Highlights of the Celebrity Series 2020-2021 Season include:
• Let’s Dance Boston!, the five-day social dance extravaganza with live bands and expert dance instructors, September 23-27, 2020 on the Rose Kennedy Greenway
• Silkroad Ensemble performs the Boston premiere of Falling Out of Time, a song cycle by Osvaldo Golijov, on October 17, 2020 at Sanders Theatre
• Actor Alan Cumming and NPR journalist Ari Shapiro perform Och & Oy, A Considered Cabaret, on October 18, 2020 at Sanders Theatre
• Theater artist Taylor Mac performs A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (Abridged) on October 23, 2020 at the Emerson Colonial Theatre (co-presenter)
• Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile with guest vocalist Aoife O’Donovan in Not Our First Goat Rodeo on October 26, 2020 at Symphony Hall
• Berliner Philharmoniker with conductor Kirill Petrenko, November 11, 2020 at Symphony Hall in a program of Webern, Mendelssohn, and Brahms
• Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and salsa icon Rubén Blades perform Big Band Holidays; the concerts bring big-band versions of holiday classics to the Berklee Performance Center on December 12, 2020
• Monica Bill Barnes & Company in The Running Show, giving the audience an unprecedented look into the life of a dancer as a new kind of sports hero February 27-28, 2021 at the Boch Center Shubert Theatre
• Contemporary music series Stave Sessions takes place March 16-20, 2021 at 160 Mass. Ave. With five nights of discovery, experimentation, and path-breaking music, this season’s Stave Sessions crosses wide-ranging musical genres
• Violinist Itzhak Perlman performs in “An Evening with Itzhak Perlman” with music and stories from his life and career on April 18, 2021 at Symphony Hall
• Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, April 29-May 2, 2021 at the Boch Center Wang Theatre
• More than 150 Neighborhood Arts concerts, workshops, and classes across Boston and Cambridge neighborhoods and schools
(Boston—May 5, 2020, For Immediate Release) The Celebrity Series of Boston announces its 2020-2021 season today, marking 82 years of bringing the world’s greatest performing artists to Boston. In total, the 2020-2021 season will include 59 music, dance, and entertainment mainstage engagements. Neighborhood Arts will feature more than 150 workshops, classes, and concerts in schools and community venues across Boston and Cambridge.
Gary Dunning, President and Executive Director of the Celebrity Series of Boston, says, “Our audiences and artists have built deep relationships based on mutual respect and appreciation—for artistry, for generosity of spirit, for listening, and for the willingness to embrace the vulnerability to hear and see something new or different. Little did we know that vulnerability would become the word of the moment, given the invasive effects of COVID-19. Our health, for sure, but also our sense of community, is threatened. I do believe, however, that we will gather again in celebration of live performance. I believe that the arts can be a salvation after this time of lost community. In that spirit, we offer the 2020-2021 season to you. We hope it sparks a light in your day, and gives reason to pause and be grateful for the wealth of art we will one day be able to embrace together.”
Subscription sales (any order with three or more events), both online and by mail, will begin on May 6, 2020. Online subscriptions will be available beginning at 9am on May 6 at www.celebrityseries.org. Subscription brochures will be mailed the week of May 6. Subscription sales include half-price child ticket pricing for most events.
The Priority Seating deadline is June 19, 2020. Single ticket sales for most events will begin on Monday, September 14, 2020. Performance and ticketing updates at www.celebrityseries.org.
Persons who wish to receive a copy of the new brochure or paper order form in the mail should email email@example.com with their full name and mailing address or write to Celebrity Series of Boston, 20 Park Plaza, Suite 1032, Boston, MA 02116.
The 2020-2021 season is sponsored by Amy and Joshua Boger.
