He has a dual career as musician and educator and enjoys his association with the Piatigorsky Foundation because it permits him to teach and perform classical music in less traditional settings. Raised in Kiev, Ukraine, Igor came to the United States in 1989. He is Professor of Clarinet at the North Carolina School of the Arts and also teaches at Brooklyn and Sarah Lawrence Colleges. Igor is Winner of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, the award given to outstanding American artists, and has performed recitals in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Israel, and as a soloist with such orchestras as the Houston, Savannah, and New Haven Symphonies, Boston Classical Orchestra, as well as the Odense Simfoniker and L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. His performance return to The Edge Center will be a another memorable one.

Pianist Rieko Aizawa

Igor’s accompanist, Pianist Rieko Aizawa, was on stage at two of America’s most prestigious venues when 13 years old. How special is that? She got to the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall through the efforts of the conductor, Alexander Schneide.  Her career since then includes performances throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, Boston's Symphony Hall, Chicago's Orchestra Hall, and Vienna's Konzerthaus. Rieko is also an active chamber musician and has performed as a guest with string quartets such as the Guarneri Quartet and the Orion Quartet.  She is a founding member of the both the Horszowski Trio, and of the prize-winning duo, Prism.  She became Artistic Director of the Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival in Colorado in 2010.

 In 2005, Rieko’s solo debut recording of Scriabin’s and Shostakovich’s “24 Preludes” was released by Altus in Japan, and her second album is coming out this season. Her performances are described by the NY Times as having “impressive musicality, a crisp touch and expressive phrasing.”

The Music

The audience can expect this performance to cover a wide range of music, with the intention of satisfying a wide range of chamber music tastes. Please keep in mind that the below program is planned, but is also subject to change. Come and enjoy the program.

Canzonetta - Gabriel Pierné

Gabriel Pierné (1863 – 1937) was a French composer, conductor, and organist. He moved to Paris with his family to escape the Franco-Prussian War and studied at the Paris Conservatoire where he won many awards for his work. He had an opportunity to debut an Igor Stravinsky ballet in 1910, and some of his live performances survive due to early recordings from 1928 to 1934.

This Canzonetta for clarinet and piano was probably composed near the end of the 19th century and is among the more serious of the composer’s works. It is dedicated to a friend, Charles Turban. References:,_Op.19_(Piern%C3%A9,_Gabriel),,

Dance Preludes  - Witold Lutoslawski

Witold Roman Lutoslawski (1913 - 1994) was a Polish composer and orchestral conductor. He was one of the major European composers of the 20th century, and one of the preeminent Polish musicians of the end of the last century. His early work was influenced by Polish folk music. During WWII, Lutoslawski escaped German capture and made a living playing in Warsaw bars. The Stalinist authorities banned his First Symphony for being "formalist.” He gave moral support to the Polish Solidarity independence movement near the end of his life, and was awarded the order of White Eagle, Poland’s highest honor.

In 1954, Lutoslawski completed this work for clarinet and piano entitled Dance Preludes. The work is in five movements and is based on folk songs from northern Poland. The original folk material has been so seamlessly interwoven, however, that any precise identification is impossible. Lutoslawski felt it was his farewell to folk music influences in his work.

Sonata  - Francis Poulenc

Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc (1899 - 1963) French composer and pianist, associated with the French group Les Six. Les Six is the name of a loosely formed group of French and Swiss composers who performed concerts in the art studio of artist Émile Lejeune. Poulenc composed art songs, solo piano music, chamber music, oratorios, choral music, operas, ballet music, and orchestral music.

He was seriously affected by the death of some close friends near the end of his life, and this 1962 Sonata for clarinet and piano is dedicated to the memory of one of the Les Six. Of the two Poulenc works that premiered posthumously, The Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, was performed by Benny Goodman and the other by Leonard Bernstein.  References:,

Grand Duo Concertant  - Carl Maria von Weber

Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber (1786 - 1826) was an early composer of the Romantic era who wrote what is called the first “nationalist opera” in Germany. Because of von Weber’s life-long interest in musical cultures outside of Germany, his work shows the impact of non-western styles. His operas greatly influenced the musical development of the era in Germany and influenced music for generations of composers.

Compared to other clarinet music that von Weber wrote, the Grand Duo is different in that the two instruments are clearly equal and played as equal partners.. His other works have a lead or virtuoso part and a clearly supporting accompaniment part. The Grand Duo clearly shows two leads with neither in the foreground or background. The listener should be able to hear that the work is clearly an equal dual performance.

Suite from Porgy and Bess  - George Gershwin

George Gershwin (1898 –1937) was an American pianist and composer whose music spanned popular and classical music. His opera Porgy and Bess, which he called “folk opera,” was not understood by the critics.  They could not figure out if it was opera or a Broadway type musical.  Not a commercial success then, it has passed the test of time and become one of America’s outstanding musical works. References:,

Piatigorsky Foundation

The non-profit Piatigorsky Foundation's mission is to make live classical music part of the fabric of everyday life for communities throughout the United States. Their concert tours bring top-quality musicians to audiences who often would not have the opportunity to hear them. The Foundation was established in 1990 by cellist Evan Drachman, grandson of the great Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky (1903-1976). The Foundation carries on his legacy in the belief that, as Piatigorsky said, "Music makes life better. Music is neither a luxury nor a frill. It is a necessity! It is rich. It is imaginative. And it is for everyone."

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Color, Color, Color

Of all The Edge Center Gallery exhibits, the annual May Bigfork Student Art Show is always one of the most colorful with a variety of art that is hard to describe. It needs to be seen to be appreciated. This year is one of the best, but then every year seems to take a step up. This year visitors will be able to see some of the artists creating their works on a digital frame. A very nice new technology addition. The art is done by the seventh through twelfth grade art classes at Bigfork school.  It includes media from sculpture to traditional painting to recycled materials to photography and more.  We have no idea what it is going to be like outside on May14th during the art show reception, but inside expect warmth, lots of color, and enjoyment. The art show is up and open now through May 17th. Normal gallery hours are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10AM to 4PM.

Memory jugs, above, are covered with objects of significant to the artist.  A tradition that possibly dates back to Victorian days.

The digital display above shows the young artists at work. Some of the many pictures of the creative process shown on the display are below.

May 14th is just one important date in the school month for the Bigfork school. May is celebration month of the school year with graduation, end of school, band and choir concerts and more. Here is a schedule below, so you can take in some of them.  They are all free of charge and open to anyone who would like to attend. Schedules do change, so check with the school to make sure before you show up.

May 7th at 11AM are the academic awards for high school students with every class participating.

May 14 Student art show with a reception from 4 to 6PM with one of the most colorful exhibits of the year.

May 14 Spring concert with the band and choir. Grades 7 through 12 are participating with two solo performances. 7PM

May 17th the grand march for10th through 12th grades at 4PM

May 20th the senior reception for scholarships

May 22nd at 6:30PM has the athletic banquet with letter awards.

May23 the 5th grade presents their veterans recognition program at 1:30PM

May 28 the kindergarten graduation 12:20PM

The following shows part of the art on display created in Roberta Steinhart’s art classes. This year guest artists, Karlyn Atkinson Berg and Kenny Porter added their time and skills to the classes.

And, if the above does not give you enough reason to come and visit this exhibit, take a look at the final picture below. Look at it for a little while and you may find that you are smiling. That might be because it is beautiful, detailed and colorful.  Smiling is what student art can do for you. These pictures are only a small part of the exhibit.  The rest are equally wonderful and can help chase away some of the cold memories of this past winter. Come to The Edge Gallery by May 17th on Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays between 10AM and 4PM to see the whole colorful show.