Arts District: No Exit

And more local arts news

"It's always this way with composers," says Timothy Beyer. "You start with the idea of a group to get your music played — and played the way you want — and then it becomes a bigger idea."

His bigger idea is No Exit, a new Cleveland-based ensemble dedicated to contemporary music. It formed last summer, when Beyer got together with pianist Nick Underhill, violinist Cara Tweed, violist Tom Bowling and cellist Nick Diodore. In addition to noted contemporary composers, they plan to play new work by young and unknown composers — which they hope to fuel with a commissioning program. They'll play typical concert venues but also unconventional ones — like bars and art galleries — hoping to reach audiences who wouldn't otherwise hear them.

Their first program this weekend includes two world premieres by student composers — Albert Kovach's "Disquieting Calm for Piano Quartet," and James Praznik's "Threshold." Also on the program are works by Beyer, Underhill, Witold Lutoslawski and Zoltan Kodaly. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, November 20, at CSU's Drinko Recital Hall (2001 Euclid Ave.), and at 8 p.m. Saturday at The Barking Spider (11310 Juniper Rd). For information, call Beyer at 216.798.9491.

"Even though I dress like a Republican, I've been known to write and read poetry," says District 13 state representative candidate Tom Bullock, a Democrat. "Poets have always played a role in telling the story of a community and re-imagining it." Bullock joined other poets, including Ray McNiece, Tuesday at La Boca restaurant for a reading and meet-and-greet. Bullock has a masters degree in classics (especially Roman oratory), but says his own writing tends to be personal rather than political.

Speaking of culture and politics, Oberlin College president Marvin Krislov has been nominated by President Barack Obama and appointed to serve on the National Council on the Humanities, which advises the National Endowment for the Humanities on grant applications.

Kenneth Paul Lesko Gallery (1305 W. 80th St., 216.631.6719, opens The Cleveland School this week, featuring paintings by artists active in Northeast Ohio in the early 20th century who were associated with what became the Cleveland Institute of Art. The show opens with a free reception from 5:30-9 p.m. Friday, November 20. It runs through January 2.

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