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By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell University will welcome performing artists from around the globe during the 2011-12 season.
"We've mined the landscape of our small planet to bring our audiences an extraordinary exploration of the human and creative spirit," said Kathryn Maguet, executive director of the Weis Center.
"This year's season crosses both cultural and national borders and unearths a rich mosaic of artistic expressions, passions and traditions.
"Whether you're into the universal heartbeat of Latin rhythms, the electrifying grooves and graceful athleticism of contemporary dance or the inspiring and transformative beauty of chamber music, we invite you to experience the magic and enrichment of the performing arts," she said.
Fall semester opens with "Croon"
The first performance in the fall semester of events at the Weis Center is "Croon" on Sept. 24 with Todd Murray and Friends.
Murray, who grew up in Montandon and performed for years with locally based Re-Creation, presents a tribute to crooning with a program of standards, newer pop and his own originals.
After graduating from Susquehanna University, he worked as a singer and actor at Opryland USA, Disneyland in Tokyo, and summer stock in Pennsylvania.
His move to New York City brought him many off-Broadway and regional roles, as well as the first National Broadway tour of "The Secret Garden". He has performed at New York's Town Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and many engagements at Feinstein's At The Regency.
He can be heard singing in "Showgirls: Glitz and Angst," in the HBO series "America Undercover" as well as the feature movie, "Die, Mommy, Die." He has been nominated for numerous awards for his vocals, CDs and song writing.
Other scheduled events include:
- Oct. 1: A Far Cry Orchestra. Founded in 2007 by 17 musicians bent on making music according to their own rules, A Far Cry explores the traditional boundaries of classical string music, experimenting with the ways it is prepared, performed and experienced.
- Oct. 15: The National Chamber Choir of Ireland, Ireland's flagship choral ensemble. Under internationally celebrated and multi-award-winning choral conductor Paul Hillier, the choir is known for unique programming and a repertory extending from early to contemporary music including frequent commissions from pioneering vocal composers. Recent appearances include performances at the White House on St. Patrick's Day.
- Oct. 22: Rick Benjamin's Paragon Ragtime Orchestra. The world's most active exponent of vintage American popular music has had notable engagements including the inaugural season of Philadelphia's Kimmel Center; the Ravinia Festival; Brucknerhaus in Linz, Austria; and all around New York. Selected to be America's "Ambassador of Goodwill" at the World's Fair in Spain, the PRO has performed on NPR and the BBC as well as at the Campus Theatre, providing music for silent movies.
- Nov. 4: Ballet Memphis, a nationally acclaimed company that interprets the South's cultural legacy through dance, production and training. The company performs at the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Memphis, in non-traditional venues, and on tour and performs for and presents teaching sessions to more than 15,000 students annually.
- Nov. 12: "Bach and Shostakovich: Preludes and Fugues" with pianist Jenny Lin. Respected and admired for her adventurous programming and charismatic stage presence, Lin has played Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Kennedy Center, MoMA, the Whitney Museum and Victoria Hall.
Winter holiday celebrations
The winter holiday celebrations begin Dec. 3 with the performance, "Christmas Bells are Swingin'" with Boston Brass and Brass All-Stars Big Band and the Stan Kenton Christmas Carols. An ensemble of trumpets, French horns, trombones, and tubas with a three-piece jazz rhythm section performs fiery big band arrangements of Christmas carols, including "Greensleeves" and "Motown Jingle Bells" in settings that will delight audiences of all ages.
On Dec. 10, the Paper Bag Players will present their annual Janet Weis family matinee at 1 p.m. "The Paper Bag Players have been delighting children of all ages at the Weis Center for well more than a decade," said Maguet.
The spring semester of performances begins Jan. 27 with the Jupiter String Quartet — Nelson Lee and Jay Freivogel, violins; Liz Freivogel, viola; and Denise Djokic, cello — with Jon Nakamatsu, piano.
Acclaimed for their stunning virtuosity and musicianship around the world, both the Jupiter String Quartet and Nakamatsu each have performed previously on the Weis Center stage. They return together for another unparalleled concert of music by Haydn, Bartók and Dvorák.
Other spring semester events are:
- Feb. 3: Tiempo Libre, a three-time Grammy-nominated young Latin band celebrated for its incendiary, joyful performances of timba, an irresistible mix of high-voltage Latin jazz and seductive rhythms of son.
- Feb. 11: "Body Against Body," with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, in an evening of dance that revives the duets and solos that launched Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane onto the early 1980s downtown performance scene. These dances challenge both performers and viewers with their notions of task-based movement and non-narrative structure.
- Feb. 18: The Shelley Oliver Tap Dancers with the David Leonhardt Jazz Trio. The free family matinee at 1 p.m. is a Pennsylvania affair, with Muhlenberg professor Shelley Oliver joining David Leonhardt, who has twice been the Artist in Residence at Lafayette College and is on the roster of The Pennsylvania Arts on Tour.
- Feb. 24: the Walnut Street Theatre's production of "Proof" by David Auburn. Winner of both the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play, "Proof" tells the story of a young woman who comes home to take care of her brilliant, yet mentally ill, father.
- March 2: the Nordwest Deutsche Philharmonic performs works by Grieg, Victor Herbert and Shostakovich with Eugene Tzigane, conductor, and Amid Peled, cello soloist.
- March 23: violinist Jennifer Frautschi in concert with pianist Paavali Jumppanen. An Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, Frautschi has gained acclaim as an adventurous performer with a wide-ranging repertory. She joins perennial favorite pianist Paavali Jumppanen in a celebration of young artists.
Tickets for reserved seating for series evening performances range from $20 to $25 depending on the event; all evening performances begin at 8 p.m. Discounts for senior citizens and students are available. Tickets also may be purchased one hour prior to each performance.
Tickets can be charged at www.bucknell.edu/boxoffice or by calling 570-577-1000. Tickets also are available in person from several locations including the Weis Center lobby weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; the Barnes & Noble at Bucknell University bookstore in Lewisburg weekdays and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 12:30 to 4 p.m.; and the CAPS Center Box Office, located on the ground floor of the Elaine Langone Center, weekdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Contact: Division of Communications