Campus & Community

Newman Center Presents announces 2015-16 season

Adventurous string quartet Brooklyn Rider makes its Denver premiere on Jan. 14 as part of the Newman Center Presents concert series.

Adventurous string quartet Brooklyn Rider makes its Denver premiere on Jan. 14 as part of the Newman Center Presents concert series.

Further cementing its reputation as Denver’s primary presenter of modern dance, the Newman Center Presents series welcomes four dance companies to campus in its 2015–16 season, including the world premiere of a new dance co-commissioned from Paul Taylor. The season also features musicians ranging in style from classical and jazz to pop and Creole. Eight of the artists on the schedule are making their Denver-area debuts.

“Denver, for a couple of decades, wasn’t getting as much touring dance as other major cities,” says Newman Center Executive Director Steve Seifert. “We discovered that there was a real need that we could try to fill. Another thing we discovered is [that the Newman Center] works beautifully for dance. The sightlines are great, the seating area feels intimate compared to the size of the stage, and we have great lighting, so we can handle almost all of the technical lighting needs of dance companies without having to rent special equipment.”

The performances by Paul Taylor Dance are scheduled for Feb. 20 and 21; they are preceded on Jan. 20 by a special concert staged in conjunction with the International Association of Blacks in Dance 2016 conference, which takes place in Denver. New York City’s Kyle Abraham and his Abraham.In.Motion will perform “When the Wolves Came In,” featuring works inspired by jazz drummer Max Roach’s 1960 protest album, “We Insist: Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite.” The album celebrated the impending centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation and shed a powerful light on the growing civil rights movements in South Africa and the U.S.

Other dance performances in the Newman Center’s 2015–16 season include modern dance pioneer Twyla Tharp, celebrating her 50th anniversary in dance, on Sept. 24 and 25; and the Israeli Vertigo Dance Company on Oct. 17.

On the musical end of the scale, the new season finds the Newman Center spotlighting another of the specialties for which it has become known: young composers working at the intersection of classical, rock and world music.

“In the same way that we’ve been devoted to contemporary dance, we have been devoted also to new music, alternative classical music — nobody seems to know exactly what to call it,” says Seifert, pointing to past Newman Center Presents concerts by artists such as Alarm Will Sound and yMusic. “This upcoming season has three shows that continue to show our work in that field.”

First on that list is Brooklyn Rider, an adventurous string quartet that will make its Denver premiere on Jan. 14 with a show based on its latest album, “Almanac.”

“They went out and asked a wide variety of composers from different disciplines — jazz and otherwise — to write music inspired by whoever their creative muse was,” Seifert says. “There are pieces by jazz pianist Vijay Iyer and the great jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, as well as [pieces by] young composers who live in this interesting world between art rock and alternative classical music.”

Other adventurous music on the venue’s 2015–16 schedule includes the return of Brooklyn-bred So Percussion — this time with vocalist Shara Worden — on Feb. 6, and composer/performers Gabriel Kahane and Timothy Andres on April 2 and 3.

“Gabriel and Timothy are returning to us, this time with a show together in the recital hall,” Seifert says. “The design of the show is kind of like a mix tape, if you will: It combines classical pieces — Schubert, Schumann, Bach — with Charles Ives songs, Benjamin Britten settings of folk songs and pieces that Gabe and Timothy have written for each other to perform. The idea is to explore the singer-songwriter and the presentation of art song in a much more vernacular way than the kind of rarified way that art song sometimes get presented. It’s really an evening of song very personally presented by two very engaging young singer-songwriter-composers.”

Bringing a bit of international flavor to the Newman Center is the globalFEST On the Road “Creole Carnival” on March 29, 2016. Born from an annual global music showcase in New York City, the inaugural tour is a “mini-festival” featuring Haitian singer Emeline Michel, Rio samba masters Casuarina, and Jamaica’s one-stringed guitar virtuoso, Brushy One-String.

Also on the venue’s musical schedule are singer Michael Feinstein’s “The Great American Songbook” (Oct. 22); a cappella ensemble Anonymous 4, performing songs from the American Civil War (Nov. 15); the Boston Brass and Brass All-Stars Big Band’s “Christmas Bells are Swingin’!” (Dec. 2); the Metropolitan Opera Rising Stars Concert Series, featuring four singers from the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development program (March 5); guitarists Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge (April 21, 2016); and jazz pianist Billy Childs’ “Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro,” featuring singers Dianne Reeves, Becca Stevens and Alicia Olatuja (May 5, 2016).

New subscriptions for the 2015–16 Newman Center Presents season go on sale May 1; single tickets go on sale July 13. Visit for tickets and information.


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