Sweet Honey In The Rock, John Zorn, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and More Set for Symphony Space's 2017-18 Season
Symphony Space, one of New York's best-loved cultural destinations, is pleased to announce a new season of lively and diverse programming, running from October 2017 through June 2018. Returning this season are Projects conceived by Artistic Director Andrew Byrne, each uniting Symphony Space's multidisciplinary events around a shared theme. A month-by-month listing of featured events follows.
PROJECT AMERICANA (October 4 - November 11) is back, celebrating uniquely American art forms, experiences, and characters. Music programs focus on Gospel and related genres, with performances by the legendary women of Sweet Honey In The Rock (pictured left, Nov. 3), self-described "Southern Gothic" blues singer Amythyst Kiah (Oct. 25), and rising R&B/Gospel/soul star Liz Vice (Oct. 27).
AMERICANA also includes readings with Meg Wolitzer (Oct. 4), Sherman Alexie (Oct. 13), and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Nov. 1). Radio host Christine Pedi examines "The Hollywood Blacklist and New York" on Oct. 30. The Project closes with His Dark Land, a World War I-themed play by acclaimed actor/writer Stephen Lang with special guest James Naughton (Nov. 11) that incorporates poetry, drama, historical context, and music.
The SOURCE PROJECT, which traces cultural influences on music in the New World, turns its attention to New Orleans this season with programs that examine the roots of the city's vibrant music (December 13 - 19). Concerts include The Hot Sardines (pictured right) with legendary pianist Henry Butler (Dec. 13), New Orleans-based trombonist and vocalist David L. Harris (Dec. 14), and "Storyville Stomp: Last Night in Storyville," an immersive multi-stage jazz-age experience featuring Jon-Eric Kellso's Mahogany Hall Pleasure Society Jazz Band with Mara Kaye, Alphonso Horne's Gotham Kings with Queen Esther, and more (Dec. 16). The Dec. 13 and 16 shows are presented in partnership with The New York Hot Jazz Festival, Shanghai Mermaid, and Rolling Fork Music.
SOURCE also features a documentary film series with Les Blank's classic ode to the city, Always For Pleasure (Dec. 17); Bayou Maharajah, a portrait of pianist James Booker (Dec. 17); Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans (Dec. 19); and The Whole Gritty City, a look at the world of New Orleans marching bands (Dec. 19).
The FUSE PROJECT is back for its third year, sparking creative new work through commissions and fresh collaborations (February 3 - 17). The world premiere of William Brittelle's (pictured right) complete song cycle Spiritual America will be performed by indie-rock heroes Wye Oak with the Metropolis Ensemble (Feb. 16). Award-winning Australian composer Kate Moore's (left) Bushranger Psychodrama, a new 50-minute piece co-commissioned by Symphony Space for Irish singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, PUBLIQuartet string quartet, and percussionist, has its US premiere (Feb. 3).
Also in FUSE, Six. Twenty. Outrageous., a chamber opera by rising composer Daniel Thomas Davis, receives its world premiere in a production staged by sought-after director Douglas Fitch. Based on a trio of plays by Gertrude Stein, it boasts an all-star lineup including mezzo-soprano Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek (Anonymous 4), soprano Ariadne Greif, and tenor Andrew Fuchs, joined by the acclaimed Momenta Quartet under musical director David Bloom (Feb. 9 - 11). Produced in partnership with American Opera Projects.
FUSE wraps up with The New York premiere of Music for the Long Emergency, born of the artistic collision of two innovative ensembles: Berlin's vibrant and forward-thinking s t a r g a z e, led by renowned conductor Andre de Ridder, and Minneapolis-based Poliça (left) internationally renowned for its "dark conviction" (Pitchfork) and "beautifully melancholic" (The Guardian) sound. New music for the collective by Los Angeles-based "rising star composer" (Time Out New York) Daniel Wohl, co-commissioned by Symphony Space and Cross-linx, opens the program (Feb. 17). Both Music for the Long Emergency and Spiritual America are presented in partnership with the curatorial collective Infinite Palette.
MUSIC AT Symphony Space
This year, Symphony Space's signature concert event celebrates the centennial of a cherished American composer: Wall to Wall Leonard Bernstein. This free marathon concert on May 19 will honor Bernstein's legacy with music, dance, film screenings, conversation, and more. Watch this space for details.
Four-time Grammy award-winning South African Zulu vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, heard on Paul Simon's Graceland as well as their own best-selling recordings, take the stage in Symphony Space's Peter Jay Sharp Theatre on March 8. The celebrated nonet has been singing for more than 50 years; its current members are sons of previous ones. They have collaborated with Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Sarah McLachlan, Josh Groban, Emmylou Harris, Melissa Etheridge, and many others.
