2CELLOS, FORBIDDEN BROADWAY, Alvin Ailey American Dance and More Set for SPA's 2013-14 Season

As Houston's leading performing arts presenter, Society for the Performing Arts (SPA) has announced its 2013-2014 season filled with music, dance and family entertainment from the world's best artists and companies.

"Overall, our 2013-2014 season is a tribute to several of America's great choreographers," said SPA CEO June Christensen. "We begin the season with the up-and-coming Jessica Lang and her Dance Company that began just a couple of years ago, and end with Alonzo King's LINES Ballet, which has been part of the dance scene for a while, but has not toured to Houston. Between the two, we welcome back four paramount American companies including Paul Taylor Dance Company, Mark Morris Dance Group, Joffrey Ballet and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater."

The big names do not stop there. SPA welcomes back the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) for the first time since 1993, led by Principal Guest Conductor Gianandrea Noseda. Other performances that will join the IPO on SPA's Music Series include The Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Gold Medalist (to be announced June 9); the GRAMMY Award-winning Takács Quartet joined by double bassist (and Rice University professor) Timothy Pitts; 24-year-old French pianist Lise de la Salle; and dueling pianists and identical twins, The Naughton Sisters.

Family Fun series performances include 2CELLOS, a Croatian cello-playing duo breaking boundaries among different genres of music; YAMATO-The Drummers of Japan and their 20th Anniversary Tour titled "The Beat on the Road"; and, always a Houston favorite, The Peking Acrobats.

Making Houston debuts are Shanghai Ballet performing the full-length work Butterfly Lovers; Forbidden Broadway, which parodies Broadway's top musical hits; The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Heart, performed by The National Theatre of Scotland, which offers a unique theater experience; the virtuosic and high-spirited Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain; and Taiwan's premier contemporary Dance Company Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan.

SPA will offer a Concert Series during the 2013-2014 season which will feature soprano and five-time TONY Award-winner Audra McDonald; ABBA - The Concert, a two-hour musical extravaganza celebrating Sweden's most famous band; and ELVIS LIVES - The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Tour, a multi-media and live musical journey across Elvis's life.

Thanks to a collaborative partnership with Legacy Community Health Services and Bayou City Performing Arts (BCPA), one of SPA's education and outreach endeavors will culminate for a stage performance in May. The It Gets Better Project, an effort to raise awareness surrounding bullying and its effects on young people, will include a weeklong residency with Houston-area affinity groups and a musical stage performance in Jones Hall.

SPA 2013-2014 season subscriptions are on sale now! Renewing subscribers will be seated first; all other orders will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis. For more information regarding performance dates, times and details, call 713-227-4772 or visit www.spahouston.org.

Founded in 1966, Society for the Performing Arts (SPA) is the largest independent non-profit presenting organization in the Southwest. Since its inception, SPA has sponsored more than 1,000 performances of the world's finest music, dance and theater events, in adherence to the belief that the arts are fundamental to the overall enrichment and quality of life within the community. In addition to presenting artists, SPA seeks to provide a variety of learning experiences for adults and children through master classes, lectures and special student performances, as well as build relationships between the performing arts and other interests within the greater Houston area and throughout the state of Texas.

