The upcoming new season of ArtPower from the University of California, San Diego offers a musical journey across the country, the world, and even under the ocean.
“Bringing the world to San Diego is one of my favorite things,” said Jordan Peimer, executive director of ArtPower since 2014.
“I love showcasing different styles of American music – Appalachian, Creole, and Cajun, among others. And I’m so happy to finally be back with international artists. Being able to bring music from places like New Zealand, Israel, and France good for my globalist heart.
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the past two and a half seasons of ArtPower, limiting travel for international artists. After pivoting to a virtual live hybrid, Peimer is thrilled with what looks to be a full live 2022-23 season.
Quoting just one artist from each of ArtPower’s five series – Jazz, Dance, Chamber Music, American Roads and World Music – demonstrates the rich variety of the upcoming season. This includes Chicago trumpeter-composer Marquis Hill; the New Zealand Maori dance company Atamira; Oxford University’s resident ensemble, the Castilian Quartet; Charly Lowry, a Native American from the Lumbee/Tuscarora Tribes of North Carolina; and Aynur Doğan, a contemporary Kurdish singer-instrumentalist from Turkey.
ArtPower’s special events this season range from Argentinian rockers Fémina to Kristina Wong’s film, “Wong Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
“Kristina Wong is someone ArtPower introduced to San Diego,” said Peimer, who noted that 16 of the 30 shows in the new season are area debuts.
“La Jolla Playhouse presents its current play, ‘Sweatshop Overlord.’ We are screening her film on mental health among Asian Americans, and she will then speak and join a panel on mental health.
Wong’s presentation will take place at UCSD’s 600-seat Jeannie Auditorium, which opened last fall.
An exciting transformation
Another new facility on campus is the 2,850-seat Epstein Family Amphitheater, which will open in October.
While the amphitheater will host four ArtPower events, the intimate UCSD Loft will present 11 concerts. Other events are spread across campus, except for the three at the Balboa Theater downtown, which includes ArtPower favorite David Sedaris.
Starting this fall, ArtPower will operate under the new Campus Performance & Events Office. Joanna Christian, ArtPower’s deputy director of marketing and communications, considers this an important step for the university.
“I came to UCSD 20 years ago as a music major with a minor in economics,” she recalls. “There were very few opportunities to see live events back then. This new department is created for on-campus events and arts happenings. See this transformation of a campus that was primarily STEM-focused – even if you’re not majoring in the arts or performance – is very exciting.
The 12 to 15 paid student staff that Christian oversees for ArtPower will grow to 30 this fall to accommodate the growth of on-campus events. A handful of students will do videography, photography, and editing, while most will organize ArtPower events, develop social media strategies, and do graphic design.
“What I do – professional marketing and public relations – is a lot of fun,” Christian said. “But my favorite thing is working with students. They have ideas that I don’t even think of!
One of the acts scheduled for Epstein’s family amphitheater is East Los Angeles’ high-energy Las Cafeteras and its multimedia production, “Hasta La Muerte.” Rooted in the Mexican Day of the Dead tradition, it features dances, songs and altars.
Christian noted that during Latinx History Month last year, UCSD students were asked which bands they would like to see.
“Las Cafeteras came back several times,” she said. “They played on our Sun God Lawn a while ago and were great fun. We want students to know that we care about these surveys.
Along with Las Cafeteras, Fémina and the Atamira dance troupe, ArtPower’s fourth performer at the Epstein will be Dream House Quartet. It features acclaimed French sisters Katia and Marielle Labèque on piano and composer-instrumentalists David Chalmin and Bryce Dessner.
Dessner has won a Grammy Award for Chamber and Alternative Music, the latter of which he received with his band, The National. He also contributed to Taylor Swift’s Grammy-winning album “Evermore.”
“I hope people will go crazy over the artists involved in Dream House Quartet,” Peimer said. “Classical musicians and fans will love this.”
Coincidence of sound
According to Peimer, UCSD students consider chamber music concerts to be good nights out. The new season will feature five top chamber groups, including the highly respected Academy of St Martin in the Fields Ensemble and the Paris-based Quatuor Van Kuijk returning to ArtPower, this time with guitarist Sean Shibe.
“The quartets are charismatic performers,” Peimer said. “The band’s energy with this really brash young guitarist will start some interesting conversations.”
ArtPower’s jazz series this season includes vibraphonist Joel Ross, whose 2020-21 season concert was canceled due to the pandemic, and the Brandon Coleman Trio, which leans heavily towards fusion and funk.
“I really wanted to hit the stage in LA,” Peimer said. “Brandon is a bit like Herbie Hancock from the 1970s.”
ArtPower’s less categorizable concerts will include musical exploration of the Arctic Ocean by award-winning composer Lei Liang and the Mivos Quartet. Liang, a professor of music at UCSD, has worked with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to record underwater frequencies to better understand the interaction of marine animals and buoys.
