Spoleto Festival USA’s Annual Auction will take place on Friday, February 21st, at the masterfully restored Charleston Visitor Center, 375 Meeting Street. Auction guests will be among the first to see the renovations to this historic warehouse, originally built from 1840 to 1856. Beginning at 6:30 pm, guests will enjoy a cocktail hour followed by a seated dinner from MOSAIC Catering + Events, in addition to a performance from Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra cellist Najette Abouelhadi, who will play a moving selection from this season's opera Omar. The evening will culminate with lively auction bidding for exclusive experiences and rare items. Event tickets are available online at spoletoauction.com or by calling 843.720.1114.
The Annual Auction benefits the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, one of the country’s most prestigious ensembles for young professional musicians—and one that is consistently lauded in the press. Writes Charleston’s Post and Courier: “We should count ourselves fortunate to have such a fantastic ensemble available to us.” In 2020, more than 80 instrumentalists will make up the ensemble; the Orchestra is assembled anew each year following a series of nationwide auditions. The Festival’s Resident Conductor and Director of Orchestral Activities John Kennedy handpicks each musician for their artistry and versatility. This season, the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra will perform the world premiere of Rhiannon Giddens’s opera, Omar, as well as selections from Edmund Thornton Jenkins, Franz Liszt, and Gustav Holst in a program titled The Planets. Other orchestral highlights include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Max Richter’s re-composition of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, and a screening of Jordan Peele’s thrilling film, Get Out, with live orchestration of the Michael Abels score (conducted by Abels himself).
Auction guests will have the opportunity to bid on sponsorships of Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra members (starting at $500) for their residency during the 2020 season. Funds raised help offset the cost of musicians’ housing and travel. Other live auction items will include a Viking River Cruise for two; a luxurious week in Turks and Caicos for six; a trip to Dallas with front-row seats to a Mavericks basketball game, and more. Items featured in the live auction can be viewed at spoletoauction.com through Friday, February 21, at 3:00pm. Proxy bids can be placed until that time. The accompanying online auction with additional items will run from February 17 to March 1 at spoletoauction.com.
Spoleto Festival USA works closely with donors, including artists and galleries, to ensure the terms of donations are transparent and mutually agreed upon. One-hundred percent of the funds raised from the silent and live auctions is allocated to the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra. Spoleto Festival USA is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization.