Performing Arts Series

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2016-17 Performing Arts Series

Welcome to another great season of performances in the Performing Arts Series! All performances begin at 7:00 pm, with doors opening at 6:30 pm. All performances are presented in the Richard & Helen Brodbeck Concert Hall located inside the Center for the Arts.

Tickets for all performances are available through the University Box Office, located in the lower level of Ullsvik Hall. Call 608.342.1298 or 877.727.1CFA (toll free) or use the Online Box Office at

Murder on the Nile

Aquila Theatre Company

Tuesday, October 25

Our production of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Nile is set in the early 1940s during World War II at the BBC Home Service studios in London. Air raid sirens were a regular occurrence in London during this time as Great Britain was on constant alert to bombings by Germany. Members of the theater troupe have arrived and are preparing for a live radio broadcast of Murder on the Nile. But yet another air raid has prevented the full cast from assembling and yet the show must go on… somehow.

Note: The “da-da-da-dum” timpani sound heard in the play is from an actual BBC wartime broadcast. The rhythm is Morse code for the letter “V” and was known as the “V for victory” signal. It was broadcast several times a day on the BBC as a morale booster for both the embattled British and occupied Europeans, who embraced the theme as a beacon of resistance to Nazi tyranny and the sound of freedom.

AGATHA CHRISTIE® Murder on the Nile © 1948 renewed 1976 Agatha Christie Limited. All rights reserved.

This performance is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Lyle & Ruth Olson Fund. And by a grant from the Bert Glanz Fund for Classical Theater.

SPECIAL NOTE: A member of the cast will meet with audience members at 6:00 pm in the CFA's Vocal Rehearsal Room to talk about the play and take audience member's questions. Please plan to enjoy a cash bar and snacks in the CFA Lobby starting at 5:30 pm prior to the session.

Communist Daughter

Communist Daughter

Thursday, November 10

A few years ago, Johnny Solomon was a fixture in the tight knit Twin Cities music scene. Forming the angular indie pop band Friends Like These and touring extensively, he received critical praise from far flung sources that looked like the beginning of a promising career.  The rising success masked his struggle with addiction and mental health problems, and quickly eclipsed his career, landing him in jail and treatment facilities across the country.  By the end of that whirlwind, he had retreated to a small town across the border in Wisconsin where he assumed his music days were over. 

But when he moved out of the city, his demons followed him and he spent his nights writing and recording what he thought would be his eulogy, songs about lost love and lost chances, He recruited some friends to come out and put it all to tape. Calling his new band Communist Daughter, they released their debut album “Soundtrack to the End” in 2010.  As they gained national attention, Johnny put all of it on hold and checked himself in to rehab one more time.

In 2012, Communist Daughter returned with a clear eyed John, including his now wife Molly Solomon, bassist Adam Switlick, Steven Yasgar on Drums, Al Weiers on guitar and Dillon Marchus on keys.  They put out an EP “Lions & Lambs” and began touring the country again and gaining national attention.

By 2014 they had entered the studio to spend the next 2 years crafting their sophomore release.  Working with Producer Kevin Bowe (Replacements, Meat Puppets) they recorded in and out of studios trying to capture the deeply personal songs in a much more deliberate style.  Going from studio to bedroom to studio again they created an album with 11 songs running the gambit from high peaks to dark lows.  They took the finished tracks to Nashville where Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Benjamin Booker) put the final mix together, and then had Heba Kadry (Future Islands, And You Will Know Us…) master the final product in NYC.  

2016 will see the release of their highly anticipated sophomore album “The Cracks That Built The Wall.’  And look for a clear eyed Communist Daughter to return to the road for tour dates all over the country.

This performance is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Dorothea Wilgus Pickard Fund.

Maria Schneider

Maria Schneider

Friday, February 3

The 2017 Jazz Festival's special guest is composer and conductor Maria Schneider. Schneider’s music has been hailed by critics as “evocative, majestic, magical, heart-stoppingly gorgeous, and beyond categorization.”  She and her orchestra became widely known starting in 1994 when they released their first recording, Evanescence.  There, Schneider began to develop her personal way of writing for what would become her 18-member collective, made up of many of the finest musicians in jazz today, tailoring her compositions to distinctly highlight the uniquely creative voices of the group.  The Maria Schneider Orchestra has performed at festivals and concert halls worldwide.  She herself has received numerous commissions and guest-conducting invites, working with over 85 groups from over 30 countries.

Schneider’s music blurs the lines between genres, making her long list of commissioners quite varied, stretching from Jazz at Lincoln Center, to The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, to collaborating with David Bowie.  She is among a small few to have received GRAMMYS in multiple genres, have received the award in both jazz and classical categories, as well as for her work with David Bowie.

Schneider has become a strong voice for music advocacy and in 2014, testified before the US Congressional Subcommittee on Intellectual Property about digital rights.  She has also appeared in CNN, and has been quoted in numerous publications for her views on Spotify, Pandora, digital rights and music piracy.  Most recently, she and concerned colleagues in New York have launched a widespread campaign on behalf of music-makers, 

Her recent collaboration with her orchestra and David Bowie resulted in his single called, "Sue (Or In A Season of Crime),” and brought her a 2016 GRAMMY (Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals).  Schneider and her orchestra also received a 2016 GRAMMY for their latest work, The Thompson Fields (Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album).

Ms. Schneider's appearance is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Brodbeck Theater Fund.

Third Coast Percussion

Third Coast Percussion

Friday, April 21

These “hard-grooving” musicians (New York Times) have become known for ground-breaking collaborations across a wide range of disciplines, including concerts and residency projects with engineers at the University of Notre Dame, architects at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, astronomers at the Adler Planetarium, and more. The ensemble has also designed free iPhone and iPad apps that allow audience members to create their own musical performances and take a deeper look at the music performed by Third Coast Percussion.

Third Coast Percussion is the Ensemble-in-Residence at the University of Notre Dame's DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, a position they assumed in 2013. They have the honor of being the first ensemble at the University of Notre Dame to create a permanent and progressive ensemble residency program at the center. Third Coast Percussion performs multiple recitals annually as part of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center’s Presenting Series, engages with the local community, and leads interdisciplinary projects in collaboration with a wide range of disciplines across campus.

Third Coast’s passion for community outreach includes a wide range of residency offerings while on tour, in addition to long-term community engagement residencies at home in Chicago. In addition to its national performances, Third Coast Percussion’s hometown presence includes an annual Chicago series, with four to five concerts in locations around the city. The ensemble has collaborated in performance with a wide range of artists and performing ensembles including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Eighth Blackbird, Glenn Kotche, and video artists Luftwerk.

The members of Third Coast Percussion —Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and David Skidmore— hold degrees in music performance from Northwestern University, the Yale School of Music, the Eastman School of Music, the New England Conservatory, and Rutgers University. Third Coast Percussion performs exclusively with Pearl/Adams Musical Instruments, Zildjian Cymbals, Remo Drumheads, and Vic Firth sticks and mallets.

This performance is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Mary & Isabel Cunningham Fund.

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