Continuing the momentum created with the current season launch of its “Music Knows No Borders” series, California State University, Northridge’s Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts has unveiled the talent lineup and opened ticket sales for its 2018-19 season.
According to Executive Director Thor Steingraber, the season will feature four world premieres, two American premieres, several of the world’s greatest orchestras, innovative jazz programs, two tributes to Hollywood legends, Broadway classics plus artists from 18 different nations who will appear on stage at The Soraya next season.
New Subscription Series tickets went on sale Tuesday; single tickets will go on sale June 12. All are available at TheSoraya.org or by calling 818-677-3000.
“The Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts proudly stands at the forefront of diversity and innovation in the arts in Los Angeles,” Steingraber said. “We continue not only to partner with Los Angeles’ finest performing artists, but to grow our reputation as a major presenter of international artists. If there were a single performance exemplifying that spirit of affirmation, it might be the Silkroad Ensemble celebrating its 20th anniversary with five new compositions.”
The 2018-19 season will open September 29, he said.
“We open with the first authorized tribute to Mexican mega-star Juan Gabriel featuring Aida Cuevas with Mariachi Juvenil Tecalitlán and CSUN Symphony,” Steingraber said. “We’ll also host a new violin concerto from Danny Elfman, jazz that crossed the Caribbean from Cuba, a fresh post-Hamilton look at the founding fathers in a new version of the musical 1776, an evening of dance dedicated to the women’s suffrage movement by the legendary Martha Graham Dance Company, Lea Salonga, Valery Gergiev conducting the Mariinsky Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Colburn Orchestra — these are the performances that define our upcoming season.”
Music Knows No Borders
“Two seasons ago we presented The Nile Project, a day-long exploration of water sustainability through the work of musicians from 13 nations,” Steingraber said. “That festival inspired us to expand our roster of artists from faraway nations and cultures, and even some from closer to home whose music promotes social change and justice. This translated into a programming initiative last year that will continue in the upcoming season with our wide breadth of international programming. As our world becomes increasingly politicized, we are committed to the belief that music can rise above the fray and speak to all of us. This year we have sourced concerts with artists that epitomize this outlook in every performance discipline: jazz, dance, theater, and classical music.”
The” Music Has No Borders” artists include Soweto Gospel Choir (October 7) celebrating the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela; Vicente Amigo from Córdoba, Spain (October 17); legendary Bossa Nova star Sergio Mendes with French-Chilean singer Ana Tijoux (October 27), Tangueros del Sur from Argentina (November 17); and Damien Sneed of the Good Shepherd Baptist Church of Augusta, Georgia in a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with the Los Angeles based Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers (January 26).
It continues with Susana Baca (Peru) and Banda Magda (Greece), two women whose voices resound in the concert hall as clearly as they do in the arena of social activism (February 22); drummer Antonio Sanchez, known for his score to the Oscar-winning film, Birdman will perform Bad Hombre featuring his band Migration (March 13-14); Red Baraat celebrating the Hindu holiday of Holi (March 28); Silkroad Ensemble with a program of new music conceived by Persian Musician Kayhan Kalhor and folklorist Ahmad Sadri (April 28); a Cinco de Mayo Festival which includes a rare performance in the United States from Ballet Folklórico Universidad De Colima (May 3); the popular Las Cafeteras from East Los Angeles (May 4) and Fiesta Con Sonia De Los Santos, originally from Monterrey Mexico, joined by musicians and dancers from Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico (May 5).
The Soraya’s season boasts a Soaring series which includes two of the greatest conductors of their generation—Valery Gergiev conducting the Mariinsky Orchestra (October 25) and Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Colburn Orchestra (January 31) in a special performance. As part of The Soraya’s ongoing celebration of Los Angeles region’s artists, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (November 16) returns with violinist Jennifer Koh. In the spring, audience favorite violinist Joshua Bell will perform chamber music with cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist Jeremy Denk (May 8).
Hollywood Comes to The Soraya!
The Soraya continues to build its strong connection to the entertainment capital with several salutes to Hollywood royalty both past and present beginning with Moon River and the Music of Henry Mancini hosted by his daughter Monica Mancini (October 13) followed by a program of the music of Harold Arlen, writer of “Over the Rainbow” hosted by his son Sam Arlen with Eden Espinosa, the Broadway star of Wicked (December 1).
In the spring, The Soraya presents Walt Disney’s groundbreaking “Silly Symphony,” a series of film shorts that married early Technicolor animation with music that led to Fantasia. “Silly Symphony” will be shown with live orchestra accompaniment performed by the CSUN Symphony (March 10) and conducted by John Roscigno.
Contemporary film composer Danny Elfman brings his symphonic work “Eleven Eleven” to his hometown for its Los Angeles premiere (April 4), to be performed by the Royal National Scottish Orchestra.
Also on tap is the Broadway musical “Singin’ in the Rain” (April 12-14) based on the 1952 MGM song-and-dance classic that immortalized Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. Organist Dennis James, one of the world’s proponents of preserving and performing the music of silent films, will be the soloist for “The Phantom of The Opera” (1925 dir. Rupert Julian) film with the New West Symphony conducted by Richard Kaufman (November 3).
Jazz at The Soraya
The Soraya continues its commitment to jazz with six top musical performances divided between the mainstage and the new intimate Jazz Club. First up on the mainstage will be National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Award winner Dianne Reeves who will perform a holiday program, “Christmas Time is Here” (December 15) followed by two big bands: Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra with Changüí Majadero (February 2) and Christian McBride Big Band (April 26). Jazz Club welcomes the return of LA’s own wild Up with a new work that riffs on legendary John Coltrane’s classic 1966 album of Ascension (November 8, 10). In January, The Soraya welcomes the Branford Marsalis Quartet (January 24) and the Vijay Iver Sextet will make their Soraya debut in the spring with two performances. (May 10-11).
wild Up’s Double Header
Los Angeles-based wild Up, directed and conducted by Christopher Rountree, will be featured in two very diverse programs. The first is an intimate performance in The Soraya’s Jazz Club, of Ascension, inspired by John Coltrane’s legendary 1966 album (November 8, 10). wild Up will then collaborate with the Martha Graham Dance Company for the world premiere of The EVE Project, honoring the Centennial of the 19th Amendment – a program choreographed by women, featuring female protagonists, and including “Chronicle,” Graham’s unforgettable 1936 anti-war masterpiece. After The Soraya performance, The EVE Project will embark on a two-year world tour.
More Shape & Motion at The Soraya
The 2018-19 dance programming at The Soraya includes the fourth year of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet (January 19) and Ballet Preljocaj known for taking the world’s classic stories and turning them into new dance works performing La Fresque, based on the Chinese folk tale (April 18).
VPAC Has a New Name, The Soraya
In July 2017, the venue was renamed the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts in honor of Younes and Soraya Sarah Nazarian’s transformative $17 million gift. The gift was one of the largest in the history of the California State University and the system’s largest single gift to support the arts.
“With our new name — Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts — we extend a broader embrace, both onstage and in our auditorium,” Steingraber said. “As the artists on stage have diversified, so have the audiences, growing to reflect one of the nation’s most diverse campuses, as well as the diversity of Los Angeles itself.”
The Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts is located on the campus of California State University, Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge 91330-8448, at the corner of Nordhoff and Lindley.