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The Broad Stage Announces Live and In Person Programming for Fall 2021

The Broad Stage and Downtown Santa Monica will present the west coast premiere of Birds in the Moon, a new opera co-commissioned by the Santa Monica stage.

The Broad Stage Announces Live and In Person Programming for Fall 2021

The Broad Stage has announced three live and in person attractions for fall 2021 - starting with the West Coast Premiere of the new opera Birds in the Moon, co-commissioned by The Broad Stage, for four outdoor performances in Santa Monica September 1 through 4. Presented in partnership with Downtown Santa Monica at the corner of Arizona and 5th Avenue (Lot 27), Santa Monica, CA. Birds in the Moon is supported by an Art of Recovery grant from the City of Santa Monica.

Birds in the Moon, a mobile, theatrical chamber opera by Mark Grey and Júlia Canosa i Serra, and directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer. Featuring Maria Elena Altany as the Bird Mother and Austin Spangler as the Ringmaster, and with the Friction Quartet, soundscapes and video projections, Birds in the Moon tells a story about migration and a search for a better world.

It comes from a whimsical 17th century theory that birds migrated to the moon, spent their winters there and came back to earth where they would remain for the season. Birds in the Moon takes place on a traveling, magic box - a fully transformable, self-contained, state-of-the-art shipping container which opens to create a stage, with an LED screen, lights and sound system.

Two concerts mark the return of live performances to The Broad Stage. The Grammy nominated Danish String Quartet, performing on Friday, October 8, recipient of Musical America's 2020 Ensemble of the Year and the Borletti-Buitoni Trust and coveted appointments that include the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's CMS Two Program and the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists program.

Their eclectic repertoire includes the Mozart String Quartet No 16 in E-flat major, a Curated Suite of Dances including by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, John Adams, and Felix Blumenfeld, and a DSQ specialty - a selection of Nordic Folk Music - about which The New York Times said, "Most rare and interesting there's deep absorption, when players enter a kind of trance, a state of euphoric joy...for listeners, the world dissolves and we are carried along by sound. Theirs is playing of unusual, and unusually effective, liberty. When at their best, their tone throbs with joy."

Duets on Saturday, October 23 is an evening of piano duets with three masters of jazz. Five-time Grammy Award winner Dianne Reeves is the pre-eminent jazz vocalist in the world today - her arsenal of talents is richly on display in each and every song of her limitless repertoire. Winner of six Grammy and three Latin Grammy Awards, the Cuban pianist, composer and arranger Chucho Valdés is the most influential figure in modern Afro-Cuban jazz. Grammy Award-winning saxophone titan Joe Lovano has distinguished himself as a prescient and pathfinding force in the arena of creative music.

Tickets go on sale on Thursday, July 15; a members only pre-sale begins Monday, July 12. For tickets and information about membership please visit

COVID Protocols for Fall Performances

The safety and personal comfort of patrons are paramount, and The Broad Stage is confident it can now move forward with minimal risk to patrons, artists and staff. Performances will be made as safe as possible for artists, audiences and staff, with all in-person events meeting or exceeding local, state and national safety guidelines.

Patrons are advised to follow instructions provided by staff on site and follow all safety guidelines at the venues and are asked to stay home if they are not feeling well. The Broad Stage encourages everyone who can to get vaccinated.

For Fall 2021 events, all ticket purchases are refundable prior to curtain, no questions asked. Please call or email Patron Services for a refund or credit on account. Credit is valid through June 2022. Fees are always non-refundable.

Changes at the theater include added hand sanitizer stations, no-contact ticket scanning, digital programs and continual cleaning of surfaces.

The Broad Stage returns for a more robust performance calendar in early 2022; programming announcements are expected to be made in late fall.

SEPTEMBER 1 - 4 | West Coast Premiere of BIRDS IN THE MOON

The Broad Stage presents the West Coast premiere of Birds in the Moon, a mobile, theatrical chamber opera by Mark Grey and Júlia Canosa i Serra, directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer, and featuring Maria Elena Altany as the Bird Mother and Austin Spangler as the Ringmaster, and with the Friction Quartet.

With its search for answers, Birds in the Moon tells a story of urgency, of lives lived in search of a better world and their quest for utopia. It considers the choices made by necessity in a world where water is scarce and migration has become a desperate flight in search of a better life. The opera, supported by Meyer Sound, is transported in a shipping container which transforms into a state-of-the-art, self-powered stage, designed and built by Chad Owens.

Birds in the Moon tells the story of a bird-mother, who is half bird and half woman, and her bird-child in a desert. Captured in a wasteland, dried by global warming, they are forced to migrate to a more hospitable place where they can find basic resources such as water and food to survive.

In this mobile shipping container, a magic theatrical box of sorts, the story unfolds capturing the urgency of lives lived seeking a better world, the quest for a utopia, an escape to a far-off moon where it is believed abundance and harmony might be found.

