Thursday, August 29: The Art Of Music, Featuring Ellis Marsalis, The Faubourg Quartet, Ron Bechet, Ayo Scott, And Michel Varisco

Thursday, August 29: The Art Of Music, Featuring Ellis Marsalis, The Faubourg Quartet, Ron Bechet, Ayo Scott, And Michel Varisco

Thursday, August 29 at 7:30pm
NOCCA’s Lupin Hall, 2800 Chartres Street
Tickets $20/$15 students & seniors
Visit or call 504 940 2900

On Thursday, August 29, some of New Orleans’ most acclaimed artists will join forces to explore the watery, mysterious boundary that both separates and joins music and the visual arts. This one-night-only concert event, THE ART OF MUSIC, will feature performances by the magnificent Faubourg Quartet, presenting works by Wynton Marsalis, Philip Glass, Debussy, and Tania Leon. A highlight of the evening will be the world premiere of a new arrangement of a spiritual that artist John Scott loved. The arrangement was composed by Ellis Marsalis for cello and piano, and he will perform it himself with cellist Jee Yeoun Ko.

That exceptional roster of performers will be joined by visual artists Ron Bechet, Ayo Scott, and Michel Varisco. Their work will reflect the many, many ways that the visual and the aural interact. Bechet has created fabric to costume dancers, who will perform to live music. Scott has recorded the steps involved in his own painting process, which will be played back to live accompaniment. Varisco’s stunning video about the ebb and flow of water will also be accompanied by the Faubourg Quartet. And there’ll be a special video tribute to John Scott, Ayo Scott’s father.

THE ART OF MUSIC takes place in NOCCA’s Freda Lupin Memorial Hall on Thursday, August 29 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $20 ($15 for students and seniors) and can be purchased in advance at or by calling 504 940 2900.


RON BECHET is the Victor H. Labat Professor of Art in the Department of Art at Xavier University of Louisiana. Mr. Bechet also serves as Department Head for the Department of Art. He is a painter, and has exhibited his work nationally and internationally. He has been teaching for 20 years at the college level. He holds a B.A. degree in Fine Arts from the University of New Orleans, and an M.F.A. in Painting and Drawing from the Yale School of Art, Yale University. He has served on the board of The NOCCA Institute and other commissions and boards. He has served as the first director of Xavier Art Department’s Community Arts Partnership Program and served in many arts and youth programs in the New Orleans area both as an advisor and a practitioner. He was also the recipient of the Mayor’s Arts award in 2006.

Based in New Orleans, the FAUBOURG QUARTET was founded in 2008 by classical musicians connected to the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. The Quartet’s mission is to combine diverse genres of music in a celebration of community and culture, and to represent New Orleans in dialogue with other cultures around the world. By collaborating with other local artists and performing works by New Orleans jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong and Wynton Marsalis, the Quartet bridges the gap between classical music and other genres.

ELLIS MARSALIS is regarded by many as one of America’s premier modern jazz pianists. His formal music studies began at age eleven at the Xavier University junior school of music. After high school, Marsalis enrolled in Dillard University as a clarinet major, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education. After a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps, Marsalis taught in Breaux Bridge and New Orleans, eventually enrolling in Loyola University’s Master’s program. In 1974, Marsalis became the founding instructor of NOCCA’s Jazz program, and he taught there for the following 12 years.

Among Marsalis’ more notable appearances have been performances on NBC’s Today show with host Bryant Gumbel; the Tonight Show with both Johnny Carson and Jay Leno; the Arsenio Hall Show with pianist Marcus Roberts; Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood; and ABC’s Good Morning America with Spencer Christian. In 1984 Marsalis and New Orleans singer/actress Joanne “Lady BJ” Creighton shared honors at the Ace Awards ceremony for the best single music program on cable television. In 2011, Marsalis and his family — including sons Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo, and Jason — were awarded the highest honor in Jazz, NEA Jazz Masters, the first group award ever distributed by the National Endowment for the Arts.

From as early as he can remember, AYO SCOTT found himself immersed in the art community of his city. He grew to love the studio time he spent working on various projects with his father, artist John T. Scott (40-year professor of art and recipient of the MacArthur Genius Fellowship). He never felt pressured to be an artist, but his family always provided him with opportunity, guidance, and support for his endeavors, from bronze casting to paper-making. Early on, Ayo developed an appreciation for the human form and decided to study biology at Xavier University of Louisiana. However, he soon realized that he was applying that appreciation in the wrong field. He made art, with a focus in graphics, his major and kept biology as a minor, earning his Bachelor of Arts in 2003.

After graduating from college, he pursued a master’s degree in design and continued to develop his visual vocabulary. When asked why he creates art, Ayo responded, “The same reason that the bad kid brings a beach ball to a formal graduation. Hopefully, when my work bounces into a person’s life, they can smile, and poke at it, and share it with someone else.”

The late JOHN T. SCOTT grew up in New Orleans and attended Xavier University. He later received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Michigan State University, then returned to Xavier to teach. He subsequently received an honorary Doctor of Humanities from Michigan State University and a Doctor of Humanities from Tulane University. In 1992, he was awarded the exclusive MacArthur Grant (also known as the “Genius Grant”) from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Scott is perhaps best known for creating large woodcut prints and for his African-Caribbean-New Orleans-inspired kinetic sculptures. In 2005, he was the subject of a major retrospective exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art entitled Circle Dance: The Art of John T. Scott. Scott was also commissioned to create several pieces that are placed throughout the City of New Orleans. These public works include Spirit Gates at the DeSaix Boulevard traffic circle (at St. Bernard and Gentilly Boulevards) and River Spirit at Woldenberg Park. Scott had been quoted as saying that he tried to capture the musicality of New Orleans in the colors and rhythms of his sculptures.

MICHEL VARISCO‘s photographs, assemblages and site-specific installations explore loss and regeneration. Varisco’s work is exhibited and published internationally and is included in public, private and corporate collections in the U.S. and abroad. She is an artist mentor at NOCCA and is represented by Octavia Gallery in New Orleans, LACDA in Los Angeles and Richter Gallery of photography in Nashville, TN. Support for her work has included grants and commissions by the SURDNA Foundation of New York, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, The Louisiana Division of the Arts, Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation, Historic Restorations Inc, in addition to private patrons. Books include Shifting: Photographs by Michel Varisco with contributing essays by Anne Gisleson and Bradley Sumrall (A and I Books); Hotel Ortolan, Black Scat Books, London; Ed Skoog’s Mister Skylight (CopperCanyon Press-cover); and Habitations by Brad Richard (Portals Press).