Mozart, Prokofiev, Bartók and Others
Saturday, Sept. 6, 8 p.m., Nelson Music Room
Their name means "clear, pure, and bright," and their work ranges from "glowing warmth to hard-edged acerbity" (NY Times): here they perform brief folk-informed classical compositions, bookended by two full Mozart quartets, in the intimate Nelson Music Room.
Cabezón to Cabanilles
Thursday, Sept. 11, 7:30 p.m., Nasher Museum Auditorium
Cabezón was organist to Queen Isabella's court and Cabanilles composed in Golden Age Valencia. Tonight Duke's official organist uses a harpsichord to show how two masters of the sacred music can fill another magic space, the Nasher.
Thursday, Sept. 18, 8 p.m., Page Auditorium
A singer, composer and tireless aesthetic innovator, Anderson has thrown herself into socially engaged projects since the early 1970s. At Duke, the consistently powerful performance artist presents an evocative new meditation on the United States' position in the world. About memory and desire, Aristophanes and Abu Ghraib, Homeland is Anderson's "finest show in more than a decade," says the Guardian, one that "fairly crackles with outrage" as well as "the most purely beautiful music she has ever made."
Tamango & Charlie Hunter
Friday, Sept. 19, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
Tamango was born in French Guiana, but met Hunter performing on the Paris streets, circa 1988. Reunited, their Paris Project features Hunter on his eight-string, bass/guitar hybrid; a master percussionist from Croix-des-Mission, Haiti; and, tapping with freewheeling grace, Tamango, whom "one is tempted to call [...] the best dancer of any kind around" (NY Times).
Lise de la Salle
Mozart, Liszt, Prokofiev
Saturday, Sept. 20, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
Now just 20, this "astonishingly mature" soloist (Guardian) comes to Duke to showcase her "depth" and "virtuosity" (NY Times) in a program of Mozart, Liszt, and Prokofiev that moves between a precise introspection and upsurging physicality.
Lionel Loueke Trio
Thursday, Sept. 25, 8 p.m, Reynolds Industries Theater
Herbie Hancock's guitarist for the past 5 years, this Benin-born "gentle virtuoso" (NY Times), now with his own trio, unfurls percussive, shimmering rhythms that are rooted in Africa but reach past nation. "Smartly formed and deftly executed" (JazzTimes), these syncopated compositions bear a title that, in Swahili, means "welcome."
Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra featuring Carla Bley
Not in Our Name
Friday, Sept. 26, 8 p.m., Page Auditorium
An early collaborator with Ornette Coleman, Haden has carved out one of the most impressive careers in jazz. But this Iowa-born bass legend is a committed artist, too. With arranger Carla Bley again on piano, Haden has updated their Nixon-era document, Liberation Music Orchestra (1969), with a trenchant, melancholy new set of politically-inflected songs for the epoch of Bush—American music that moves from sparse power, through passion, and toward a fragile hope.
Dafnis Prieto Sextet
Taking the Soul for a Walk
Satruday, Sept. 27, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
Born and trained in Cuba, Prieto is an Afro-Cuban drum mastermind who's a masterful composer too. His charts "explode with energy," (Sacramento Bee), and he handles his trap-set with skill "infernally complicated, and infernally precise" (NY Times). His driving, complex music twists folk motifs into a new kind of Latin rhythm.
Sunday, Sept. 28, 3 p.m., Nelson Music Room
Kimbrough's "generosity and composure" on the piano (NY Times) will warm the intimate Nelson Music Room as this native of Roxboro, N.C., illuminates compositions by Duke Ellington and the Rocky Mount-born Thelonious Monk.
Ciompi with Dr. Billy Taylor, piano
First Course Concert
Thursday, Oct. 2, 6 p.m., Nelson Music Room
Distinguished composer and Greenville native Billy Taylor introduces a program that includes his own piece, Homage: A Suite for String Quartet and Jazz Trio (1993).