Director Elkhanah Pulitzer believes that the power of stories can inspire and influence people, and that as theater and music hold up a mirror to our lives, this allows us to better understand ourselves and the world around us.
Now, even more timely than when originally conceived, the work considers the choices made by necessity in an environment where water is scarce, and migration is a desperate flight in search of a better life.

Composer Mark Grey and librettist Júlia Canosa i Serra are best known for their National Opera of Belgium production of Frankenstein. Pulitzer directed David Lang's prisoner of the state for the New York Philharmonic and the Barbican Theatre, Leonard Bernstein's Mass for the LA Phil and at Lincoln Center, Nixon in China for the LA Phil, John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary for San Francisco Symphony and Lucia di Lammermoor for LA Opera. The creative team includes container and set designer Chad Owens, costume designer Christine Cook, lighting designer David Finn, video designer Deborah O'Grady, dramaturge Robert Castro, and producer Cath Brittan.

Since forming in 2011, Friction Quartet has commissioned 43 works for string quartet and given world premiere performances of more than 80 works. They won Second Prize in the 2016 Schoenfeld Competition, were quarter-finalists in the 2015 Fischoff Competition, and placed second at the 2015 Frances Walton Competition. Friction has held residencies at the New Music for Strings Festival in Denmark, Interlochen Arts Camp, Lunenburg Academy of Music, Napa Valley Performing Arts Center, Old First Concerts, San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and was the first ensemble in residence at the Center for New Music.

The Broad Stage believes in supporting the growth and development of our next generation and is rising to meet a rapidly evolving set of needs for artists, audiences, and community, with the aim to advance our role as an invaluable cultural resource.

A free Learning Guide for learners of all ages is available on The Broad Stage/Birds in the Moon webpage to provide artist insights, inviting the reader to delve further into their creative process and content areas relevant to the performance. Educators are invited to use these elements to create arts integrated lesson plans with the suggested California stage standards, social justice standards and social-emotional learning competencies.

The Birds in the Moon creative team in partnership with The Broad Stage, worked with the Santa Monica College (SMC) Art Department to offer SMC students the opportunity to create artwork inspired by Birds in the Moon. This curricular project extended for a full year which included two digital master classes. A digital display of the impressive student artwork created in this year-long project can be found on Santa Monica College's Barrett Art Gallery website:

The Birds in the Moon artistic team selected SMC student, Joanna Hernandez, to create commissioned artwork as part of their marketing materials and The Broad Stage is providing prizes for student art pieces as selected by members of the Birds in the Moon artistic team.


Nordic folk music is the focus of Wood Works, an album of traditional Scandinavian folk music, released by Dacapo in 2014. As a follow-up, the Danish String Quartet released Last Leaf for ECM, an album of traditional Scandinavian folk music. This recording was one of the top classical albums of 2017, as chosen by NPR, Spotify and The New York Times, among others.

Tom Huizenga on National Public Radio said, "You don't have to be a Scandinavian musicologist to fall in love with Last Leaf, the Danish String Quartet's new album of Nordic folk songs and dances...the Danish musicians have exceeded all expectations. In the quartet's elegant, idiomatic arrangement you can hear feet shuffling on a sawdusted dance floor and the drone of an old squeezebox."

About Danish String Quartet. We are three Danes and one Norwegian cellist, making this a truly Scandinavian endeavor. Being relatively bearded, we are often compared to The Vikings. However, we are only pillaging the English coastline occasionally.

The three of us, the Danes, met very early in our lives in the Danish countryside at a summer camp for enthusiastic amateur musicians. Not yet teenagers, we were the youngest players, so we hung out all the time playing football and chamber music together.

We were regular Danish kids with an above average interest in classical chamber music. Quickly we became best friends and we still are. In 2001, Professor Tim Frederiksen of The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen got in touch with us and started coaching us on a regular basis, drilling us for hours in early Haydn quartets.

All of the sudden, at the ages of 15 and 16, we were a serious string quartet, practicing intonation and stuff. It all happened so fast that none of us seemed to notice the transition. Time passed and we grew up. Grew beards. None of us have any memory of our lives without the string quartet.

In 2008 Norwegian cellist Fredrik joined in. He looked like a character from Game of Thrones, and we thought he was a perfect match. During his free time, Fredrik can be found fixing or sailing his OE32 sailboat somewhere in Scandinavia.

As a string quartet, we find ourselves at the core of the classical music world. On a daily basis, we delve into works by great masters such as Beethoven and Mozart, but we also play the occasional folk music gig. Over the years we have been fortunate to study in many different places, in masterclasses with renowned teachers and have had opportunities to perform in major concert halls across the world.

We have participated in competitions and made some recordings as well.

