SPAC

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.

  Legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp is in our region for the next 6-weeks for the Capital District/Hudson Valley Pathways To Dance Initiative. The project, supported by a $90,000 grant from the NYS Regional Economic Development Council, is designed to support dance programs and performance at ten venues in eight upstate counties.

A work-in-progress showcase will occur April 16 at the Catskill Mountain Foundation's Orpheum Film and Performing Arts Center in Tannserville, with a premiere set for June 30th at SPAC.

Joe Donahue interviewed Twyla Tharp about her legendary career and upcoming projects in a conversation before a LIVE audience at Page Hall in Albany.

Joe Donahue / WAMC

On Tuesday, legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp joined representatives from the Catskill Mountain Foundation, Proctors, and Saratoga Performing Arts Center to announce Pathways To Dance. The initiative, supported by a $90,000 grant from the NYS Regional Economic Development Council,  is designed to support dance programs and performance at ten venues in eight upstate counties.

As part of the program, Tharp will revisit two repertory dances and create a new work at a six-week Catskills residency. Tharp says she wants to create an evening that's easy to understand.

Saratoga Performing Arts Center

There’s been a major shakeup at one of our region’s most important arts organizations. Marcia White, President and Executive Director of Saratoga Performing Arts Center, recently announced her retirement effective at the conclusion of SPAC’s upcoming 50th season.

SPAC

Executive director Marcia White, who has served Saratoga Performing Arts Center for 11 years, announced her retirement Friday, saying the upcoming 50th season will be her last.

Saratoga Performing Arts Center

The two-day 39th annual Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival will begin Saturday, June 25th.

ChrisBotti.com / Sony Music Entertainment

Jazz trumpeter Chris Botti is a Grammy Award-winning composer and musician who, in his words, is on a non-stop tour. Coming off a lengthy string of performances in New York City, Botti is set to leave for a world tour.

Saratoga Performing Arts Center

The 15th Annual Saratoga Wine and Food Festival & Concours d'Elegance kicks off this weekend. 

Our region is remembering a man who helped to tell its story. Ed Lewi, who was press director of the Lake Placid Olympics in 1980 and did p.r. for Saratoga Race Course for decades, died Saturday at 81.

HIROYUKI ITO/GETTY / www.newyorker.com

  Nico Muhly is a composer of chamber music, orchestral music, sacred music, opera, ballet, and music for collaborators across a variety of fields.

Earlier this year The Philadelphia Orchestra, under the direction of Yannick Nezet-Seguin premiered a commissioned piece from Muhly entitled “Mixed Messages.”

They will be playing it this Saturday night at SPAC in a program that also includes works by Glazunov, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, and Tchaikovsky.

Tyler Boye

Guitarist Jason Vieaux is performing at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on August 16 with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Jason was the 2015 Grammy Winner for Best Classical Instrumental Album, for his CD Play.

At the age of 36, German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser is a celebrated musician who has performed with orchestras around the world.

  Recognized internationally as a conductor of the highest calibre, Stéphane Denève has won praise from audiences and critics alike for his performances and programming. We first met him a few years ago at Tanglewood and he has been one of our favorite guests ever since.

Denève enjoys close relationships with many of the world’s leading solo artists and is also a conductor of opera – having worked at the Royal Opera House, La Scala, Netherlands Opera, Cincinnati Opera and with many other phenomenal companies around the world.

Pages