With a Little Help from Our Friends

A Chamber Orchestra is launched; a weekend of flamenco dance and music; cabaret legend Ute Lemper presents a US premiere…

Symphony Space welcomes our fans of Selected Shorts, Wall to Wall, and multi-disciplinary projects on a regular basis, but as a venue, we also offer much more. There are over 600 events in our theatres every year, not all of them produced by Symphony Space. This week, I want to give a shout out to some upcoming shows by visiting presenters that I am especially excited about.

Tomorrow in the Sharp Theater, Ensemble Échappé performs its first ever full concert. Co-founded by composer Nina Young, the brand new chamber orchestra will perform music by a host of contemporary composers including Elliott Carter’s mighty and dazzling Asko Concerto. I first heard this piece 14 years ago at Carnegie Hall and was blown away by such inventive and powerful music — written when Elliott was 92 years young, no less!

When many people think of Symphony Space, they think of world music and for good reason — the World Music Institute has called Symphony Space its home for decades. The first of their two residencies begins next weekend with a three-day flamenco extravaganza called Festival Ay! Mas Flamenco. The festival features leading singers, musicians, dancers, and more. I myself am excited to see dancer and innovator Joaquin Grilo, long associated with the legendary flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia, in action.

In May, cabaret star and longtime friend of Symphony Space (she appeared in the Cabaret and Kurt Weill Wall to Walls), Ute Lemper brings her brand new multimedia project to the Sharp Theatre. The 9 Secrets is based on Brazilian author Paulo Coelho’s novel Manuscript found in Accra, and features Middle Eastern guitars and percussion, bass, bandoneón, piano, shepherd flutes, and saxophones. I am thrilled that Ute has chosen Symphony Space as the place for the US premiere of this work.

These three performances are just the tip of the iceberg: Symphony Space hosts more than 300 events by visiting presenters every season! It’s always wonderful for me to see how our stages are used by our wonderful colleagues, and I hope that you as the audience find joy in the diversity of programs offered here almost every day of the year!

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