Spotlight Talks

Join us for pre and post-show conversations, panel discussions or Q&A's to learn more about select performances. Presented by this season's artists and Santa Monica College Faculty to engage the imagination and intellect of learners of all ages.

Classical Artist-in-Residence Richard Yongjae O’Neill
Saturday, SEP 8, 2018
6:45 PM

Richard Yongjae O'Neill
, Emmy® Award winner, two-time GRAMMY® nominee and Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, has appeared as soloist with the London, Los Angeles and Seoul Philharmonics; BBC, KBS and Hiroshima Symphony Orchestras; and the Wurttemburg, Vienna and Kremerata Baltica Chamber Orchestras. Highlights of this season include premiering John Harbison’s Viola Sonata written for him and Molly Morkowski, serving as Artist-InResidence at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica and celebrating his 15-year anniversary of concerts in Korea with a special appearance of the Ehnes Quartet at Seoul Arts Center. A recording artist with UNIVERSAL/ Deutsche Grammophon, he has made nine solo albums that have sold over 200,000 copies. He is a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Camerata Pacifica and the Ehnes Quartet. Composers Lera Auerbach, Elliott Carter, John Harbison, Huang Ruo and Paul Chihara have written and dedicated works to him. His chamber music project DITTO has introduced tens of thousands to chamber music in South Korea and Japan. The first violist to receive the Artist Diploma from The Juilliard School, he was honored with a Proclamation from the New York City Council. He serves as Goodwill Ambassador for the Korean Red Cross, CARE and UNICEF, and runs marathons for charity.

Learn more about Richard Yongjae O'Neill here

Kybele Dance Theater
Friday, SEP 14, 2018
Post-show conversation to follow performance 

Born in San Diego, CA Cihtli Ocampo began her training with Tap, Jazz, Ballet and Modern (Graham). At 17 she moved to New York to train in Dunham & Horton at the Alvin Ailey School and subsequently began studying Flamenco. In 1999 Ms. Ocampo was awarded the William J. Fulbright Scholarship for the study of Flamenco and Spanish Dance in Spain. This led to an eleven year residence in Andalucía, Spain where Ms. Ocampo trained in the strict Gypsy school of the art form. In 2004 she joined the legendary Farruco Family Company and was the featured in Tony Gatlif's film "Exils" (Best Director, Cannes Film Festival).
In 2006 Ms. Ocampo co-founded the Arte y Pureza Flamenco Company, an international dance and live music company dedicated to diffusing pure Gypsy Flamenco worldwide. In 2010 Ms. Ocampo relocated to Los Angeles where she continues to perform in and present original productions with Arte y Pureza. Ms. Ocampo teaches master classes all over the world and is currently on faculty at Santa Monica College, UCSD and Pomona College. In November she will be presenting an original choreography at The Broad Stage for SMC's Synapse Dance Theater.

Learn more about Kybele Dance Theater here

Vox Luminis
Thursday, OCT 11, 2018
6:45 PM

Dr. Jeremiah Selvey conducts the SMC Concert Chorale and the SMC Chamber Choir. He also co-directs and sings professionally with Chorosynthesis Singers, a 12-voice, professional, project-based chamber ensemble in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Selvey was nationally recognized for his conducting and named The Winner of The American Prize in Conducting 2017, Professional Choir Division. He conducts music from all musical periods and specializes in modern choral music, especially championing the music of established and emerging living composers. Dr. Selvey is active in curating and performing music that is socially conscious with content that is relevant to today’s environment and socio-cultural climate.

Learn more about Vox Luminis here

Saturday, NOV 10, 2018
6:45 PM

Ric Alviso received his B.M. degree in music composition from California State University, Long Beach, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in ethnomusicology at UCLA. As an ethnomusicologist, he has conducted fieldwork in Africa, Tuva, and the Southwest United States. He has studied and performed music from many music cultures, including Shona and Mandinka music from Africa, Indonesian gamelan, Albanian folk music, Japanese taiko drumming, and various Latin American and Native American styles. As a composer, he has combined elements of Western and non-Western traditions with an emphasis on microtonality. As a pianist, he has performed with the Long Beach and Santa Monica Symphony orchestras. He has been on the faulty at Santa Monica College since 1994 and has been Professor of World Music at California State University, Northridge since 2000. He is the author of "Multicultural Music in America: An Introduction to Our Musical Heritage" and "Musical Aspects of the Corrido, the War on Drugs: and their Convergence in a Federal Prison."

