Spencer Beckwith


Spencer Beckwith produces arts and culture pieces for KUNM.

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Northern Arizona University, Cline Library

From the 1870s to the 1960s, over 100,000 young women left home and traveled west for jobs at the Harvey Houses.  The successful restaurant and hotel chain was created by entrepreneur Fred Harvey to serve passengers on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad's route to the west.   Los Angeles-based filmmaker, and UNM graduate, Katrina Parks talks about her documentary The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound


Conductor Anthony Barrese, Artistic Director of Albuquerque's Opera Southwest, has been working for ten years to reconstruct a 19th Century operatic adaptation of Shakespeare's "Hamlet."  A collaboration between composer Franco Faccio and librettist Arrigo Boito, "Amleto" premiered to acclaim in Italy in 1865, but Faccio withdrew it from circulation after a disastrous revival in 1871.  This month, Opera Southwest presents the first production of "Amleto" in 143 years. 


The UNM Indian Student Association hosts classical dancer Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala, along with eight members of her dance company, in a musical journey through multiple layers of Indian culture.  The Ghantasala company, based in the state of Tamil Nadu in Southern India, presents "Chakra -- A Myriad of the Four Seasons" on October 12 at Albuquerque's National Hispanic Cultural Center.  The Secretary of the UNM Indian Student Association, Indian classical dancer Trupthi Panickor, talks about the production.


On October 4 and 5, Albuquerque's Indian Pueblo Cultural Center celebrates the music, art, food and dance of the American Indian.  Over fifty Native artisans will be talking about and selling their work, there will be performances by dancers from local pueblos, a Native fashion show, and a special courtyard concert by Native flutist R. Carlos Nakai and his colleagues, luthier William Eaton and percussionist Will Clipman.  Travis L. Suazo, Executive Director of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, offers a preview of the Festival.


Since 2008, The Telling Project has traveled to cities around the United States offering military veterans an opportunity to deepen their connections with the communities they live in.  This month, in Telling: Albuquerque, eight New Mexico veterans and military family members share their stories with audiences at the South Broadway Cultural Center.  The local producer of the show is New Mexico poet


The sixty-five musicians of the Santa Fe Symphony will be looking closely at, and listening closely to, a number of guest conductors during the Symphony's upcoming 31st season at the Lensic Center.  Maestro Steven Smith left the orchestra two years ago, after 14 seasons.  The Founder and General Director of the Santa Fe Symphony, trumpet player with the orchestra, Greg Heltman, talks about the Symphony's search for a new principal conductor.

© Paulo T. Photography

In 2004, choreographer Rulan Tangen and her company Dancing Earth began creating new movement inspired by the rituals and culture of Native America.  The Santa Fe-based "indigenous contemporary dance company" has since shared those explorations with audiences around the country, and in Canada and New Zealand.   Dancing Earth commemorates its 10th anniversary with an outdoor collaborative performance on August 24 at the Skylight Music Hall in Santa Fe.


A four square-mile area in Albuquerque's Southeast Heights, the "International District," is home to recent immigrants from Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America, along with a sizable Hispanic community and the city's largest concentration of Native Americans.  New Mexico poet Valerie Martínez and artists from the local non-profit organization Littleglobe have been working with members of the District since 2011 on a variety of community storytelling projects.  The public is invited to view those projects, along with performances, exhibitions and other events, at locations all around the


A distinctive element of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival is that its artistic leadership is in the hands of a composer.  Marc Neikrug's programming features an ongoing commitment to works by his fellow contemporary composers, alongside music by 18th, 19th and 20th Century masters.  This year's Festival, from July 20 through August 25 in both Santa Fe and Albuquerque, includes the world premiere of a highly anticipated work for string quartet and soprano by Australian composer Brett Dean.


15,000 people, many of them in costume, are expected at Albuquerque's downtown Convention Center the weekend of June 27.  The 4th annual Albuquerque Comic Expo is a three-day celebration of popular culture and comic book culture, with national exhibitors, panel discussions, screenings, and Q&A's with celebrity guests.  The Expo's Media Manager, Jyllian Roach, explains.


