Spoleto Festival USA coverage

Melissa Stern

  Hailing from New York City, Melissa Stern has brought her traveling exhibition, The Talking Cure to Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston SC. The show is a multi-media project featuring clay sculpture and a drawing blend with creative writing, the spoken word and mobile technology. Viewers are encouraged to look, listen and read while considering their own interpretations of the work.

The Talking Cure is on exhibit at Redux Contemporary Art Center ,136 St Philip St, Charleston, through August 6, 20016.

Porgy (Lester Lynch) and Bess (Alyson Cambridge).
Julia Lynn Photography

The iconic opera of the Jazz Age, Porgy and Bess, by George and Ira Gershwin with DuBose Heyward, returns to Charleston, its city of origin, in a Spoleto Festival USA production. David Herskovits, whose 1998 production of Mamba’s Daughters by DuBose and Dorothy Heyward won an OBIE award and sold out at Spoleto Festival USA in 1999, returns to direct. Celebrated Lowcountry artist Jonathan Green is Visual Designer, creating the fictional "Catfish Row," based on the actual "Cabbage Row."

The Freddy Cole Quartet to perform at Spoleto Festival USA's Wells Fargo Jazz Series.
Courtesy of the artist

Freddy Cole

  Younger brother of the late Nat King Cole, Freddy Cole has been hailed as one of the best male jazz singers of his generation. He performs with his quartet at Spoleto Festival USA.

Spoleto Festival USA General Director Nigel Redden.
Peter Frank Edwards

  A native of Charleston, Edmund Thornton Jenkins was the seventh son of Reverend Daniel Jenkins, who, born a slave, founded the Jenkins Orphanage on King Street; the Jenkins Orphanage Band accompanied every Broadway performance of Dorothy and DuBose Heyward’s Porgy, the play on which Porgy and Bess was based. Edmund was the Ross Scholar at London’s Royal Academy of Music, winning awards in performance and composition before his premature death in Paris at age 32.

Cast and chorus in Act II of Porgy and Bess. The scene features a wrought iron gate that is a tribute to renowned Charleston blacksmith, Philip Simmons.
Julia Lynn Photography

Cabbage Row, in the Charleston of the 1920s, was the inspiration for "Catfish Row" in DuBose Heyward’s novel, Porgy​, and is the setting for Porgy and Bess. The opera by George and Ira Gershwin with a libretto by Hayward, is brought to life on the new Martha and John M. Rivers Performance Hall stage, just blocks from the historical Cabbage Row.

Stephen Drury is one of four pianists performing Music for 18 Musicians with members of the Spoleto Festival Orchestra.
Lisa Kohler

  Premiered 40 years ago in New York City and achieving immediate renown, Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians remains a landmark work of the 20th century, helping to define the minimalist movement with its revolutionary style. This un-conducted masterpiece showcases harmonically driven pulses that envelop listeners with waves of hypnotic and mesmerizing textures.  

Stephen Drury is one of four pianists performing "Music for 18 Musicians" with members of the Spoleto Festival Orchestra. He talks about the challenges of performing this shifting, percussive work.

U.S. premiere of Helmut Lachenmann's The Little Match Girl at Spoleto Festival USA 2016 directed by Mark Down and Phelim McDermott.
Julia Lynn Photography

  Gleb Kanasevich is no stranger to Spoleto Festival USA. Over the past four years he’s performed in various operas and as a member of the festival orchestra. This year he returns to Charleston not only as a performer in Lachenmann’s opera The Little Match Girl, but also as a composer: his piece Verpflichtet II is on the Music in Time program on Saturday, June 4th. 

Grace Notes: Reflections for Now

Jun 1, 2016
Carrie Mae Weems, 2013.
John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

  Always focused on social justice, acclaimed visual artist Carrie Mae Weems offers up Grace Notes: Reflections for Now, a provocative performance of music, song, text, spoken word, and video projection that explores our historical moment.

Spoleto Festival USA's Resident Conductor & Director of Orchestral Activities, John Kennedy.
Julia Lynn Photography

Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s sobering tale, Helmut Lachenmann's opera, The Little Match Girl, explores the character's last moments as she gazes into the dreams and memories conjured by the flames of the matched she lights in a vain attempt to keep from freezing to death. Working in collaboration with visual artists, Blind Summit Theatre and Improbable theater company, 106 members of the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra perform this astonishingly evocative score, full of clicks, crackles, knocks, and hisses, under the baton of John Kennedy.

Long-Time Spoleto Vocal Coach Relishes Her Work

Jun 1, 2016
Jake (Sidney Outlaw) and far right, Sportin' Life (Victor Ryan Robertson) and cast and chorus.
Julia Lynn Photography

    Dianne Richardson has been vocal coach for Spoleto performers since the beginning. She began her work, playing piano at rehearsals as well as coaching, at the invitation of festival founder Gian Carlo Menotti. In the early days, productions performed at Spoleto Festival USA would finish their run, then move to the Spoleto Festival in Italy.

