Author: Laima Haley

CU Presents’ 2014-15 season for ‘cultural omnivores’

Natalie Merchant, Kronos Quartet, King’s Singers headline an eclectic season

Photo courtesy of Louis Greenfield

CU Presents, which offers the best in performing arts at the University of Colorado Boulder, has announced its 2014-15 season. Season tickets go on sale Monday, March 31.

“As always, we have a broad and eclectic offering of national and international talent. The upcoming season features everything from the Kronos Quartet to the scintillating dance of Bill T. Jones and platinum-selling artist Natalie Merchant performing her greatest compositions with symphonic arrangements,” says Joan McLean Braun, executive director of CU Presents.

The season also features the popular Holiday Festival, performances by CU Opera and the Takács Quartet.

Step Afrika!
Friday, Sept. 19

Stepping is a percussive art form that relies on kicking, stomping, clapping and chanting, making for an energetic, dynamic performance, a delight for eyes and ears alike. Step Afrika! is the world’s first professional dance company devoted to this unique art form, which has deep roots in traditional African dance and joyously celebrates the African American experience.

“Always visually and musically exciting.” — Washington Post

Kronos Quartet
“Beyond Zero: 1914-1918”
Wednesday, Oct. 8

Join the world-renowned Kronos Quartet for a program that includes a commemoration on the centennial of the outbreak of “the war to end all wars.” “Beyond Zero: 1914-1918,” by Serbian composer Aleksandra Vrebelov, musically explores the brutality that set off a century of bloody warfare. Featuring projections of seldom-seen film from World War I.

“The Kronos … continues with undiminished ferocity to make unprecedented string quartet history, as it has done every one of its 40 years.” — Los Angeles Times

Friday, Nov. 7

Silence, illusion, light and shadow. Masks and props made from everyday objects. Mind and body, sleight of hand. For more than four decades, the surreal Swiss theater troupe has brought myth, mystery and plenty of laughter to audiences around the world, using its unique universal language to explore the human condition.

“Witty madness … dazzling and delightful.” — The New York Times

Christmas with The King’s Singers
Thursday, Dec. 11

The Grammy Award-winning British male sextet The King’s Singers arrives on the cusp of winter to perform an enchanting Christmas concert. With their unique melodic arrangements, impeccable vocal blend, and trademark playfulness, the ensemble brings both wit and warmth to seasonal music, both traditional and contemporary.

“Unmatched for their sheer musicality and ability to entertain.” — The Times, London

“Voices of spun gold.” — BBC Music Magazine

Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane Dance Company
Thursday, Jan. 22 (2015)

Choreographed to some of the world’s best-loved and most seminal works of classical music — Mozart, Ravel, Schubert — and performed with live musicians, Bill T. Jones’ astonishingly original, muscular work, Play and Play, is dance like you’ve never seen it before. Winner of two Tony Awards and recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant, Jones has continually expanded the possibilities of dance.

“Rarely has one seen a dance company throw itself onto the stage with such kinetic exaltation.” — The New York Times on Play and Play

Medeski, Martin and Wood with Alarm Will Sound
Friday, Feb. 6

Get ready for a little jamming, incomparable originality and a lot of fun when the hip, cutting-edge chamber music of Alarm Will Sound blends with the eclectic avant-jazz-funk sound of Medeski, Martin and Wood. The groove-oriented trio, a hit on the jam-band circuit pioneered by the Grateful Dead, and the versatile new-music ensemble will take you on an evening of daring collaboration and thrilling improvisation.

“Genre-stomping freedom is the essence of Medeski, Martin and Wood.” — DownBeat Magazine

“One of the most vital and original ensembles on the American music scene.” — The New York Times on Alarm Will Sound

The Assad Brothers with Romero Lubambo
Thursday, Feb. 19

An exotic Latin flair takes the stage when the Assad Brothers, Brazil’s most celebrated classical guitarists, join with jazz guitar virtuoso Romero Lubambo for “Samba Exótico,” an exploration of Samba and Choros, a popular 19th-century genre that blossomed in Rio de Janeiro. With its roots in Africa and unique fermentation in the coastal city of Bahia, Samba vibrates with the essence of Brazil.

“Romero Lubambo (brings) classical-guitar meticulousness to his jazzy solo improvisations.” — The New York Times

“The Assad Brothers perform with remarkable agility and speed.” — Los Angeles Times

Natalie Merchant with the CU Symphony
Thursday, April 2

Over her stellar 30-year career, Natalie Merchant has been the driving force behind alt-pop sensation 10,000 Maniacs and embarked on a multi-platinum solo career, always delving deep into the human condition with her lyrical storytelling. Now she brings that same searching literary sensibility and her distinctive vocal style to new heights in a performance of her music, old and new, arranged for an orchestra.

“Merchant has found her medium. (Her) woody quaver has never sounded quite so right.” — The Boston Globe, on Merchant’s concert with the Boston Pops

Holiday Festival
4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5
4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6
4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6
4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7

A lively program of seasonal music and festive holiday decorations in Macky Auditorium inspire sold-out audiences and make the Holiday Festival a beloved annual tradition. Choirs, orchestra, ensembles and faculty soloists from the CU-Boulder College of Music invite you to share the joy and warmth of the season with your family and friends.

CU Opera

Kiss Me, Kate
By Cole Porter
Friday, Oct. 24, 4 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 25, 4 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 26, 2 p.m.
Tickets start at $14
Macky Auditorium

Cole Porter’s most successful Broadway show plays off the trysts and conflicts of a theater company while working on a musical version of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Comic, sexy, and intelligent, the musical features some of Porter’s catchiest tunes, including “From This Moment On” and “Too Darn Hot.” Sung in English.

Cosi fan tutte (Women Are Like That!)
By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Friday, March 13, 4 p.m.
Saturday, March 14, 4 p.m.
Sunday, March 15, 2 p.m.
Tickets start at $14
Macky Auditorium

Mozart’s witty opera buffa follows 24 hours in the lives of two beautiful sisters whose scandalous infidelities make for a comic romp that was considered too hot for audiences even in the early 20th century. Featuring some of the composer’s most sumptuous arias, duets, and ensemble pieces make for a decadent and enchanting evening of opera. Sung in Italian with English surtitles.

L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea)
By Claudio Monteverdi
Thursday, April 23, 4 p.m.
Friday, April 24, 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 25, 4 p.m.
Sunday, April 26, 2 p.m.
Tickets start at $14
Music Theatre

Monteverdi’s drama about sex, crime and realpolitik during the debauched reign of the Roman Emperor Nero, turning conventional morality on its head—virtue is punished and greed rewarded. The score soars but the sensual duet between Nero and his wife Poppea,Pur ti miro, pur ti godo—meaning, “I gaze at you, I possess you”—is the pièce de résistance. Sung in Italian with English surtitles.

Takács Quartet

Chamber Series
4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21
4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19 (Cavani String Quartet)
4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2
4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25
4 p.m. Sunday, March 8
4 p.m. Sunday, April 26

Encore Series
7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22
7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 20 (Cavani String Quartet)
7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3
7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26
7:30 p.m. Monday, March 9
7:30 p.m. Monday, April 27

The Grammy Award-winning chamber quartet has been selling out concerts for three decades at CU-Boulder with an irresistible blend of virtuosic technique and engaging personality.

Cavani Quartet

The world-famous, all-women Cavani Quartet, named after the 19th-century Italian violin makers Giovanni and Vincenzo Cavini, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The Cleveland Plain Dealer says, “Together, these players make music with passionate conviction, as if their lives depended on interaction.”