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Ventura County Ballet Company’s DAnce ART to collaborate with Focus on the Masters for visually stunning multimedia masterpiece
“Convergence” to kick-off annual ArtWalk Ventura with special live performance of new music premiere from Grammy-nominated composer, Miguel del Aguila, July 19.

Ventura County Ballet Company’s (VCBC) DAnce ART, a traveling dance ensemble composed of the company’s finest ballet dancers, and Focus on the Masters (FOTM), a non-profit art appreciation program that documents, preserves and presents the works and lives of accomplished contemporary artists, will combine its talents to introduce a unique, awe-inspiring, one-time event called “Convergence” that will kick-off the annual ArtWalk Ventura on Friday, July 19.
A first-of-its-kind concept masterminded by nationally recognized photographer and FOTM Founder Donna Granata, “Convergence” will be a live, multimedia benefit performance event featuring dance, music and fine art at its best, celebrating the spirit of collaboration and a shared passion for the arts. Downtown Ventura’s historic location at 20 N. Oak St. will set the stage for the event that will combine the skills of accomplished ballet dancers, renowned visual artists, an expert choreographer and world-renowned classical musicians.

The audience will be captivated by a beautifully choreographed dance piece from Brett Weidlich and performed by VCBC’s DAnce ART as projections of paintings by ArtWalk Artist of Distinction and FOTM-documented painter Gerd Koch bathe the dancers in expressionistic color and texture. Providing the music for the performance will be two-time Grammy-nominated international composer and pianist Miguel del Aguila, who will premiere “Silence,” his newest composition for piano and violin which he will perform with celebrated violinist Yue Deng.

Attendees will also enjoy an art exhibition featuring artists’ works that have been documented in the FOTM program that will be showcased throughout the weekend, as well as a live auction featuring Granata’s exquisite photographs of the dancers and other unique items. All proceeds from the event will benefit FOTM’s educational outreach programs.

“This unique performance embodies everything the ArtWalk represents – world-class artistry at its finest,” Granata said. “We’re so proud to showcase this unique alliance of extraordinary artists with the unmatched talents of our international musicians. ‘Convergence’ will be an affair to remember.”

Event Info:

What: “Convergence”
When: Friday, July 19, at 6:30-10 p.m.
Where: 20 N. Oak St., Ventura, Calif. 93001

Cost: $100 for FOTM members; $150 for general public. Advanced tickets for this event are available at www.FocusOnTheMaster.com or by calling 805-653-2501. Dinner will be graciously donated by Aloha Steakhouse. Tickets are limited and must be purchased by Monday, July 15.

ArtWalk Weekend July 20 & 21- Free

Throughout the Ventura ArtWalk weekend, Focus on the Masters will exhibit artwork from FOTM documented artists and artwork from the Learning To See Youth Outreach students who were inspired by the life and work of the artists documented. A selection of photographic portraits of the artists by Donna Granata will also be on display.

Participating FOTM Artists include:


Gayel Childress
Bob Engel
BiJian Fan
Aimee French
Ted Gall
Donna Granata
Colin Fraser Gray
Gerd Koch
Gary Lang
Len Poteshman
Bob Privitt
Michael Rohde
RTK Studios:
  Richard Keit
  & Mary Kennedy
Albert Stewart
Hiroko Yoshimoto  
   

About the Collaborators:

Miguel del Aguila, Composer, Pianist
Two time Grammy-nominated American composer, Miguel del Aguila’s prolific music output and distinctive musical style has placed him among the most highly regarded composers of his generation. He came to the attention of European audiences in 1983 when his Messages premiered at Musikvereinssaal, the home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Soon performances at Konzerthaus and Bösendorfer Hall followed, and in 1987 Peermusic published his first works. 1988 KKMAustria and Albany Records released his first CDs. During the 90’s Aguila’s list of works grew as did the number of his recordings, performances and honors which by 1995 included the prestigious Kennedy Center Friedheim Award among many others. Hear an interview with Miguel del Aguila.After residing in Vienna for ten years, Aguila returned to California in 1992, where soon Los Angeles Times critics welcomed him as "One of the West Coast's most promising and enterprising young composers." He was Resident Composer at Chautauqua Institution until 2004 and Composer in Residence with New Mexico Symphony 2005 2006. By 2007 nearly fifty first rate orchestras and hundreds of ensembles and soloists were regularly commissioning and performing his works worldwide.