Jessica Lang Dance*

8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 20, 2013

Cullen Theater, Wortham Center

Great American Dance Series

Prolific American choreographer Jessica Lang has attained exceptional success in a short time. Hailed as "a master of visual composition" by Dance Magazine during her company's debut at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in 2012, Lang transforms classical ballet language and rigor into artfully crafted, emotionally engaging, contemporary works. Her company, Jessica Lang Dance, was born in 2011, coincidentally after receiving a 2010 Joyce Theater Residency. While her company is new, Lang is a dance veteran having performed with Twyla Tharp's company, THARP!, and since 1999, has created more than 75 works for such ballet companies as Birmingham Royal, Joffrey, Kansas City, Richmond, Cincinnati, Colorado, Ailey II, ABT II, Hubbard Street 2 and New York City Ballet's Choreographic Institute, among others. Since the company's inception, Jessica Lang Dance has thrilled audiences with repertoire ranging from minimal and simplistic to rich and dense with stunning visuals including remarkable sets and costumes. Working on and off pointe, JLD produces and performs dance works associated with music, opera, mixed media compositions and public art installations, while delivering an organic blend of classical and contemporary styles. Driven by Lang's interest in creative and artistic partnerships and inter-arts exploration, her company has collaborated with visual artist Shinichi Maruyama, composer Jakub Ciupinski and Vancouver-based design firm, molo, dedicated to the research of materials and the exploration of space making. Lang was recently nominated for a Manchester Theatre Award in the dance category for her work Lyric Pieces, performed and commissioned by Birmingham Royal Ballet. While in Houston, Jessica Lang Dance will perform Lines Cubed, Among the Stars and The Calling.

The Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Gold Medal Winner*

8 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 28, 2013

Cullen Theater, Wortham Center

Music Series

Be one of the first to witness the next piano sensation when the Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Gold Medalist, makes his/her Houston debut. Held every four years in Fort Worth, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, named for the American who won Moscow's First International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958, is widely regarded as the supreme piano competition in its potential for launching careers. Attracting talented
candidates from all over the world such as former winners Nobuyuki Tsujii, Alexander Kobrin and Olga Kern, the competition winner is awarded the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Gold Medal, along with three years of international concert engagements coordinated by IMG Artists (U.K.) Limited, and a compact disc recording of his or her award-winning Cliburn Competition performances for the Harmonia Mundi USA label. The winners of the Fourteenth Cliburn Competition will be announced Sunday, June 9, 2013.

Hungarian State Folk Ensemble

8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11, 2012

Jones Hall

International Series

Regarded as one of the greatest folkloric dance ensembles in the world, the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble returns to Houston this fall. Celebrate the rich history and culture of Eastern Europe as the 90-member Ensemble performs choreography based on authentic folk dances, some dating back hundreds of years. The extraordinary folk music that inspired Liszt, Bartók and Kodály is performed live on-stage by the Folk Orchestra and the Gipsy Orchestra, performing authentic Hungarian folk instruments.

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Live Music Performed by Mercury, the orchestra redefined

8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013

Jones Hall

Great American Dance Series

Paul Taylor Dance Company returns to Houston for one night only with a program that includes Airs, Esplanade and Sunset, and will feature live music performed by Houston's own Mercury! The last living member of the pantheon that created America's indigenous art of modern dance, Paul Taylor continues to win acclaim for the vibrancy, relevance and power of his recent dances, as well as his classics. As prolific as always, he observes life's complexities and tackles society's thorniest issues. For more than 50 years he has made some of the most romantic, athletic and humorous dances ever put on a stage. While he may propel his dancers through space for the sheer beauty of it, he more frequently uses them to illuminate such profound issues as war, piety, spirituality, sexuality, morality and mortality. Mercury, the orchestra redefined, serves the community by celebrating the power of music, Baroque and beyond, teaching, sharing and performing with passion, intimacy and excellence.

Audra McDonald, Vocalist

8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013

BrownTheater, Wortham Center

Concert Series

Broadway legend Audra McDonald returns to the concert stage after four seasons on the hit ABC television series "Private Practice," and after winning a record-tying fifth Tony Award for her unforgettable performance in the Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. Joined by her Houston-born music director, Andy Einhorn, McDonald will perform an intimate evening of favorite show tunes, classic songs from the movies, and original pieces written especially for this extraordinary artist who is at the height of her expressive powers. "Ravishing of voice and Olympian of stature, she's an overwhelming presence." (The New York Times) McDonald made her opera debut in 2006 at Houston Grand Opera, where she starred in a double-bill: Poulenc's monodrama La voix humaine and the world premiere of its companion piece, Send, written by one of McDonald's frequent collaborators, Michael John LaChiusa.

