Cleveland Museum of Art Announces Lineup for Annual Spring Performing Arts Series

click to enlarge Fatoumata Diawara. - KENNY MATHIESON
Kenny Mathieson
Fatoumata Diawara.
The Cleveland Museum of Art’s annual Performing Arts Series regularly draws some of the top musical acts from around the world. Just this week, the museum announced the schedule for this year’s program, and the lineup features a range of internationally renowned artists.

“We are so pleased to be able to offer concerts in the museum again and are reminded how essential music is to all of us,” says Tom Welsh, director of performing arts, in a press release.

The series commences with a Cleveland Institute of Music Organ Studio session that takes place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 27. Conservatory musicians from the Cleveland Institute of Music in the studio of acclaimed organist Todd Wilson will present an afternoon recital of works for solo organ on the museum’s McMyler Memorial Organ.

Then, African superstar Fatoumata Diawara performs at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2. Hailed as one of the most vital standard-bearers of modern African music, Diawara is “boldly experimental” yet respectful of her roots.

China native Wu Wei swings into town at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 11. A sheng soloist who has helped to develop this 4,000-year-old Chinese wind instrument into an “innovative force” in contemporary music, Wei studied the sheng at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and was a soloist with the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra before studying at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin, where he's now based. His performance will include traditional and contemporary Chinese music as well as masterworks of the European baroque period.

A professional chamber choir conducted by Donald Nally, the Crossing performs at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 25. It's committed to working with creative teams to make and record new, substantial works for choir that explore and expand ways of writing for choir, singing in choir and listening to music for choir. The concert includes the world premiere of Stacy Garrop’s “In a House Besieged.” It'll feature guest organist Scott Dettra. Garrop’s work is the first Robert G. Schneider memorial commission. Schneider taught for more than 30 years as the chair of the Music Department and director of choirs at Shaker Heights High School; he died in 2018.

Tabla master Zakir Hussain performs at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20. The preeminent classical tabla virtuoso of our time, Hussain is renowned for his genre-defying collaborations. He’ll deliver an evening of Indian classical music with guests Kala Ramnath (violin) and Jayanthi Kumaresh (veena).

The Creative Fusion: Composers Series Performance will feature Aleksandra Vrebalov’s Antennae at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 13, in the Ames Family Atrium. Inspired by the CMA’s Icon of the Mother of God and Infant Christ (Virgin Eleousa) on view in CMA's Byzantine gallery, Antennae is a site-specific concert. The evening-length work for large choir, organs, trumpets and percussion will feature three Serbian monks singing a Byzantine chant while surrounded by the Cleveland Chamber Choir and other musicians from the community. Vrebalov’s music ranges from concert music and opera to music for modern dance and film, and has been performed by Kronos Quartet, Serbian National Theater, English National Ballet, Belgrade Philharmonic and many others.

In addition, organist Nicole Keller, associate organist at Trinity Cathedral (Episcopal) of Cleveland and faculty member at Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music, will play at a date to be announced. She’s performed around the world in venues including St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris and the Kazakh National University of Arts in Astana, Kazakhstan. Her concert at CMA will be a solo recital on the McMyler Memorial Organ and will feature works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Calvin Hampton, Rayner Brown, Paul Hindemith, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Florence Price.

Unless noted, all performances take place at the museum's Gartner Auditorium.

Tickets for individual performances are on sale now, and prices range by location of seating. Members receive a 10 percent discount on tickets. Special student rates are available for select performances. Tickets can be reserved by calling the CMA’s ticket center at 888-CMA-0033 or by going to cma.org/performingarts.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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