MAIN STAGE VENUES
NEC’s Jordan Hall (30 Gainsborough Street, Boston)
NEC’s Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre (255 St. Botolph Street, Boston)
Symphony Hall (301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston)
Longy’s Pickman Hall (27 Garden Street, Cambridge)
Berklee Performance Center (136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston)
Sanders Theatre (Memorial Hall, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge)
Boch Center Shubert Theatre (265 Tremont Street, Boston)
Boch Center Wang Theatre (270 Tremont Street, Boston)
Emerson Paramount Center (559 Washington St, Boston)
Emerson Colonial Theatre (106 Boylston St, Boston)
BOSTON DEBUTS AND CELEBRITY SERIES DEBUTS
The 2020-2021 season will feature the Boston debuts of pianist Alexander Malofeev; saxophonist Jess Gillam; Aakash Odedra Company; violinist Simone Porter in her Boston recital debut; baritone Benjamin Appl; jazz ensemble Artemis; pianist Seong-Jin Cho in his Boston recital debut; conductor Kirill Petrenko; and Taylor Mac’s A 24 Decade History of Popular Music (Abridged) in its Boston premiere.
Making their Celebrity Series of Boston debuts are the Tetzlaff Quartet; journalist Ari Shapiro; jazz singer-songwriter Rubén Blades; bassist Richard Bona; singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik; songwriter and lyricist Shaina Taub; Doug Varone and Dancers; violinist Maxim Vengerov; string ensemble Time For Three; vocalist Isabel Leonard; guitarist Bryan Sutton; fiddler Michael Cleveland; bassist/multi-instrumentalist Mark Schatz; multi-instrumentalist Sean Watkins; vocalist Karen Clark Sheard; Ariel Quartet; Cristina Pato Quartet; brass quartet The Westerlies; singer and composer Theo Bleckmann; Spektral Quartet; Mark Lettieri Trio; and the all-female mariachi ensemble Flor de Toloache. Pianist Conrad Tao, bass-baritone Dashon Burton, and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet will each make their recital debuts on the Series; each has performed on the Series with other ensembles in past seasons.
THE DEBUT SERIES
The Debut Series continues for the eighth year at Longy’s Pickman Hall with pianist Alexander Malofeev; pianist Conrad Tao; bass-baritone Dashon Burton; violinist Simone Porter and pianist
Hsin-I Huang; and saxophonist Jess Gillam. The Debut Series is sponsored by Harriet and David Griesinger and the Longy School of Music of Bard College.
DANCE AT NEC’S PLIMPTON SHATTUCK BLACK BOX THEATRE
Celebrity Series’ programming at New England Conservatory’s Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre enters its third year. Three dance companies, Sankofa Danzafro, Aakash Odedra Company, and Doug Varone and Dancers, will perform in this intimate, flexible space in the Student Life & Performance Center at 255 St. Botolph Street. Programs will continue the Celebrity Series tradition of artist debuts and premieres of new works. The Dance Series is sponsored by Stephanie L. Brown Foundation; Cynthia & John S. Reed Foundation; and Royal Little Family Foundation.
PUBLIC PERFORMANCE PROJECT: LET’S DANCE BOSTON!:
The Celebrity Series season includes the return of Let’s Dance Boston!, the five-day social dance extravaganza with five live bands and expert dance instructors, September 23-27, 2020. This wildly popular event is among the largest, free outdoor music and dance parties that Boston has ever experienced! Celebrity Series is thrilled to bring Let’s Dance Boston! back to the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
Let’s Dance Boston! is sponsored by Leslie & Howard Appleby, Amy & Joshua Boger, Stephanie L. Brown Foundation, and the Barr Foundation through its ArtsAmplified initiative. Partner: Rose Kennedy Greenway.
ORCHESTRAS AND ENSEMBLES
Béla Fleck brings the “My Bluegrass Heart Tour” featuring guitarist Bryan Sutton, fiddler Michael Cleveland, mandolinist Sierra Hull, and bassist/multi-instrumentalist Mark Schatz to Sanders Theatre on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 8pm. Fleck’s first bluegrass tour in 24 years, “My Bluegrass Heart” will spotlight some of the best of the new generation of bluegrass players.
Silkroad Ensemble performs the Boston premiere of Falling Out of Time, a song cycle by Osvaldo Golijov, on Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 8pm at Sanders Theatre. Support for this performance is provided by the Barr Foundation through its ArtsAmplified initiative. Media partner 99.5 WCRB.