Takács Quartet*

with Timothy Pitts, Double Bass

8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013

Stude Concert Hall, Rice University

Music Series

An irresistible blend of virtuosic technique and engaging personality has made the GRAMMY Award-winning Takács Quartet a favorite for more than 20 years. Founded in Hungary in 1975 and now based in Boulder at the University of Colorado, the Quartet plays with a unique blend of drama, warmth and humor, combining four distinct musical personalities to bring fresh insights to the string quartet repertoire. Founded by Gabor Takács-Nagy, Károly Schranz, Gabor Ormai and András Fejér while students at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, the Quartet tours today with Schranz and Fejér, as well as Edward Dusinberre and Geraldine Walther who joined in 1993 and 2005 respectively. In 2012, Gramophone announced that the Takács was the only string quartet to be inducted into its first Hall of Fame, along with such legendary artists as Jascha Heifetz, Leonard Bernstein and Dame Janet Baker. The ensemble also won the 2011 Award for Chamber Music and Song presented by the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.

The Quartet will perform Mozart's String Quartet K458, Janacek's String Quartet No. 2 and Dvorak's Bass Quintet Op. 77. For the final piece, the musicians will be joined by double bassist and Rice University professor Timothy Pitts. His orchestral career began as a member of the Cleveland Orchestra after which he was appointed principal bass of the Houston Symphony, a position he held for 17 years. Mr. Pitts also served as principal double bass of Boston's Handel and Haydn Society and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra under the direction of John Williams.

YAMATO - The Drummers of Japan

ROJYOH - "The Beat on the Road"
20th Anniversary Tour
7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25, 2013

Jones Hall

Family Fun Series

YAMATO - The Drummers of Japan have impressed audiences for nearly 20 years with passion, excitement and sheer force. With a massive six-foot diameter drum made from a 400-year-old tree as their centerpiece, the highly skilled men and women YAMATO play 40 taikos of various sizes, blending phenomenally powerful and dramatic drumming with music of delicate beauty and humor. Athleticism, superhuman feats of coordination and incredible intensity are the trademarks of this irresistible ensemble.

2CELLOS*

7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013

Cullen Theater, Wortham Center

Family Fun Series

Young Croatian cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser have achieved success by taking the cello to a new level and breaking the boundaries among different genres of music. Their unique cello version of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" took the world by storm in 2011. Since then,

the duo has appeared on such TV shows "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Ellen," "Lopez Tonight" and more. 2CELLOS was also the first instrumental act to ever perform on the hugely popular TV series "Glee," where they appeared as special guests in the Michael Jackson tribute episode, performing "Smooth Criminal." The 2CELLOS' arrangement of the song, which featured Naya Rivera, debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 Digital Songs Chart and landed the 2CELLOS' debut album in the Top 100. They have performed with Elton John and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and just released their second album IN2ITION (January 2013) featuring such musical guests as Steve Vai, Lang Lang, Zucherro and more. Sulic and Hauser have played the cello since childhood; Sulic graduated from the acclaimEd Royal Academy of Music in London, and Hauser from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Both have appeared in major classical music venues throughout the world including Wigmore Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Southbank Center, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Vienna's Musikverein and Konzerthaus.

Shanghai Ballet*
8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013
Jones Hall
International Series

Direct from China, the renowned Shanghai Ballet will come to Houston performing one of its signature works, The Butterfly Lovers. This four-act ballet is an Asian version of Romeo and Juliet that includes a perfect combination of Western ballet and Chinese dancing. Founded in 1966 this regional Dance Company was named Shanghai Ballet in 1979 following several successful tours of its first work, The White-Haired Girl, which won a Gold Medal for one of the
Best Classical Dance Works of the 20th Century in China, and helped establish the Company as one of the country's leading ensembles. Today, Shanghai Ballet's repertoire includes such classics as Swan Lake (Derek Deane), Coppélia (Pierre Lacotte), La Sylphide (Jean-Paul Gravier), The Nutcracker (Tetsutaro Shimizu), Romeo and Juliet (Derek Deane) and Serenade (George Balanchine), in addition to several modern ballets.

