Symphony Space Announces 2018/19 Season

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Marking its 40th anniversary as one of New York's most vital cultural institutions,Symphony Space is proud to announce a new season of bold programming, presented in a uniquely warm and welcoming environment. From September through June, Symphony Space offers an exciting lineup of events that connect art, ideas, and the city's rich mosaic of communities.

Central to Symphony Space's mission are initiatives that create opportunities for diverse voices to be heard across multiple genres. In November, acclaimed singer/composerRhiannon Giddens makes Symphony Space her creative home with a weeklong residency that includes music, dance, and spoken word (November 8 - 17). American roots music, in all of its variety, is prominent throughout the season, both on the mainstage Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, and in a new weekly series - Revelry - in the intimate Leonard Nimoy Thalia.

Symphony Space's trademark literary series, Selected Shorts and the Thalia Book Club, are back with a star-studded lineup of authors and actors. An innovative new series makes its debut this season: LitProv, an inspired mashup of literature and comedy.

Says Symphony Space's Executive Director, Kathy Landau, "The magic of Symphony Space is that for 40 years, we have been a place where artists and audiences share a journey of exploration and discovery - through music, literature, film, conversation, and in the melding of genres. In the season ahead, established and emerging artists come together to create, collaborate, and take risks. We can't wait to share all of this with our audiences - old and new." A list of performances and events appears below; tickets are available at


Symphony Space's signature literature-in-performance series and acclaimed national radio program, Selected Shorts, presents the best of classic and contemporary fiction performed and brought to dazzling life by actors of stage and screen. Season highlights include The Best American Short Stories 2018 with Roxane Gay (October 9); An Evening with John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats (October 24); George Saunders and Zadie Smith (November 8); Dance in America with Carmen De Lavallade(December 12); James Thurber's World with Roz Chast (January 23); LeVar Burton and Friends (April 17); Motherhood with Celeste Ng and Mary Karr (May 8); andStonewall at 50 (May 29).


The Thalia Book Club brings notable authors to Symphony Space to discuss their new work, delve into beloved classics, and celebrate anniversaries of great literature. Actors of stage and screen join the authors to read excerpts of the works. Featured Thalia Book Club events include Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History (October 1); Eric Idle of Monty Python, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography (October 3); Barbara Kingsolver, Unsheltered(October 16); Sarah J. Maas, Kingdom of Ash (October 23); Nicole Chung, All You Can Ever Know with Nicole Cliffe (November 5); Lisa Halliday, Asymmetry (November 20); a celebration of Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem (December 5); andTayari Jones, An American Marriage (March 6).

Rhiannon Giddens RESIDENCY

Awarded a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship in 2017, singer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens has been described by NPR as a "master folklorist, banjo virtuoso and vocal powerhouse." This is her first-ever curated series in New York.

Says Giddens, "I really believe in fostering an artistic community whenever possible; to play for and with each other; create with each other; make something bigger than ourselves." Accordingly, Giddens will be joined in her residency by a handpicked selection of artists on the mainstage Peter Jay Sharp Theatre for a complementary pair of performances celebrating "both historical and contemporary women of color" in music, dance, spoken word, and more. The first performance, "Sisters Past" (November 14), will focus on voices that preceded and informed the current moment; "Sisters Present"(November 17) will explore the voices of contemporary songwriters. Her residency also includes two Giddens-curated concerts in the intimate Leonard Nimoy Thalia on November 8 and 15, spotlighting performers who share her vibrant musical aesthetic. All four concerts will feature performers from the residency in rotating roles.