Music is a way to hang out with friends, and we hope we can continue to hang out for many, many years.

Since its debut in 2002, the Danish String Quartet has demonstrated a special affinity for Scandinavian composers, from Carl Nielsen to Hans Abrahamsen, alongside the music of Mozart and Beethoven.

The Danish String Quartet has received numerous citations and prizes, including First Prize in the Vagn Holmboe String Quartet Competition and the Charles Hennen International Chamber Music Competition in the Netherlands, as well as the Audience Prize at the Trondheim International String Quartet Competition in 2005. In 2009, the Danish String Quartet won First Prize in the 11th London International String Quartet Competition, now known as the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet competition, and returned to the celebrated London concert hall frequently. The Quartet was awarded the 2010 NORDMETALL-Ensemble Prize at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival in Germany, and in 2011, they received the Carl Nielsen Prize, the highest cultural honor in Denmark.

Violinists Frederik Øland and Rune Tonsgaard Sørenson and violist Asbjørn Nørgaard met as children at a music summer camp where they played soccer and made music together. As teenagers, they began the study of classical chamber music and were mentored by Tim Frederiksen of Copenhagen's Royal Danish Academy of Music. In 2008, the three Danes were joined by Norwegian cellist Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin.


Duets, an all-star concert features the most influential figure in modern Afro-Cuban jazz, Chucho Valdés, winner of six Grammy and three Latin Grammy Awards shares the stage for unforgettable duets with iconic vocalist, five time Grammy winner and 2018 National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master Dianne Reeves, and celebrated saxophonist Joe Lovano, winner of many DownBeat Magazine's Critics and Readers Polls on Saturday, October 23.

Dianne Reeves is the pre-eminent jazz vocalist in the world today - her arsenal of talents is richly on display in each and every song of her limitless repertoire. As a result of her virtuosity, improvisational prowess and unique jazz and R&B stylings, Dianne has received five Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Album, an honorary Doctorate of Music from Juilliard and was recently named a 2018 National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master. Dianne's magical, timeless voice, exceptional personality and the sheer force of her performance mark her as a captivating world-class artist. Wynton Marsalis exclaims, "She has one of the most powerful, purposeful, and accurate voices of this or any time." Dianne's Grammy Award-winning album, Beautiful Life, epitomizes the spirit of her storied and extraordinary career, traversing many genres and collaborating with a diverse collection of artists. Adored by audiences and critics alike throughout the world, Dianne Reeves is a natural wonder not to be missed.

Winner of six Grammy Awards and four Latin Grammy Awards, the Cuban pianist, composer, arranger, and bandleader Chucho Valdés has been a key figure in the evolution of Afro-Cuban jazz for the past 50 years. Chucho's musical education includes formal studies and countless nights on the best stages in Cuba as the pianist with his father, Bebo Valdés, and his orchestra Sabor de Cuba, and also the seminal Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna. In the early 70s, Chucho distilled his experiences into the foundation of Irakere, an ensemble that marked a before and after in Afro-Cuban jazz. Chucho was the director, pianist, main composer and arranger of Irakere for more than 30 years

Now in his mid-70s, Chucho's technique and creative output are as prodigious as ever. Border-Free finds Chucho at the top of his game, leading the Afro-Cuban Messengers, a spectacular quintet comprised of brilliant young Cuban musicians. In conjunction with the anniversary tour in 2015, Chucho released the Grammy Award winning album, Tribute to Irakere: Live at Marciac (Jazz Village/Harmonia Mundi).

In 1972, Chucho released his fourth album, a recording with bass and batá drums entitled simply, Jazz Batá. This ten-song exploration of the descarga roots of Cuban jazz was a departure from his early quintet recordings. Blending jazz with traditional rhythms of the sacred batá, the music showcased Chucho's virtuosity and formed the stylistic foundation of what would become Chucho's history-making group, Irakere. Decades later, Chucho returns to the Jazz Batá sound, joined by bassist Ramon Vazquez, plus percussionists Miguel Valdes and Yaroldy Abreu Robles in a journey to discover modern interpretations of classic forms. Chucho's most recent album, Jazz Batá 2, released on Mack Avenue in November 2018 and winner of the Best Latin Jazz/Jazz Album at the Latin Grammy Awards.

Joe Lovano has also won DownBeat Magazine's Critics and Readers Polls countless times as Tenor Saxophonist, Musician of the Year, Jazz Album of the Year and Triple Crowns. Joe has created a body of acclaimed work for his own large ensembles, including strings, woodwinds, his horn-rich Nonet, and more recently the newest iteration of his classic quartet. Joe has performed and recorded with a long list of jazz greats including Woody Herman, Bill Frisell, Tony Bennett, Abbey Lincoln, Charlie Haden, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, Ravi Coltrane, Chucho Valdéz, Ornette Coleman and many others.

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