Hawaii native Leilehua Lanzilotti, in a piece commissioned by ArtPower and other music organizations, will also investigate the mysteries of her state’s ocean and environment. The Argus Quartet of New York will perform his work and other pieces by Indigenous composers.
“An oceanographic musical environment and a fascinating sonic coincidence,” said Peimer. “It’s no coincidence that they were scheduled, but it’s a coincidence that they’re happening this season.”
‘UnderScored’ World Premiere Hits ArtPower Executive Director
When the founder and namesake of Ephrat Asherie Dance Company shared her concept for a new work from her company with Jordan Peimer, Executive Director of ArtPower, it touched a nerve – warm and nostalgic – within him.
“Ephrat looked at the history of club music, dance music and hip-hop, working with the original people who made those moves,” Peimer said. “She specifically mentioned dancing at Paradise Garage and The Loft in New York.
“As an outgoing young man, Paradise Garage was one of my favorite dance clubs. To be able to capture this ethnically and sexually inclusive history of dance culture and music in a dance piece was appealing – so much so. more than that it was also part of my own story.
ArtPower is one of four arts organizations that co-commissioned the play, which will have its world premiere Jan. 19 at UCSD’s Mandeville Auditorium.
“I’m really proud that we were able to put it all together,” Peimer said. “It’s particularly exciting that the senior artists working with Ephrat are Archie Burnett, Michele Saunders, Brahms and ‘Bravo’ LaFortune. They were there at the start.
“We still see a lot of what they created. Contemporary club dancing, voguing, hip-hop, house music all have roots in these clubs. Ephrat’s coin will reflect this.
“The dancers broke free from the restrictions of racial, ethnic and economic boundaries and danced their little butts!”
Art Power season 2022-23
When: From September 29 to May 25
Where: Unless otherwise specified, all events are held at the campus venues of UC San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla
Tickets: Subscription packages will go on sale Monday. Single tickets go on sale August 8.
Call: (858) 534-1430
On line: artpower.ucsd.edu
September 29: Yamma Ensemble, The Loft (8 p.m.; $25-$33)
October 3: “Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” The Jeannie Auditorium (8 p.m.; $10)
October 7: Fémina, Epstein Family Amphitheater (8 p.m.; $20-$30)
October 14: Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble, Conrad Prebys Concert Hall (8 p.m.; $50-$65)
October 15: Lei Liang with Mivos Quartet, Conrad Prebys Experimental Theater (8 p.m.; $30)
October 25: Marquis Hill: “New Gospel Revisited,” The Loft (8 p.m.; $30-$45)
October 27: Las Cafeteras: “Hasta La Muerte,” Epstein Family Amphitheater (8 p.m.; $20-$40)
November 2: Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group: “POWER,” Balboa Theater, 868 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter (8 p.m.; $30-$0)
November 3: Charly Lowry, The Loft (8 p.m.; $28-$35)
November 4: Castalian String Quartet, Conrad Prebys Concert Hall (8 p.m.; $50 to $65)
November 10: Bedouin Burger, Price Center East Ballroom (8 p.m.; $28)
January 19-21: Ephrat Asherie Dance Company: “UnderScored,” Mandeville Auditorium (8 p.m.; $40)
February 2: Cedric Watson & Bijou Créole, Le Loft (8 p.m.; $28-$35)
February 9: Joel Ross “Parables,” The Loft (8 p.m.; $30-$45)
February 14th : Cyrille Aimée, The Loft (8 p.m.; $30-$45)
February 17: Van Kuijk Quartet and Sean Shibe, Conrad Prebys Concert Hall (8 p.m.; $50-$65)
February 22: AIM by Kyle Abraham, Balboa Theater, 868 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter (8 p.m.; $30-$50)
February 28: Brandon Coleman, The Loft (8 p.m.; $30-$45)
March 9: Leilehua Lanziolotti and Argus Quartet, Mandeville Auditorium (8 p.m.; $15)
The 17th of March: Esmé Quartet, Conrad Prebys Concert Hall (8 p.m.; $50 to $65)
April 5: Atamira Dance Company: Te Wheke, Epstein Family Amphitheater (8 p.m.; $30-$40)
April 13: Dirk Powell Band, The Loft (8 p.m.; $28-$35)
April 18: Piano solo with Ehud Asherie, The Loft (8 p.m.; $30 to $45)
April 20: Aynur Doğan, Mandeville Auditorium (8 p.m.; $28)
April 26: Dream House Quartet, Epstein Family Amphitheater (8 p.m.; $20-$45)
April. 28: Hermitage Piano Trio, Conrad Prebys Concert Hall (8 p.m.; $50 to $65)
May 2nd: An Evening with David Sedaris, Balboa Theater, 868 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter (8 p.m.; $45-$60)
May 11: Connie Han Trio, The Loft (8 p.m.; $30-$45)
May 19: Takae Ohnishi: Spring Night with Vivaldi and Bach, Conrad Prebys Concert Hall (8 p.m.; $25-$35)
May 25: Steve Riley and Roots, The Loft (8 p.m.; $28-$35)