Founded in 1977, Spoleto Festival USA is an annual 17-day performing arts festival that presents leading artists in classical and popular music, jazz, dance, and theater, contributing to the rich cultural fabric of Charleston. The 2018 season includes more than 150 ticketed events in a dozen locations on the downtown peninsula.
Highlighting the Spoleto Festival USA 2018 season are:
- The Festival’s new production of Salome opens the season in the Charleston Gaillard Center
- Joby Talbot’s Path of Miracles sung by the Westminster Choir with staging by John La Bouchardière (El Niño, 2014)
- The Westminster Choir also gives two solo concerts, which include work from such ranging composers as Claudio Monteverdi, Stephen Leek, and Ēriks Ešenvalds. And on June 4th, the Choir, together with the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus, performs Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. John Passion
- In an evening called Classical Showcase, the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, led by conductor Michelle Rofrano, will highlight works from both the classical and neo-classical periods, including Fanny Mendelssohn’s Overture in C and Stravinsky’s “Dumbarton Oaks” Concerto in E-flat
- Several world premieres
- On May 30, Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai presents the world premiere of Letter to a Friend in Gaza, a theatrical performance that stitches together film, music, and poetry as four actors—two Israeli and two Palestinian—present texts exploring exile and repatriation
- Roots, a world premiere from 1927, draws together folktales from pre- industrialized civilizations for its newest multimedia production, blending hand-crafted animation, music, and live performance
- A world premiere oboe quintet from American contemporary composer Paul Wiancko accents the Bank of America Chamber Music series. Created specifically for oboist James Austin Smith and the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the new work will debut on one of the 11 eclectic chamber music programs, all organized by violinist and host Geoff Nuttall and announced in full in April
- Some of the Festival’s most popular theater and dance companies are returning
- Shakespeare’s Globe (Romeo and Juliet, 2015) is offering a rotation of Twelfth Night, The Comedy of Errors, and Pericles, as well as the exuberant and historically informed Audience Choice events, letting attendees collectively choose which play to see in the moment
- Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company—making its sixth Festival appearance—is presenting Analogy Trilogy, three evening-length dance-theater works inspired by W. G. Sebald’s 1992 collection of narratives, The Emigrants. On June 1, the company is performing each of the pieces back-to-back, in their intended trilogy.
- The 2019 Wells Fargo Jazz series
- Bass and vocal phenomenon Esperanza Spalding opens the series with two nights in the College of Charleston Cistern Yard, before drummer Terri Lyne Carrington leads a star-studded tribute (featuring saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, pianist Craig Taborn, bassist Robert Hurst, and tap dancer Maurice Chestnut) to visionary pianist Geri Allen, who passed away in 2017
- Carla Bley—an NEA Jazz Master whose 60-year career spans hundreds of compositions and self-produced albums—brings her wit and progressive voice to the Festival for a nowadays rare US concert
- Pianist David Virelles and master Cuban percussionist Román Díaz; Dafnis Prieto Big Band, whose breakout album Back to the Sunset was nominated for a 2019 Grammy Award; and Mark Turner (saxophone) and Ethan Iverson (piano) in duo.
- The First Citizens Bank Front Row series
- Grammy-nominated acoustic quintet Punch Brothers
- The all- female trio I’m With Her
- Curtis Harding, known for his signature fusion of soul, gospel, R&B, and rock, headlines the Wells Fargo Festival Finale, held for the first time at Riverfront Park in North Charleston
To see the festival's complete 2019 lineup, click here.
Starting on Monday, January 7th, at 10 am, the festival's box office staff will be available to answer questions at (843) 579-3100. Call center hours will be Monday – Friday, 10 am to 6 pm, and Saturdays, 10 am to 2 pm. Click here for information about the donor pre-sale.
Spoleto Festival USA is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.