SPAC

Saratoga Performing Arts Center has selected a new President and Executive Director. Elizabeth Sobol will step in this October after the conclusion of SPAC’s 2016 50th Anniversary Season.

David Finckel and Wu Han
Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

  Wu Han and David Finckel join us to talk about their performance with The Philadelphia Orchestra at SPAC and the final two concerts this season to be performed by The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in the Spa Little Theater. 

SPAC revealed Elizabeth Sobol as the next President and CEO of the performing arts organization Thursday.

  Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: Suicide Squad, Anthropoid 

Upcoming:

• The Hudson: River at Risk, plus Q&A w/director Jon Bowermaster - Madison Theater, Albany, 8/18 Thursday, 7 PM

• The Big Takeover - Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, 8/19 Friday

• Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show: Nore Davis - Underground at Proctors, 8/20 Saturday

• Dawes, Basia Bulat - The Egg, Albany, 8/20 Saturday

• Buster Keaton’s Sherlock Jr. (and cartoons, including Felix the Cat) with live music by the BQE Project - MASS MoCA, 8/20, Saturday, 8 PM

• Borromeo String Quartet (Haydn, Beethoven & Russell Platt’s Mountain Interval, a world premiere)

• Maverick Concerts, Woodstock, 8/21 Sunday, 4 PM

• Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at the Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs

    “Classical Legacy,” Mozart, Schumann & Mendelssohn, 8/21 Sunday, 3 PM

    “Russian Fireworks,” Gliere, Moszkowski, Rachmaninoff & Tchaikovsky, 8/23 Tuesday 8 PM

• Goo Goo Dolls, Collective Soul, Tribe Society - SPAC, Saratoga Springs. 8/21 Sunday

• Celtic Thunder - Palace Theatre, Albany, 8/23 Tuesday

 New Movies: Ben Hur, Hell or High WaterKubo and the Two StringsOur Little Sister

Renée Fleming
Decca/Andrew Eccles

  This Thursday at 8pm the Philadelphia Orchestra, under the baton of its music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, will take the stage at SPAC and be joined - for her first time at that venue - by opera star, Renée Fleming.

Ms. Fleming joins us to discuss that concert, travel, language, and her role as Kennedy Center Artistic Partner.

  The Philadelphia Orchestra's Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Musical America’s 2016 Artist of the Year and newly appointed Music Director of The Metropolitan Opera, returns to SPAC for the final week of the orchestra's summer residency. 

He joins us to talk about this week's concerts in Saratoga.

**Correction - in the audio introduction of this interview it is said that Andre Watts will perform - sadly he has had to cancel. The opening concert will feature Czech pianist Lukas Vondracek.

  The Philadelphia Orchestra will present Sophisticated Ladies on Saturday, August 13th at SPAC. The concert is a celebration of the groundbreaking icons of American popular song, from Ella Fitzgerald to Sarah Vaughan to Dinah Washington and of course, Billie Holiday. Montego Glover, Capathia Jenkins, and N'Kenge will join the orchestra to sing songs like "Strike Up the Band," "Stormy Weather," "Love is Here to Stay," and "Come Rain or Come Shine."<p>

Steven Reineke will conduct and he joins us to talk about the concert.

  The puppeteers that brought the world the unforgettable Broadway Musical War Horse will once again amaze audiences as they bring to life the timeless Russian fairytale ballet "The Firebird."

SPAC, along with the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, Ravinia Festival, Sun Valley Summer Symphony, and Hollywood Bowl — has commissioned the South Africa-based puppet company Janni Younge Productions to create a live puppet performance set to Igor Stravinsky’s 1910 masterpiece.

  Led by co-Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center returns to the Spa Little Theater at SPAC for six innovative and diverse programs that get underway on Sunday.

The first concert – Sunday at 3PM – is entitled: Symphonic Spirit and will feature the music of Ravel, Haydn, Copeland and Schubert. This morning for a preview we welcome two of the musicians taking part in the program. We welcome Bassoonist Marc Goldberg and Clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein. 

  Internationally acclaimed composer Michael Torke has been commissioned by SPAC, Charles and Candace Wait and The Adirondack Trust Company to create an orchestral work for The Philadelphia Orchestra to premiere during the 2016 anniversary celebration.

Torke's longtime connections to SPAC and Saratoga are deeply personal as he is a nine-time resident of Yaddo, an artists' community providing an opportunity for artists to work without interruption in a supportive environment located on a 400-acre estate in Saratoga Springs, New York.

The piece is entitled Unconquered and will be performed --for the first time-- on Friday, August 5 performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra and conducted by Stéphane Denève.

  On August 3, 2016, Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) will present Hannibal Lokumbe’s work for full orchestra, soloists and choir, “One Land, One River, One People,” on the Opening Night of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s SPAC residency.

