Shenandoah Conservatory announces its Conservatory Performs 2018/19 season. Conservatory Performs is the conservatory’s premier performing arts series featuring a range of performances by Shenandoah Conservatory’s own award-winning faculty and students, as well as a robust guest artist series featuring internationally acclaimed artists from across the globe. As an academic center of training devoted to exceptional artistry, Shenandoah Conservatory has become the region’s most expansive arts presenter of music, theatre and dance as it offers hundreds of performances throughout the year.
According to Managing Director and Artistic Director for Performing Arts Live Courtney Reilly, this academic season highlights “a vast range of artistic expression, including works by insightful and passionate guest artists, ranging from established masters to emerging talents who bring a fresh perspective.”
Performing Arts Live, the conservatory’s multi-disciplinary series, welcomes world-class guest artists, including CONTRA-TIEMPO Urban Latin Dance Theater, a Los Angeles-based company that blends Salsa, Afro-Cuban, hip-hop and contemporary dance and theatre to create powerful, provocative and socially astute works; The Westerlies, a cutting-edge brass quartet that mixes jazz, roots and chamber music influences; a weeklong run of “Two Pints”, a site-specific piece that will be performed by Ireland’s Abbey Theatre in the Back Room Pub at Brewbaker’s Restaurant in downtown Winchester; a concert version of a new musical theatre work, “Bone Hill,” by award-winning blues and soul singer Martha Redbone; and Silkroad Ensemble, a “vibrant and virtuosic” (Wall Street Journal) ensemble founded by Yo-Yo Ma, which explores a rich tapestry of musical traditions from around the world.
The World of the Piano series welcomes an array of award-winning classical pianists, including one of the “greatest piano duos of our time” (The Washington Post), sisters Christina and Michelle Naughton; one of Canada’s most prominent and distinguished artists, Jane Coop; renowned American-Russian pianist and conductor Ignat Solzhenitsyn; French pianist acclaimed for his Debussy interpretations, Philippe Cassard; and a returning audience favorite, Irish pianist Finghin Collins.
Shenandoah New Music, an inventive series for the region’s most curious and adventurous arts lovers, highlights innovative new works by living composers typically performed in intimate and more casual settings, such as the Bright Box Theater in downtown Winchester. This year’s highlights include the biennial two-day Pulitzer Prize Composer Festival spotlighting the 1979 winner, Joseph Schwantner, and performances by Shenandoah Conservatory’s instrumental and choral ensembles; and guest artist performances by Yarn/Wire, an energetic and groundbreaking quartet of two percussionists and two pianists; and Sybarite5, an ensemble hailed as the “Millennial Kronos Quartet.”
In addition to the lineup of world-renowned guest artist performances, conservatory students, faculty and ensembles present a range of performances throughout the year. The Theatre Division presents contemporary plays as well as musicals from the Broadway canon, including the hilarious musical satire “Urinetown”; Kit Wilder’s adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ timeless epic “The Three Musketeers”; the romantic screwball comedy “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” featuring music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin; and “All in the Timing,” an evening of mind-bending and hysterical one-act comedies by contemporary playwright David Ives; among others.
The Dance Division presents a Fall Dance Concert, “Moving Forces,” and a Spring Dance Concert, “Dancin’ Out,” as well as a Senior Dance Concert, “Adira.” All of the performances feature original works by faculty and guest choreographers in various dance styles, ranging from jazz, modern and ballet to hip hop and contemporary.
Instrumental highlights include a performance by the Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony Orchestra featuring Symphonic Dances by Bernstein and Rachmaninoff; a Wind Ensemble concert featuring David Maslanka’s epic Symphony No. 4—based on the “Old Hundredth” hymn tune; performances by Shenandoah Conservatory’s new music collective, the EDGE Ensemble; and Jazz Ensemble concerts featuring swing, blues and New Orleans jazz, as well as a guest artist performance by the Tony Martucci Quartet.
The 2018/19 opera and voice season welcomes a new Conservatory Choir director, Matthew Oltman, former music director for the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer. The Conservatory Choir, along with Shenandoah Conservatory’s other vocal ensembles, Cantus Singers, Shenandoah Chorus and Shenandoah Singers, will present a robust season of choral works ranging from traditional to a cappella and contemporary pieces. Highlights of the season also include “Collaborative Arts: Piano & Voice” featuring mezzo-soprano LaToya Lain and pianist Margo Garrett; a production of Gian Carlo Menotti’s short, two-act opera “The Medium”; and a mainstage opera production of Mozart’s classic romantic comedy “Così fan tutte.”
One of the most groundbreaking initiatives of the season will come directly from the students themselves. “In late November,” Reilly explained, “we will turn over the programming and facilities to our talented and ambitious students for a week of unbridled exploration, collaboration and creativity.” During this week, students will collaborate with faculty and Visiting Teaching Fellow and Artist-in-Residence Daniel Bernard Roumain, and work across disciplines to complete their own self-directed, time-limited projects. The week culminates on Saturday, Dec. 1, with a Festival of Arts, Ideas and Exploration featuring a wide variety of exciting, innovative and provocative performances, presentations, roundtable discussions and other special events. Festival wristbands, which give participants access to a full day of performances and activities, will be sold for a suggested donation of $10 (student suggested donation of $5).
In total, the Conservatory Performs 2018/19 season provides audiences hundreds of opportunities to observe and participate in exceptional live arts experiences. To view an entire calendar of events, purchase tickets and learn more, visit Conservatory Performs online at conservatoryperforms.org, in person at the Shenandoah University Box Office located in the Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre lobby or by phone at 540-665-4569. Regular box office hours are Monday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m.
Tickets go on sale Wednesday, Aug. 1, and patrons are able to save 20 to 30 percent off general admission tickets with a flexible Pick 5 or Pick 8 subscription package.