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain*
8 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013
Cullen Theater, Wortham Center
International Series

Playing instruments "bought with loose change," the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, fondly referred to as the "Ukes," proudly asserts that all music, whether by Tchaikovsky or Otis Redding, is ripe for reinterpretation-as long as it is played on the ukulele. With cheerful nods to the pompous and the trivial, the Ukes' performances are at once moving and amusing, hailing the popular and the highbrow, and may include everything from Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer," to Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," to Handel, Saint-Saëns and Queen. This group of all-singing, all-strumming ukulele players has been charming audiences from London's Royal Albert Hall to Carnegie Hall. Funny, virtuosic and infectiously high-spirited, the musicians play a range of ukuleles (small and large, and in high and low registers), the world's only "bonsai guitar" and integrate a bit of whistling and a kaleidoscope of voices.

ABBA The Concert*

8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6, 2013

Jones Hall

Concert Series

Get ready for a live, two-hour musical extravaganza direct from Sweden when ABBA The Concert comes to Houston. Follow the quartet through songs from ABBA's Eurovision beginnings in 1974 with such hits as "Dancing Queen," "S.O.S." and the many others that eventually inspired the phenomenally popular Broadway musical, Mamma Mia! Formed in 1996, ABBA The Concert will have an original member of the ABBA rhythm section! Previous tours have included one of the following: legendary bass guitarist Mike Watson, guitarists Mats Ronander, Lasse Wellander and Janne Schaffer and drummers Ola Brunkert and Roger Palm. The Swedish band ABBA formed in 1970 with Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Anderson, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Faltskog. They achieved international success as one of the best-selling pop groups in history.

ELVIS LIVES - The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Tour*

8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 17 & Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014

Jones Hall

Concert Series

ELVIS LIVES, The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Event, is an unforgettable multi-media and live musical journey across Elvis's life. His iconic style embraced by many of today's artists, continues to entertain audiences of all generations. Featuring finalists from The Ultimate Elvis
Tribute Artist Contest, held by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc., the performers deliver a moving musical presentation of the greatest entertainer that ever lived. The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, held in Memphis during Elvis Week each year, gives tribute artists around the world the opportunity to compete for cash, merchandise and a contract offer to appear in ELVIS LIVES, The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Event. This concert features four Elvis's, each representing the great singer during different stages of his career, along with a live band, back-up singers, dancers, and an Ann-Margret performer, as well as iconic imagery made available from the Graceland archives.

Forbidden Broadway*

8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014

Cullen Theater, Wortham Center

New Now

The Tony Award-winning Forbidden Broadway is a hilarious night of sketch comedy that parodies musicals that have been hits on the Great White Way! The show is so funny and fast-moving that Forbidden Broadway has been called "The Saturday Night Live of Broadway" by the "Today" show. In this long-running Off-Broadway hit musical revue, Broadway's greatest musical legends meet Broadway's greatest satirist in this hilarious, loving and endlessly entertaining tribute to some of theatres greatest stars and songwriters. Hailed as "hilarious and brilliantly wicked" by The New York Times, you do not have to be a Broadway musical fanatic to enjoy this immensely entertaining show. Written and directed by Gerard Alessandrini, the original version of the revue opened in January 1982, at Palsson's Supper Club in New York City and ran for more than 2,000 performances. Alessandrini has rewritten the show countless times over the years to include parodies of newer shows. He is the recipient of Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre, an Obie Award, four Drama Desk Awards (including the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics and the Drama Desk Special Award), an Outer Critics Circle Award and two Lucille Lortel Awards, as well as the Drama League Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre.

