All hail the power of competition. How it drives us to be better than we could ever be without it. Residing in towns separated by a scant 11 miles, Duke Performances and Carolina Performing Arts may not possess the same fierce rivalry as their hardwood counterparts, but their pursuits of excellence have escalated along similar trajectories. CPA, the annual performance series at UNC-Chapel HIll, has raised the stakes once more with its 2013-14 season.
Running from September to April, the slate begins with one of the program's most exciting performances to date. Psych-funk legend George Clinton will lead his famed Parliament Funkadelic and reunite with saxophone wiz Maceo Parker, whose brash and nimble blasts graced Parliament's essential '70s run as well as the most excellent stretch in James Brown's catalog. If that doesn't excite you, I recommend you just give up on this music thing all together.
The rest of the schedule doesn't fizzle. Wynton Marsalis, arguably the most revered trumpeter of our time, will lead the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in a celebration of gospel. Time-tested songwriters Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt will provide an evening of acoustic intimacy. Chinese piano sensation Lang Lang will perform, as will András Schiff, renowned for his renderings of Bach classics. He'll play the composer's Golberg Variations. Banjo pioneer Bela Fleck, a frequent CPA performer, will pair with clawhammer specialist Aigail Washburn. Wendy Whelan, something of a superstar in modern ballet, highlights the season's crowded dance crop.