2007-08 Festival Series announced

With five of six artists and ensembles making their local debuts, the 28th season of the College of Musical Arts' Festival Series will offer both fresh and traditional talent to northwest Ohio audiences.

The series opens Sept. 28 with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble giving the Lois M. Nitschke Memorial Concert. Comprised of the principal players from London's illustrious Academy of St. Martin in the Fields orchestra, the ensemble is considered one of the world's finest chamber ensembles, garnering rave reviews for its performances both on tour and in the recording studio.

Bassist Edgar Meyer and mandolin player Mike Marshall will perform on Oct. 12. For more than 20 years, Meyer and Marshall have been at the vanguard of American instrumental string music. Marshall is one of the world's most versatile acoustic musicians; his playing is as imaginative and adventurous as it is technically thrilling. Meyer, the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and winner of two Grammy Awards, is arguably the greatest classical bassist to ever pick up the instrument. The Festival Series welcomes these two artists in a lighthearted concert of adventurous music with the kind of variety, beauty and range rarely experienced.

Imani Winds returns to the series on Nov. 9. Comprised of five accomplished musicians of African/Latin American heritage who came together in 1996 to expand the boundaries of the traditional wind quintet, the ensemble has established itself with its distinctive presence, dynamic playing, innovative programming and inspirational outreach programs. “Imani” means “faith” in Swahili, and embodies the ensemble's mission to explore the links between European, African and American musical traditions.

Born in Tokyo and first appearing as a soloist with the Tokyo Symphony and Tokyo Chamber Orchestra at the age of 11, marimbist Naoko Takada makes her debut on the Festival Series on Jan. 31, 2008. Referred to as a “compact musical dynamo,” she is renowned for her wide range of repertoire—from Bach to Piazzolla. First-prize winner of the 2002 Ima Hogg Young Artist Competition and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, her concerts appeal to audiences of all ages with performances that explore the tone and nuances of her unique instrument. Takada's Bowling Green appearance will include a community mini-residency.

Dianne Reeves, the world's pre-eminent jazz vocalist, will appear on March 14. Reeves' improvisational prowess and unique jazz and R&B stylings have made her one of the most sought-after jazz artists today. Recipient of the Ella Fitzgerald Award at the Montreal International Jazz Festival and the first Creative Chair for Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, she has recorded and performed extensively with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Reeves, who has won the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance for three consecutive recordings—a Grammy first in any vocal category—also appeared and performed in George Clooney's movie and on the soundtrack recording of “Good Night, and Good Luck,” which garnered her fourth Best Jazz Vocal Grammy in 2006. Her first Festival Series appearance is made possible in part with support from President Sidney A. Ribeau.

The season concludes April 4 with the Louise F. Rees Memorial Concert, featuring Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero. Described by critics as possessing “a combination of ferocity and eloquence,” she has appeared with orchestras around the globe. Winner of a Bronze Medal at the 13th International Chopin Piano Competition, Montero is not shy about straying from classical styles into more popular territory, and is rapidly becoming known for her improvisational skills, where she utilizes well-known themes and weaves them into intricately formed "spontaneous compositions." This is her first Festival Series appearance.

Festival Series performances begin at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center.

Subscription prices for adults are $80, $120 and $150. Student subscriptions are $50, $80 and $120. Subscriptions may be charged using MasterCard, Visa or Discover.

Tickets can be ordered by calling the Moore Center box office at 2-8171.

May 14, 2007