Mark Morris Dance Group

8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 31 & Saturday, Feb. 1 2014

Cullen Theater, Wortham Center

Great American Dance Series

The world-renowned Mark Morris Dance Group has captivated audiences for more than 30 years with its sophisticated artistry, extraordinary movement and overriding musicality. Christened "one of the greatest living choreographers" by the New Yorker, Mark Morris is celebrated for his enthralling dance that combines wit and grace, and his unparalleled commitment to the use of live music. Formed in 1980, Mark Morris Dance Group gave its first concert that year in New York City. By 1991, MMDG was regarded as one of the world's leading dance companies, performing across the U.S. and at major international festivals. In the fall of 2001, MMDG opened its first permanent U.S. home, the Mark Morris Dance Center, in Brooklyn. The Company's will perform an exciting program to be announced.

THE PEKING ACROBATS

7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7, 2014

Jones Hall

Family Fun Series

This troupe of China's most gifted performers, complemented by live musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments, return to Houston for one night only! THE PEKING ACROBATS have redefined audience perceptions of Chinese acrobatics. For more than 50 years they have held audiences of all ages spellbound with vibrant presentations of their ancient folk art. They perform daring maneuvers atop a precarious pagoda of chairs; they are experts at trick-cycling, precision tumbling, somersaulting and gymnastics. They defy gravity with amazing displays of contortion, flexibility and control. They push the envelope of human possibility with astonishing juggling dexterity and incredible balancing feats, showcasing tremendous skill and ability.

The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Heart*
7:30 p.m., Tuesday - Friday, Feb. 18-21, 2014
5 & 8 p.m. - Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014
St. Arnold's Brewery
New Now

The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Heart is a fun-filled theatrical journey unlike any other, where the audience is part of the show. On the morning of the winter solstice, Prudencia Hart, an uptight academic, sets off to attend a conference in the Scottish Borders, the region of Scotland that borders England known for its romantic history. (Think Sir Walter Scott). As the snow begins to fall, she finds herself trapped in a secluded bar with strangers, and after hearing a song, the song of undoing, she is swept away on an enchanting, dream-like journey of self-discovery filled with magical moments, devilish encounters and wittily wild karaoke. The journey through the night takes her in and out of different supernatural and natural realms always looking for the song, until she finally discovers it - and is undone. Performed by five cast members of The National Theater of Scotland, this show is delivered in a riotous romp of rhyming couplets with live music that pulls you into a captivating web of plot twists.

SamulNori

8 p.m., Saturday, March 8, 2014

Cullen Theater, Wortham Center

International Series

The Korean words 'samul' and 'nori' mean 'four things' and 'to play.' SamulNori first began with a group of four dynamic musicians dedicated to performing and preserving traditional Korean music and dance. Since these percussionists came together in 1978, SamulNori has sparked a renaissance in Korea's music scene and garnered worldwide acclaim. The Company has grown to 30 artists dedicated to showcasing traditional Korean arts, music and dance. Founded by Kim Duk-soo, the group's leader and master of the Changgo (hourglass shaped drum), SamulNori has become the leading traditional Korean performance group. The origins of their music can be traced to what is referred to as farmers' band music (Nongak) and ceremonial music, with influences of folk and religious music (Binari). SamulNori has collaborated with highly acclaimed musicians from around the world and thier various styles of music, ranging from jazz to pop, and have also performed with orchestras in concertos written exclusively for them. They have performed at such festivals as Japan's Live Under the Sky, the Hong Kong Arts, the Kool Jazz, Peter Gabriel's WOMAD, the World Drum and Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC).

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Robert Battle
Artistic Director
Masazumi Chaya
Associate Artistic Director
8 p.m., Friday, March 14, 2014

2 & 8 p.m., Saturday, March 15, 2014

Jones Hall

Great American Dance Series

A Houston favorite returns! Experience the power of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and see for yourself why this extraordinary company is hailed as America's cultural ambassador to the world. From the pulse-racing thrill of contemporary favorites to the spirit-lifting joy of beloved classics, these magnificent dancers offer something for every taste. Closing the program will be Alvin Ailey's masterpiece, Revelations, called "one of the great works of the human spirit" (The New York Times).