Richardson says that, of all the wonderful productions on which she has worked at Spoleto, including Elektra, Salome and Die MeistersingerPorgy and Bess is her favorite.

Geoff Nutall, the Charles E. and Andrea L. Volpe Director of Chamber Music for Spoleto Festival USA.
Julia Lynn Photography

  Geoff Nuttall, The Charles E. and Andrea L. Volpe Director for Chamber Music for the Bank of America Chamber Music series, today announced more details about Osvaldo Golijov’s "Drag Down the Sky," which will have its world premiere during the 2016 Spoleto Festival USA season. Golijov, the series composer-in-residence, recently completed the work, and performing musicians—baritone Tyler Duncan with the St.

Jason Moran brings his Fats Waller Dance Party to the Wells Fargo Jazz Series at Spoleto Festival USA.
Clay Patrick McBride

  The Jason Moran Fats Waller Dance Party recalls the sounds of Harlem in the 1920’s with Moran’s innovative take on the music of Fats Waller.

A performance of "The Little Match Girl."
Julia Lynn Photography

Hans Christian Andersen’s story The Little Match Girl tells the tragic tale of a young girl trying to survive in the bitter cold, striking matches for warmth and reflecting on her life’s memories. Composed from 1990 to 1996, Helmut Lachenmann’s opera of the same name uses two singers to play the match girl. 

Spoleto Festival USA, Opened Friday, in Full Swing

May 31, 2016
During the opening ceremony for Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston, SC,  the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company perform an excerpt from “D-Man in the Water.”
Alexander Olgin/SC Public Radio

The 40th Spoleto Festival U.S.A. is in full swing. The music and arts festival opened Friday and runs through the middle of June. In his speech opening the event, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg says Spoleto holds a special place for him because he grew up going.

“I was like a little kid in a candy store. I was a chemistry major, but I loved music and played the piano. Every day deciding what event we were going to go to. It was just terrific.”

The Randy Weston African Rhythms Sextet will perform at the Wells Fargo Jazz Series, Spoleto Festival USA.
George Braunschweig


   Pianist Randy Weston and his African Rhythms Sextet combine the sounds of traditional African music with American jazz.

  Pianist Randy Weston was born in Brooklyn, New York, where he absorbed the influence of jazz greats such as Duke Ellington and Count Basie. He later moved to Africa to better understand his heritage and to learn how the traditional music of Africa is inherently connected with American music. He first heard the music of Africa mixed with jazz as he grew up in Brooklyn, which led him to his biggest influence, Thelonious Monk. The Randy Weston African Rhythms Sextet performs Thursday, June 2nd at 7 pm at the Charleston Gill-Yard Center.

Cecile McClorin Salvant
Mark Fitton

  Winner of the 2010 Thelonious Monk Competition, Cecile McLorin Salvant performs her interpretations of the standards and shares some original songs, too.

Steven Sloane conducts the 40th-Season Celebration Concert at Spoleto Festival USA.
Christoph Fein

Steven Sloane is a former music director of Spoleto Festival USA. He returns to the festival this year to conduct over 140 musicians for the 40th-Season Celebration Concert. The concert involves performers from all areas of Spoleto Festival USA including the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, the Westminster Choir, and musicians from the Wells Fargo Jazz series and the Bank of America Chamber Music series. Steven joins South Carolina Public Radio’s Kate McKinney to discuss the event and its program, which features music of historic significance for the festival.

Known for his kinetic sculptures and light installations, Redl’s work easily catches the eyes.
Rainer Hosch

Erwin Redl investigates the process of “reverse engineering” by (re-)translating the abstract aesthetical language of virtual reality and 3D computer modeling into architectural environments by means of large-scale light installations. In his current show at the Halsey Institute of Charleston, his work displays strict methodologies which employ binary logic as well as tropes of minimalism to exuberant extremes.

Geoff Nutall, the Charles E. and Andrea L. Volpe Director of Chamber Music for Spoleto Festival USA.
Julia Lynn Photography

  After seven years as director of the wildly popular Bank of America Chamber Music series, violinist Geoff Nuttall has no plans to tinker with his formula for success. The series, which spans the length of the festival, treats audiences to both staples of chamber music repertoire—like Haydn’s “The Joke” quartet—and new works. This year, Osvaldo Golijov returns as composer-in-residence for the series. Geoff Nuttall joins SCPR’s Kate McKinney to talk about his work and the many parts that make the series a success. 

René Marie
Janice Yim

  From Dina Washington to Earth Kitt, René Marie embodies the spirit and sophistication of the great female jazz vocalists. This Spoleto Festival, Marie will perform set including new original music.

Arturo O'Farrill
John Abbott

Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra bring big-band jazz from across the globe to the Spoleto Festival USA Jazz series during the festival's opening weekend.