Carolina Performing Arts announces 2016-2017 season line-up

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Carolina Performing Arts announces 2016-2017 season line-up


(Chapel Hill, NC – May 18, 2016) – Carolina Performing Arts (CPA) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will present 46 performances by internationally renowned artists for its 12th season.


Highlights for the 2016-2017 season include two festivals: “Sacred/Secular: A Sufi Journey” and “Glass at 80,” along with CPA’s most extensive visiting orchestras series to date, featuring the Chapel Hill debut of the legendary Vienna Philharmonic, led by conductor Franz Welser-Möst. CPA will also celebrate leading voices in American dance by presenting three groundbreaking women choreographers who are shaping the future of dance in America.



“Sacred/Secular: A Sufi Journey” includes a schedule of performances throughout the year alongside campus and community dialogues exploring Sufism as a spiritual and cultural lens into Islam. The objective of the series is to raise awareness about the plurality of the Muslim identity and the inextricable link between local culture and religion.


“We believe that art serves as a singularly unique way of seeing and understanding the world,” said Emil Kang, CPA’s executive and artistic director. “We are pleased to present performances by artists who come from different corners of the world.”


Featured are performers from four Muslim-majority nations outside the Arab world—Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan and Senegal—alongside artists responding to the values of Sufism through new works and expressing the equally pluralistic and diverse views of culture and faith in the United States.



“Glass at 80” is a 10-day festival taking place Feb. 1 to Feb. 10, 2017, which celebrates the 80th birthday of composer/performer Philip on Jan. 31, 2017. Glass will be in residence on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus for the duration of the festival performing, lecturing and discussing the impact of his work. He has written for orchestra, chamber ensembles, dance, opera, theater and film, and was one of the most important voices in the advent of minimalist music. His associations with leading artists, including Twyla Tharp, Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen and David Bowie, date back to the 1960s. Four of Glass’s main collaborators will be joining CPA – Laurie Anderson, Lucinda Childs, Dennis Russell Davies and the Kronos Quartet.


“Philip Glass is one of the most influential composers of the 20th century,” said Kang. “We’re honored to be presenting the definitive celebration of his 80th birthday.”


Glass is the first composer to win a wide, multi-generational audience in the opera house, concert hall, dance world, cinema and popular music simultaneously. Festival highlights also include “Heroes Tribute: A Celebration of the Music of Philip Glass, David Bowie and Brian Eno,” featuring musicians from Grammy Award-winning Indie Rock label Merge Records on Feb. 3 and “The Complete Piano Etudes” on Feb. 6, featuring 10 pianists each performing two études.



In addition to the Vienna Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony makes its North Carolina debut with music director Michael Tilson Thomas performing Mahler’s first symphony. Bach Collegium Stuttgart and Gächinger Kantorei will perform J.S. Bach’s masterpiece, “St. John Passion” on Good Friday. The China Philharmonic led by music director Long Yu will premiere a new concerto by composer Chen Yi commissioned by CPA for UNC-Chapel Hill piano professor Clara Yang. Bruckner Orchester Linz returns with an all-Philip Glass program led by its music director and longtime Glass collaborator Dennis Russell Davies.



CPA is also celebrating Women in American Dance with performances by three leading female dancer/choreographers. Seattle based company zoe | juniper will perform a new multi-disciplinary work, co-commissioned by CPA, titled “Clear & Sweet.” Nora Chipaumire, former dancer of Urban Bush Women, will present “portrait of myself as my father,” which draws upon the physical vocabulary of sports as well as traditional movement from Zimbabwe. Chapel Hill native and 2015 MacArthur Fellow, Michelle Dorrance will present a new work titled “ETM: Double Down.” Dancers use wooden platforms that amplify their feet; they also trigger the recording and playback of the rhythms they’re creating as they dance.



Hill Hall, the historic heart of the music department in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill, is slated to reopen in early October after an 18-month, $15 million renovation. Work is centered on improvements to Hill Hall’s rotunda and 450-seat auditorium in the century-old building, which served as the University’s first library. The performance space will be renamed the James and Susan Moeser Auditorium in honor of the former chancellor and his wife, who are organists and teachers at Carolina. As part of the opening celebration, CPA will feature returning favorites, string quartet Brooklyn Rider, joined by mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter.



CPA’s Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded Arts@TheCore initiative is now in its fourth year and is designed to integrate the performing arts into the academic work of the entire University. The Curatorial Fellowship is a component program that allows members of Carolina’s distinguished faculty to curate a series of performances that align with his/her own research. CPA will feature two works selected by its third Arts@TheCore Curatorial Fellow, Dr. GerShun Avilez. British performer Joe Sellman-Leava’s one-man show “Labels” explores mixed heritage, immigration and the bridges and barriers formed in a multicultural Britain. Shaina Lynn’s “Bayou Blues” questions the current impact of colonialism and race on communities of color in the United States.



