The Hope College Great Performance Series (GPS) announces another eclectic offering as it continues to grow after serving the West Michigan area for over 30 years. From a Grammy-winning jazz legend to an exciting young German string trio, with dance, theatre, and Arabic music added to the mix, the 2006-07 GPS season promises to continue the growth the series has seen over the last few years.
The season opens with two-nights of dance when Jump Rhythm Jazz Project (JRJP) visits the DeWitt Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 22-23. Under the direction of the acclaimed Artistic Director Billy Siegenfeld, JRJP is a company of rhythmically explosive dancers that celebrate jazz dance in its purest form. They have thrilled both national and international audiences with their rich blend of percussive musicality and emotion-charged dance. "Dance Magazine" said JRJP "makes the stage sizzle and the audience yell for more."
Jazz music legend Dave Holland brings his long-standing quintet to the Dimnent Chapel stage at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14. The multi-Grammy winning artist could have retired before he was 30 and remained a legend. By that time he already spent a few years with Miles Davis only to leave in the early 1970s and form a group with Chick Corea and others. Since that time he has received all the accolades and awards available, including winning numerous "Down Beat" critics and readers polls. Since 1999 alone he has won two Grammys and been nominated five times. "The New York Times" calls Holland "one of the jewels of the jazz world," and says the quintet is "one of the very best working bands in jazz."
The GPS series is especially excited to provide a one-time only concert experience when a German string trio, the Jacques Thibaud String Trio, performs at Dimnent Chapel at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9. "How about an ensemble whose members look like a boy band, exhibit no apparent pretension, and play with the passion of Nine Inch Nails? Meet the Jacques Thibaud String Trio." One critic described the trio as such in an effort to explain how an ensemble deep in the classical genre could attract such a wide audience. But what makes the HopeCollege appearance truly unique is the trio's collaboration on a Schubert string quintet with two members of the HopeCollege music faculty. Violinist Mihai Craioveanu and cellist Richard Piippo will join the trio in the second half of the program. Rehearsal time and a residency by the trio are being supported by the Hope College Patrons for the Arts.
A classical chamber ensemble which has a sellout at Dimnent Chapel in 2002 returns to GPS. The Ahn Trio will continue their mission of using new music to reach new audiences when they perform in Dimnent Chapel at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 26. The Juilliard-trained sisters moved to New York from Korea, and have never slowed down. After proving their worth with award winning recordings of works by Dvorak, Ravel, Shostakovich, and others, the Ahn sisters are now committed to presenting new music which is accessible for both new and old classical music lovers. "They balanced unanimity and individuality in a spirit that is at the heart of chamber music" reviewed "The Washington Post."
A literary classic finds new life on the stage when The Acting Company presents an acclaimed adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 21 and 22 in the DeWitt Theatre. Considered by many as the best touring company in the United States, they received the 2003 Tony Honoree for Excellence in Theatre. Created by several actors, including Kevin Kline and Frances Contory, the company has also won awards from the L.A. Drama Critics Circle, the Obies, Audelco, and more. The Acting Company performed with GPS in 1991, and this time returns with Polly Teale's adaptation which had a very successful run in London's West End. The extraordinary coming-of-age story showcases one of literature's most independent and strong-willed women. "The Acting Company endures as the major touring classical theater in the United States," says "The New York Times."
The season ends with the Simon Shaheen Ensemble in Dimnent Chapel at 7:30 p.m. on March 9. One of the most influential Arab musicians performing today, Shaheen dazzles his listeners as he deftly leaps from traditional Arabic sounds to jazz and Western classic styles. A virtuoso on the oud and violin, Shaheen has created a sound which crosses all boundaries. His ensemble aims at an unbridled fusion of Arab, jazz, Western classical, and Latin American music. Often heard on "National Public Radio," Shaheen is an exceptional live performer. "Brillant and outstanding" says "Billboard Magazine."
More information on the artists is available online at www.hope.edu/gps, which also includes links to each performer's website. Season tickets offer savings of nearly 50 percent for families and 40 percent for adults. Season tickets are $58 for adults, $47 for senior citizens, and $125 for a family pass. Individual tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for senior citizens and $5 for children 18 and under. Season subscriptions are now available by calling 616-395-7890, or by mailing in a form found at the online website. Tickets for individual shows go on sale Sept. 1 (except for The Acting Company - Jan. 12).