Ciompi Quartet with Dr. Billy Taylor, piano; John Brown, bass; and Adonis Rose, drums
Haydn, Ravel, Dr. Billy Taylor
Satruday, Oct. 4, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theatre
N.C. legend Dr. Taylor was a protégé of Art Tatum, served as the house pianist for Birdland (where he played with Gillespie, Parker, and Davis), and is now the artistic director for jazz at the Kennedy Center. Tonight, the Ciompi perform Haydn, Ravel and are joined by Taylor, the 87-year old phenomenon, on a run through Homage, his composition for string quartet and jazz trio.
Milton Nascimento & the Jobim Trio
1959/2009: Bossa Nova at 50
Thursday, Oct. 9, 8 p.m., Page Auditorium
Born the son of a servant in Rio, Nascimento moved to Minas Gerais and went on to become perhaps the greatest Brazilian singer in history. Already with a shelf of classics, this titan of Brazilian falsetto continues to sing with a voice "as mellow and full bodied as the upper register of a fine cello" (NY Times). At Duke the legend joins with the incandescent Jobim Trio to mark a half century of bossa nova.
Dream Visions from the Spanish High Renaissance
Friday, Oct. 17, 8 p.m., Duke University Chapel
Under the direction of Peter Philips, the Tallis Scholars have been perfecting their mastery of the Renaissance's profound musical tradition for more than 30 years. This program features three titans of the Spanish Siglo de Oro: Alonso Lobo, Francisco Guerrero, and Tomas Luis de Victoria. The dreamlike sounds of these Iberian visionaries—delicate, ethereal, steeped in belief—will echo through the Duke Chapel, imbuing its gothic alcoves with an almost living energy.
Tokyo String Quartet with David Shifrin
Beethoven, Bartók, Brahms
Saturday, Oct. 18, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
The cosmopolitan masters join with the "revelatory" Shifrin (SF Chronicle) to play Beethoven and Bartok, then, to conclude, the only piece Brahms ever wrote for string quartet and clarinet.
North Carolina Symphony
Weber, Schubert, Tchaikovsky
Saturday, Oct. 18, 8 p.m., Page Auditorium
The Raleigh-based orchestra fills Page Auditorium with a program of Romantic pieces from Germany, Austria and Russia.
Iberian Organ Music from the Golden Age
Sunday, Oct. 19, 2:30 p.m. & 5 p.m., Duke University Chapel
The professor of music and official organist of Duke Chapel fills that gothic space with dark, enchanted compositions from the Spanish Renaissance.
Saturday, Oct. 25, 8 p.m., Nelson Music Room
Performing both gypsy folk and Janáček with an avant-garde power, the incomparable Bittova "transform[s] a world of noise into stunning music" (LA Times). Nelson will burn with her sinuous, transfixing fiddle, and with a voice that sings "in the voices of birds, rivers, and even falling leaves." (Seattle P.I.)
Sunday, Oct. 26, 8 p.m., Page Auditorium
To see Savion Glover is to be astounded. The greatest hoofer of his generation, this physical and artistic dynamo is kinetic to the core, tapping out mind-bending, urban-influenced polyrhythms with a dexterity that shows he's as much a percussionist as a dancer. Transforming steps into music, Bare Soundz features Glover as jazzman— turning inward, dancing unbelievably, hoofing with two sidekick tappers. Together, they transform the relationship between music and physical art.
Brasil for Six Strings
Thursday, Oct. 30, 8 p.m., Nelson Music Room
Appearing here in a solo show, Lubambo is arguably the finest Brazilian jazz guitarist alive: he graduated from Rio's Villa-Lobos School of Music, has collaborated with Dianne Reeves and Luciana Souza, and plays a fluent, speedy style whose shifts and jukes, allude, critics say, to Bach.
