Whether your tastes run from ballet to clogging, string bands to symphonies, or opera to the blues, opportunities abound across the state to enjoy a new season for the performing arts. Here’s just a sampling of some of the highlights ranging from down-home to international flavors. Visit the Arts Council’s events calendar to learn more, and be sure to check out On Stage in North Carolina, a comprehensive listing of performing arts events with dates and easy links for ordering tickets.
The Greensboro Symphony Orchestra marks its 50th anniversary Sept. 25–26 with a “Happy Birthday GSO” performance featuring pianist Emanuel Ax. Music Director Dmitry Sitkovetsky, a world-renowned violinist and conductor, leads the venerable Symphony’s efforts to attract younger audiences, while its annual gospel concerts welcome members of the African American community and beyond. Explore its new season calendar at www.greensborosymphony.org.
Today, hip-hop and rap music are among the fastest growing musical genres in the Middle East. YAS, known as the “Persian Tupac,” is the first rapper granted permission by the Iranian government to release his music to the general public, and his socially conscious lyrics and positive messages have attracted millions of fans. YAS appears as part of the Carolina Performing Arts series in Chapel Hill Sept. 17, along with DJ Shahram and vocalist Mahan. Visit www.carolinaperformingarts.org to learn about other offerings in categories including American Roots, Classical Ensembles, Dance, Experimental, Jazz and World Stage.
North Carolina Blumenthal Center for the Performing Arts in Charlotte has 10 arts organizations under its umbrella, including the Charlotte Philharmonic Orchestra, Community School of the Arts, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Opera Carolina and The Light Factory. Now it’s adding one more: the Knight Theater, part of the new Wells Fargo Cultural Campus on South Tryon Street, which will include the new Mint Museum, Bechtler Art Museum and Afro-American Cultural Center. Although Knight Theater commemorates its “official” opening in January 2010, it will host its first performance Oct. 10 with an appearance by Steve Martin and N.C. bluegrass musicians the Steep Canyon Rangers. They’ll do an evening of original bluegrass music composed by the multi-talented Martin.
Daniel Bernard Roumain
North Carolina State University’s Center Stage series in Raleigh has brought the world to the NCSU campus for more than 35 years, focusing on top-flight practitioners of jazz, dance, world music, drama and artists whose work defies category. Popular Haitian-American artist Daniel Bernard Roumain, renowned for blending funk, rock, hip-hop and classical music, returns to Center Stage Nov. 7 with Darwin’s Meditation for the People of Lincoln, a work exploring an imagined conversation between Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln, born within hours of each other in 1809. The play by Obie Award-winning writer Daniel Beaty is accompanied by the Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra, along with soloists including Romaine himself on violin. View the rest of the Center Stage season on their Web site.
PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill undertakes an ambitious mounting of Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby, an eight-hour play that will be presented in two parts. There will be multiple opportunities to view the play between Nov. 11-Dec. 20 at the Paul Green Theatre. Learn fascinating background information about the production by visiting the PlayMakers blog, “Nicholas Nickleby, From Page to Stage” at playmakersrep.blogspot.com.
PineCone, the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, honors North Carolina’s traditional music heritage by presenting and supporting practitioners of old-time, bluegrass, shape note singing, hammered dulcimer and Irish music. This season marks its 25th anniversary, which will culminate in the two-day PineCone Winter Music Festival Jan. 30–31, 2010, at Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh. Musical artists will include Bearfoot, Tony Rice Unit, Tift Merritt, Kris Kristofferson, Danny Paisley and the Southern Grass, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Dale Ann Bradley, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder. Explore the rest of PineCone’s Down Home Series by viewing its calendar at www.pinecone.org.