Berliner Philharmoniker with conductor Kirill Petrenko in his Boston debut with the orchestra on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 8pm at Symphony Hall. They will perform Webern’s Passacaglia Opus 1; Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 1; and Brahms’s Symphony No. 4. This concert is sponsored by Foley & Lardner, LLP.
Watkins Family Hour, featuring Sara and Sean Watkins with special guest ensemble Hawktail, takes the Sanders Theatre stage on Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 7pm. For singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalists Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins, the Watkins Family Hour has been a music laboratory where these siblings try out new material or master cover songs. Joining the Watkins is the folk-bluegrass ensemble Hawktail featuring fiddler Brittany Haas (Crooked Still), bassist Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers), guitarist Jordan Tice, and mandolinist Dominick Leslie. Media partner 89.7 WGBH.
Rob Kapilow’s “What Makes It Great?” brings the Ariel Quartet to perform Mozart’s String Quartet No. 19 in C Major, K 465 on Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 3pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall. The last of Mozart’s set of six string quartets that were dedicated to Joseph Haydn, this work, often called the “Dissonance” Quartet, is noted for its divergence from the standard rules of harmony. What Makes It Great? is sponsored by Amy & Joshua Boger. Media Partner 99.5 WCRB.
Tetzlaff Quartet makes their Celebrity Series debut on Friday, December 11, 2020 at 8pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall. Christian and Tanja Tetzlaff, Hanna Weinmeister, and Elisabeth Kufferath perform Beethoven’s String Quartet in C-sharp minor, Opus 131 and his String Quartet in A minor, Opus 132. Support for this performance provided by an anonymous donor. Additional support provided by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Doric String Quartet with pianist Benjamin Grosvenor perform a piano quintet recital on Saturday, January 23, 2021 at 8pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall. Both artists are alumni of the Debut Series at Longy’s Pickman Hall—the Doric String Quartet in 2018 and Benjamin Grosvenor in 2013. The quintet will perform Mozart’s String Quartet in F Major, K590; Fauré’s Piano Quintet No. 1; and Elgar’s Piano Quintet. An Aaron Richmond Recital.
Time for Three, the genre-defying trio, performs on Friday, February 12, 2021 at 8pm at Sanders Theatre. Time For Three blends the various eras, styles, and traditions of Americana, modern pop, and classical music in a high-energy evening with Charles Yang (violin, vocals), Nicolas “Nick” Kendall (violin, vocals), and Ranaan Meyer (double bass, vocals). Sponsored by Julia Byers & Steven Holtzman.
Takács Quartet and pianist Jeremy Denk perform a chamber music recital on Sunday, February 28, 2021 at 3pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall. They will perform Mozart’s String Quartet in D minor, K421; Dutilleux’s Ainsi La Nuit; and Schumann’s Piano Quintet. Sponsored by Michael and Margaret Simon. An Aaron Richmond Recital.
KODO, the traditional Japanese taiko ensemble, returns to Symphony Hall on Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 5pm. Media Partner 89.7 WGBH.
Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, conducted by Music Director Sir Antonio Pappano, is joined by violin soloist Maxim Vengerov on Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 5pm at Symphony Hall. Together, they will perform Ponchielli’s Elegia; Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1; and Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 3. Media partner is 99.5 WCRB.
Dreamers’ Circus, a new force in Nordic world music, draws inspiration from the traditions of music from Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, and the Faroe Islands. This award-winning ensemble performs at NEC’s Jordan Hall on Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 8pm. Dreamersʼ Circus are Nikolaj Busk on piano and accordion, Ale Carr on Nordic cittern, and Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen (also of the Danish String Quartet), on violin. Media Partner 89.7 WGBH.
Cellist Alisa Weilerstein and Trondheim Soloists, one of Europe’s outstanding young ensembles, perform on Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 8pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall. Selections from their 2018 album “Transfigured Night” anchor the program—Haydn’s First Cello Concerto and the title work by Schoenberg—in addition to Golijov’s Last Round, and Vasks’ Presence. Sponsored by Dorothy & Stephen Weber.
