The Chamber Orchestra Kremlin

NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - Aptly named "Your Bridge to the Arts," the Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts' 2011-2012 University Series includes performances by artists representing countries such as Russia, Ireland, Austria, Canada, Romania and the United States.

"The University Series, which consists of five highly acclaimed touring groups, four exceptional university musical and theatrical performances, and four outstanding art exhibitions, is designed to bring quality fine arts experiences to the area," said John W. Goodall, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts. "As this season's tagline states, we're 'connecting East Texas to the world.'"

The season begins Friday, Sept. 8, with the opening of the annual "SFA Faculty Exhibition" at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House. This exhibition showcases recent works of art by the diverse and multi-talented SFA studio faculty, explained Charlene Rathburn, SFA director of galleries. The show runs through Saturday, Oct. 29.

The Manhattan Piano Trio, who is widely recognized as one of the most exciting and dynamic ensembles in the United States, will perform a concert of classical, romantic and contemporary music on Thursday, Sept. 15. The violinist, cellist and pianist will be joined by guest soprano Svetlana Strezeva.

On Friday, Sept. 23, "John Heliker: Drawing on the New Deal 1932-1948" will open at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House. The exhibition includes Heliker's expressionistic work from the 1930s and '40s and also showcases his shift to an abstract style in the '40s and '50s. The show runs through Saturday, Nov. 26.

The internationally acclaimed Chamber Orchestra Kremlin will perform works by Edward Elgar, Dmitri Shastakovich, J.S. Bach and Antonin Dvorak on Thursday, Oct. 20. A highlight of the concert will be the world premiere of one of SFA Professor Stephen Lias' newest compositions.

"The Legacy of Diedrich Rulfs: Architect of Nacogdoches," which will open on Friday, Nov. 3, at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House, is an exhibition of photographs taken by Christopher Talbot, interim director of the SFA School of Art. It will be on view through Saturday, Jan. 14.

Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 15, through Saturday, Nov. 19, the SFA School of Theatre will present William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." The popular play takes place in dreamy woodland landscape where a pair of supernatural creatures is at odds, two pairs of star-crossed lovers are on the run and a mischievous sprite has a generous supply of love potion.

Fiddling champion Eileen Ivers and her band, Immigrant Soul, return to SFA to once again capture the spirit and magic of the season with "An Nollaig: An Irish Christmas" on Friday, Dec. 16. The family-friendly program features traditional Irish songs, original tunes and holiday favorites.

"Frank Dituri: Of Things Not Seen" will open Thursday, Feb. 2, in Griffith Gallery, and run through Friday, March 9. In this exhibition of evocative photographs, the artist uses glimpses of ordinary reality as evidence of things not actually seen. His work has been shown worldwide and included in prestigious publications.

Goodall recommends bringing the entire family to hear the beloved Vienna Boys Choir on Friday, Feb. 3. "For over 500 years audiences across the globe have been thrilled by the clarity, power and beauty of their angelic voices!"

Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 28, through Saturday, March 3, The SFA School of Theatre will present Anton Chekhov's classic "Three Sisters," a "tale of wistfulness and humor, love and loss, and coming of age," explained Rick Jones, SFA professor of theatre and the play's director.

"The virtuoso dancers and world-class musicians of The StepCrew will bring the audience to their feet on Thursday, March 22, with their modern fusions of three exhilarating dance forms-Irish stepdance, Ottawa Valley stepdance and tap," said Goodall.

Thursday, April 19, through Saturday, April 21, the SFA School of Music will present-in English-one of the masterpieces of operatic literature (title to be announced in the fall). Director Deborah Dalton, SFA associate professor of voice, said the production will feature supertitles and, of course, beautiful music and exceptional voices.

The 2011-2012 University Series will close on Saturday, April 28, with "Spanish Nights," a concert by SFA's Orchestra of the Pines featuring Romanian-born guest violinist Cristian Fatu performing Pablo de Sarasate's Carmen Fantasy.

All concerts and staged productions on the University Series will begin at 7:30 p.m. in W.M. Turner Auditorium, and all seats are reserved. Art openings begin at 6 p.m. Regular hours for The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House are 12:30 to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Griffith Gallery is open 12:30 to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. Admission to all galleries is free.

Season tickets for the University Series are now on sale through the Fine Arts Box Office. They range from $125 to $185, with discounts available for seniors, students, youth and SFA faculty and staff.

"These are fantastic prices for quality entertainment, " exclaimed Diane Flynn, Fine Arts Box Office manager. "Season tickets provide a 25-percent savings over single tickets, and patrons can have their same seat throughout the season."

"Plus, we offer two season ticket options," she said. "The classic package includes one ticket to each of the nine performances, and the TixMix package allows the patrons to create their own nine-ticket season."

Single-event ticket purchases for the University Series or any of the other performances presented through the College of Fine Arts can be made beginning Monday, Aug. 15.

For more information on the 2011-2012 season, visit, stop by the Box Office in Room 211B of the Griffith Fine Arts Building, or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.