Mr. Love & Justice
Saturday, Nov. 1, 8 p.m., Page Auditorium
A socialist, troubador and unapologetic romantic, Bragg once enlisted in (then quit) Britain's Royal Armoured Corps. Since then he's used a guitar and Cockney voice to tackle themes of peace, love and human justice with a stirring frankness. Now 50, the socialist comes to Duke two days before the presidential election with a new set of original protest songs, his best in years—including odes to civil liberty, lost love, and, appropriately, standing your ground.
Branford Marsalis & Filharmonia Brasiliera, conducted by Gil Jardim
Marsalis Brasilianos: Villa-Lobos, Milhaud, and the New Worlds of Brazilian Modernism
Thursday, Nov. 6, 8 p.m., Page Auditorium
A sax legend and Durham resident, Marsalis is a three-time Grammy winner who has made expansiveness his watchword. He travels the short distance to Duke to celebrate the legacy of another virtuoso, Heitor Villa-Lobos, who fused European influences with jazz and the lush folk textures of his native Brazil. With Jardim's 30-piece orchestra behind him, Marsalis performs a series of beautiful works by Villa-Lobos and the composer's friend and mentor, Darius Milhaud.
Compañia Flamenco José Porcel
Más Allá de Flamenco
Friday, Nov. 7, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
Born in Sevilla, José Porcel began dancing local Andalucian flamencos at age 13. At Duke, the Spanish master and his troupe of astoundingly gifted dancers and musicians showcase the grace and power of a form that emerged from the complex interplay of Andalucian, Islamic, Sephardic and Gypsy cultures in Golden Age Spain.
Takács Quartet, Musikás & Márta Sebestyén
Bartók and Folk Music
Saturday, Nov. 8, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
This landmark event brings together the world's most renowned stewards of the Hungarian tradition to explore the rich interplay between Bartók and his native land. The world-renowned Takács has "exuded intensity and deep musical understanding" (Philadelphia Enquirer) since first forming in 1975 Budapest. They appear with Musikás, "Hungary's finest active folk troupe" (Washington Post), and with the heartstopping Sebestyén, who sang on The English Patient and performs the most moving Hungarian vocals of her generation.
David Dorfman Dance
Thursday & Friday, Nov. 13 & Nov. 14, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
In Durham for a weeklong residency, Dorfman's company stands at the front edge of politically engaged modern dance in the United States—"inspired," critics say, with the teeming energy of commitment (NY Times). His newest project, based on the life of abolitionist John Brown, probes the relationship between militancy and conviction, asking a question sharply resonant now: frenzied by his own belief, was this radical militant a hero, a terrorist or—somehow—both?
Haydn, Lachenmann, Schubert
Saturday, Nov. 15, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
Reaching from the Renaissance to the present day, this Berlin-based Quartet's repertoire juxtaposes modern and classical content in what the Telegraph UK calls a "historical mosaic."
Chava Alberstein & Greg Brown
Mideast / Midwest: Folk Politics
Monday, Nov. 17, 8 p.m., Page Auditorium
From opposite ends of the world, two engaged artists show what folk music can do. Often called "the voice of Israel," the left-leaning Albertstein mixes lyrics sung in Yiddish, Hebrew and English with a lush Middle Eastern soundscape to reimagine what constitutes political art. She shares the bill with folk luminary Greg Brown, the Iowa native who sings low-slung hymns and political ballads in "a voice so deep, rutted and dark it seems as if it's slithered up out of some primordial ooze." (NY Times)
Ciompi with Mark Kuss, composer
First Course Concert
Thursday, Nov. 20, 6 p.m., Kirby Horton Hall, Duke Gardens
Kuss, renowned composer and former collaborator with the Ciompis and Branford Marsalis, introduces the world premiere of his new piece, Bent 1, 2, 3": String Quartet (2008).