Emerson String Quartet performs a recital on Friday, May 7, 2021 at 8pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall. They will perform Borodin’s Quartet No. 2 in D Major; Adés’ Four Quarters; and Haydn’s Seven Last Words. Sponsored by Sally S. Seaver, PhD.
The 2020-2021 Celebrity Series season will feature seven piano recitals, beginning with the young Russian pianist Alexander Malofeev in his Boston debut as part of the Debut Series. The recital, on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at Longy’s Pickman Hall, includes Medtner’s 2 Skazki, Opus 48 and Forgotten Melodies I, Opus 38; Brahms Four Pieces for Piano, Opus 119; and Schumann, Symphonic Etudes, Opus 13. The Debut Series is sponsored by Harriet and David Griesinger and the Longy School of Music of Bard College.
Daniil Trifonov performs a solo piano recital on Friday, October 30, 2020 at 8pm at Symphony Hall. He will perform Szymanowski, Piano Sonata No. 3, Opus 36; Weber, Piano Sonata No. 1 in C Major, Opus 24; Brahms, Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Opus 5. Sponsored by Melinda & James Rabb.
Pianist Seong-Jin Cho makes his Boston recital debut on Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 3pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall. The winner of the prestigious Gold Medal at the Chopin International Competition in Warsaw, Cho performs Schumann, Humoreske, Opus 20; Chopin, Scherzo No. 1 in B minor, Opus 20 and Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor, Opus 31; Berg, Piano Sonata, Opus 1; and Liszt Piano Sonata in B minor. An Aaron Richmond Recital.
Pianist Conrad Tao makes his solo Boston recital debut on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 8pm at Longy’s Pickman Hall. Tao made his Celebrity Series debut in January 2020 in More Forever, his collaboration with dancer Caleb Teicher. His solo recital program is Jason Eckardt, Echoes’ White Veil; Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 17 in D Minor, Opus 31, no. 2 “Tempest”; a new work by Tao co-commissioned by Celebrity Series; and Schumann Kreisleriana. The Debut Series is sponsored by Harriet and David Griesinger and the Longy School of Music of Bard College.
Jean-Yves Thibaudet makes his Celebrity Series solo recital debut on Friday, January 29, 2021 at 8pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall. After four prior appearances on the Series as an orchestral soloist or as a collaborative pianist, he makes his solo recital debut with a program featuring Debussy’s Préludes, Book 1 and 2. An Aaron Richmond Recital.
Sir András Schiff performs a piano recital on Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 3pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall. He will perform Bach, Overture in the French Style in B minor, BWV 831; Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 7 in D Major, Opus 10, no. 3; Haydn, Piano Sonata in B minor, Hob. XVI:32; and Schubert, Piano Sonata in D Major, D 850. An Aaron Richmond Recital. Media Partner 99.5 WCRB.
Evgeny Kissin performs a solo piano recital on Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 5pm at Symphony Hall. His program consists of Chopin, Nocturnes; Schumann, Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Opus 14; Debussy, Selections from Préludes, Book I and Book II; Scriabin, Piano Sonata No. 4, Opus 30. Sponsored by Melinda & James Rabb. Media Partner 99.5 WCRB.
Not Our First Goat Rodeo combines the talents of The Goat Rodeo Sessions artists—Yo-Yo Ma on cello, Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Edgar Meyer on bass, and Chris Thile on mandolin—for a one-of-a-kind concert that combines blues and bluegrass with hints of Bach. Joined by vocalist Aoife O’Donovan, these performers create a unique, genre-breaking sound that’s part composed, part improvised, and uniquely American. This performance takes place on Monday, October 26, 2020 at 7pm at Symphony Hall. Sponsored by Eleanor & Frank Pao.
The Romeros’ 60th Anniversary Tour featuring Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano, in her Celebrity Series debut, takes place on Saturday, January 30, 2021 at 8pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall. Together, Leonard and The Romeros will perform guitar and vocal selections by Manuel de Falla, Joaquin Rodrigo, Heitor Villa Lobos, Federico Moreno Torroba, among others.