Learn more about Nobuntu here

Billy Childs’ Jazz Chamber Ensemble
Sunday, NOV 11, 2018
Post-show conversation to follow performance

Lesa Terry has been presented throughout Europe and the United States as a performer, lecturer, and resident artist. Ms.Terry is currently an active member of the music faculty at California State University at Los Angeles teaching courses in “Jazz in American Culture” and “Elements of Jazz Harmony”. As a former faculty member, Lesa Terry has taught at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia; New York University; the University of Massachusetts; Alabama State University; Quad City Arts Educational Program; Santa Monica College, California; The New School, New York City; University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of New Hampshire.

Learn more about Billy Childs' Jazz Chamber Ensemble here

All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914
Saturday, DEC 22, 2018 
3:15 PM

Perviz Sawoski is a theatre director, choreographer, actress, vocalist and teacher. She has directed and choreographed several plays and musicals at Santa Monica College and elsewhere. Perviz has directed several plays including Shakespeare’s The Winter's Tale and The Tempest, Witness for the Prosecution, Prelude to A Kiss, Beckett: 4 Short Plays, The Royal Hunt of The Sun, Bohemian Lights, Blood Wedding, Salome, The Good Woman of Szechwan (new translation) and a world premiere of Butterfly Wings. She has also taught at Long Beach City College and California State University Los Angeles, her Alma Mater.

Learn more about All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 here

Olga Kern
Saturday, FEB 9, 2019
6:45 PM

Shanon Zusman, Associate Faculty, has been teaching at Santa Monica College since 2004. In 2009 he co-led the SMC Summer Study Abroad trip to London/Paris, visiting several historic sites and museums while teaching a course in Music History. In addition to his Music Appreciation and Music Fundamentals classes at SMC, he also serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Southern California, Claremont Graduate University, and College of the Canyons. He holds a doctorate in Early Music from the USC Thornton School of Music, where he studied double bass and viola da gamba. A recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship, he became interested in early music performance while studying the history of the bass in Vienna. As a freelance musician, he has performed with Musica Angelica, Bach Collegium San Diego, Con Gioia, and Camerata Pacifica, as well as the Santa Monica College Symphony Orchestra. His scholarly pursuits include researching the origins of the neoclassical style and the early music movement, in addition to making modern editions of unpublished Renaissance and Baroque music for the viola da gamba.

Learn more about Olga Kern here

Etienne Charles: Carnival: The Sound of a People
Saturday, MAR 2, 2019
6:45 PM

See artist biography for Lesa Terry above. 

Learn more about Etienne Charles here

Classical Artist-in-Residence Richard Yongjae O’Neill
Sunday, MAR 3, 2019
1:15 PM

See artist biography for Richard Yongjae O'Neill above at Sep 8 show.

Learn more about Richard Yongjae O'Neill here

Friday, MAR 8, 2019 
6:45 PM

See artist biography for Rick Alviso above at Nov 10 show.

Learn more about Alash here

Ballet Hispánico
Saturday, MAR 23, 2019 
6:45 PM

Vanessa Van Wormer, originally from Spokane WA, is a choreographer, dancer, and instructor. Her diverse career includes dancing for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Bill Evans Dance Company, James Hansen Assemblage, Ballet Spokane and The Spokane Opera, and in prestigious venues including Jacob’s Pillow, and the American Dance Guild Festival. Van Wormer directs the bi-coastal collective VVWdance, and her work has been featured nationally and internationally. She regular presents work at TICINO in DANZA, and conducts residencies at The American School in Switzerland. A recent transplant from NY, she is currently Associate Professor of Dance at Santa Monica College. Van Wormer is also an ABT® certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teaching Training Intensive in Pre-Primary.

Learn more about Ballet Hispanico here

Ranky Tanky
Sunday, APR 7, 2019  
6:45 PM

Dennis Parnell began his professional life as a child actor on CBS TV’s “Love of Life” where he portrayed the character “Beanie Harper”. Parnell has had a very eclectic career as a singer, poet, radio programmer, ASCAP composer and teacher. He has sung over thirty opera roles, both as a countertenor and tenor. His poetry includes “Poetry from the Global Village” and “Other Side”, being readied for publication currently. He has scored 9 films and been writing music since his teens. He has taught many varied music courses, specializing in voice at Cal Arts, Cal State Fullerton, Santa Monica and Pierce Colleges. He was the choir director at Pierce College for over ten years. His students have won the Metropolitan Opera National Auditions to The Voice and American Idol. He continues to teach both privately and at Santa Monica College.

Learn more about Ranky Tanky here

Classical Artist-in-Residence Richard Yongjae O’Neill
Sunday, MAY 26, 2019
1:15 PM

See artist biography for Richard Yongjae O'Neill above at Sep 8 show. 

Learn more about Richard Yongjae O'Neill here

Thank you to the Santa Monica College Music, Dance and Theater Departments for their participation and curation of Spotlight Talks. Special Thanks to Department Chairs Yulia Kozlova, Judith Douglas and Perviz Sawoski.