Spoleto Festival USA Announces Bank of America Chamber Music Program Details

Credit: Spoleto Festival USA

The program for the this year's Spoleto Festival USA, taking place May 25th through June 10th, features more than 160 ticketed events spanning numerous categories.

Programming for the Bank of America Chamber Music Series features a range of masterpieces, new works, Bernstein favorites, and Queen. There will also be two world premieres from composer-in-residence Doug Balliett.

Here's how Spoleto Festival USA describes this year's opera program:

Geoff Nuttall, The Charles E. and Andrea L. Volpe Director for Chamber Music, announced details of the 11 programs—33 total concerts—to be performed during the 2018 Spoleto Festival USA season.

Beginning Friday, May 25, at 1:00pm, the Bank of America Chamber Music series will echo through Charleston’s historic Dock Street Theatre twice daily, filling the intimate space with melodies spanning more than 400 years. The varied programs reflect Nuttall’s eclectic tastes and passion for music within and beyond the traditional canon. Interspersed with Nuttall’s wit and animated commentary, concerts flow effortlessly from 16th-century songs to new arrangements of popular hits, made famous by the likes of Peggy Lee and Queen.

A backbone of the Festival since 1977, the Bank of America Chamber Music series has championed fresh musical talents, often in the early stages of their careers. This year, Festival debuts will include English trombonist Peter Moore, who, in 2014 at just 18 years old, became the youngest musician ever appointed to the London Symphony Orchestra as co-principal trombonist—a title he continues to hold today. His prodigious blend of artistry and virtuosity can be heard in such works as Robert Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, op.73 (Program VI) and Brian Lynn’s mercurial Doolallynastics (A Brief Torture for Solo Trombone) (Program VIII).

Also new to the Festival will be the JACK Quartet, one of the world’s most in-demand string ensembles. Lauded for their dedication to new American compositions, the artists will perform during Programs I – V, in works by such composers as Pauline Oliveros, Joshua Roman, and Philip Glass—including Glass’s new String Quartet no. 8, which the JACK Quartet premiered in February 2018. On Programs II and X respectively, JACK Quartet and Peter Moore will play in world premieres by the 2018 Bank of America Chamber Music series composer-in-residence Doug Balliett.

Based in New York City, composer Balliett—also an accomplished and active double bassist, radio personality, and Juilliard School professor—will present four works during the Festival, including two world premieres: Gawain’s Journey, an octet for St. Lawrence String Quartet and JACK Quartet, and Fanfare for Trombone, Double, Bass, and Bass Clarinet. Taking an enthusiastic and vigorous role in the series, Balliett will also play double bass on eight of the 11 programs. Additionally, he has arranged the 1986 Queen song, “Who Wants to Live Forever” for 12 musicians. Appearing on Program XI, the arrangement will feature vocalist Paul Groves, a decorated tenor who has performed with the Metropolitan Opera for 25 seasons. Program XI will also feature several male voices of the illustrious Westminster Choir singing Franz Schubert’s “Gesang der Geister über den Wassern,” D 714, conducted by Festival Director for Choral Activities Joe Miller.

Renowned countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, who, in 2017, sang the title role in Spoleto Festival USA’s Farnace, will return to the Dock Street Theatre this year for the third time to perform during Programs I – III. Showcasing remarkable vocal range, Costanzo’s performances include the Peggy Lee tune, “Fever;” “Somewhere,” by Leonard Bernstein; and works by composers John Dowland and George Frideric Handel. Programs IV – VII will feature pianist Inon Barnatan, described by The New York Times as “one of the most admired pianists of his generation.” This year will mark Barnatan’s seventh season playing with the Bank of America Chamber Music series since 2010.

Barnatan, Costanzo, and Groves are just three among a distinguished group of returning musicians, beloved by Festival audiences for their onstage camaraderie and expert musicianship alike: pianists Pedja Muzijevic and Gilles Vonsattel, oboist James Austin Smith, violinist Livia Sohn, clarinetist Todd Palmer, violists Meena Bhasin and Masumi Rostad, cellists Nina Lee and Joshua Roman, and the St. Lawrence String Quartet.

Each of the Bank of America Chamber Music series’ 11 programs are performed three times with two performances daily at 11:00am and 1:00pm in the 463-seat Dock Street Theatre, located at 135 Church Street. The series is also recorded and broadcast by South Carolina Public Radio and syndicated nationally and internationally by the WFMT Radio Network.

Tickets to the 2018 Bank of America Chamber Music series can be purchased anytime at spoletousa.org or by calling the Festival box office at 843.579.3100 from 10:00am to 6:00pm Monday through Friday and from 10:00am to 2:00pm on Saturdays. Beginning May 1, tickets will be available at the box office as the Charleston Gaillard Center.

The full 2018 program and an event calendar can be found here.

Tickets can be purchased by phone at 843-579-3100 and online at spoletousa.org. Tickets can also be purchased in person through the Spoleto Festival USA Box Office at the Gaillard Center (95 Calhoun Street) beginning on Monday, May 1st.

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