Arts & Performance

Dick Kowal knows a lot about music. He can draw you into a special moment of artistry by one of the world’s great orchestras during one of his broadcasts on WCQS Radio or informally connect with a talented local musician who’s about to perform live on Friday @ 2.

Asheville Community Theatre and Drama UNC-A will co-produce the swashbuckling prequel to Peter Pan, Peter and the Starcatcher, opening Thursday evening at the Carol Belk Theatre on the UNC-Asheville campus.  Cast members Chloe Zeitounian and Alex Daly spoke with Dick Kowal about the 2012 Broadway show.

The Asheville Symphony performs the finale to this week's Asheville Amadeus Festival in a Sunday afternoon concert at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. The featured soloist is violinist Midori, who will perform Mendelssohn's e minor Violin Concerto. Also on the program, Mozart's Symphony No. 35,  Stravinsky's  "Dumbarton Oaks" concerto, and Faure's Pavanne featuring the Asheville Symphony Chamber Chorus.

Saverio-Truglia

Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center (our neighbors on Broadway in downtown Asheville,) presents the 7th annual {Re}Happening Saturday, March 25th at Lake Eden in Black Mountain (the site of Black Mountain College and Camp Rockmont.) The event will feature an immersive experience created by many area artists, as well as a guest appearance by Chicago based Third Coast Percussion, an ensemble steeped in the music and aesthetic of John Cage, BMC College artist.

The Asheville Choral Society celebrates the Asheville Amadeus Festival and its own 40th anniversary with a concert Friday night, March 17th, at Asheville's Central United Methodist Church. The program will feature excerpts from Mozart's Mass in C minor as well as works from the 18th to the 21st century by Vivaldi, Stephen Paulus, Jake Runestad and Dolly Parton.

Asheville Baroque Concerts: Oltremontano

Mar 15, 2017

Asheville Baroque Concerts presents the finale program of this year's season on Sunday afternoon, March 19th, and 3pm at Oakley United Methodist Church. Titled "Oltremontano, from beyond the mountains," music for recorder, viola da gamba and harpsichord. Artistic director and viola da gamba player Gail Ann Schroeder talked with Dick Kowal about the music and the musicians.

NC Stage Company presents Souvenir: A Fantasia on theLife of Florence Foster Jenkins, opening Wednesday, March 15th and running through April 2nd. Part of this week's Asheville Amadeus Festival, the play looks at the life of Florence Foster Jenkins, an eccentric socialite who lives under the delusion that she is an enchanting coloratura soprano when she is actually incapable of holding pitch.

The Asheville Amadeus Festival officially kicks off Friday evening with a beer release and open house at Highland Brewing. Beginning at 7pm, the event celebrates the release of Highland's "Wolfgang 1756 Symphony Lager," music by Matt Townsend and The Wonder of the World, food trucks, and more. Leah Wong Ashburn, president of Highland Brewing, and David Whitehill, executive director of the Asheville Symphony, joined Dick Kowal to talk about the event and give an overview of the 10 day Asheville Amadeus Festival.

This week, BPR gardening expert Alison Arnold talks about how to do composting with earthworms.

The first concert in the Asheville Amadeus Festival, the Blue Ridge Orchestra performs in UNC-A's Lipinsky Auditorium Saturday morning at 11 and that afternoon at 3 in a concert titled "A Wedding with Wolfgang." In a family-oriented program, the orchestra will play "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue." Director Dr. Milton Crotts talked with Dick Kowal about the program.

As part of the Asheville Amadeus festival, Pan Harmonia will hold "Walk With Wolfgang," a progressive chamber music concert, on Monday, March 13th at 6. Three different chamber ensembles will perform at three different spaces in downtown Asheville; Haen Gallery, Asheville Museum of Science, and Blue Dream Curry House..

Kate Steinbeck, director of Pan Harmonia, talked with Dick Kowal about the concert. 

As part of the second Asheville Amadeus Festival, the Asheville Symphony Chorus will hold a Mozart Requiem Sing-Along on Tuesday, March 14th at 7:30 at Asheville's First Presbyterian Church.  Michael Lancaster, conductor of the Asheville Symphony Chorus,  talked with Dick Kowal

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This week, WCQS gardening expert Alison Arnold talks about the dramatic swings in temperature and what gardeners should do about it.

The wildly popular Moth StorySLAMs will continue in Asheville throughout 2017. The StorySLAM is a monthly competition, where the stage is open to any and all with a story to tell on the evening's theme. The schedule and themes [as posted] are listed below.

Asheville Symphony on WCQS

Feb 6, 2017

Listen Tuesday morning at 10 and again Thursday evening at 8 for the January 14th concert by the Asheville Symphony Orchestra. Guest conductor Courtney Lewis conducts  Variations on a Theme of Haydn by Brahms, the Third Symphony by Robert Schumann, and Haydn's C major cello concerto with guest soloist Cicely Parnas.

Listen Tuesday morning at 10 and Thursday evening at 8. Chip Kaufmann will be your host.

Asheville Fringe Arts Festival

Jan 24, 2017

The fifteenth annual Asheville Fringe Arts Festival takes place January 26th thru 29th in and around Asheville, with multiple performance sites including theatres, galleries, clubs, and even the purple LaZoom bus.

