Arts Scene

Sundays at Noon on KLRE & at 5:30 p.m. on KUAR
  • Hosted by Ann Nicholson

Arts Scene explores what's happening in the arts in Arkansas. Since 1985, Ann Nicholson has produced and hosted this weekly fine arts magazine.

Where there is an arts performance, art exhibit, or a literary artist with a new book, Nicholson is there. She maintains close connections with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, UALR Artspree and Opera in the Ozarks at Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony in Eureka Springs.

"I want our listeners to gain a new experience from each program. I look for persons in the arts that I think will not only indulge my interests, but also those in the audience. I try to give them a little bit of extra personal background that they wouldn't get anywhere else," says Nicholson.

Born in India, the daughter of a British Army Officer, and educated in India, Kashmir, Scotland, and England, Nicholson immigrated to Canada in 1958 and then to the United States in 1962. She received a double BA degree in music education and music history from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. Nicholson continued her graduate education in Musicology at the University of Kentucky. Ann was the recipient of the 2003 Aha! Cultural Spirit Award, in recognition of her years of work supporting the arts community in Arkansas.

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Betty Soo
Dave Hensley /

Betty Soo, acoustic guitarist and singer, headlines the Wildwood Acoustic Festival. The event features family attractions and many acoustic bands.  Soo will conduct a workshop on songwriting on Friday, the 27th at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The festival will be Saturday the 28th at Wildwood Park. She talks about how she broke from a more conventional background to write and sing songs. She is becoming popular and successful.

Arkansas Sounds logo
Arkansas Sounds Music Festival

The Arkansas Sounds Music Festival is in its second year and director John Miller and Lee Ann Blackwell of the Central Arkansas Library's Public Relations team join us for this week's program to talk about it. They inform us of the diverse array of bands and musical artists that are slated to play and how each has strong connections to the state of Arkansas. Last year's festival program was very successful, the organizers say. They hope to keep the last Friday and Saturday in September reserved for the festival many years ahead.

Martina Filjak

Pianist Martina Filjak is a guest on this week's program. She is set to perform Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto # 1 in B minor with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, as part of the ASO's Masterworks season opener. She discusses her childhood in Croatia and how she kept focus on her training despite undergoing the hardships of her country's War of Independence. She comments both on her career since that difficult time and on the piece she is slated to perform at her upcoming concert in Little Rock.

Sasha Cooke

Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano, opens this year's Artspree Season at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's Stella Boyle Smith concert hall. Cooke is a well established opera singer,  fostering a career that may place her in the next generation of memorable singers. She talks about her background and growing up in Texas. There she was raised by parents who loved all forms of art: exhibits, theater, concerts, etc.

Pal Joey & Artist INC

Sep 2, 2013

Producer Peter Schneider and writer Patrick Pacheco discuss how they have reshaped The Rogers and Hart 1940 musical Pal Joey. The new production will have its premiere outing at the start of the Arkansas Repertory Theater's 2013-14 season.

Rembrandt Self-Portrait from 1665
American Federation of Arts

Todd Herman, Director of the Arkansas Arts Center discusses the Kenwood House exhibit, featuring works from Rembrandt, Van Dycke, Gainsborough and other masters. Herman tells how the exhibit came to Little Rock, one of only four U.S. cities to host it (Houston, Seattle, Milwaukee were the others) . He answers those pressing questions 'Why?' and 'How?' this impressive exhibit could possibly reach this small city. The exhibit closes September 28th.

Fantasy Author & Heifer Advocate Patrick Rothfuss

Jul 14, 2013

Patrick Rothfuss, author of The King Killer Chronicle, discusses this ongoing trilogy of fantasy novels.  He has already published The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear, both now in paperback.  His third work in the trilogy is eagerly awaited by many.

In this program he describes his passion for reading all subjects, particularly Fantasy, and discusses genre as well as his approach to writing. Rothfuss is also admired locally for his efforts to raise money for Heifer International.

America And Its Trees

Jul 7, 2013

Eric Rutkow, author of the book American Canopy: Trees, Forests & The Making of a Nation, is a guest on this week's program. He was also a featured author at the 10th annual Arkansas Literary Festival this year. He talks about how this book first came about while explaining his fascination with trees and their unique role as seen through the lens of history. 

2013-14 ASO Masterworks Concert Series

Jun 30, 2013

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Music Director Philip Mann introduces the 2013-14 Masterworks Concert Series. He describes how he put together this season's selections which include works by Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Mahler. Mann talks about the soloists who are coming to perform and the ASO's "Composer of the Year," who will give a world premiere of a work written for the ASO musicians.

Double Reed Players & Chris Brubeck

Jun 23, 2013

English Horn player Beth Wheeler and Lorraine Duso Kitts, an oboist, are heading to the International Double Reed Conference in Los Angeles. They have been invited there by composer John Steinmetz. Steinmetz also composed the piece that he, Wheeler and Kitts will perform as the DDG Trio. The theme of this year's conference is American Composers. All three talk about how excited they are to be part of the event. 

Also, Chris Brubeck of the group Triple Play, explains how his father Dave's last appearance was recorded. It is now available on CD.