The 29th season of the College of Musical Arts' Festival Series will bring a variety of talented performers to northwest Ohio.
The 2008-09 series opens Sept. 19 with the return of jazz violinist Regina Carter performing on the Kobacker Concert. Carter first appeared on the Festival Series during Jazz Week in 2002. Over the past seven years, she and her group have brought audiences worldwide to their feet with exhilarating performances. Carter has performed with the Atlanta, Minnesota and Milwaukee symphonies, as well as with multiple jazz and pop artists.
The first jazz musician and African-American to play the legendary Guarneri del Gesu violin owned by composer Nicolo Paganini, Carter has released five solo albums and has recorded with Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige and Lauryn Hill. In fall 2006, she received the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in recognition of her exceptional creativity and the future she represents to the creative arts.
Next on the series comes the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, with conductor Leon Botestein and violin soloist Robert McDuffie. The orchestra will perform on the Nov. 15 Lois M. Nitschke Memorial Concert. The orchestra was founded in the 1940s as the national radio orchestra and was known as the “Kol Israel Orchestra.” In the 1970s, the orchestra expanded and became the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Israel Broadcasting Authority.
During a 1996 European tour, the orchestra gained considerable international acclaim and was immediately invited to participate in three additional prestigious tours of South America, Europe and the United States. As the premier orchestra in Israel's capital city, the JSO has been dedicated to presenting masterpieces from the baroque to the contemporary, often presenting the Israeli premieres of these works.
On Feb. 14, 2009, soprano Danielle de Niese will perform in the Festival Series. The Australian-born soprano has been captivating audiences since childhood, when she was a fixture on Los Angeles local television hosting a weekly arts showcase for teenagers, for which she won an Emmy Award.
While still an 18-year-old freshman at the Mannes School of Music, she became the youngest artist ever to enter the Metropolitan Opera studio. While training in the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program of the Met, she made her house debut at age 19 as Barbarina in a new Jonathan Miller “Le Nozze di Figaro.” Other early engagements included Lauretta in “Gianni Schicchi” for the Los Angeles Opera, Nannetta in “Falstaff” for the Santa Fe Opera, and concerts with the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the National Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony. Opera News calls de Niese, “not just a superb performer but a phenomenal one.”
Performing on the Louise F. Rees Memorial Concert on April 3, 2009, will be Rick Benjamin’s Paragon Ragtime Orchestra. The orchestra’s repertoire is varied, skipping from blues to waltzes, from operatic parodies and novelty numbers to marches and popular songs from the turn of the 20th century. Regarded as the leading exponent of vintage American popular music, PRO remains the world's most active ensemble of its kind.
Notable PRO engagements include concerts for the inaugural season of the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, the Ravinia Festival, the Washington Performing Arts Society at Lisner Auditorium, the Brucknerhaus in Linz, Austria, and around New York at the Tilles Center, Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater and the 92nd Street "Y." The PRO is also frequently heard in historic theater and movie palaces such as Cleveland's Ohio Theater, Chattanooga's Tivoli and the Rialto in Joliet. The orchestra was selected to be America's "Ambassador of Goodwill" at the World's Fair in Seville, Spain.
All Festival Series performances are in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center and begin at 8 p.m.
Season subscription prices are $110, $90 and $60 for adults and $90, $60 and $30 for students. Single tickets are $30, $25 and $18 and will be available to the public beginning Sept. 22.
For subscription information, call the box office at 1-800-589-2224 or 419-372-8171. Hours are noon-6 p.m. weekdays.