Professional singers perform in three short original operas for young people in the open-air Gaddes Rehearsal Hall on the grounds of the Santa Fe Opera, Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons, May 31st through June 8th.  Andrea Fellows Walters, Director of the Education Program at the Santa Fe Opera, offers a preview of the productions.

  Actress Lisandra Tena had a hit in Chicago in 2012 with her show, "Guera," which recounts her experiences growing up in Albuquerque.  From May 16th through the 25th, Lisandra brings the interactive show to the performing arts center at her alma mater, Working Classroom, in downtown.  Lisandra talks about her teenage years and how they've informed her work and career.

Fri. 3/21 10a:  For 14 seasons, from 1999 to 2013, Steven Smith served as Music Director of the Santa Fe Symphony.  On April 13, the Maestro returns for a final concert, leading the orchestra in Mahler's Symphony No. 7 at the Lensic Center.  Spencer Beckwith speaks with Steven Smith about Mahler's Symphony and about his fondest memories of his years with the Santa Fe Symphony.

Thurs. 3/20 10a:  For six days, from April 5 through April 10, the public is invited to concerts, workshops, panel discussions and master classes focused on new music in venues around Albuquerque and on the UNM campus.  The centerpiece of the 2014 John Donald Robb Composers' Symposium is a new chamber opera, "Cuatro Corridos," presented on April 7 at the South Broadway Cultural Center.   Spencer Beckwith speaks with the co-Artistic Director of the Symposium, UNM Assistant Professor of Composition, Peter Gilbert.

Fri. 3/14 10a:  Young musicians from northern New Mexico will perform selections from Broadway and Bach, and from jazz and pop, on March 15 at the Scottish Rite Temple in Santa Fe.  Joining the young performers will be Grammy-winning composer and pianist, David Grusin.  Proceeds from the concert benefit the Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association.  The SFYSA's Artistic Director, Dana Winograd, joins Spencer Beckwith for a  preview.

Thurs. 3/13 10a:  From March 23 through March 30 at Albuquerque's National Hispanic Cultural Center, Opera Southwest presents its first-ever production of Georges Bizet's romantic triangle set in colonial Ceylon, "The Pearl Fishers."  Spencer Beckwith is joined by the opera's director, Nathaniel Merchant.

Wed. 3/12 10a:  This month and next, New Mexico's theater community joins together in a celebration of Irish plays and playwrights.  The Southwest Irish Theatre Festival opens on March 14 with a production of Seán O'Casey's "Juno and the Paycock" at Albuquerque's Vortex Theatre and continues with six other productions in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe.  Spencer Beckwith is joined by the co-organizer of the Festival, UNM Professor Emeritus, and born-and-bred Dubliner, Alan Hudson.

Fri. 3/7 10a:  Maxine Thévenot, Director of Cathedral Music at the Cathedral of St. John in downtown Albuquerque, joins Spencer Beckwith for a look at the Cathedral's series of Friday night concerts taking place during Lent, from March 7 through April 11.  Featuring local and visiting musicians, the series uses both the Cathedral and its more intimate Kaseman Hall.

Thurs. 3/6 10a:  John Corigliano's "Fern Hill," based on the poem by Dylan Thomas, is the centerpiece of a program looking at ideas of home, when Quintessence: Choral Artists of the Southwest performs on March 8 at Immanuel Presbyterian Church and on March 9 at St. John's United Methodist Church.  Artistic Director Matthew Greer joins Spencer Beckwith for a preview of the Albuquerque concerts.

Wed. 3/5 10a:  Founded in 1959 by retired Albuquerque Public School music teacher Kenneth Lloyd Higgins, the Hummingbird Music Camp will again this summer welcome young people ages 8 to 14 to in-depth musical instruction in the mountains north of Jemez Springs.  Spencer Beckwith talks with the Camp's Music Director, the son of Kenneth Lloyd Higgins, horn player Elliott Higgins.

