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The Soraya Announces 2019/2020 Season Featuring Randy Newman's FAUST

Executive Director Thor Steingraber unveils the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts' 2019-20 Season, which features a reconsideration of Randy Newman's musical Faust, in a concert format (May 9), an opening night recital with Itzhak Perlman accompanied by Rohan De Silva, piano (September 19), and a Beethoven 250th Birthday Celebration featuring six concerts beginning with Jonathan Biss, piano (October 15 & 16); other concerts include the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio (November 13), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with Pinchas Zukerman, Principal Guest Conductor and Violin Soloist (January 24), Christian Tetzlaff, violin, with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (February 7), Academy of St Martin in the Fields with Joshua Bell (March 4) and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (March 25).

The season boasts three full-length ballets - resident artists Aspen Santa Fe Ballet's The Nutcracker (December 7 & 8), Shanghai Ballet Giselle (February 15) and Ballet BC Romeo + Juliet (February 29 & March 1).

Acclaimed Jazz pianist and MacArthur fellow Jason Moran returns to The Soraya to kick-off Black History Month performing his score live to the Best Picture Oscar nominee Selma (2014; directed by Ava DuVernay) with New West Symphony (February 1). The film appeared on 45 critics "top ten lists" including Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Washington Post, Hollywood Reporter, and Variety.

There are four jazz main stage concerts. One of which is part of an October run of concerts in the season -- Chucho Valdés, the famed Cuban bandleader, will honor his seminal 1973 recording, Jazz Batá, (October 19). Quinteto Astor Piazzolla's Revolucionario Tour stops in on October 3, and Bettye Lavette will play on October 6. Later Hamilton's Mandy Gonzalez performs with special guest Javier Munoz (October 26).

The Soraya's intimate onstage Jazz Club will feature three women artists: Camila Meza & The Nectar Orchestra (November 15 & 16), Luciana Souza (January 17 & 18), and tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana (March 12 & 13)

The Soraya leads Violins of Hope with four symphonic orchestras and the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust for an ambitious collaborative initiative that will bring to life the sounds of music once lost. At the heart of Violins of Hope is a collection of over 60 stringed instruments rescued from the Holocaust and restored by second-generation violinmaker, Amnon Weinstein, and his son, Avshalom in their shop in Tel Aviv. These instruments will come to Los Angeles with a series of concerts, exhibitions and educational programming.

Thor Steingraber, Executive Director of The Soraya, said "Our 2019-2020 can take its inspiration of Violins of Hope, this season's signature event - which celebrates the triumph of the human spirit. It is an event in a season of hope, renewal and exploration."

"It is a season that encompasses some of the jazz greats and newer performers, and MacArthur fellow Jason Moran, with New West Symphony, perform his score for Ava DuVernay's Selma, evoking Dr. Martin Luther King amidst an infusion in a season of Beethoven. Hecho in Las Americás continues our exploration of 'Music Knows No Borders.' We have some of the great performing artists of our time - Quinteto Astor Piazzolla, Bettye Lavette, Chucho Valdés, Joshua Bell, Kurt Elling, and the Count Basie Orchestra celebrating Ella Fitzgerald."

"Finally, we are working with LA's own Randy Newman to bring his legendary musical, Faust, back to the stage next spring. We look forward to welcoming our longtime patrons and new audiences to The Soraya, our beautiful and inviting artistic hub on the CSUN/Northridge campus."

This season opens with a recital by violinist Itzhak Perlman accompanied by pianist Rohan De Silva (September 19). The series then moves into a celebration of the 250th birthday of one of the greatest composers who ever lived: Ludwig van Beethoven, with six world-class concerts. Jonathan Biss, piano, will perform Beethoven's Piano Sonatas in The Soraya's intimate onstage chamber music setting (October 15 & 16) as will The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio with an all-Beethoven program (November 13).

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Pinchas Zukerman; Principal Guest, Conductor and Violin Soloist, will perform Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 (January 24). Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Jaime Martin, Music Director and Conductor, will feature Christian Tetzlaff at the violin for Beethoven's Violin Concerto (February 7). Later, Academy of St Martin in the Field's electric Music Director and violinist Joshua Bell returns to The Soraya with Beethoven's Symphony No. 5.

The series concludes with Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Lahav Shani, Conductor and Nelson Freire, piano performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5.

Violins of Hope
Violins of Hope is an internationally renowned project created to celebrate the triumph of the human spirit. At the heart of Violins of Hope is a collection of over 60 stringed instruments rescued from the Holocaust and restored by second-generation violinmaker, Amnon Weinstein, and his son, Avshalom in their shop in Tel Aviv.

Now, this unique collection will come to Los Angeles for the first time March 22 to April 26, 2020 for a month-long series of concerts, exhibits, and student educational programming at several Los Angeles cultural institutions. Each concert in the Violins of Hope series will feature performers and soloists using instruments from the Weinstein's collection. Artist in Residence and Northridge native Niv Ashkenazi, the only individual musician in North American entrusted with one of the collection's rescued violins, will take the storied instruments on a tour to Los Angeles area schools.

The Violins of Hope concert series at The Soraya will feature three concerts in two weeks. Each concert in the Violins of Hope series will feature performers and soloists using instruments from the Weinstein's collection.

