• Tarik O'Regan, the young British rising star of choral music whose work was spotlighted by Conspirare in its first concert of the season, had his composition Threshold of Night honored with a British Composer Award in the Liturgical category on Dec. 5. The piece, a setting of poetry by Kathleen Raine, was not only the centerpiece of Conspirare's September program, it will also be included on the choral ensemble's first international release on the Harmonia Mundi label. Conspirare recorded the CD at the Troy Music Hall in Troy, N.Y., in October. It's set for release in 2008. The award, O'Regan's second British Composer Award, comes with a 1,000-pound prize from the Worshipful Company of Musicians toward a new commission.
• The Blanton Museum of Art is tweaking its schedule in the new year. For those of you accustomed to taking advantage of the museum's late hours on Thursdays, take note: Rather than stay open till 8pm every Thursday, the Blanton is going to stay open late only one Thursday a month – the third Thursday – but it will keep the doors open even later – until 9pm – with a slew of specialty programs to choose from (Art Fix, Blanton Book Club, Artistic License, and Yoga in the Galleries), plus wine and light snacks. And free admission will still be offered, not just on late Thursdays but every other Thursday when the museum is open 10am-5pm, as well. As for the other days of the week, the hours will be Tuesday-Friday, 10am-5pm; Saturday, 11am-5pm; Sunday, 1-5pm; and closed Monday. For more information, visit www.blantonmuseum.org.
• Remember Hot September Flurries, that annual celebration of contemporary dance at the Blue Theater the past few autumns? Well, choreographic mastermind Ellen Bartel is expanding the event to three new venues and moving it to June, which by itself would pretty much necessitate a new name. But Bartel is also working to connect the event to another established celebration of dance of Texas, the Big Range Dance Festival, which has been a summer tradition in Houston for five years now. So in 2008, look for the debut of the Big Range Austin Dance Festival, taking place June 6-15 at the Off Center, Salvage Vanguard Theater, and the AustinVentures StudioTheater in Ballet Austin's new Butler Dance Education Center. Right now, Bartel is soliciting participation from area choreographers. Details and applications may be found at www.spankdance.com or at the venue sites. Deadline for applications is Feb. 15. For more information, e-mail email@example.com.
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