Iconoclastic performer/composer John Zorn's (right) Masada songbook project has resulted in some of the most exciting new Jewish music of the past century. This special concert on April 12 in the Sharp Theatre is devoted to the third book, The Book B'riah, and brings to the stage three fascinating groups from the Masada family. Zion80, with the composer joining in as a special guest, explores Jewish music - from Carlebach to Zorn (pictured right) and everything in between - through the lens of the Afrobeat funk master Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Secret Chiefs 3 is an avant-garde group led by guitarist Trey Spruance (formerly of Mr. Bungle and Faith No More), with a rotating cast of players. Banquet of the Spirits is a lively Brazilian-tinged quartet with percussionist Cyro Baptista at the helm. Reviewing an earlier performance, JazzTimes lauded Zorn's "gorgeous and lucid" writing in these works. Co-presented with World Music Institute.
The Orchestra Now (T?N) is a exciting orchestra consisting of young musicians hand-picked from top conservatories in the Northeast. It has performed with leading conductors at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum, and other top venues. Distinguished conductor Gerard Schwarz leads T?N in Bruckner's Symphony No. 4, "Romantic," and Goossens' Jubilee Variations on November 19. Zachary Schwartzman conducts the ensemble in a program capped by Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara's Symphony No. 8, "The Journey," on January 21, along with works by Enescu, Sibelius, and Rimsky-Korsakov.
Grammy-nominated clarinet master David Krakauer and critically-lauded composer/pianist Kathleen Tagg perform in the Leonard Nimoy Thalia on April 3. Krakauer and Tagg traveled to a remote area of Poland together and created an evening-length piece about migration, interconnectedness, and global upheaval. In this unique performance, the artists play excerpts of this work and talk about their powerful magical, and transformative experience of creating it.
Clarinetist Kinan Azmeh performs on November 30 in the Thalia, with soprano Dima Orsho, cellist Kinan Abou-Afach, and pianist Lenore Davis. Best known for his work with Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, the Damascus-born clarinetist and composer will be heard in Songs for Days to Come, Volume 2, a cycle of songs on texts by exiled Syrian poets. Following the performance will be a conversation with the composer. Described as "intensely soulful" by The New York Times and "spellbinding" by The New Yorker, Azmeh is featured prominently in the Silk Road documentary The Music of Strangers. Presented in partnership with St Urban Salons.
Musicians of the Yellow Barn Festival, led by music director Seth Knopp, perform J. S. Bach's late masterpiece A Musical Offering in a new arrangement for sixteen instruments, January 11 in the Thalia. The program will also include short interludes by Chinese composer Lei Liang called Garden Eight.
Says Andrew Byrne, "Our 2017-18 season features some of the most exciting artists, performers, and writers of our time, doing original and memorable work in the intimate setting of Symphony Space. The Projects - our cross-disciplinary programming initiatives - return with PROJECT AMERICANA, exploring cultural and political themes in America today; the SOURCE PROJECT focusing on the influence and legacy of cultural world of New Orleans; and FUSE PROJECT, a celebration of new work featuring three Symphony Space commissions. Together with ongoing series such as Selected Shorts, Uptown Showdown, Thalia Book Club, we truly have something for everyone - one night only, and only at Symphony Space." For further information, visit www.symphonyspace.org.
Events by visiting presenters will run throughout the year as usual, and signature series such as Selected Shorts, Thalia Book Club, Uptown Showdown, Just Kidding, and Theatre in HD will continue throughout the season.
Selected Shorts highlights include Behaving Badly with Andy Borowitz, featuring the popular New Yorker humorist (Nov. 15); A Celebration of Agatha Christie with Special Guest Fran Lebowitz (Dec. 6); and Crybabies Podcast Collaboration, Co-hosted by Susan Orlean and Sarah Thyre (Apr. 11), in which the noted authors speak with comedians, musicians, actors, and writers about the art and culture that make them cry.