Violinist Simone Porter makes her Boston recital debut with pianist Hsin-I Huang as part of the Debut Series on Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 8pm at Longy’s Pickman Hall. The program consists of Andrew Norman, Sabina; Grazyna Bacewicz, Sonata No. 4; Esa Pekka Salonen, Lachen Verlent; Biber, Passacaglia; and Franck, Sonata in A Major. The Debut Series is sponsored by Harriet and David Griesinger and the Longy School of Music of Bard College.
Violinist Itzhak Perlman performs “An Evening with Itzhak Perlman” on Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 5pm at Symphony Hall. This special performance will feature an intimate multimedia evening of music and storytelling featuring Mr. Perlman sharing anecdotes from his life and career through humorous vignettes, musical pieces, and personal photos and videos from his archives. Appearing with Mr. Perlman is his longtime pianist Rohan de Silva. Sponsored by Eleanor & Frank Pao. Media Partner 99.5 WCRB.
Saxophonist Jess Gillam makes her Boston debut with pianist Thomas Weaver as part of the Debut Series on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 8pm at Longy’s Pickman Hall. The extraordinary young artist was the recipient of a Classic Brit Award in the Sound of Classical Poll 2018 and the first-ever saxophonist to reach the finals of BBC Young Musician. The Debut Series is sponsored by Harriet & David Griesinger and the Longy School of Music of Bard College.
THE HUMAN VOICE
Alan Cumming and Ari Shapiro perform Och & Oy, A Considered Cabaret, on Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 7pm at Sanders Theatre. Actor Alan Cumming and Ari Shapiro of NPR’s All Things Considered both transport audiences to other worlds through their stories. Now, they are joining forces in song for an evening of tunes and tall tales. Sponsored by Reuben Reynolds and Bill Casey. Media Partner 89.7 WGBH.
Taylor Mac performs A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (Abridged) on Friday, October 23, 2020 at 8pm at the Emerson Colonial Theatre. Mac, a 2017 MacArthur Fellow, has created an abridged version of his epic 24-hour performance art concert, which deciphers the social history of the United States through popular songs. A 24-Decade History of Popular Music is the winner of the 2017 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History and a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Co-presented with Emerson Colonial Theatre.
Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato brings a fresh and unique interpretation of Schubert’s iconic song-cycle Die Winterreise, to NEC’s Jordan Hall with pianist Bryan Wagorn on Friday, November 20, 2020 at 8pm. An Aaron Richmond Recital. Media partner 99.5 WCRB.
Bass-baritone Dashon Burton makes his Celebrity Series recital debut with pianist Lindsay Garritson on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 8pm at Longy’s Pickman Hall as part of the Debut Series. He will present a wide-ranging program that is uniquely American from works by John Jacobs Niles, to Kurt Weill’s Four Songs of Walt Whitman, Paul Bowles’ Blue Mountain Ballads, and selections of Moses Hogan Spirituals. The Debut Series is sponsored by Harriet & David Griesinger and the Longy School of Music of Bard College.
Rob Kapilow’s “What Makes It Great?” brings The Music of Lerner and Loewe to NEC’s Jordan Hall on Friday, February 19, 2021 at 8pm. Join Rob Kapilow as he dissects iconic songs such as Almost Like Being in Love and I Could Have Danced All Night. What Makes It Great? is sponsored by Amy & Joshua Boger.
Anaïs Mitchell, Duncan Sheik, and Shaina Taub take the Sanders Theatre stage in Making the Music on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 8pm. Anaïs Mitchell, the Grammy winner and two-time 2019 Tony winner for Hadestown; Duncan Sheik, the two-time Tony and Grammy-winning composer of Spring Awakening; and Shaina Taub, the Emmy-nominated songwriter and lyricist for Elton John’s upcoming The Devil Wears Prada, come together for Making the Music—a unique, unforgettable, collaborative concert. Sponsored by Kathleen & Chris Gaffney.
Baritone Benjamin Appl makes his Boston debut with pianist James Baillieu on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 8pm at Longy’s Pickman Hall as part of the Debut Series. The recital program, entitled Nocturne, features works by Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Schumann, Bolcom, Brahms, and Grieg. The Debut Series is sponsored by Harriet & David Griesinger and the Longy School of Music of Bard College.