Joffrey Ballet
8 p.m., Friday, March 21, 2014
Jones Hall

Great American Dance Series

Joffrey Ballet, America's premier ballet company, returns to Houston for the first time since 2001. Now with a permanent residence in Chicago, Joffrey Ballet has been hailed as "America's Company of Firsts." The namesake of the late Robert Joffrey, the Company has a long list of "firsts" including the first Dance Company to perform at the White House at Jacqueline Kennedy's invitation, the first to appear on television, the first American company to visit Russia, the first classical Dance Company to go multi-media, the first to commission a rock 'n' roll ballet, the first and only Dance Company to appear on the cover of TIME magazine, and the first company to be the subject of a major motion picture, Robert Altman's The Company.

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
8 p.m. Thursday, March 27, 2014
Jones Hall
Music Series

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Israel's premier cultural ambassador, returns to Houston for the first time since 1993. Under the musical direction of Zubin Mehta, and led by Principal Guest Conductor Gianandrea Noseda, the Orchestra will perform an impressive program to be announced. Founded in 1936, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the country's oldest and most influential cultural institutions, and has dedicated itself to presenting the world's greatest music to audiences in Israel and around the world. Founded by Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra represents the fulfillment of his dream "to unite the desire of the country for an orchestra with the desire of the Jewish musicians for a country." The Israel Philharmonic has performed in Houston two other times: in 1982 led by Conductor Leonard Bernstein and in 1993 led by Conductor Zubin Mehta.

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan*
Songs of the Wanderers
8 p.m., Saturday, April 5, 2014
Jones Hall
International Series

Taiwan's premier contemporary Dance Company Cloud Gate Dance Theatre will come to Houston for the first time performing the full-length work titled Songs of the Wanderers. A visually stunning tribute to spiritual pilgrimage, Songs of the Wanderers creates a world of intense reverence, distinctly Asian in its imagery yet with powerful relevance far beyond Asia. Spiritually evocative movements set to soulful Georgian folksongs come to life on an astonishing set with three-and-a-half tons of shimmering golden grains of rice. Directed by internationally renowned choreographer Lin Hwai-min, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan was the first contemporary Dance Company in any Chinese speaking community. Founded in 1973, the company is known for transforming ancient aesthetics into thrillingly original performances that draw on diverse disciplines. Its 24 dancers receive trainings of meditation, Qi Gong, an ancient form of breathing exercise, internal martial arts, modern dance, ballet and calligraphy. Through Lin Hwai-min's choreographies the company transforms ancient aesthetics into thrilling modern celebration of motion.

Lise de la Salle, Piano*
8 p.m., Saturday, April 26, 2014
Cullen Theater, Wortham Center
Music Series

Twenty four-year-old French pianist Lise de la Salle has emerged as one of the most acclaimed artists of her generation, praised for inspired performances of virtuosity and depth. The
Washington Post wrote, "For much of the concert, the audience had to remember to breathe...the exhilaration didn't let up for a second until her hands came off the keyboard." She has performed with the Boston Symphony led by Fabio Luisi, the Los Angeles Philharmonic with James Conlon, the Vienna Symphony, the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and others. Ms. de la Salle began playing piano at the age of four and gave her first concert at nine in a live broadcast on Radio-France. After receiving special permission to enter the Paris Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique, studying with Pierre Réach, at the age of 11, de la Salle graduated in 2001
and subsequently enrolled in the postgraduate cycle with Bruno Rigutto. At 13, she made her concerto debut with Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2 in Avignon and her Paris recital debut at the Louvre before going on tour with the Orchestre National d'Ile de France. At 16, she came to international attention with her Bach/Liszt recording for Naïve Records which was selected by Gramophone as "Recording of the Month."