Fri. 2/28 10a:  On March 8, Albuquerque guitar makers, Pimentel & Sons, continues its popular concert series at the National Hispanic Cultural Center with a solo concert by Cuban-born classical guitarist Manuel Barrueco.  The public is also invited to a master class with Barrueco on March 7 at the NHCC.  Spencer Beckwith talks with the President and Vice-President of Pimentel & Sons, guitar makers Rick Pimentel and Robert Pimentel.

Thurs. 2/27 10a:  As part of its program, "Here and Now", on March 7 at the Scottish Rite Center, the chamber music ensemble Serenata of Santa Fe premieres works by two local composers, Kelvin McNeal and Ron Strauss.  Spencer Beckwith talks with Kelvin McNeal about the new set of songs he has written for soprano Gail Springer.

Wed. 2/26 10a:  Husband and wife, Frank Leto and Pilar Leto, along with his band PANdemonium and her Odara Dance Ensemble, are back on February 28 and March 1 with the annual Carnaval celebration at Albuquerque's National Hispanic Cultural.  Spencer Beckwith talks with Frank Leto about the 2014 production, an original musical set on the streets of Brazil, New Orleans, Cuba, and Trinidad.

Fri. 2/21 10a:  In addition to established performers like violinist Regina Carter, vocalist René Marie and saxophonist Joshua Redman, the spring season at Albuquerque's Outpost Performance Space, which opens on March 6, will showcase some exciting emerging musicians both from the national music scene and from here in the Southwest.  Spencer Beckwith is joined by the founder and Executive Director of the Outpost, Tom Guralnick.

Thurs. 2/20 10a:   Students in the University of New Mexico's Opera Theater program are joined by professional artists and the UNM Symphony Orchestra for a production of Mozart's "The Magic Flute," February 20-23 in Keller Hall on the UNM campus in Albuquerque.  Spencer Beckwith is joined by one of the co-Directors of the Opera Theater, Leslie Umphrey.

Wed. 2/19 10a:  On February 23 at Congregation Albert in Albuquerque, the Chamber Music Cooperative of the Southwest plays music with an expressionist kick by Hindemith, Mahler, Victor Ewald and contemporary Italian composer Caludio Dall'Albero.  Spencer Beckwith speaks with one of the founders of ChamberCHOPS, flutist Suzzanne Bloom.

Fri. 2/14 10a:  The New Mexico Philharmonic's Assistant Principal violist, Kim Fredenburgh, will be the soloist on William Walton's Viola Concerto when the Philharmonic presents one of its Classical Concerts at Popejoy Hall in Albuquerque on February 22.  Also on the program is Dvorak's Symphony No. 8.  Spencer Beckwith speaks with Kim Fredenburgh about the Walton Concerto.

Thurs. 2/13 10a:   The premiere season of Albuquerque's Orchestra of Discovery features three Tuesday night "Discovery Concerts," designed to engage audiences through music and liberal arts presentations.  The second Discovery Concert of the season, featuring a chamber orchestra arrangement of Mahler's Symphony No. 4, takes place on February 25 at the First United Methodist Church.  Music Director David Oberg joins Spencer Beckwith for a look at the new organization.

Wed. 2/12 10a:  Music Director Roger Melone joins Spencer Beckwith for a preview of the New Mexico Symphonic Chorus concert on February 23 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque.  The program features opera choruses of Verdi, songs by Debussy, Puccini and Brahms, and the world premiere of "Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal" by New Mexico composer Daniel Cummings.

Fri. 2/7 10a:  Over President's Day Weekend, from February 14 through 16, Congregation Nahalat Shalom in Albuquerque hosts its 12th annual celebration of the music and dance of the Eastern European Jewish people.  KlezmerQuerque 2014 features concerts with visiting and local performers, along with music and dance workshops and dance parties.  Spencer Beckwith speaks with the organizer of KlezmerQuerque, cantorial soloist and music director at Congregation Nahalat Shalom, Beth Cohen.