Dialogue Concerts Resume--Informally, of Course

Times Staff Writer

The first time that violinist Liba Shacht played at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, the audience wore hard hats, and the drywall in the small Founder’s Hall theater was bare.

This time, in the same room, the Lithuanian-born woman played for--and talked to--about 60 Citicorp/Citibank employees to inaugurate the Center’s third season of informal “performance/discussions.”

The Center will be reaching out to the community again with music in the series called “Informally Yours,” which is underwritten this year by a $20,000 grant from Citicorp/Citibank.

The grant will enable Shacht and three other artists--a pianist and two opera singers--to perform for “non-traditional and economically and physically disadvantaged” audiences around the county, as well as for groups that support the Center, according to Thomas R. Kendrick, Center president.


Sponsors of previous series in the Center’s first two seasons have included the Metropolitan Life Foundation and the Pacific Telesis Foundation. More than 15,000 people have been entertained at 130 performances, Center spokesman Richard Bryant said.

Shacht, who trained in Israel and the United States, performed a series of short violin pieces by Vivaldi, Stravinsky and the Israeli composer Joseph Kaminsky in Founder’s Hall, whose walls are now covered with adjustable acoustic panels.

Between each piece, she interspersed comments and answered questions from the audience. Early in the hourlong performance, Shacht asked to have the house lights turned up, “for me to see you,” while playing for the Citicorp employees, many of whom work less than 5 minutes’ walk from the Center.

The discussion ranged from what she uses to cushion the violin--makeup sponges from a Woolworth store--to the difficulty of keeping together with her accompanist, Sandy McCune, when playing Stravinsky. “Sometimes you say, ‘OK, see you at the end, meet at the last chord,’ ” she said.


Shacht, who returned to the Center a second time to play in the “Informally Yours” series in September, 1987, is scheduled for eight such appearances this week, all at the Center and all for support groups.

In the spring, however, baritone Ray Jacobs, soprano Evelyn de la Rosa and pianist William Wolfram will divide their time between the Center and various community groups, including hospitals, libraries, high schools and colleges, senior and community centers and a fire station.

In the past, artists have appeared at the Orangewood Center for Dependent Children in Orange, the Braille Institute in Anaheim and the Development Disability Center of Orange County.

Jacobs will be in Orange County March 13-17, de la Rosa, March 27-31 and Wolfram May 22-26.

Earlier this year, Citicorp also underwrote the performance of Marcel Marceau. The company previously contributed $200,000 for installation of the Sennheiser Hard-of-Hearing system, which provides wireless, lightweight headsets offered at no cost to those attending the Center.