The Hope College Great Performance Series returns for the 2009-10 season with a range of cultural events highlighting the best in dance, music, and theatre.
From the exciting Latino dance ensemble, Luna Negra Dance, to the Grammy-winning Kronos Quartet, the series offers internationally recognized artists at West Michigan prices.
The series will open on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 24 and 25, with Luna Negra Dance at 7:30 p.m. in the Knickerbocker Theatre. Created in 1999, the company has served as the springboard for Latino contemporary choreographers to give expression to their stories and bring new life to the cultures of their communities. "This is a company that moves with sensational energy and panache," the "Chicago Sun-Times" has said.
On Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 7:30 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel, a leading Dutch chamber music ensemble, the Storioni Trio, will bring its Dutch training to Holland. The ensemble has performed throughout Europe, including with Concertgebouw Amsterdam, and in at Carnegie Hall in New York. The ensemble's recordings have received international acclaim and the members of the trio also serve as artistic directors for the Storioni Festival in the Netherlands. Meneahem Pressler of the legendary Beaux Arts Trio has described the ensemble as "a group whose quest for perfection is enhanced by their intelligence and sensitivity. "NRC Handelsblad" in the Netherlands has called the trio nothing less than "the flagship of Dutch culture."
The 21 voices of the Nathaniel Dett Chorale will fill Dimnent Memorial Chapel on Friday, Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m. This Canadian choral group is dedicated to Afrocentric music of all styles. The chorale has performed with Kathleen Battle, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and many other recognized artists, as well in front of such luminaries as Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Oscar Peterson. "An infectious spirit of joy, community and the sharing of song filled St. Andrew's Church as the Nathaniel Dett Chorale presented their... concert," the Canadian "Globe and Mail" has said.
Theatre will take on a whole new look as the Cashore Marionettes perform on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Knickerbocker Theatre. Joseph Cashore has redefined the art of puppetry with his own marionette creations, creating characters of depth and humanity unlike almost anything else seen in theatre today. The performances are a series of scenes from everyday life set to music by composers such as Beethoven, Vivaldi, and Copland. The Center for Contemporary Arts in St. Louis has described his work by noting that "the quality of manipulation is unparalleled and the effect upon the audience is powerful."
One of today's rising jazz stars brings his unique trio to Dimnent Memorial Chapel on Wednesday, March 10, at 7:30 p.m. when Rudresh Mahanthappa's Indo-Pak Coalition takes the stage. Guggenheim Fellow Mahanthappa just won 2009 "Downbeat Magazine's" Rising Star award for both the jazz artist and alto saxophone categories. He incorporates his Indian ancestry into work with Pakistani-American guitarist Rez Abbasi and tabla performer Dan Weiss. David Frick of "Rolling Stone Magazine" has said that the group chases "the holy with their own joyful purpose, darting under and through Mahanthappa's graceful impatience like daredevil pilots showing him the long, wild way to nirvana."
The series will end with one of the most legendary chamber ensembles ever, when the Grammy-winning Kronos Quartet comes to Dimnent Memorial Chapel on Tuesday, April 6, at 7:30 p.m. For more than 30 years, the quartet has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to expanding the range and context of the string quartet. With more than 40 recordings and hundreds of works commissioned for the quartet, the group's impact has been felt throughout the world. "String quartets were a dying breed," "Newsweek Magazine" has said. "Along came Kronos... the world's most successful chamber group. Kronos' perfectionism, determination and high profile have revived a dying genre."
The Luna Negra Dance performance is supported by the Performing Arts Fund, a program of Arts Midwest funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art, with additional contributions from Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs, General Mills Foundation, and Land O'Lakes Foundation.
Individual and season tickets are now available. Season subscriptions are $58 for regular admission, $47 for senior citizens and $125 for a family (no matter how many children). The subscriptions are such a savings that they are equivalent to seeing two shows for free. Individual tickets are $17 for regular admission, $12 for senior citizens, and $6 for children 18 and under. Both individual tickets and season subscriptions are available at the Hope College ticket office or by calling (616) 395-7890.
The ticket office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located in the main lobby of the DeVos Fieldhouse, at 222 Fairbanks Ave., between Ninth and 11th streets.
More information about the season may be obtained online by visiting www.hope.edu/gps.