Jim Julien is co-chair of the 2017 Festival, and he spoke with Dick Kowal about what's coming.

NC Stage: Jeeves In Bloom

Jan 23, 2017

NC Stage Co. presents Jeeves In Bloom, from the stories of P.G. Wodehouse, adapted by Margaret Raether, opening Wednesday, January 25th. The production features favorites Charlie Flynn-McIver, Michael McCauley, and Scott Treadway. Charlie and Michael talked with Dick Kowal about the show.

8th Annual Django Reinhardt Birthday Festival

Jan 12, 2017

The eighth annual Django Reinhardt birthday festival takes place Saturday, January 21st at Asheville's Grey Eagle. Who was Django Reinhardt, and why are people playing his music more than a hundred years after his birth? Jon Corbin, guitarist and organizer of the festival, talked with Dick Kowal about the legacy of the great jazz guitarist and the musicians gathering to celebrate his birthday.

Asheville Symphony on WCQS

Jan 9, 2017

Join us Thursday evening at 8 for a broadcast of the Asheville Symphony's November 19th concert, Rhapsody in Blue. The concert features pianist Conrad Tao in a performance of one of George Gershwin's best-loved works.  (Tao's encore following the Rhapsody is, by itself, worth the price of admission!) Also on the all-American program, two works from Aaron Copland; the suite from the film score he wrote for "Our Town," and the suite from the 1939 ballet Billy the Kid, and David Diamond's Symphony No.

Swannanoa Solstice Sunday

Dec 14, 2016

The Swannanoa Solstice returns Sunday to the Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville for the 14th year. Host Doug Orr and multi-instrumentalist Al Petteway brought poetry and music, joining Dick Kowal to talk about the nature of this holiday tradition.

North Carolina Forest Service

Fire has been on the minds of many in western North Carolina over the past several weeks as wildfires swept across the region.  In her commentary this week, WCQS gardening expert Alison Arnold has some tips on how to protect the home against fires.  

Jeremy Loeb: Although the rain in recent days may ease the risk of wildfire potential across the western part of the state we aren’t out of the clear yet. It seems like a good time though to become more “fire aware”  - not only about prevention and protection but also the benefits of fire.

Asheville Ballet: The Nutcracker

Dec 6, 2016

Asheville Ballet brings everyone's favorite holiday tradition to the Diana Wortham Theatre this weekend with shows Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and evening, and Sunday afternoon.  Director Ann Dunn talked with Dick Kowal about this family friendly classic.

Blue Ridge Orchestra: BRO Revels

Dec 6, 2016

The Blue Ridge Orchestra performs two concerts this weekend, 3pm Saturday at Lipinsky Auditorium on the UNC-A campus, and 3pm Sunday at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Both concerts feature violinist/celtic fiddler Jamie Laval.  Jamie and Milton Crotts, director of the Blue Ridge Orchestra spoke with Dick Kowal about the concerts.

NC Stage: All is Calm

Dec 5, 2016
Scott Treadway

Asheville's NC Stage Company  will stage All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, opening Wednesday, December 7th and running through December 23rd. Director Charlie Flynn-McIver, cast member Michael MacCauley, and chorus member David Berkey spoke with Dick Kowal about the play.

Photo Credit: Michael Mauney

After three decades of service to public radio audiences in Western North Carolina, WCQS Music Director Dick Kowal will retire at the end of April, 2017.

Dick joined WCQS in 1986 when it was still a fledgling station. In the years since, the station has become an essential arts and culture resource for the region.

The Asheville Symphony Chorus will host a "Sing-Along Messiah" Thursday, December 8th at First Presbyterian Church on Church Street in Asheville. Singers should arrive at 6:30; listeners at 7:30.

Director Michael Lancaster spoke with Dick Kowal about the event.

Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

An event Monday at ISIS Restaurant and Music Hall in Asheville aims to bring together people with talent and people seeking that talent.  Talent Jam gives participants a chance to make 60 second pitches to either speak for their talent or for the talent they're seeking.  It's like a job fair, but not, explains Daniel Kairoff, creative director for the event.  Kairoff says it's a way to get people connected in a challenging job market.  He stopped by WCQS to talk about the event.  

Click the audio to hear the full interview with Kairoff.  

ACDT: The Nutcracker & the Mouse King

Nov 30, 2016

Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre presents The Nutcracker & the Mouse King, a contemporary dance theatre ballet based on the original story by E.T.A. Hoffman, this weekend at the Diana Wortham Theatre. Jiles Collard talked with Dick Kowal about this year's presentation.

Asheville Community Theatre presents the world premier of Tom Godleski's Snowbound, a "new mountain play with mountain music." The play includes Godleski's band, Buncombe Turnpike, and members of another popular bluegrass/old-time band, Sons of Ralph, onstage with the other 35 actors. 

Tom Godleski and director Mark Jones spoke with Dick Kowal about the play and its music.

Asheville Choral Society: Yuletide Candlelight

Nov 22, 2016

The Asheville Choral Society, under the direction of Melodie Galloway, performs its second annual Yuletide Candlelight concert at Asheville's Trinity Episcopal Church December 2nd at 7:30 and December 3rd at 4:30.  The Choral Society will be joined by string and brass players, and the Celebration Singers, a chorus for young people.

Melodie joined Dick Kowal to talk about the program and other ACS activities in the months ahead.

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