The Washington Post

Clarice Smith starts 10th season with Patti LuPone

In September the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center marks its 10th year of presenting national and international groups that follow its goal of reaching and grooming new artists and audiences by showing the artistic process.

The center has built a reputation for creating residencies and sponsoring commissions, supporting 40 new works in its first decade. In the 2011-2012 season preview, released Wednesday, the center announced long-term projects with Eiko & Koma, the Japanese-American dancers, the Kronos Quartet, the contemporary chamber musicians, Ysaye Barnwell, artistic director of Sweet Honey in the Rock, and choreographer Margaret Jenkins.

From the beginning the center has built an interactive relationship with the University of Maryland students, faculty and performance groups. In the next season the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra will work with the School of Music. They will perform Haydn’s Symphony No. 90 on December 4 and then feature pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet in a program Feb. 10.

The anniversary season, said executive director Susie Farr, “is a culmination of where we wanted to be and that fact that we made it. We are also honoring some of our partners from the past and looking at the future.”

The season opens officially September 10 with a performance by award-winning singer and actress Patti LuPone.

Barnwell is creating a cantata based on the story, “Fortune’s Bones: The Manumission Requiem,” by poet Marilyn Nelson. Fortune was a slave whose remains were exhibited publicly but he was also a doctor’s assistant and family man. The music will be performed February 25 and 26 by a full symphony and choirs.

Eiko & Koma will perform three events, beginning with a retrospective of their 35 year career on September 14 and 15. Joining the Kronos Quartet in the center’s black box theater, the group will do a four-hour installation event February 21 and 22. The third performance is a free, outdoor production May 3 through 5.

Among the commissioned works will be the world premiere September 16 of a work by composer Aleksandra Vrebalov, performed by clarinetist David Krakauer and Kronos. The center will present the East Coast debut of Margaret Jenkins’s new collaboration with media artist Naomie Kremer, poet Michael Palmer and composer Paul Dresher on February 3 and 4.

Daniel Bernard Roumain, the Haitian violinist and composer, is doing a new work that will premiere with the school’s Wind Orchestra on March 29. The piece will also premiere in New York at the Jewish Community Center.


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