Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Lawrence sets 2014-2015 Performing Arts Series


PHOTO: Kronos Quartet is among the lineup for next season’s prestigious Lawrence University Performing Arts Series.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Lawrence University in Appleton is looking forward to commencement Sunday, June 15 – and ahead into next school year. The university’s 2014-15 Performing Arts Series has been announced. Being that Lawrence has a conservatory of music, such a series is somewhat a matter of prestige – with an emphasis on engaging top talent in two sets of programming.

According to Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music, “Once again the very best in the world of classical and jazz musicians will be gracing the Memorial Chapel stage.”

From a university press release, an overview:

Artist Series

- The chamber music trio of cellist David Finckel, pianist Wu Han and violinist Phillip Setzer opens the Artist Series Friday, Oct. 17. Finckel and Han, Musical America’s 2012 Musicians of the Year, have served as artistic directors of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 2004. Setzer, founding and current member of the acclaimed Emerson String Quartet, has appeared with leading symphony orchestras around the country, including the National Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Aspen Chamber Symphony, among others.

- Soprano Heidi Stober returns to her alma mater for performance with the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra Friday, March 13, 2015. A 2000 Lawrence graduate, Stober is currently principal artist at the Deutsche Oper Berlin after making her house debut in 2008 as Pamina in “The Magic Flute.” She also has sung Pamina for the Metropolitan Opera, Nannetta in “Falstaff” for the San Francisco Opera, Ada in the world premiere of Theodore Morrison’s “Oscar” for the Santa Fe Opera and Musetta in a new production of Puccini’s “La Bohème” at the Houston Grand Opera.

- Blending the energy of rock music with the precision and nuance of classical chamber works, Third Coast Percussion visits Saturday, April 11, 2015. Employing an array of instruments, Third Coast Percussion explores and expands the extraordinary sonic possibilities of the percussion repertoire. Founded in 2005, the quartet champions the music of John Cage, Steve Reich, George Crumb and others.

- Founded in 1973 by violinist David Harrington, Kronos Quartet performs Friday, May 15, 2015, offering new works by some of the country’s most celebrated contemporary composers. During a celebrated career spanning four decades, the Kronos Quartet – Harrington, John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola) and Sunny Yang (cello) – is recognized as one the most influential groups of this generation. Kronos boasts a discography of more than 50 recordings and 2.5 million in recording sales. Among the San Francisco-based quartet’s many honors are a 2004 Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance and 2003 Musicians of the Year honors from Musical America.

Jazz Series

- Two Grammy Award-winning drummers – Terri Lyne Carrington and Peter Erskine – share the spotlight Nov. 7 and 8, respectively, for Lawrence’s 34th annual Jazz Celebration Weekend. Carrington opens the weekend with a big-band tribute to her 2011 Grammy-Award winning album “The Mosaic Project.” She’ll be joined on stage by pianist Geri Allen, singer Lizz Wright and trumpeter Ingrid Jenson, who previously performed at Jazz Celebration Weekend in 2008. Carrington honed her jazz chops during 20-plus years of touring with jazz greats Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Al Jarreau, Stan Getz, David Sanborn, Clark Terry, among others. Erskine, who began playing drums at age 4, has been at the forefront of world-class jazz ensembles for more than 40 years, starting with Stan Kenton’s band in 1972. He’s also played and recorded with Maynard Ferguson, Weather Report, the Brecker Brothers, the Yellowjackets, Chick Corea and a host of others. His recording credits include 500 albums with artists ranging from Diana Krall and Pat Metheny to Steely Dan and Joe Henderson as well as 10 solo albums. He’s been recognized 10 times in the jazz drummer category by Modern Drummer magazine’s annual Readers’ Poll.

- Pianist Robert Glasper shares his brand of jazz/hip-hop/R&B in a concert Friday, January 30, 2015. A native of Houston, his melodies, beats and lyricism have been compared with jazz icons Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea. He will be joined by his electric band – Chris Dave (drums), Derrick Hodge (electric bass) and Casey Benjamin (saxophone, vocoder). Glasper’s 2012 disc, “Black Radio,” a blend of jazz, hip-hop, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll, entered the Billboard jazz charts at No. 1.

- Accomplished keyboardist/composer/arranger Jon Cowherd performs Thursday, April 17, 2015, offering a presentation of his “Mercy Project,” which he describes as “a personal milestone.” While Cowherd’s instrumental work has been featured on albums spanning artists as diverse as Iggy Pop, Rosanne Cash, Marc Cohn and Victoria Williams, 2012’s “Mercy” is his first album under his name.

Information on both the Artist and Jazz series is at the Lawrence box office, (920) 832-6749 or boxoffice@lawrence.edu.

You may email me at warren.gerds@wearegreenbay.com. Watch for my on-air features on WFRV between 6 and 8 a.m. Sundays.

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