The 2021-22 Season will mark the 10th Anniversary and the reopening of the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya). In celebration and as a welcome back after the pandemic, The Soraya is offering the special gift of five free concerts to the public. To my knowledge, no other performance venue has done this until now. Of the nearly 50 performances being presented at The Soraya during its upcoming season, the free concerts will be presented throughout the Fall season and will include the Saturday October 16 Opening Night with Afro Latin Jazz master Arturo O’Farrill, the LA Philharmonic’s Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen leading the Colburn School Orchestra, Christmas in Vienna with the legendary Vienna Boys Choir and the annual holiday celebration Nochebuena with Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles and Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéller.

The Soraya’s Executive & Artistic Director, Thor Steingraber, in front of The Soraya - Photo credit Luis Luque

The Soraya’s Executive & Artistic Director, Thor Steingraber, in front of The Soraya – Photo credit Luis Luque

“This coming fall, when you enter The Soraya’s doors, you know you will have made it—safe and sound, across the threshold into a new era, rejoining a community that embraces artistic excellence and the global expression of our joyful humanity,” said Thor Steingraber, The Soraya’s Executive and Artistic Director. “Reopening The Soraya is more than lighting the lights and unlocking the doors. It’s an invitation to open your hearts, minds, eyes, and ears.”

He continued, “In a little more than a decade, The Soraya has proven its resilience more than once, and in every instance, our audiences’ commitment to our exquisite home is exceptional. For our 10th anniversary, we’ve planned a homecoming for beloved and familiar artists who once graced our stage.”

Martha Graham Dance Company - Appalachian Spring - Photo credit Melissa Sherwood

Martha Graham Dance Company – Appalachian Spring – Photo credit Melissa Sherwood

Among the returning artists on the 2021-22 season is the Martha Graham Dance Company, led by Artistic Director Janet Eilber, on November 19, 2021, at 8 PM. The company’s program will include Graham’s widely acclaimed Appalachian Spring choreographed in 1944. At The Soraya, the Graham Company’s performance will be accompanied with Aaron Copland’s iconic music score performed live by Los Angeles-based music group Wild Up lead by Artistic Director and Founder Christopher Roundtree. This will mark the Martha Graham Dance Company’s fourth appearance at The Soraya.

The list of other returning artists include Esa-Pekka Salonen & the Colburn Orchestra, La Marisoul, Branford Marsalis, Stewart Copeland in a unique performance of  music of The Police, Joshua Bell, Marco Beltrami, Vadym Kholodenko, Aida Cuevas, David Sedaris, John Eliot Gardiner, Megan Hilty, Joshua Henry, conductor Richard Kaufman, and The Soraya’s new Artist-in-Residence Étienne Gara.

Étienne Gara participates in two much anticipated programs: Delirium Musicum Chamber Orchestra with Gara performing works of two contemporary composers – Philip Glass and Max Richter, each in response to Vivaldi’s beloved Four Seasons. In a second program, film composer Marco Beltrami transforms Bach’s preludes also performed by Delirium Musicum.

Lizz Wright - Photo credit Alexander Thompson Megan Hilty - Photo courtesy of the artist Stewart Copeland - Photo courtesy of the artist David Sedaris - Photo credit Adam DeTour The Soraya venue in at CSUN campus in Northridge, Calif. - Photo credit Luis Luque
Stewart Copeland - Photo courtesy of the artist.

“The long wait is finally over for all of us,” said CSUN’s new President, Erika D. Beck. “Audiences from every walk of life in LA’s vibrant cultural tapestry, the re-opening of The Soraya will be a momentous occasion, an opportunity to reunite as a community, to celebrate our resilience, and to emerge into a world made better by the awe-inspiring power of live performance.”

Other highlights of The Soraya’s 2021-22 Season La Marisoul and Aida Cuevas performing their Linda Ronstadt program; Deranged for Orchestra; YAMATO – the Drummers of Japan; and a Broadway evening with Megan Hilty (Broadway and Hollywood Wicked; NBC’s Smash); Joshua Henry (Broadway Carousel, Tour Aaron Burr Hamilton); and The Count Basie Orchestra celebrates Ella Fitzgerald.

The list of FREE concerts include: Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra Fandango at the Wall with Special Guests the Villalobos Brothers and the Conga Patria Son Jarocho Collective (October 16, 2021, at 8 PM); The Colburn Orchestra Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor; Vienna Boys Choir, Christmas in Vienna (Sunday, November 20, 2021 at 3 PM); Disney’s FANTASIA Live in Concert, Richard Kaufman conducting (Saturday, December 4, 2021 at 3 PM); and Nochebuena, Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles, and Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéller (Friday, December 10, 2021 at 8 PM, and Saturday, December 11, 2021 at 3 PM.)

The Soraya offers a sneak-peak at the 2021-22 Crescendo series, a wide ranging eleven classical music concerts including Esa-Pekka Salonen & the Colburn Orchestra performing Shostakovich and Bruckner; the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with Vasily Petrenko in a program of Britten, Elgar and the Grieg Piano Concerto with piano soloist Olga Kern; the LA Jewish Symphony with violinist Lindsay Deutsch in a program inspired by the Violins of Hope; pianist Vadym Kholodenko; Russian National Orchestra playing the Tchaikovsky Fourth; Academy of St Marin in the Fields with Joshua Bell in its eighth Soraya performance; the St. Lawrence String Quartet; and Sir John Gardiner conducting a Baroque program of Haydn and Mozart.  Tickets for the Crescendo series go on sale in September.

Additional Jazz, Dance, and other offerings for Spring, 2022, will be announced in September.

For a full look at The Soraya’s 2021-22 Season, Tickets, and Safety/Health protocols, please visit The Soraya website HERE.

Written by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle.

Featured image:  Martha Graham Dance Company – Appalachian Spring – Photo credit Melissa Sherwood