Author and humorist David Sedaris returns to Symphony Hall on Friday, April 9, 2021 at 7pm to read excerpts from his books and new works, and offer an audience Q&A and book signing.
Celebrity Series presents its signature contemporary music series Stave Sessions, March 16-20, 2021 at 160 Mass. Ave, Boston. With five nights of discovery, experimentation, and path-breaking music, this season’s Stave Sessions is entering its seventh season.
Cristina Pato Quartet opens Stave Sessions on Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 8pm. A master of the Galician bagpipes, a pianist, and educator, Pato became the first female gaita player to release a solo album, and has collaborated with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Arturo O’Farrill, New York Philharmonic, Paquito D’Rivera, Damian Woetzel, and Lil’ Buck.
Theo Bleckmann & The Westerlies perform This Land on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 8pm. Theo Bleckmann is a Grammy-nominated jazz singer and eclectic new music composer; The Westerlies are a New York-based brass quartet who explore hybrids of jazz, roots, and chamber music. With This Land, they have assembled music and texts from Joni Mitchell, Woody Guthrie, Joe Hill, Donald Rumsfeld, and Bertholt Brecht, seeking to balance music’s integral role in protest movements with the power of songs to provide solace.
Flutist and composer Nathalie Joachim & Spektral Quartet perform Joachim’s new concert-length work Fanm d'Ayiti (Women of Haiti) on Thursday, March 18, 2021 at 8pm. An exploration of Haitian song and of the role of women’s voices in Haitian music culture, Fanm d’Ayiti was nominated for a Grammy for Best World Music Album in 2019.
The Mark Lettieri Trio performs on Friday, March 19, 2021 at 8pm. Three-time Grammy winner and member of the jazz/world group Snarky Puppy, Mark Lettieri is a guitarist, composer, and producer who has performed or recorded with Erykah Badu, David Crosby, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, and Eminem, among others. The Mark Lettieri Trio features Wes Stephenson (Funky Knuckles) on bass and Jason “JT” Thomas (Snarky Puppy, Forq) on drums.
Flor de Toloache, the Latin Grammy-winning, New York-based all-female mariachi ensemble, performs on Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 8pm. Known for stretching the boundaries of traditional music into new places, Flor de Toloache has performed at the Coachella Festival, NPR Tiny Desk Concerts, a 2018 TED Talk, and the 42nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors.
Stave Sessions is sponsored by Susan & Michael Thonis and the Barr Foundation through its ArtsAmplified initiative. Additional support provided by Debra & Michael Raizman, Yukiko Ueno & Eran Egozy, Randolph Hawthorne & Carliss Baldwin, and Marylen Sternweiler.
Saxophonist Joshua Redman, pianist Brad Mehldau, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Brian Blade join forces in A MoodSwing Reunion, a celebration of their 1994 album, MoodSwing. The performance takes place on Sunday, October 4, 2020 at 7pm at Symphony Hall. Sponsored by Susan & Michael Thonis. Media partner 89.7 WGBH.
Jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves, pianist Chucho Valdés, and saxophonist Joe Lovano perform Duets, an evening of intimate duets with three masters of jazz on Sunday, November 8, 2020 at 7pm at the Berklee Performance Center. The Jazz Series is sponsored by Leslie & Howard Appleby. Media partner 89.7 WGBH.
Jazz at Lincoln Center (JLCO) with Wynton Marsalis and salsa icon Rubén Blades perform two concerts of Big Band Holidays, a take on their Grammy Award–nominated “Big Band Holidays” program. Under the musical direction of JLCO bassist Carlos Henriquez, the concerts bring big-band versions of holiday classics to the Berklee Performance Center on Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 3pm & 8pm. The Jazz Series is sponsored by Leslie & Howard Appleby.
Artemis, an international all-star group featuring six of the top female performers on the jazz scene today, makes their Boston debut on Friday, February 5, 2021 at 8pm at Sanders Theatre. Hailing from America, Canada, France, Israel, Chile, and Japan, Artemis is: pianist and musical director Renee Rosnes, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, clarinetist Anat Cohen, tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana, bassist Noriko Ueda, and drummer Allison Miller.
