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Pianist replaced for Fox concert

Sun., Jan. 11, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama has stolen one of the Spokane Symphony’s soloists.

Pianist Gabriela Montero was scheduled to play a Liszt concerto at the symphony’s concerts next weekend at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox.

In the meantime, she was asked to play at Obama’s Inauguration on the following Tuesday. She will join classical superstars Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and Anthony McGill in performing a new work by John Williams.

At first, it appeared that Montero would be able to make both gigs. But on Monday, it became clear that she would need to be in D.C. early for rehearsals, according to the symphony’s Annie Matlow.

So Montero will be replaced in Spokane by Orli Shaham, another fine young pianist. Shaham’s credentials are certainly impeccable: She has performed with the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras and the Chicago Symphony, to name just a few.

Shaham will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2.

So long to Tom

The exodus of local TV veterans continues.

Tom Hudson, KREM-2 sportscaster for 12-plus years, surprised viewers – and his co-anchors – just before Christmas by announcing that he was “saying so long” as of that night, Dec. 23.

He told viewers that the business has “changed a lot, especially over the last two years here. And when the joy is gone, it’s tough to keep fighting through it.”

Later, in a phone interview, Hudson said his contract was up and he just felt it was time to “step back” and decide what to do next.

One thing he’ll be doing for certain: He remains the radio voice of the Gonzaga University basketball team. That’s a separate gig from his KREM job.

Not every TV anchor gets to say farewell on-air, but Hudson called it “a great opportunity to tell people goodbye and to thank everyone.”

Half-mil for Clyfford Still

The big score on Monday night’s “Antiques Roadshow” broadcast was a $500,000 appraisal for a painting by Clyfford Still.

“I have to say, in all my years on the ‘Roadshow,’ it’s probably the most exciting find I’ve had,” the art appraiser said.

Even though this episode was filmed in Palm Springs, Calif., the painting has immense local significance.

Few of us here know the name Clyfford Still – but we should. Still was one of the acknowledged fathers of the Abstract Expressionist movement, along with Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko.

And he was a product of Spokane and Pullman.

Still was born in North Dakota in 1904, but he grew up mostly in Spokane. He attended the now-defunct Spokane University and then, in 1933, attended Washington State College (now WSU) on a teaching fellowship. He earned a master’s degree, and became an assistant professor.

He left in 1941 for California and eventually went to New York, where he became what Robert Hughes of Time magazine called a “mythic figure in American painting.”

That “Roadshow” painting depicts the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam. It was painted in 1937 while Still was teaching at Pullman.

The owners said the head of the college’s art faculty gave it to them long ago as a housewarming gift.

Some housewarming gift.

The appraiser, Alasdair Nichol, said he may have been “rather conservative” in only appraising it at $500,000. Another Still painting sold a few years ago for $21 million.

Two new Fox shows

The Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox has booked two new shows for the spring:

Brandi Carlile – The Seattle singer-songwriter is riding a wave of popularity following her hit song, “The Story.” April 23, 7:30 p.m. Tickets $35 and $39.

The Magical Music of Walt Disney – The Spokane Symphony will perform music from Disney movies, along with visuals from the Disney vault. May 15, 7:30 p.m. Tickets $32 and $37, $14 for children.

Tickets go on sale Tuesday through the symphony box office (509-624-1200) and TicketsWest outlets (325-SEAT, 800-325-SEAT,

A soggy Civic

The Spokane Civic Theatre’s downstairs performing space, the Firth Chew Studio Theatre, was awash with an inch of water during the thaw on Wednesday.

Flooding caused by ice dams on the roof also caused some damage to administrative offices and main lobby.

Staff and volunteers pumped out the water and sandbagged the foundation. The Studio Theatre’s next show, “The Women of Lockerbie,” should begin on schedule on Jan. 30.

The Main Stage, currently running “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” remained dry.

Snow removal and flood repairs have put about a $23,000 dent in the theater’s budget. If you’d like to donate to the Civic’s Emergency Winter Reparation Fund, call the theater at (509) 325-2507.

Jim Kershner can be reached at (509) 459-5493 or by e-mail at

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