Vocal accompaniment for The Philadelphia Orchestra’s performance will be provided by soprano Laquita Mitchell, tenor Rodrick Dixon, and combined choirs of Morgan State University and Albany Pro Musica. Conductor Stéphane Denève will lead the performance.

We are joined by Albany Pro Musica's Artistic and Executive Director, Dr. José Daniel Flores-Caraballo, and bass singer, Frank Leavitt.

  On August 3, 2016, Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) will present Hannibal Lokumbe’s work for full orchestra, soloists and choir, “One Land, One River, One People,” on the Opening Night of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s SPAC residency. SPAC’s program will be only the second complete performance of the work which was commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra. The work had its world premiere in November 2015 at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.

Described by the composer Hannibal Lokumbe as a “spiritorio,” a term that encompasses the work’s libretto and choir elements and its influences from blues, jazz and spirituals, the work speaks to the universality of human struggle, injustice and ultimately, spirituality.

Vocal accompaniment for The Philadelphia Orchestra’s performance will be provided by soprano Laquita Mitchell, tenor Rodrick Dixon, and combined choirs of Morgan State University and Albany Pro Musica. Conductor Stéphane Denève will lead the performance.

  Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

  The 16th annual Saratoga Choral Festival takes place at the Spa Little Theater in Spa State Park - this Sunday, July 31st, at 3:00 PM. The festival will present a concert of music for children featuring a semi-staged production of the popular Magic Tree House: The Musical. 

The Magic Tree House: The Musical is based on the popular series of children’s books by Mary Pope Osborne. This show has seen sold out performances for its national tour. Several musical selections have been adapted for chorus, and special guest performers from the Saratoga Children’s Theater will provide extra speaking roles and also sing with the choir.

Also included on the program - Never-Ending Song, a Young Person’s Guide to the Choir. Originally premiered by the Vancouver Chamber Choir in 2001, the Never-Ending Song takes children through a brief history of choral singing through music.

The Saratoga Choral Festival began in the summer of 2001 and we are joined by Festival Director, Andrea Goodman, and by chorus members Mira DeGregory and Jackson Cherry. 

Jonathan Stafford
Henry Leutwyler

  Our final guest today is Jonathan Stafford. Jonathan is a ballet master at New York City Ballet and a member of the faculty at the School of American Ballet, NYCB’s official school.

Born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Mr. Stafford began his dance training at the age of eight. He was invited to become an apprentice with New York City Ballet in October 1998 and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in February 1999. He was promoted to the rank of soloist in March of 2006 and became a principal dancer in May 2007. After retiring from the Company in May 2014, he was appointed an NYCB ballet master.

At the School of American Ballet, Mr. Stafford served as a member of SAB’s guest faculty during the 2006-07 school year and joined the School’s permanent faculty in September 2007. Mr. Stafford received the Martin E. Segal Award from the School of American Ballet in 1999.

NYCB performs Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream
Paul Kolnik

  Marquerite Mehler is the Director of Production of New York City Ballet and has been stage managing for more than 20 years, primarily in dance. Since joining the Production Department of New York City Ballet in 1995, she has stage managed more than 2000 performances of more than 150 ballets in the New York City Ballet repertory, including world premieres by Peter Martins, Justin Peck, Alexei Ratmansky, Jerome Robbins, and Christopher Wheeldon.

With the production staff, Ms. Mehler supervises scenery, lighting, and all other production elements of the NYCB repertory both at home and on tour. She also coordinates with the other NYCB departments and supervises the NYCB and State Theatre stagehands.

Maria Kowroski
Paul Kolnik

  Maria Kowroski is a principal dancer with New York City Ballet. She began her training in Grand Rapids, where she was born.

Ms. Kowroski entered the School of American Ballet in the fall of 1992. She became an apprentice with New York City Ballet in the summer of 1994 and was invited to join the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in January of 1995. In the spring of 1997, Ms. Kowroski was promoted to the rank of soloist and in the spring of 1999, she was promoted to principal dancer.

Ms. Kowroski was a recipient of the Princess Grace Award in 1994. She will perform the principal role in Balanchine’s Agon while at SPAC.

  Troy Schumacher is a choreographer and member of New York City Ballet’s corps de ballet.

In 2010, Schumacher founded BalletCollective, and as the company’s director and resident choreographer, he collaborates closely with composers, artists, and designers on original works. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, began his ballet training with Atlanta Ballet and the Chautauqua School of Dance before entering the School of American Ballet in 2002.