CPA continues to commission new works and highlights two for the 2016-2017 season. The first is a work for Martha Graham Dance Company by Belgian/Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. The piece is inspired by Sufi poetry and accompanied by Turkish traditional music, in connection with “Sacred/Secular: A Sufi Journey.” The second commissioned work features dance/visual art team zoe | juniper’s “Clear & Sweet”—an inquiry into Sacred Harp singing.


Returning favorites in 2016-2017 include mandolinist Chris Thile, tap ensemble Dorrance Dance, string quartet Brooklyn Rider, Senegalese vocalist Youssou N’Dour, bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers, Carolina Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, jazz pianist/composer Vijay Iyer, Martha Graham Dance Company and Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov.


“One of the things the arts do best is reveal nuance and complexity,” said Kang. “Our 16/17 season sets us on the path to explore several important issues facing our society today.”


The season kicks off on Sept. 9 with “Mystical Music,” featuring Iranian master instrumentalist and composer Hossein Alizadeh.


Single tickets and subscriptions go on sale to the general public on June 8, 2016. For more details on the 2016-17 season, including ticket information and an interactive, digital brochure, please visit


2016-17 SEASON


Fall 2016

Sept. 9: “Mystical Music” – Hossein Alizadeh

Sept. 12: Chris Thile

Sept. 14 & 15: “ETM: Double Down” – Dorrance Dance

Sept. 18: “Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity” – Ping Chong + Company

Oct. 5 & 6: “Clear & Sweet” – zoe | juniper

Oct. 7: Brooklyn Rider with Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo-soprano

Oct. 14: Richard Thompson

Oct. 25: “Sufi Songs” – Youssou N’Dour

Oct. 28: “The House is Black” – Sussan Deyhim

Nov. 7: Isabelle Faust, violin and Alexander Melnikov, piano

Nov. 10: “portrait of myself as my father” – nora chipaumire

Nov. 11: Steep Canyon Rangers

Nov. 16 & 17: “Labels” – Joe Sellman-Leava

Dec. 3 & 4: “The Nutcracker” – Carolina Ballet

Dec. 8: China Philharmonic Orchestra, Long Yu, music director and conductor, Clara Yang, piano

Dec. 10: “Big Band Holidays”Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Catherine Russell, vocalist


Spring 2017

Jan. 13: Shemekia Copeland

Jan. 20: “Wayang Bocor” – Eko Nugroho

Jan. 27: Nani Topeng Losari

Feb. 1: Bruckner Orchester Linz Performs Philip Glass, Dennis Russell Davies, chief conductor, Robert McDuffie, violin

Feb. 3:  “Heroes Tribute”: A Celebration of the Music of Philip Glass, David Bowie and Brian Eno, featuring A Merge Records Group and UNC Symphony Orchestra with Tonu Kalam, conductor

Feb. 6: “The Complete Piano Etudes” by Philip Glass

Feb. 7: “Dance” – Lucinda Childs Dance Company

Feb. 9: “Dracula” – Philip Glass and Kronos Quartet, Michael Riesman, conductor

Feb. 10: “Words and Music in Two Parts” – Philip Glass and Laurie Anderson, featuring The Philip Glass Ensemble, Michael Riesman, music director and conductor

Feb. 17: Marcus Roberts and the Modern Jazz Generation

Feb. 23 & 24: “Bayou Blues” – Shaina Lynn

Feb. 27: Vienna Philharmonic, Franz Welser-Möst, conductor

Mar. 2: “Dara” – Ajoka Theatre

Mar. 3: Steve Earle

Mar. 7: Vijay Iyer Sextet

Mar. 8: Mark Padmore, tenor and Jonathan Biss, piano

Mar. 23 & 24: Martha Graham Dance Company

Mar. 31: Sounds of Kolachi

Apr. 5 & 6: San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas, music director and conductor, Gautier Capuçon, cello

Apr. 12: Sanam Marvi

Apr. 14: J.S. Bach’s “St. John Passion”, Bach Collegium Stuggart and Gächinger Kantorei Hans-Christoph Rademann, music director and conductor

Apr. 18: Behzod Abduraimov, piano




About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.


About Carolina Performing Arts

The mission of Carolina Performing Arts (CPA) is to enrich lives by creating and presenting exceptional arts experiences and connecting them to the UNC community and beyond. Established in 2005 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CPA presents the very best from the full spectrum of the performing arts: internationally renowned recitalists and orchestras, chamber ensembles, jazz, folk, and world music artists, dance and theater. CPA strives to nurture artistic innovation and the development of new works on and off campus; to challenge and inspire audiences with powerful and transformative performances; and to integrate the arts into the life of the University, embracing its mission of teaching, research and public service.

Carolina Performing Arts contact: Mark Z. Nelson, (919) 966-3834,

Communications and Public Affairs contact: MC VanGraafeiland, (919) 962-7090,