Thursday, November 8 (7:30 pm), Leonard Nimoy Thalia: Giddens kicks off the residency by presenting "Southern Gothic" blues singer Amythyst Kiah, an electrifying new voice, whose commanding stage presence is only matched by her raw and powerful vocals - a deeply moving, hypnotic sound that stirs echoes of a distant and restless past. Her eclectic influences span decades, from old-time music to 60s soul, country, and contemporary R&B. Provocative and coolly fierce, Kiah's ability to reinterpret blues and old-time music is groundbreaking and simply unforgettable.
Wednesday, November 14 (8 pm), Peter Jay Sharp Theatre: "Sisters Past" celebrates historical women of color, "in music and otherwise, known and otherwise," in Gidden's words. She will be joined by her own sister Lalenja Harrington on spoken word and vocals, plus tap artist Robyn Watson and trumpeter Alphonso Horne. They will be accompanied by Attis Clopton (drums), Jason Sypher (bass), and Francesco Turrisi (piano, accordion, percussion).
Thursday, November 15 (7:30 pm), Leonard Nimoy Thalia: Giddens presents a solo concert by Italian pianist Francesco Turrisi. Described as "a musical alchemist" by The Irish Times, Turrisi has developed an utterly distinctive style that encompasses early music, contemporary classical, and jazz improvisation. He has collaborated with a striking variety of musicians, including L'Arpeggiata, Bobby McFerrin, Dave Liebman, Gavin Bryars, Bang on a Can, The King's Singers, Pepe el Habichuela, and many more. Turrisi has been championing the real history of the Middle Eastern and North African influence on the music and culture of Europe throughout his career. He distills the last decade of his explorations into this spellbinding and boundary-dissolving program, "Northern Migrations."
Saturday, November 17 (8 pm), Peter Jay Sharp Theatre: The residency concludes with "Sisters Present," highlighting contemporary songwriting by a diverse group of women of color. Giddens will be joined onstage by Toshi Reagon, Allison Russell, Amythyst Kiah, Lalenja Harrington, Robyn Watson, and more. They will be accompanied by Attis Clopton (drums), Jason Sypher (bass), and Francesco Turrisi (piano, accordion, percussion).
Giddens' residency follows in the Symphony Space tradition of creating a home for artists such as John Luther Adams, Béla Fleck, Meredith Monk, Richard Hell, and Nadia Sirota, offering them opportunities to realize fresh creative visions and share them with the community.


The award-winning WFUV radio program Woody's Children, a beloved institution among folk music fans, celebrates its 50th birthday in January. As an upbeat to the anniversary, Symphony Space presents Woody's Children 50th Anniversary Concert, Friday, December 7 (8 pm) in the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre. Host Robert Sherman welcomes a stellar array of artists, including David Amram, Tom Chapin, Anne Hall, Christine Lavin,John McCutcheon, Tom Paxton, Noel Paul Stookey, Josh White Jr., and Peter Yarrow, with special guests Abigail and Lily Chapin (The Chapin Sisters), Nora Guthrie(Woody's daughter), and Doug Mishkin. They will be accompanied by Jon Cobert(keyboards) and Michael Mark (bass). The concert will be co-produced with Symphony Space by Steve J. Sherman.

Founded and hosted by Robert Sherman since its inception, Woody's Children is the longest continuously running folk music radio program in America and arguably one of the most influential radio programs in any musical genre. The name was coined by Pete Seeger, who appeared on the very first program and was one of Sherman's most frequent guests thereafter.



Formed by San Francisco producer and multi-instrumentalist Marc Capelle in 2017, theRed Room Orchestra is a collective of popular, jazz, classical, and electronic composers and performers who've played and recorded alongside a host of eclectic artists, including the Plastic Ono Band, Sonic Youth, CAKE, Lou Harrison, the Steve Reich Ensemble, The Nels Cline Singers, Rodriguez, Iggy Pop, Tune-Yards, Bill Frisell, and more.

Friday, February 15 (8 pm): the Red Room Orchestra, under the direction of bandleader Capelle, recreates soundtrack and score selections from David Lynch's Twin Peaks universe. This live concert experience features the beloved instrumental score and vocal tunes from each season of the show, plus selects from Fire Walk with Me, Blue Velvet, and Eraserhead. Audience members are encouraged to dress as their favorite characters from the show and participate in the "Audrey Dance Contest."
Saturday, February 16 (8 pm): An evening of the best of Wes Anderson's soundtracks, fromBottle Rocket to Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums to Isle of Dogs, featuring the films' iconic original score cues along with rock, pop, jazz, and classical selections featured on the soundtracks, covering everything from Zoot Sims and The Clash to Ravel and The Kinks.
Both concerts take place in the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre with special guests to be announced shortly.



Beginning in October, Symphony Space invites audiences to make a night of it every Thursday evening with Revelry, a festive night of live music, drink specials, and easy-going revelry. With world-class bands performing everything from bluegrass to hot jazz, folk to swing, and Balkan Brass to Latin Boogaloo, Revelry serves up American roots and global music - a great way to get a headstart on the weekend. All shows take place in the Leonard Nimoy Thalia at 7:30 pm.

October 11: Raya Brass Band (Balkan Brass) Soul-shaking, border-defying brass from NYC. With trumpet, sax, accordion, tuba, and percussion, this band wails, sweats, and shouts alongside its audience.
October 18: Avalon Jazz Band (Parisian Hot Jazz) Avalon Jazz Band is a leading ambassador of Parisian hot jazz in the United States and internationally, blending their Francophone culture into their American experience.
October 25: Blind Boy Paxton (Blues) Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Paxton draws from pre-World War II blues and jazz, influenced by Fats Waller and "Blind" Lemon Jefferson.
November 1: Spanglish Fly (Latin Boogaloo) Inspired by Latin boogaloo, or bugalú, Spanglish Fly plays irresistible grooves that blend Afro-Caribbean rhythms with the fervor, the feeling, and the harmonics of 60s soul.
November 29: The Brain Cloud (Swing Jazz) With a sound that could loosely be described as western swing, The Brain Cloud draws its inspiration from a fearless smashing-together of genres.
December 6: Dogo du Togo (African Folk) Transport yourself to Togo for an evening of West African folk music.
December 13: Frank Fairfield and Meredith Axelrod (Old-timey Folk) Step back in time and enjoy traditional American folk and blues tunes from the last century.
December 20: Stephane Wrembel and Thor Jensen (Gypsy Jazz) Virtuoso guitarists Wrembel and Jensen offer their own interpretations of songs by legendary jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, alongside Wrembel's original compositions.
Revelry continues in the new year with weekly programs to be announced.



LitProv is a series for anyone who's ever pretended to read (or finish) a book everyone's talking about. LitProv brings together established and hot rising new voices in literature to read from their latest works. Then, a comedian takes the stage to improvise where the author left off. Hosted by Rakesh Satyal (No One Can Pronounce My Name) with authorsGary Shteyngart, Joseph Fink, Melissa Broder, Weike Wang, and more.


Signature programs such as Wall to Wall, comedy debate series Uptown Showdown, family series Just Kidding, and Theatre in HD will continue throughout the season. And for the 38th year in a row, Symphony Space celebrates Bloomsday on Broadway with a star-studded cast reading James Joyce's timeless prose (June 16).

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F E A T U R E D E V E N T S A T - A - G L A N C E


Thu., Sept. 13 (7:30 pm): LITPROV - Rakesh Satyal, Joseph Fink, and Melissa Broder

Sat., Sept. 22 (1:30 pm): THALIA KIDS' BOOK CLUB - Katherine Marsh, Nowhere Boy


Mon., Oct. 1 (7:30 pm): THALIA BOOK CLUB - Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History

Wed., Oct. 3 (7:30 pm): THALIA BOOK CLUB - Eric Idle of Monty Python, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography

Tue., Oct. 9 (7:30 pm): SELECTED SHORTS - The Best American Short Stories 2018 with Roxane Gay

Wed., Oct. 10 (7 pm): THALIA KIDS' BOOK CLUB - Marcus Zuzak, Bridge of Clay

Thu., Oct. 11 (7:30pm): REVELRY - Raya Brass Band

Tue., Oct. 16 (7:30 pm): THALIA BOOK CLUB - Barbara Kingsolver, Unsheltered with Margot Livesey

Wed., Oct 17 (7:30 pm): UPTOWN SHOWDOWN - Millennials vs. Gen X

Thu., Oct. 18 (7:30pm): REVELRY - Avalon Jazz Band

Tue., Oct. 23 (7 pm): THALIA BOOK CLUB - Sarah J. Maas, Kingdom of Ash

Wed., Oct. 24 (7:30 pm): SELECTED SHORTS - An Evening with John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats

Thu., Oct. 25 (7:30 pm): REVELRY - Blind Boy Paxton


Thu. Nov. 1 (7:30pm): REVELRY - Spanglish Fly

Mon., Nov. 5 (7:30 pm): THALIA BOOK CLUB - Nicole Chung, All You Can Ever Know with Nicole Cliffe

Thu., Nov. 8 (7:30 pm): SELECTED SHORTS - George Saunders and Zadie Smith

Thu., Nov. 8 (7:30 pm): REVELRY - Amythyst Kiah (curated by Rhiannon Giddens)

Tue., Nov. 13 (7:30 pm): LITPROV - Rakesh Satyal, Gary Shteyngart, and Weike Wang

Wed., Nov. 14 (8 pm): Rhiannon Giddens RESIDENCY - "Sisters Past"

Thu., Nov. 15 (7:30 pm): REVELRY - Francesco Turrisi (curated by Rhiannon Giddens)

Sat., Nov. 17 (8 pm): Rhiannon Giddens RESIDENCY - "Sisters Present"

Tue., Nov. 20 (7:30 pm): THALIA BOOK CLUB - Lisa Halliday, Asymmetry

Wed., Nov. 28 (7:30 pm): SELECTED SHORTS - Riverhead Books' 25th Anniversary

Thu., Nov. 29 (7:30 pm): REVELRY - The Brain Cloud


Wed., Dec. 5 (7:30 pm): THALIA BOOK CLUB - Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem 50th Anniversary (note: Joan Didion is not scheduled to appear at this event.)

Thu., Dec. 6 (7:30 pm): REVELRY - Dogo du Togo

Fri., Dec. 7 (8 pm): Woody's Children 50th Anniversary Concert

Tue., Dec. 11 (7:30 pm): UPTOWN SHOWDOWN - Sweet vs. Savory

Wed., Dec. 12 (7:30 pm): SELECTED SHORTS - Dance in America with Carmen De Lavallade

Thu., Dec. 13 (7:30 pm): REVELRY - Frank Fairfield and Meredith Axelrod

Thu., Dec. 20 (7:30): REVELRY - Stephane Wrembel and Thor Jensen


Wed., Jan. 23 (7:30 pm): SELECTED SHORTS - James Thurber's World with Roz Chast

Tue., Jan. 29 (6:30 pm): THALIA KIDS' BOOK CLUB - Rick Riordan Presents

Wed., Jan. 30 (7:30 pm): THALIA BOOK CLUB - Tessa Hadley, Late in the Day


Tue., Feb. 5 (7:30 pm): UPTOWN SHOWDOWN - Single vs. Committed

Fri., Feb. 15 (8 pm): Red Room Orchestra: Music from Twin Peaks

Sat., Feb. 16 (8 pm): Red Room Orchestra: Music from Wes Anderson Films

Wed., Feb. 27 (7:30 pm): SPECIAL SELECTED SHORTS - Words Without Borders


Wed., Mar. 6 (7:30 pm): THALIA BOOK CLUB - Tayari Jones, An American Marriage

Sat., Mar. 16 (8 pm): Sweet Honey In The Rock® 45th Anniversary Concert


Tue., Apr. 9 (7:30 pm): UPTOWN SHOWDOWN - The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones

Wed., Apr. 17 (7:30 pm): SELECTED SHORTS - LeVar Burton and Friends


Wed., May 8 (7:30 pm): SELECTED SHORTS - Motherhood with Celeste Ng and Mary Karr

Sat., May 11 (8 pm): Rebirth Brass Band

Wed., May 29 (7:30 pm): SELECTED SHORTS - Stonewall at 50


Tue., June 4 (7:30 pm): UPTOWN SHOWDOWN - Thinkers vs. Feelers

Sun., June 16 (7:30 pm) Bloomsday on Broadway XXXVIII

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