Hope College’s Great Performance Series is returning for the 2023-24 season welcoming internationally acclaimed artists in music, theatre and dance.
The season will open with Para.Mar Dance Theatre performing on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 22-23, at 7:30 p.m. in the Knickerbocker Theatre. The Chicago-based contemporary ballet repertory company, founded by award-winning choreographer Stephanie Martinez, is quickly catching attention for its bold work. Martinez has created more than 60 ballets for a range of companies, including the Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Charlotte Ballet and Sacramento Ballet. Now, with her own company, she seeks “to empower and elevate diverse artistic voices in contemporary ballet.” See Chicago Dance has said that “[Martinez] is fired up like never before… and, honestly, making some of the best dance of her career.”
The Escher String Quartet will perform on Thursday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts. The quartet has received acclaim for its musical insight and rare tonal beauty, with BBC Music Magazine praising the group’s “Eloquent, full-blooded playing.” A former BBC New Generation Artist and recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, the quartet has performed at the BBC Proms at Cadogan Hall and is a regular guest at Wigmore Hall. In its hometown of New York, the ensemble serves as season artists of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The Hope College performance will feature works by Mendelssohn and Janacek, and a full performance of Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden,” considered one of the pillars of chamber music repertoire.
Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist Brad Mehldau will bring his esteemed trio to the series on Thursday, Nov. 16, at 7:30 p.m. in the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts. Mehldau, whose work defies easy categorization, is acclaimed as one of the most lyrical and intimate voices of contemporary jazz piano. “Mehldau is the most influential jazz pianist of the last 20 years,” The New York Times has said. His forays into melding musical idioms, in both trio (with Larry Grenadier on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums) and solo settings, have seen re-workings of songs by contemporary songwriters like The Beatles, Cole Porter, Radiohead, Paul Simon, Gershwin and Nick Drake.
The second half of the series will open with harpist Lavinia Meijer on Friday, Jan. 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts. Meijer is reimagining the harp as a solo instrument and gaining accolades from across the globe. Born in South Korea, Meijer was raised and resides in the Netherlands. Besides performing and recording the classical standard harp repertoire, Meijer experiments with electronic music, theatrical music, jazz and avant-rock. Her albums have received critical praise, and she has earned two gold albums and one platinum album. Her performance at Hope College will include works by Claude Debussy and Philip Glass, and Meijer’s own compositions. “She has technique and stamina to burn, but it is her expressive detailing that raises these performances above the ordinary,” the Washington Post has said.
Friends from four different countries comprise the Galvin Cello Quartet, performing on Thursday, Feb. 29, at 7:30 p.m. in the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts. Third Coast Review said of a recent concert that “this performance demonstrated the musical possibilities such an unusual ensemble line-up can offer, so long as very talented musicians are handling [it].” Consisting of members from China, Brazil, South Korea and the United States, the Galvin Cello Quartet burst onto the scene after capturing the silver medal at the 2021 Fischoff Competition, followed shortly by winning the 2022 Victor Elmaleh Competition.
The season will conclude with a theatrical performance, “The Other Mozart,” on Friday, March 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the Knickerbocker Theatre. “The Other Mozart” is an award-winning, one-woman play telling the true, forgotten story of Nannerl Mozart, the sister of Amadeus — a prodigy, keyboard virtuoso, and composer who performed throughout Europe with her brother to equal acclaim. Still, her work and her story faded away, lost to history. This play brings her back to the stage. The play is set in an 18-foot dress (designed by Magdalena Dabrowska of the National Theater of Poland) that serves as an integral part of the performance. The New York Times has called the play “stunningly beautiful,” while the Los Angeles Times has praised it as a “dazzlingly, original performance.”
Season subscriptions cover all six events, and are available now for $125 for regular admission and $105 for senior citizens or Hope faculty and staff, which is nearly 25% off the individual ticket price. In addition, securing a season subscription before individual tickets go on sale provides priority choice in seating. Tickets for individual performances will go on sale on Monday, Aug. 21, and are $28 for regular admission, $23 for senior citizens, and $14 for children 18 and under. Season subscriptions and tickets are available at the Events and Conferences Office located downtown in the Anderson-Werkman Financial Center (100 E. Eighth St.). The office is open for ticket sales on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be called at 616-395-7890.
Audience members who need assistance to fully enjoy any event at Hope are encouraged to contact the college’s Events and Conferences Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 616-395-7222 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Updates related to events are posted when available in the individual listings at hope.edu/calendar
More information on the artists, including videos, is available at hope.edu/gps