Currently Aguila’s catalogue reaches over a hundred works for all genres, most published by Peermusic Classical and available on twentyseven CDs released by Naxos, Bridge, Dorian, Telarc, New Albion, Albany, and others. Performances and broadcasts of his works take place virtually every day of the year somewhere in the world. Recently Aguila received two Grammy nominations for CD Salon Buenos Aires and for his work Clocks as well as a MTC Magnum Opus Commission for The Fall of Cuzco. He is published by Peermusic Classical. www.MigueldelAguila.com

Yue Deng, Violinist
Yue Deng was born in Hebei, China. At the age of eight, she won First Prize in the National Violin Competition in China and was accepted as a full scholarship student to attend the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing when she was nine. By age thirteen, she had her first solo debut with an orchestra. She won the special Judge's Prize at the First Triennial Johansen International Competition, with a laureate at the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition. She obtained her B.M. from the Oberlin Conservatory under Taras Gabora, and her M.M. from the Juilliard School under Dorothy Delay and Hyo Kang.

Yue has been a participant of the New York String Seminar Orchestra, the Music Academy of the West, and the Henry Mancini Institute. Roger Kellaway arranged and wrote for her Both Sides Now, an album recorded in 2004. She was the concertmaster and soloist for the Henry Mancini Institute for two summers. Yue was the featured soloist in the tribute concert for John Williams and Ginny Mancini at Kodak Theater. As a recording artist, Yue has recorded with Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow, Diana Krall, Josh Groban, Johnny Mandel, Willy Nelson and Dionne Warwick, and on movie scores such as No God No Master (featured soloist), Invictus and In Her Sleep. Yue has performed with Michael Buble, Bill Charlap, Dave Grusin, and Randy Newman. Her album with renowned French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet titled Ogermann: Violin and Piano Works was released on Decca in 2007. As the principle Concertmaster, Yue led the Pacific Shore Philharmonic in the inaugural season at the Libby Bowl in the summer of 2012. Yue has performed in Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, Birdland, and Disney Concert Hall.

Yue served on the jury for the strings competition hosted by American String Teachers Association and the Annual Henry Schwab Ventura County Violin Competition. Her students have been concertmasters and winners of the concerto competitions in the Santa Barbara and Ojai Youth Symphonies, as well as the Charles Schwab Violin competitions. Yue has taught at Juilliard Pre-College, Westmont College, and Music Academy of the West (Merit Program). Yue is devoted to helping young musicians develop a passion for music. She has mentored individual students, coached underprivileged young violinists in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Yue is an active member of American Federation of Musicians, American String Teacher’s Association and Music Teacher’s Association of California.
www.YueDeng.com

Bretislav Weidlich, Choreographer
Brett Weidlich early education was completed in the Czech Republic where he also received his Bachelors of Arts Degree while attending the National Ballet School. Brett went on to complete a double Master of Arts degree (one in Choreography and the other as Ballet Master) at the Rimsky Korsakov Conservatory and Choreographic Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia under full scholarship. Brett returned to work professionally as a dancer (Soloist) with the National Ballet Theatre in Prague. While with NBT he performed in a variety of dance roles including: Carmen, Cinderella, Creation of the World, Don Quixote, Giselle, La Fille Mal Gardee, Merry Widow, Midsummer Night Dream, Night in Venice, Nutcracker, Pygmalion, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake.  Brett danced as a Principal Dancer with the Mexico City Ballet Theatre for four years performing in both classical and contemporary choreography and he has also performed as a “guest artist” in Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Monte Carlo all taking place over a period of several years. 

In Southern California, Brett has previously worked as an artistic director, choreographer, ballet master and dancer for the following companies and organizations: Conejo Civic Ballet; California Philharmonic Orchestra; Ballet Ventura, Ballet Arts Academy and California Ballet Academy (both located in Ventura County) and Ballet Temecula. Brett is fluent in a number of languages including: Czech, Slovak, Polish, Russian, Spanish and English and has experience working in the areas of Stage Management, Costume and Set and Lighting Design.

About the Downtown Ventura Partners Business Improvement District
The Downtown Ventura Partners business improvement district is a 22-block neighborhood where property owners tax themselves to make their community cleaner, safer and more vibrant. The tax is used by the BID to supplement and enhance services provided by the city. Working with the City and our non-profit partner, Downtown Ventura Organization, the Downtown Ventura Partners is leading a new spirit of cooperation among property owners, businesses and the community by providing a range of enhanced management programs including maintenance, marketing, economic vitality and physical improvements.
www.DowntownVentura.org

Artwalk Ventura
Artwalk Ventura is a free, self-guided tour of dozens of galleries, studios and pop-up venues in Ventura's Westside Cultural District and Downtown. A signature event for Ventura for many years which brought in cultural tourists from all over, it is now being run by an all-volunteer group which has added new life to the event.
www.WestsideArtwalk.org