Three-time Tony Award nominee Kelli O’Hara and a dynamic doubleheader weekend of award-winning jazz vocalist Kurt Elling and the renowned Maria Schneider Orchestra are among the celebrated performers on the 2012-13 Lawrence University Performing Artist and Jazz Series.
After starring runs in the Tony Award-winning revival of “South Pacific,” “The Pajama Game” and “The Light in the Piazza,” O’Hara has established herself as one of Broadway’s great leading ladies.
Hailed as Broadway’s “golden girl” by the New York Times, O’Hara brings her soulful soprano voice to the Lawrence Memorial Chapel March 9, 2013 as part of the four-concert Lawrence Artist Series.
Artist Series Opens Oct. 27
Cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley open the Artist Series Oct. 27 in an eclectic collaboration that crisscrosses classical and pop music genres, showcasing their talents as collaborators and soloists. Their program will feature works by Bach and Gabrielli, Radiohead and Arcade Fire, Piazzolla and Stravinsky.
A pair of April 2013 concerts rounds out the Artist Series schedule. The Jupiter String Quartet, winners of both the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, performs April 12, 2013 while the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet, hailed as “arguably the best ensemble of its kind in the world” by the Manchester Evening News, takes the Memorial Chapel stage April 26, 2013.
Formed in 2001, Boston-based Jupiter added winners of the Young Concert Artists International auditions to its resume in 2005. One of America’ most dynamic young string quartets, Jupiter performed the entire cycle of Beethoven string quartets — all 16 — last summer for the Aspen Music Festival.
The Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet — the first permanently established wind quintet in the Berlin Philharmonic’s long history of chamber music — has been dazzling audiences around the world since 1988 with an uncanny ability to unite five disparate sounds into a collective smoothness.
Redefining the sound of the classic wind quintet, the ensemble’s repertoire includes the full spectrum of the wind quintet literature as well as works for enlarged ensemble, among them the sextets of Janácek and Reinicke or the septets of Hindemith and Koechlin.
“The 100-year-old tradition of excellence continues with next year’s exceptional Artist Series line-up,” said Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music. “It is amazing to think that we can experience, right in our own Memorial Chapel, the same performers who are playing to sold-out houses in New York, Los Angeles or Berlin just the week before. These are musical opportunities not to be missed.”
Jazz Celebration Weekend Kicks off Jazz Series
The Kurt Elling Quartet and the Maria Schneider Orchestra headline the Lawrence’s 32nd annual Jazz Celebration Weekend Nov. 2-3, respectively.
Elling, described as “the standout male vocalist of our time”‘ by the New York Times, performs with the Lawrence Jazz Ensemble. A nine-time Grammy Award nominee and 2009 Grammy winner for “Dedicated To You: Kurt Elling Sings The Music Of Coltrane And Hartman,” Elling has won the DownBeat Critics Poll Male Vocalist of the Year Award an astonishing 12 years (2000-2011) in a row. This will be Elling’s second appearance at Jazz Weekend, having previously performed in 2003.
An internationally renowned jazz composer and conductor, Schneider formed her 17-member orchestra in 1993. A weekly performer at Visiones in Greenwich Village early on, the orchestra has since become a staple at concert venues around the world, earning 2005′s “Large Jazz Ensemble of the Year”‘ award from the Jazz Journalists Association. Her orchestra’s albums “Concert in the Garden” and 2007′s “Sky Blue” earned Grammy Awards and were named “Jazz Album of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association and the DownbeatCritics Poll.
“I consider Maria Schneider the premier composer of music for the large jazz ensemble in the 21st century, and her Jazz Orchestra is among the finest big bands in the world today,” said Fred Sturm, director of jazz studies and improvisation music at Lawrence. “Her original works contain the most artistic renderings of melody, harmony, orchestration, and structure created by composers in all jazz-related genres over the past decade. Her scores and recordings have dramatically impacted the evolution of the jazz composition art form worldwide.”
The Bad Plus, a jazz trio born in 2000 that includes Wisconsin native Ethan Iverson on piano, brings its eclectic combination of avant-garde jazz with rock and pop influences to the Memorial Chapel Feb. 1, 2013. The band has recorded versions of songs by diverse artists ranging from Nirvana, Blondie and Pink Floyd to Neil Young, David Bowie and Black Sabbath. According to a Rolling Stone review of a Bad Plus performance, the band is “about as badass as highbrow gets.”
Vocalist Gretchen Parlato closes the four-concert Jazz Series May 10, 2013. A Los Angeles native, Parlato won the 2003 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition and two years later released her debut self-titled album to critical acclaim. Following the release of her second CD, 2011′s “The Lost and Found,” Parlato was named No. 1 Rising Star Female Vocalist in DownBeat Magazine’s Annual Critics Poll.
“Gretchen is one of the most unique, provocative, and hip singers on the scene today,” said Dane Richeson, professor of music in Lawrence’s jazz studies department. “She pulls together great musicians to work with her in her band and I promise hers will be a great concert.”
Lawrence University, "Renowned Performers, Rising Stars Featured in 2012-13 Artist and Jazz Series" (2012). Press Releases. Paper 187.