Fred Hersch & Christopher O' Riley
Heard Fresh: Music for Two Pianos
Friday, Nov. 21, 8 p.m., Page Auditorium
Hersch is "a quiet, unassuming monster of a pianist" (New York Magazine) whose artistry runs beyond the confines of jazz or any other genre, reaching to the very core of what animates fine music. O'Riley has earned renown not just as a performer of Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky but for his stunning transcriptions of Radiohead. Here two legends of invention appear together, playing a joint program that highlights the range of the classical piano tradition now.
Beethoven, Kuss, Schubert
Saturday, Nov. 22, 8 p.m., Nelson Music Room
The Duke maestros perform a program of Beethoven, Schubert and the Duke-trained Mark Kuss.
Jaap ter Linden
Bach: Cello Suites
Friday & Saturday, Dec. 5 & Dec. 6, 8 p.m., Nelson Music Room
Refusing sentimentalism, ter Linden focuses on the tense progress of Bach's beautiful works; he performs a full complement of the "Cello Suites" in two linked concerts, both staged in the intimate Nelson Music Room.
Copland, Webern, Bach, Lasser, Beethoven
Friday, Jan. 16, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
Since she burst onto the scene with her widely-touted debut recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations (2005), this 30-something Brooklyn native has produced "some of the most beautiful, sensitive, intelligent and manifestly sincere playing you're ever likely to hear." (Piano Magazine)
Simone Dinnersten & Zuill Bailey
Saturday, Jan. 17, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
The acclaimed pianist plays a program of Beethoven's piano/ cello suites with Bailey, whose work on the cello is known for a romantic intensity that the Washington Post calls "lyrical" and "intimate."
Otis Taylor, Don Vappie, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Corey Harris & Guy Davis
Recapturing the Banjo
Thursday, Jan. 22, 8 p.m., Page Auditorium
Blues visionary Taylor is pursuing a radical project: to reclaim the lost history of an American instrument. Along with a lineup of mind-blowing bluesmen (Hart, Harris & Davis) and a jazz banjo virtuoso (Vappie), he reasserts the black roots of an instrument too long associated with white culture. In performance, these masters enmesh tales of African-American life—"Ran So Hard the Sun Went Down," "Hey Joe"—in the shifting chord changes of the banjo blues.
Shen Wei Dance
Map & In Progress: Re- (Part 2)
Friday & Saturday, Jan. 23 & Jan. 24, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
During his unprecendented two-week residency at Duke, the polymathic Shen—"one of the great artists of our time" (Washington Post) who choreographed the opening ceremony in Beijing—will immerse himself in Durham, teaching master classes, examining links between traditional and modern dance, and discussing art as international relations. The Chinese-born dynamo will also rehearse his breathtaking new Re- (Part 2), the second of three pieces linking geopolitical "hot spots" to political ones: here, photographs of Angkor Wat frame haunting movements set to jungle sounds and Cambodian folk music.
Sunday, Jan. 25, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
Descended from Janos Bihari, "King of Gypsy Violinists," this "Devil's Fiddler" (as he's called) is his own Gypsy mastermind, a virtuoso shape-shifter who cuts from jazz to classical to his own Hungarian folk idiom and has the power, critics say, to make the violin sound like a new instrument.
Repertoire / Improvisations
Friday, Jan. 30, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
Staggeringly talented, this protégé of Martha Argerich will play from a set repertoire, then take suggestions from the audience, from which she'll compose, on the spot, her "poetic" and "scintillating" improvisations. (NY Times)
Geri Allen Trio & Patricia Barber Quartet
Evolutions: The Mary Lou Williams Center's 25th Anniversary
Saturday, Jan. 31, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
Twenty-five years after the founding of the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, two groundbreaking female artists celebrate the legacy of this jazz pioneer who was also Duke's first-ever artist in residence, from 1977 to her death in 1981. The daring Allen played Mary Lou in Robert Altman's Kansas City (1996); she plays a 12-piece suite of songs based on the zodiac. Barber, with the refined grace that characterizes her singing, performs her own meditation on stability and change, an 11-song interpretation of Ovid's Metamorphoses.
