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Eastman Presents shows range from a 100-year celebration of the Eastman Theatre to goat-skin drums

Eastman School of Music
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The 100th anniversary of Eastman Theatre, jazz guitarist John Scofield, the strings of the Ying Quartet and a performance by the Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine in the shadow of the Russian invasion of its home country, are among this season’s Eastman Presents shows.

The Lviv orchestra, playing 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31 at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, is being presented as a separate concert from the five series of events taking place at either Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, Kilbourn Hall or Hatch Recital Hall. The orchestra, led by Ukrainian-American conductor Theodore Kuchar, and featuring violinist Vladyslava Luchenko, will play Brahms’ “Tragic Overture,” Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 6.

Tickets to all concerts are available at eastmantheatre.org or by calling (585) 274-3000.

The diverse series of Eastman Presents concerts includes:

Centennial Celebration Concerts in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre

  • ­­The Eastman Theatre Centennial Concert: 8 p.m. Sept. 24. The evening includes the Eastman Philharmonia presenting Strauss’s “Don Juan,” conducted by Neil Varon; Hanson’s Symphony No. 2, “Romantic,” performed by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Andreas Delfs; and a joint performance of the world premiere of “The Cathedral” by Eastman alumnus Jeff Beal. 
  • Prism Concert: “Centennial Rhapsody,” 8 p.m. Sept. 30. The Eastman Wind Ensemble and the Eastman Chorale perform the music of George Gershwin throughout the theater, including Eastman professor Marina Lomazov as the featured pianist for “Rhapsody in Blue.” 
  • The Rochester premiere of Kevin Puts’ “The Brightness of Light,” 8 p.m. Oct. 1. Neal Varon conducts the Eastman Philharmonia on the piece by Eastman grad Puts, which includes soprano Nicole Cabell and baritone Rod Gilfry, with text from letters of artist Georgia O’Keefe and photographer Alfred Stieglitz. 

Kilbourn Concert Series, Kilbourn Hall

  • Voices: 3 p.m. Sept. 25. Twenty-four ensemble singers of Western New York’s Voices celebrate the group’s 16th season. In past years, its vocal chamber music concerts have included two complete cycles of Bach’s motets, as well as the first U.S. performances of works from the Renaissance and the French Baroque. 
  • Anne Sofie Von Otter & Kristian Bezuidenhout, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11. The mezzo-soprano von Otter and keyboardist Bezuidenhout, an Eastman grad, present lieder and other piano pieces. 
  • Imani Winds, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26. Since 1997, the wind quintet has created new music as well as pulled from a cross-culture catalog of classical and jazz, performing with Yo-Yo Ma and Wayne Shorter and on compositions from Mendelssohn to Miles Davis. 
  • Septura Brass Septet, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27. In its Kilbourn debut, the seven-member brass ensemble of players from Britain performs its own arrangements of classical works. 
  • John Scofield, 7:30 p.m. April 8. The three-time Grammy-winning guitarist roams the fields of bebop, blues, jazz-funk, organ jazz, acoustic chamber jazz, electronica groove music, jam band and orchestral ensembles. 

Eastman-Ranlet Series, Kilbourn Hall

  • Ying Quartet, 3 p.m. Nov. 13; 3 p.m. Jan. 29; and 3 p.m. March 26. The classical quartet-in-residence at the Eastman School of Music performs three Eastman-Ranlet Series concerts during the season. 
  • Brentano Quartet, 3 p.m. Dec. 4. Making its Kilbourn debut, the ensemble presents the music of Dvořák and the three years he spent in America in pursuit of “American music,” and the American spirituals admired by the composer: works by William Grant Still, George Walker, Charles Ives and Steven Mackey. 

Eastman Piano Series, Kilbourn Hall

  • George Li, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14. In his return to Eastman, Li plays Schumann, Ravel and Stravinsky’s “Petrushka.” 
  • Marc-André Hamelin, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30. The New York Times called Hamelin “a performer of near-superhuman technical prowess.” That should be enough. He’s known for not only performances of the familiar, but also archaeology that uncovers lesser-known works dating back to the 19th century. 
  • Benjamin Grosvenor, 7:30 p.m. March 28. This wide-ranging program includes works by Bach/Busoni, Schumann, Ravel, and Prokofiev. 
  • Bruce Liu, 7:30 p.m. April 28. The Canadian pianist was the winner of the 2021 Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. For his Eastman debut, Liu presents a Chopin program. 

Barbara B. Smith World Music Series, Hatch Recital Hall

  • Qwanqwa, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27. These Ethiopian musicians work with the mesenko (a one-stringed fiddle), the krar (an electric lyre), wah-wah violin, and the kebero (goat-skin drum). 

Copyright 2022 WXXI News

Jeff Spevak has been a Rochester arts reporter for nearly three decades, with seven first-place finishes in the Associated Press New York State Features Writing Awards while working for the Democrat and Chronicle. He has also been published in Musician and High Times magazines, contributed to WXXI, City newspaper and Post magazine, and occasionally performs spoken-word pieces around town. Some of his haikus written during the Rochester jazz festival were self-published in a book of sketches done by Scott Regan, the host of WRUR’s Open Tunings show. Spevak founded an award-winning barbecue team, The Smokin’ Dopes, and believes Bigfoot is real. His book on the life of a Lake Ontario sailor who survived the sinking of his ship during World War II will be published in April of 2019 by Lyons Press.