Monday, February 24, 2014

Strathmore 2014-15 Season Preview

Joan Rivers visits Strathmore in November

From our friends at the Strathmore...

Today Strathmore shares an early glimpse of its 2014-2015 season, an initial batch of 32 performances and events anchored by the multi-media performance of RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi by jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer and filmmaker Prashant Bhargava. The project reaffirms Strathmore’s commitment to presenting imaginative and enterprising new works, while expanding its tradition of collaboration to include commissioning partnerships with national arts institutions and illustrating the caliber and excitement of performances to come. The film and live music experience showcasing the Indian celebration of Holi, an annual religious rite, dovetails with the 101st anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, acting as both complement and counterpoint to this iconic classical composition. Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi was created for and commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with additional commissioning funds provided by Strathmore. The program will also include Vijay Iyer’s Mutations I-X, which will be released on a new album March 4, 2014. The 10-movement suite features interplay between string quartet, piano and laptop.

Equally ambitious is the retrospective fine art exhibition showcasing the work of Abstract Expressionist painter Grace Hartigan. The museum-quality exhibition opens Strathmore’s 2014-2015 season of fine art programming and is indicative of the increasing curatorial sophistication of Strathmore’s fine art presence. The exhibition will feature a collection of Hartigan’s drawings, print work and paintings, as well as letters and photographs of her with other artists from the fabled Cedar Tavern circle, such as Jackson Pollack and Willem and Elaine de Kooning. This is the first exhibition of its caliber presented in the Mansion since 2005, when The Art of Music debuted at Strathmore with 45 musically-inspired works from the Baltimore Museum of Art's world-renowned collection.

DC premiere of Batt on a Hot Tin Roof in November

In the Mansion at Strathmore the popular Say it in a Song series returns for its second year, infusing Washington with a jolt of irreverence, exceptional talent and eccentricity. The series begins with “Mad Men” actor Bryan Batt in the Washington, D.C. premiere of his Batt on a Hot Tin Roof, inspired by his native New Orleans and peppered with endearing anecdotes about his family and career.  In “I Love Being Here with You” D.C. favorite Delores King Williams pays tribute to American classic, Peggy Lee. French/Dominican jazz vocalist and, at 26, already a lauded musician in her genre, Cyrille Aimée celebrates the Washington, D.C. debut of her latest album, It's a Good Day, slated for release in August 2015.

Irish ensemble Caladh Nua visits in March 2015

Classical music has enjoyed a long and fruitful history in the Mansion at Strathmore, dating back to the early 1900s when baking magnate Charles Corby and wife, Hattie, began entertaining guests with salon-style concerts featuring prominent musicians of the day. Strathmore continues this rich tradition of introducing audiences to new artists and providing a platform for young classical musicians to advance their careers and debut new works. Making their D.C. debuts in the Mansion are the Spektral Quartet in their East Coast premiere, jazz pianist Vadim Neselovskyi in a solo performance, and Irish ensemble Caladh Nua. In the much-anticipated third and final installment of her “Bach and Beyond” series, violinist Jennifer Koh juxtaposes Bach with the Washington, D.C. premiere of a new commissioned work by composer John Harbison. Illustrating her intrepid musical curiosity, pianist Jenny Lin will present the world premiere of a Strathmore-commissioned work by Baltimore-based composer Alexandra Gardner, alongside Stravinsky, Liszt and Scriabin.

Making their Strathmore debuts are Australian classical guitarist Rupert Boyd; Anthony McGill, Principal Clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera, with pianist Christopher Shih; remarkable piano prodigy Steven Lin; and cellist Matt Haimowitz with his Bach Listening Room.

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain returns in April 2015

In the Music Center, classical and string ensembles will capitalize on the acoustics of Strathmore’s hallmark concert hall. Performing selections by Bach are the brilliant early music conservators of the Academy of Ancient Music. Crisscrossing from classical to rock, jazz, world and even surf music, the California Guitar Duo and Montreal Guitar Trio take the stage together. Making their return after packing the concert hall in 2012, the undeniably charming Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain offers compelling, quirky all-ukulele renditions of classics from Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Lady GaGa’s “Born this Way,” as well as iconic song from film in a performance studded with stories and asides from the musicians.

Step out with Step Afrika! next January

Just as the Mansion nurtures young classical musicians, winter in the Music Center has become an incubator for dance. Step Afrika! takes to the stage and the director’s seat to curate a high-level ensemble performance featuring step teams from community groups and Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country, representing the very best of the genre as it both preserves and advances this percussive art form. The performance also includes a two-week residency in which Step Afrika! dancers will visit six schools in Montgomery County, spreading the artistry, philosophy and discipline of step. Tap’s greatest contemporary ambassador Savion Glover and his ensemble of dancers express their infinite versatility and virtuosity with STePz, an exploration of the complexities of jazz phrasing, both bass line and melody, the wild improvisations, structures and deconstruction. Tango Buenos Aires closes this trio of performances with a tribute to a national treasure in its latest work, “Song of Eva Perón,” chronicling the rise of the Spiritual Leader of the Nation of Argentina from the slums of Buenos Aires in a torrent of latin dance.

Shirley MacLaine visits in May 2015

Artists who light up a room with their wit, fierce humor and glowing talent share their stories, insight and, most certainly, their unguarded opinions in the Music Center. Comedy dynamos Wanda Sykes and Joan Rivers, both in return engagements to the concert hall, dispense riotous barbs, sideways musings on topics of the day and hysterical stories with the panache that paved the way for their multifaceted careers in TV, film and stand-up. Slicing through cultural euphemisms and political correctness, the cult favorite satirist David Sedaris returns to his D.C. home-away-from-home for a third time, sharing endearing, calamitous and wry tales from his bestselling books. Oscar and Emmy-winner Shirley MacLaine has appeared in more than 50 films, built a sterling career and written 10 bestsellers—so she’s got stories, lots of them. In a new multi-media experience, MacLaine delves into her personal and very public lives.

Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons

The story of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons is already well-known, and the band has become a household name all over again through the Tony-winning musical Jersey Boys, chronicling the life of Valli and his legendary group. Hotter than ever and discovering new audiences as they ride a Broadway tidal wave, the prolific group performs their classics. Another musical behemoth, Mannheim Steamroller, is the first teaser to Strathmore’s holiday programming, returning to the Music Center with the spectacular video images and monumental sound that have so endeared them to holiday crowds for decades and made them one of the Top 50 selling music artists of all time. Hailed as “America’s Choir,” the 360 singers and a superb orchestra that comprise the Mormon Tabernacle Choir share the high standard of popular choral music that has created a proud 150-year history.

Tickets go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, February 26th at 10:00 AM. Visit for more information.