North Carolina Symphony with Shai Wosner, piano
Nielson, Mozart, Rimsky-Korsakov
Thursday, Feb. 5, 8 p.m., Page Auditorium
The Raleigh-based orchestra appears with Wosner, who has been described as "a superb pianist," "an artist to follow keenly." (NY Times, Financial Times)
David Krakauer, Matt Haimovitz & DJ Socalled
Akoka: After Messaien's Quartet for the End of Time'
Saturday, Feb. 7, 8 p.m., Page Auditorium
First performed in a prison camp, Messaien's work is among the most elegant and shattering compositions of the modern era, testifying, all at once, to its promise and to its most brutal failures. Focused on the Quartet's relevance to the contemporary moment, virtuoso composers David Krakauer (clarinet) and Matt Haimovitz (cello) have created the bold, evening-length Akoka, which features a full performance of Messaien's masterpiece, framed by two original compositions.
Thursday, Feb. 12, 6 p.m., Nelson Music Room
The Duke-based quartet plays Schubert's Octet for Strings and Winds (1824), introduced by Bryan Gilliam, Francis Hill Fox Professor in the Humanities at Duke.
Alarm Will Sound
Friday, Feb. 13, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
"Überhip" and "nonchalantly virtuosic" (Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazine), this vigorous 20-member band, in a weeklong residence at Duke, radiates "superbly controlled energy" (SJ Mercury News)—or, as The New Yorker's music critic says, "incontestably kicks ass." For this world premiere performance, the fearless classicists revisit a moment when politics, music, and protest converged: 1969 features bags of broken glass, memorial songs to MLK and Bobby Kennedy, and arrangements by Stockhausen, Stravinsky, Berio, and magically, the Beatles ("Revolution 9").
Ciompi Quartet with Arturo Ciompi, clarinet; Michael Burns, bassoon; Andrew M. McAfee, horn; Robbie Link, bass
Mozart, Janáček, Schubert
Saturday, Feb. 14, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
The Duke-based quartet invites a host of guests for a program featuring Mozart, Schubert and the Moravian dynamo Leoš Janáček, whose work, influenced by Dvořák, incorporates elements of gypsy and Slovak folk.
Donald Byrd's Spectrum Dance Company
The Theater of Needless Talents
Thursday & Friday, Feb. 19 & 20, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
Duke Performances co-commissioned this evening-length project, which meditates on art's role in a time of unspeakable political violence. Adapting art created or inspired by "detainees" in Terezin—a Czech camp where Jews were confined before extermination—Byrd's haunting piece juxtaposes dance, cabaret, and elliptical nods to Guantanamo Bay to ask how art responds to state oppression. This is the work's East Coast premiere, and the company is in a weeklong residency in Durham.
Zwilich, Ravel, Schubert
Saturday, Feb. 21, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
The renowned trio plays a repertoire commemorating their 10th anniversary as a group, one that demonstrates how their loyalty to dynamic chamber music has endured: The program replicates their first-ever public concert.
Simon Shaheen with 15 piece Arab Orchestra featuring Ibrahim Azzam, Sonia M'barek, Khalil Abonula
Aswat (Voices): Celebrating the Golden Age of Arab Music
Thursday, March 5, 8 p.m., Page Auditorium
Shaheen was born in Palestine, studied music in Jerusalem and New York, and has created work NPR calls "staggering" and "full of passion." This world premiere, evening-length event revisits a high point in Middle Eastern music, from the 1920s to the 1950s. It features a 15-piece orchestra of traditional instruments; stunning vocalists from Palestine, Tunisia and Lebanon; and projected video of Arab musical films long thought to be lost.
