Despite the many tragedies of 2005's Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans reported some positive news for the art world: The majority of the New Orleans Museum of Art's renowned collection survived the tempest.
Now 80 of those works of art are visiting Stanford University, in a Cantor Arts Center exhibit called "Spared from the Storm." On exhibit are paintings, drawings and sculptures by some of the most important names in European and American art from the 17th through mid-20th centuries, including Monet, Degas, Picasso, Pollock, Magritte, Giacometti and O'Keeffe.
France has many of her artists represented, thanks to New Orleans' roots. There's Renoir's circa-1908 oil painting "Seamstress at a Window," for instance, and a life-size circa-1788 portrait of Marie Antoinette by Elisabeth-Louise Vigee-LeBrun. American creations include Pollock's early drip painting "Composition" (1948) and Mary Cassatt's 1906 "Mother and Child in the Conservatory."
The exhibit runs through Oct. 5 off Palm Drive at Museum Way, open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursdays until 8. Admission is free. Go to museum.stanford.edu or call 650-723-4177.
Stanford Summer Jazz
Summer is already in the air at Stanford Shopping Center — at least on Thursday evenings.
For the 22nd year, free jazz concerts are being performed weekly at the center. The shows take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Clock Tower Plaza (near Neiman Marcus), produced by the nonprofit SFJAZZ.
Next on the agenda, on June 12, is Berkeley baritone Ed Reed, who has been praised by the San Jose Mercury News as "a brilliant, idiosyncratic song stylist." Reed grew up in Watts, California, in the 1930s and '40s and followed an unusual musical path: He sang with an inmate big band while serving time in San Quentin and Folsom prisons on drug charges, according to his Web site. Now he has a busy schedule of gigs at festivals and clubs such as Yoshi's in Oakland.
The following week, the Anton Schwartz Quintet plays on June 19 at Stanford. San Francisco saxophonist Anton Schwartz is undoubtedly familiar with this turf; before making the leap to the jazz world, he did research in artificial intelligence at Stanford, as well as at Harvard. He's also taught at the Stanford Jazz Workshop.
Other artists scheduled to perform on upcoming weeks include Pyeng Threadgill (June 26), Maria Volonte (July 3) and the Jane Getter Trio with guest Mimi Fox (July 10). Go to sfjazz.org or call 650-617-8200.
South Bay Brass
Musician Karl Schmidt of Palo Alto took a 40-year hiatus from composing and arranging music before he started doing it again in 2006. But melodies are clearly still in his blood.
This Saturday, the South Bay Brass ensemble will play his composition "Three Pieces for Brass" as part of an evening of new music written by Bay Area members of the National Association of Composers. The concert begins at 8 p.m. at the Palo Alto Art Center at 1313 Newell Road.
"The title of each of the 'Three Pieces for Brass' suggests the dominant mood I was in while writing each piece," Schmidt, a clarinet player, wrote in the program notes. "'Quest' is restive and unsettled as several themes work their way through diminished, minor and finally major chord structures. 'Reflection' is inward-looking, quiet and relaxed. And 'Triumph' is a button-popping stroll down the aisle to get that pat on the head for a job well done."
Schmidt's other musical experience includes attending the Lawrence College Conservatory of Music in Wisconsin and recording the jazz album "Windy City Profile."
Tickets to Saturday's concert are $15 general and $10 for seniors. Go to www.southbaybrass.com or call 408-269-2301.
Mid-Peninsula Shakespeare Festival
If you're a Bard buff, this month should be just as you like it. The annual Mid-Peninsula Shakespeare Festival returns to the Peninsula, with free 8 p.m. outdoor performances scheduled throughout June at Mid-Peninsula High School.
Shows, presented by the Festival Theatre Ensemble, start this Saturday with Shakespeare's "As You Like It." The play will also be performed on June 8, 15 and 28. Next up is Shakespeare's "The Tempest"; performance dates are June 20, 21 and 29.
The festival takes a different turn with its third show, the classic "Beauty and the Beast" adapted by Bruce W. De Les Dernier. Show dates are June 13, 14, 22 and 27.
Performances are at 1340 Willow Road in Menlo Park, east of U.S. 101. The nights can get chilly out there, so audience members are advised to dress warmly.
For more information, go to www.menloplayersguild.org. (While Menlo Players Guild is no longer in existence, it partnered with the Los Gatos-based Festival Theatre Ensemble for many years and is still hosting information on its Web site.)
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