FEATURED EVENTS - AT A GLANCE
Tue., Sept. 26 (7:30 pm): Thalia Book Club: Orhan Pamuk: The Red-Haired Woman
PA = PROJECT AMERICANA
Wed., Oct. 4 (7:30 pm): Selected Shorts - The Best American Short Stories with Meg Wolitzer | PA
Fri., Oct. 13 (7 pm): Sherman Alexie: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian | PA
Mon., Oct. 16 (7:30 pm): Thalia Book Club: Nathan Englander: Dinner at the Center of the Earth
Wed., Oct. 25 (7:30 pm): Alt-Country Blues with Amythyst Kiah | PA
Fri., Oct. 27 (7:30 pm): Gospel, Soul, and R&B with Liz Vice | PA
Mon., Oct. 30 (7 pm): The Hollywood Blacklist & New York with Christine Pedi | PA
Wed., Nov. 1 (7:30 pm): Selected Shorts - Henry Louis Gates, Jr. | PA
Fri., Nov. 3 (8 pm): Sweet Honey in the Rock | PA
Sun., Nov. 5 (7 pm): FILM: Sweet Honey In The Rock: Raise Your Voice | PA
Mon., Nov. 6 (7:30 pm): THALIA BOOK CLUB - Reza Aslan: God: A Human History
Sat., Nov. 11 (7:30 pm): His Dark Land by Stephen Lang
Wed., Nov. 15 (7:30 pm): SELECTED SHORTS - Behaving Badly with Andy Borowitz
Sun., Nov. 19 (4 pm): The Orchestra Now: Bruckner's Romantic Symphony
Thu., Nov. 30 (7:30 pm): Kinan Azmeh: Songs for Days to Come, Vol. 2
SP = THE SOURCE PROJECT
Mon., Dec. 11 (7:30 pm): THALIA BOOK CLUB - Jennifer Eagn: Manhattan Beach
Thu., Dec. 14 (7:30 pm): David Harris: Blues I Felt | SP
Sat., Dec. 16 (7:30 pm): Storyville Stomp: Last Night in Storyville with Jon-Eric Kellso's Mahogany Hall Pleasure Society Jazz Band featuring Mara Kaye and Alphonso Horne's Gotham Kings with Queen Esther | SP
Sun., Dec. 17 (6 pm): FILM: Always For Pleasure (dir. Les Blank) | SP
Sun., Dec. 17 (7:30 pm): FILM: Bayou Maharajah (dir. Lily Kleber) | SP
Tue., Dec. 19 (7 pm): FILM: Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans (dir. Dawn Logsdon) | SP
Tue., Dec. 17 (8:30 pm): FILM: The Whole Gritty City (dir. Richard Barber) | SP
Thu., Jan. 11 (7:30 pm): Music from Yellow Barn: Bach's Musical Offering
Sun., Jan. 21 (4 pm): The Orchestra Now: Sibelius & Rimsky-Korsakov
FP = FUSE PROJECT
Sat., Feb. 3 (7:30 pm): Kate Moore's Bushranger Psychodrama with Iarla Ó Lionárd| FP
Fri., Feb. 9 + Sat., Feb. 10 (7:30 pm), Sun., Feb. 11 (2 pm): SIX. TWENTY. OUTRAGEOUS. | FP
Sat., Feb. 17 (8 pm): Music for the Long Emergency with Poliça and s t a r g a z e | FP
Wed., Feb. 28 (7:30 pm): SELECTED SHORTS - Daniel Handler & Eileen Myles
Thu., Mar. 8 (8 pm): Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Wed., Mar. 21 (7:30 pm): SELECTED SHORTS - An Evening with the National Book Awards with Lisa Lucas and Lauren Groff
Thu., Apr. 5 (7:30 pm): Musical Meetings at the Borderlands with David Krakauer and Kathleen Tagg
Wed., Apr. 11 (7:30 pm): SELECTED SHORTS - Crybabies Podcast Collaboration with Susan Orlean and Sarah Thyre
Thu., Apr. 12 (8 pm): John Zorn's Masada Book 3 - The Book B'riah
Wed., May 2 (7:30 pm): SELECTED SHORTS - A Night with the Paris Review with Lorin Stein
Sat, May 19 (3 pm): WALL TO WALL Leonard Bernstein
Sat., June 16 (7 pm): Bloomsday on Broadway XXXVII
Symphony Space traces its beginnings to a free marathon concert, Wall to Wall Bach, held in 1978 and organized by co-founders Isaiah Sheffer and Allan Miller. The music marathon then drew thousands of visitors and has since become one of the organization's signature events. Today Symphony Space presents more than 600 events each season, including music, dance, theater, film, and literary readings. Some of its best known programs include Selected Shorts, a reading of short stories by stars of stage and screen, and one of the most popular series on public radio; National Theatre in HD,broadcasting the best of British theatre to cinemas around the world; and Just Kidding, one of the most talked about family entertainment series around town. Uptown Showdown has been called "New York's best comedy series" by New York Magazine. For more information, visit symphonyspace.org.
Symphony Space is located at 2537 Broadway at 95th Street. Box office hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 1 pm - 6 pm, open two hours prior to performances and events. Tickets can also be purchased through www.symphonyspace.org, or by calling 212/864-5400.