Bach: Goldberg Variations
Saturday, March 7, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
As "the pre-eminent Bach pianist of our time" (Guardian), Hewitt is an heir to Glenn Gould: Her epic, 18-CD recording of Bach's complete keyboard works is simply "one of the recording glories of our age." (Sunday Times)
Laments for Rebels and Soldiers
Friday, March 20, 8 p.m., Nelson Music Room
Arrested in 2003 for one episode of outspoken protest and again in 2005 and 2007, Tunç is on trial once more in his native Turkey. Released temporarily, the fearlessly engaged Kurdish recording artist comes to Duke to sing lilting, string-spiked songs about state terror and reconciliation.
Saturday, March 21, 8 p.m.; Sunday, March 22, 3 p.m.; Hayti Heritage Center
A dancer of riveting physicality and "writhing intensity," (NY Times) Mantsoe hails from Soweto, South Africa, the township outside Johannesburg. His beautiful, trancelike performances fuse ritual dance with classical physical vocabularies, creating a complex political aesthetic that reaches, critics say, right for the gut.
Kapustin, Yedida, Piazzolla, Bunch, Rodgers, Corea, Balakrishnan
Saturday, March 28, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
Technically superb and blazing with talent, the Ahns perform a characteristically adventurous repertoire, which they will attack with a style that has "all the youthful fire, passion and commitment one could possibly want." (Toronto Star)
Zakir Hussain & Pandit Shivkumar
Maestros in Concert
Sunday, March 29, 8 p.m., Page Auditorium
"A living genius" (NY Times), Hussain is the world's authority on the tabla—a percussion instrument made of hardwood, goatskin, and silver—while Sharma has enraptured audiences for 50 years with his skills on the santur, or hammered dulcimer. The two titans perform a program of North Indian classical compositions.
Béla Fleck with Special Guests
Throw Down Your Heart: The African Documentary featuring Béla Fleck
Tuesday, April 7, 8 p.m., Page Auditorium
Unrivaled master of the American banjo, Fleck is also a historian of his craft. He recently crossed the Atlantic to trace the roots of the instrument so often associated with the white South, finding the banjo's analogues in the stringed gourds and percussive lutes of Uganda, Tanzania, Gambia and Mali. At Duke, Fleck and his special guests play songs from the film documenting that experience, testifying, with sublime dexterity, to the African soul of American string music.
First Course Concert
Thursday, April 9, 6 p.m., Kirby Horton Hall, Duke Gardens
The Duke-based quartet plays a program introduced by Fred Raimi, the Ciompi's long-time cellist.
Hindemith, Bartók, Shostakovich
Saturday, April 11, 8 p.m., Nelson Music Room
The quartet addresses its craft to a program that includes Bartók's String Quartet No. 2 (1917), the first work the Hungarian master composed after devoting himself for two years to the study of folk music.
Rachid Taha & Tinariwen
North African Rock
Thursday, April 16, 8 p.m., Page Auditorium
A rock star to the core, Taha mixes raï, techno, rock and punk, singing Arabic wah-wah tunes about exile and racism that, combining traditional and electronic instruments, sound like the Clash backed up by bendir, the North African snare drum. He shares the bill with the stunning Tinariwen, the "Best African Band" of 2008 (Rolling Stone) that formed in one of Quaddafi's Saharan rebel camps: In French and Tamashek, these dazzling nomad rockers sing hypnotic, tangled blues-poetry for Tuareg independence.
Emerson String Quartet
Dvořák, Webern, Prokofiev, Bartók
Saturday, April 25, 8 p.m., Reynolds Industries Theater
"Technically resourceful, musically insightful, cohesive, full of character and always interesting," (NY Times) this preeminent American quartet performs a folk-influenced program featuring three contemporaries set against a composer one generation older, Dvořák.
North Carolina Symphony with North Carolina Master Chorale and the Choral Society of Durham
Thursday, April 30, 8 p.m., Duke University Chapel
Backed by two choral groups, the Raleigh-based symphony addresses itself to one of the most renowned works for voice ever composed.