He became a New York City Ballet apprentice in 2005 and a member of the corps de ballet in December of that year. His second work for New York City Ballet, Common Ground, will have its SPAC premiere at the sold-out Gala performance. He will also perform the role of “Puck” in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Lauren Lovette
Luis Pons

  Lauren Lovette is a Principal Dancer with New York City Ballet. She was born in Thousand Oaks, California and began studying ballet at the age of 11 at the Cary Ballet Conservatory in Cary, North Carolina

Ms. Lovette became an apprentice with NYCB and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in September 2010. She was promoted to soloist in February 2013 and to principal in June 2015. She was the 2012-2013 recipient of the Janice Levin Award.

Ms. Lovette will choreograph her first-ever work for New York City Ballet, which will premiere in the fall of 2016. She will perform a principal role in Balanchine’s “Rubies” from Jewels and will have her debut in Christopher Wheeldon’s most recent work for NYCB, American Rhapsody, set to Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” when it has its second SPAC performance on 7/30.

  Peter Martins first joined the New York City Ballet in 1970, having already achieved international fame with the Royal Danish Ballet. His career in New York saw him move from Principal Dancer to his current position as Ballet Master-in-Chief.

Martins most popular performances as a dancer include Apollo and as the Cavalier in mentor George Balanchine’s Nutcracker. His contributions as a world renowned choreographer include Calcium Light Night, Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet.

Martins has accompanied the Ballet on their annual summer journey up to Saratoga, and has taken the time to speak with us this morning.

  Andrews Sill is the Associate Music Director of New York City Ballet. He joined New York City Ballet in the spring of 2009 and served as Interim Music Director from 2012 to 2015. He also serves as Music Director of Milwaukee Ballet.

Andrews was just fifteen years old when he was accepted as a conducting and piano student at Yale University, where received his bachelor’s degree with honors. He continued his education under scholarship and fellowship awards from the Manhattan School of Music, earning his doctorate in 1987.

He will be conducting A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Gala program of Contemporary works on Saturday night.

Justin Peck
New York Times

  Justin Peck is a Soloist and the Resident Choreographer of New York City Ballet. He has created more than 25 works for a range of companies including New York City Ballet, the Paris Opéra Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Miami City Ballet.

In 2011, NYCB Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins designated Justin to receive New York Choreographic Institute’s first year-long choreographic residency. Peck was named New York City Ballet’s Resident Choreographer, the second in the Company’s history, in July of 2014.

His latest work Scherzo Fantastique will premiere here at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Saturday Night for SPAC’s 50th. It will be his 11th work for the Company.

  Taylor Stanley has danced at SPAC before. But, this summer marks his first performances in Saratoga as a Principal dancer.

In September 2009, Taylor became an apprentice with NYCB, and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet a year later. He was promoted to soloist in 2013 and to principal dancer in May of this year.

He will be performing a principal role in Justin Peck’s SPAC World Premiere Scherzo Fantastique which will be performed this Saturday Night as part of the Anniversary Gala. Taylor will also perform in Balanchine’s Jewels presented twice next week.

Marcia White
DONNA ABBOTT VLAHOS

  Marcia White, in a former life was a nurse and political aide, but for the past 12 seasons – she has been SPAC’s president and executive director.

In February of this year – she announced that this 50th Anniversary season – would be her last and she will retire at its conclusion. Marcia was appointed the president of SPAC in 2005 and is credited for leading major renovations, bringing the facility out of the red and maintaining SPAC’s classical offerings.

Paul Kolnik

  Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater grew from a now-fabled performance in March 1958 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Led by Alvin Ailey and a group of young African-American modern dancers, that performance changed forever the perception of American dance.

In 2008, a U.S. Congressional resolution designated the Company as "a vital American cultural ambassador to the world" that celebrates the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance heritage.

Before his untimely death in 1989, Alvin Ailey named Judith Jamison as his successor, and over the next 21 years, she brought the Company to unprecedented success. Ms. Jamison, in turn, personally selected Robert Battle to succeed her in 2011, and The New York Times declared he "has injected the company with new life."

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will perform at SPAC in Saratoga Springs on July 8th and 9th.

Courtesy Michael Torke

Composer Michael Torke will be premiering a new piece to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Saratoga Performing Arts Center this August. The piece, titled “Unconquered,” was rehearsed for the first time this week by the Philadelphia Orchestra.  In the third part of a series on the creation of the work, Torke tells WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard about his reaction to hearing the piece for the first time.

Just hours before Wednesday’s kickoff LiveNation concert at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul warned of the stepped-up presence of law enforcement.

Saratoga Performing Arts Center

SPAC announced the capital campaign at its annual meeting Wednesday, intending it to coincide with the organization’s 50th anniversary season.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

American composer Michael Torke has just finished writing a new piece of music to commemorate Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s 50th Anniversary.

Courtesy Michael Torke

Renowned American composer Michael Torke, who has produced pieces for the Atlanta Olympic games, Disney, and penned numerous operas, is premiering a new work with the Philadelphia Orchestra at Saratoga Performing Arts Center this summer.

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