IT GETS BETTER*
in partnership with Legacy Community Health Services and Bayou City Performing Arts
8 p.m., Friday, May 2, 2014
Jones Hall
Special

IT GETS BETTER is a moving performance that utilizes the power of song and story to transform painful histories of bullying, harassment and discrimination into a celebration of courage and a campaign for social justice in Houston. The program features a touring cast who will be joined by Houston's own Bayou City Performing Arts (BCPA). Bullying is the most often cited contributor to the extraordinary rise of violence and suicide among LGBT, Black, Latino and physically-challenged people. Through a performance created under the direction of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, SPA and its collaborative partners Legacy Community Health Services and Bayou City Performing Arts, will have an opportunity to address bullying on a local level through the performing arts. This event includes a weeklong residency.

Pedrito Martinez
Sundown, Saturday, May 3, 2014
Miller Outdoor Theatre

The Pedrito Martinez Group has emerged as the tightest Afro-Cuban band in New York. The ensemble has its roots planted firmly in the rumba tradition, and revels in the bata rhythms and vocal chants of Yoruban and Santerian music. Members of the Pedrito Martinez Group include Jhair Sala, from Lima, Peru; electric bassist, Alvaro Benavides, from Caracas, Venezuela; and keyboard player/vocalist, Araicne Trujillo, from Havana, Cuba. Born in Havana, Cuba in 1973, Pedro Pablo "Pedrito" Martinez began his musical career at the age of 11, performing as vocalist and percussionist with such Cuba n legends as Tata Guines and Munequitos de Matanzas. He was brought to Canada in 1998 to tour with Jane Bunnett's Spirits of Havana. Since settling in New York City, Pedrito has collaborated with Sting, Paul Simon, Wynton Marsalis, Paquito D'Rivera, Meshell Ndegeocello, Eddie Palmieri, Cassandra Wilson, Joe Lovano and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. He is featured on more than one hundred albums, including Eddie Palmieri and Brian Lynch's Grammy Award winning Simpatico. Martínez was a founding member of the Afro-Beat ensemble, Yerba Buena.

Alonzo King LINES Ballet*
8 p.m., Friday, May 9, 2014
Cullen Theater, Wortham Center
Dance Series

Based in San Francisco Alonzo King LINES Ballet is a celebrated contemporary ballet company that has been guided by the unique artistic vision of Alonzo King since 1982. Collaborating with noted composers, musicians and visual artists from around the world, Alonzo King creates works that draw on a diverse set of deeply rooted cultural traditions, imbuing classical ballet with new expressive potential. He understands ballet as a science - founded on universal, geometric principles of energy and evolution - and continues to develop a new language of movement from its classical forms and techniques. Alonzo King's visionary choreography, brought to life by the extraordinary LINES Ballet dancers, is renowned for connecting audiences to a profound sense of shared humanity. The Company's Houston debut performance will feature the works Scheherazade and Resin

The Naughton Sisters, Dueling Pianos*
Friday, May 16, 2014
Cullen Theater, Wortham Center
Music Series

Twin sisters Christina and Michelle Naughton are two pianists who are "paired to perfection," according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. During the 2008-2009 season, the Naughton sisters made debuts at the Kennedy Center with the New Jersey Symphony and at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts with The Philadelphia Orchestra. Following their 2010 performance with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sing Tao Daily proclaimed: "Joining two hearts and four hands at two grand pianos, the Naughton sisters created an electrifying and moving musical performance. They played like two people singing to each other, creating a duet entrancing in a way that no single piano performance could achieve." The Steinway Artists are graduates of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and recently recorded their first album at the Sendesaal in Bremen, Germany, which was released worldwide in December 2012.

*Houston Debuts
All programs and performances are subject to change.

Pictured: (top) 2 Cellos - Photo by Smallz Raskind; (middle) Jessica Lang Dance - Photo by Todd Burnsed; (bottom) Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Alicia Graf Mack - Photo by Andrew Eccles.

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