  • Opening Night: March 22, 2020 - Artistic Director Noreen Green conducts the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony featuring violinist Lindsay Deutsch.
  • March 25, 2020 -- Lahav Shani conducts the Rotterdam Philharmonic with soloist Nelson Freire. Maestro Shani succeeded Zubin Mehta as Music Director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra before becoming the youngest chief conductor in the Rotterdam Philharmonic's history.
  • April 5, 2020 -- The Jerusalem Quartet closes The Soraya leg of the series with works by Haydn, Shostakovich and Brahms. The ensemble debuted in 1996 and has since carried on the string quartet tradition with their award-winning performances and recordings.
  • Additionally, the 2019-20 Season will open with Itzhak Perlman who grew up near the violin shop and has a close association with it. Later in the season, Pinchas Zuckerman will appear with Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Zuckerman's first childhood violin came from the Weinstein's shop in Tel Aviv.

About Violins of Hope Educational Programs and Artist in Residence Niv Ashkenazi
The Los Angeles area concerts are accompanied by school visits, where the history of some instruments - such as the violin thrown out of a cattle train on way from France to Auschwitz, the violin that was buried under the snow in Holland, and the violin that saved lives of people who played in camp orchestra and survived - is told against the larger history of World War II.

The Soraya Arts Education Program serves 10,000 area schoolchildren in grades K-12, as well as CSUN's 40,000 students annually. Through this program, Violins of Hope ambassadors including Artist in Residence and Northridge resident Niv Ashkenazi, the only individual musician in North American entrusted with one of the collection's rescued violins, will take the storied instruments "on tour" to visit local students.

Classical violinist and former student of Itzhak Perlman, Ashkenazi will share the Violins of Hope program with students in the San Fernando Valley in over 40 in-school visits and a culminating concert for students at The Soraya. His recent engagements have featured a performance and speaking engagement at the Jewish Funders Network Conference and toured Israel with the iPalpiti Chamber Orchestra. In addition to performing and teaching in Los Angeles, Ashkenazi serves on the professional advisory board of Shane's Inspiration, a global non-profit organization dedicated to building inclusive playgrounds and served on the board of the Los Angeles youth Orchestra.

Scenes and Songs
The Soraya will be staging a rare concert version of Randy Newman's Faust: The Concert (May 9), released as a concept album featuring James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt and Elton John followed by productions at La Jolla Playhouse and The Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Rolling Stone said of the original release; "[Faust] breathes new life into a musical-theater tradition hijacked by the likes of Andrew Lloyd Webber," and the Los Angeles Times called it, "deliciously entertaining." This will be a new concert version - the last time it was produced was 2014 for New York City Encores.

On October 26, Mandy Gonzalez (Hamilton, In the Heights) will perform songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda to Stephen Schwartz with special guest Javier Munoz, who was Lin-Manuel's replacement taking over the lead role of Hamilton on Broadway.

Shape and Motion
The Soraya showcases a focus onstory ballets this season with three exquisite companies. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet returns for their charming rendition of The Nutcracker (December 7 & 8).

The Shanghai Ballet, which helped usher dance into the culture of China, will present their staging of Giselle, the romantic and otherworldly tale (February 15).

>From British Columbia comes Ballet BC with their updated Romeo + Juliet, choreographed by Medhi Walerski (February 29 & March 1). Walerski brings a contemporary familiarity to the story of Romeo and Juliet -"the vision of love that Shakespeare gave us in this master work is very precious. It is like holding a jewel in your hand that needs to be protected."

Jazz Club & Jazz Masters

This season marks the third year of Jazz Club, The Soraya's intimate nightclub space. The three performers are all Latin American women: Luciana Souza from Brazil (January 17 & 18) and Camila Meza (November 15 & 16) and Melissa Aldana (March 12 & 13), both from Chile.

In addition to intimate jazz performances, some of jazz's biggest names will be taking over The Soraya with their explosive music. Chucho Valdés, the famed Cuban bandleader will honor his seminal 1973 release, Jazz Batá (October 19), MacArthur Award winner Jason Moran will perform his film score, live, with the movie Selma (February 1), the Legendary Count Basie Orchestra pays tribute to one of the greatest of all time: Ella Fitzgerald (April 9) and Kurt Elling celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Close Your Eyes (May 2).

Hecho in Las Americás
The Soraya continues its tradition of "Music Knows No Borders" with Hecho in Las Americas featuring colorful performances from both sides of the border. La Santa Cecilia's La Marisoul steps out for the first time at The Soraya with Un Homenaje to Mexican-American Music: From Lalo Guerrero to Today (October 12). This premiere will honor the father of Chicano music and chart a course for the future of Chicano music in Los Angeles, with La Marisoul at the helm. Nochebuena returns for a second year, this time starring Eugenia León, and will again feature Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles and Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar (December 14). Ballet Folclórico Nacional de México de Silvia Lozano, with a history of over 55 years, will make a rare stop in Los Angeles (January 30).

New season tickets are available May 28 at or by calling (818) 677-3000. Single tickets will go on sale July 16. The Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts is located on the campus of California State University, Northridge (CSUN), 18111 Nordhoff Street Northridge, CA 91330-8448, at the corner of Nordhoff and Lindley.

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