Multi-genre recording artist Damien Sneed and gospel singer Karen Clark Sheard bring A Tribute to Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul, on Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 7pm at the Berklee Performance Center. Backed by jazz, gospel, and soul musicians, along with Grammy Award-winner Karen Clark Sheard, this multi-media tribute will be a tender and spiritual reflection on the Queen of Soul. The Jazz Series is sponsored by Leslie & Howard Appleby.
Julian Lage Trio performs on the Berklee Performance Center stage Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 8pm. Guitarist Lage and his rhythm section build on jazz fusion, jam band liberation, standards, and embryonic rock ‘n’ roll with virtuosic precision and adventurous improvisation. The Jazz Series is sponsored by Leslie & Howard Appleby.
Pianist Alfredo Rodriguez and bassist Richard Bona take the Berklee Performance Center stage on Saturday, March 6, 2021 at 8pm. Bona and Rodriguez first met through their shared mentor, Quincy Jones. Rodriguez, a Cuban immigrant, was trained in the classical conservatories of Havana, and Bona, hailing from Cameroon, is a musical disciple of the late Jaco Pastorius. The Jazz Series is sponsored by Leslie & Howard Appleby.
Maria Schneider Orchestra, the Grammy Award-winning 18-piece ensemble, comes to Sanders Theatre for the Boston-area premiere of their latest project, Data Lords, on Friday, March 12, 2021 at 8pm. Data Lords is Maria Schneider’s statement on the polarized digital/organic environment we live in and our continued search for beauty. Sponsored by Amy & Joshua Boger. Media Partner 89.7 WGBH.
SFJAZZ Collective with guest vocalist Lizz Wright and saxophonist and Artistic Director Chris Potter performs The Music of Joni Mitchell on Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 8pm at the Berklee Performance Center. The all-star octet is comprised of tenor saxophonist David Sánchez, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, trumpeter Etienne Charles, pianist Edward Simon, bassist and vocalist Aneesa Strings, drummer Obed Calvaire, saxophonist and Artistic Director Chris Potter, and vocalist Lizz Wright. The Jazz Series is sponsored by Leslie & Howard Appleby.
DANCE & MOVEMENT
Compañía Nacional de Danza brings Carmen to the Boch Center Shubert Theatre stage on Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 8pm and Sunday, October 25, 2020 at 3pm. Swedish choreographer Johan Inger brings the story of Carmen and the music of Bizet’s opera to life in a contemporary production first imagined for the Spanish company in 2015.
Sankofa Danzafro brings Rafael Palacios’ latest full-length work for the Colombian dance company, Accommodating Lie, to the NEC Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre. Accommodating Lie showcases seven dancers with live music, and seeks to dismantle stereotypes, clichés, and falsehoods about the black body and what it means to be of African descent. Performances are January 21-23, 2021 at 8pm. Support provided by the Barr Foundation through its ArtsAmplified initiative.
Aakash Odedra Company makes its Boston debut January 29-30, 2021 at 8pm at NEC’s Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre. One of the most exciting talents on the international dance scene, British artist Aakash Odedra makes his Boston debut in a solo show featuring his own choreography as well as contributions from high-profile artists Akram Khan and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Support provided by the Barr Foundation through its ArtsAmplified initiative.
Doug Varone and Dancers bring a program including Somewhere, inspired by Varone’s life-long obsession with the 1961 movie version of West Side Story, to the NEC Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre Friday, February 5-6, 2021 at 8pm. Support provided by the Barr Foundation through its ArtsAmplified initiative.
Monica Bill Barnes & Company bring The Running Show to the Boch Center Shubert Theatre Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 8pm and Sunday, February 28, 2021 at 3pm. The Running Show documents the life of a dancer through movement, interviews, and stories. The show features a large cast of local performers from 12 to 84 years old, including dance students from Boston Conservatory at Berklee. The show gives the audience an unprecedented look into the life of a dancer as a new kind of sports hero that keeps moving against all odds.
Circa brings En Masse, created by Yaron Lifschitz, to the Emerson Paramount Center March 3-7, 2021. En Masse presents two visions of humanity at its extremes through circus settings of Schubert’s Winterreise and selections from Schwanengesang, as well as Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Grooves by Swedish composer Klara Lewis are interspersed with Schubert’s songs as tenor Robert Murray and acrobats from Circa’s ensemble veer between energy and loss. Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring is played live by pianists Tamara-Anna Cislowska and Michael Kieran Harvey in this first-ever circus setting of Rite of Spring. Presented in association with ArtsEmerson, the performances are March 3-6 at 8pm, and March 7 at 3pm.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is one of the world’s premier modern dance companies. Under the direction of Robert Battle, the company continues to make work that nurtures a new generation of choreographers steeped in the African American experience while performing works from around the world. They return to the Boch Center Wang Theatre April 29–May 2, 2021. Performances will take place on Thursday, April 29 at 8pm; Friday, April 30 at 8pm; Saturday, May 1 at 2pm and 8pm; and Sunday, May 2 at 3pm.
The Dance Series is sponsored by Stephanie L. Brown Foundation; Cynthia & John S. Reed Foundation; and Royal Little Family Foundation.
ARTS FOR ALL!
Alongside the main stage performances, Celebrity Series’ Arts for All! community engagement programs reach over 10,000 individuals annually, through master classes with main stage artists in public schools and conservatories; hands-on, interactive workshops for youth led by a core group of Boston area artists; community concerts in Boston neighborhoods; free and discounted tickets to main stage performances; and large-scale, public performance projects.
Experience the talent of local artists and youth at free and $5 Neighborhood Arts concerts in Dorchester, Hyde Park, Mattapan, Roslindale, Roxbury, and the South End (and come with us as we expand to Cambridge in 2020–2021)! Throughout the season, these same artists lead in-depth, interactive workshops for youth, in partnership with 50+ community organizations.
Neighborhood Arts programming in 2020-2021 will highlight female composers and ensembles in celebration of the women’s vote centennial. Performances will also focus on world music and live dance by music ensembles paired with professional dancers from the Haitian, Kathak, Plena, contemporary, flamenco, salsa, and tango genres. Stringfests in Dorchester, Roxbury, and the South End continue the collaboration of Neighborhood Arts artists with local youth musicians.
CELEBRITY SERIES GALA
The 2021 Gala will be held on Saturday, April 10, 2021. Join the Celebrity Series for a spectacular evening that will recognize the Celebrity Series’ history and its impact on Boston’s cultural community. Supporters, patrons, and community leaders will come together to celebrate the future of the Celebrity Series of Boston during this black-tie event. We invite you to experience this innovative event that delights guests with dramatic surprises. Proceeds from the Gala will benefit the education, programming, and outreach efforts of the Celebrity Series.
Celebrity Series is carefully following state, federal, and local guidelines and will present or cancel performances consistent with those guidelines. Visit www.celebrityseries.org for the latest updates about performances.
ABOUT CELEBRITY SERIES OF BOSTON
Celebrity Series of Boston was founded in 1938 by pianist and impresario Aaron Richmond. The Celebrity Series has been bringing the very best performers–from orchestras and chamber ensembles, vocal and piano music, to dance companies, jazz, and more–to Boston’s major concert halls for 82 years. The Celebrity Series of Boston believes in the power of excellence and innovation in the performing arts to enrich life experiences, transform lives and build better communities. Through its education initiatives, the Celebrity Series seeks to build a community of Greater Boston where the performing arts are a valued, lifelong, shared experience—on stages, on streets, in neighborhoods—everywhere.
Celebrity Series of Boston is grateful to our 2020-21 Season Sponsors Amy & Joshua Boger, and to the many individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies whose support helps fulfill our mission to present performing artists who inspire and enrich our community. Institutional supporters include the Barr Foundation through its ArtsAmplified initiative, Stephanie L. Brown Foundation, The Catered Affair, Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation, D.L. Saunders Real Estate Corp., Foley & Lardner LLP, Liberty Mutual Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Outside the Box: A Production of the Boston Arts Summer Institute, Cynthia and John S. Reed Foundation, Royal Little Family Foundation, Stifler Family Foundation, Anonymous, and many others.