Artist Talk with Sydney Dance Company, March 5

Sydney Dance Company is a legendary force in Australian contemporary dance. Its performances have appeared on the great dance stages of the world, from the Sydney Opera House in Australia, to the Joyce Theatre in New York, the Grand in Shanghai and the Stanislavsky in Moscow. In 2009, Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela’s sensuous aesthetic initiated a new chapter in the annals of the legendary Sydney Dance Company. The company makes its Boston Debut with March 4 & 5, and limited tickets are still available!

Celebrity Series is pleased to offer an artist post-performance talk on Sunday, March 5, with Rafael Bonachela. This 20-minute talk, moderated by Peter DiMuro of The Dance Complex, will be held in front of the stage immediately following the Sunday afternoon performance. In anticipation of the engagement, DiMuro shares his thoughts on the company and its Boston debut.

If a dance concert were a meal, we’d expect an appetizer, main course, dessert. The appropriate wines and perhaps a cappuccino would be delightful! The appetites sated, and we’d have a complete taste sensation.

Seeing an evening of dance, or evening of music at the symphony, can be similar to a fine meal. Unlike a play, which more often deals with a narrative, music and dance exist in the same category of abstraction. And, this is the same abstraction I find when trying to understand how that fine meal I have just eaten does what it does to make me feel so deliciously full and completely taste-bud tantalized! I just…feel it! Continue Reading

Arts for All, Boston Community, Dance, Neighborhood Arts

Arts for All! Mattapan Concert Featuring Chittick Elementary School and Sumner Boys and Girls Club With Jean Appolon Expressions & Masary Studios

Video Production: Kristín Otharsson
Photos: Robert Torres

On February 4th, Celebrity Series lit up the Mildred Ave Community Center in Mattapan with a free community concert of Haitian dance, innovative percussion and video projections, and performances by children from Chittick Elementary and Sumner Boys and Girls Club. The concert was part of our Neighborhood Arts program, which partners with Boston area artists and community organizations in six Boston neighborhoods, offering interactive, artist-led workshops for youth, free public performances in neighborhood venues, and free tickets to main stage performances.

The performance featured students from Chittick Elementary School and Sumner Boys and Girls Club. Neighborhood Arts Artist Ryan Edwards worked with students at Chittick and Sumner to compose original music for dance in his in-school workshops. These compositions provided the music for original dances performed by their peers. At Chittick, students worked with Haitian contemporary choreographer Jean Appolon of Jean Appolon Expressions (JAE), and at Sumner, students worked with dance instructor La’Toya Jackson. The afternoon also showcased performances by Jean Appolon Expressions (JAE)  and  Masary Studios, (drum kit, marimba, video projection) led by Ryan Edwards.

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Artist Talk: Jessica Lang Friday January 27th

Founded in 2011, Jessica Lang Dance (JLD) is a New York City-based dance company dedicated to creating and performing the work of Jessica Lang (a former dancer with Twyla Tharp) who was hailed as “a master of visual composition” by Dance Magazine. The recipient of a 2014 Bessie Award, JLD seamlessly incorporates striking design elements and transforms classical ballet language into artfully crafted, emotionally engaging contemporary works.

Celebrity Series is pleased to offer an artist post-performance talk on Friday January 27. A 20-minute talk with Jessica Lang, artistic director, will be held in front of the stage immediately following the Friday performance moderated by Peter DiMuro of The Dance Complex. DiMuro offers his perspective of the company ahead of its Boston debut below!

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Interview with The Danish String Quartet

They call themselves “harmless modern Vikings.” These three Danes and a Norwegian make up the Danish String Quartet (DSQ), one of classical music’s most intrepid rising ensembles. The three Danish members met when they were just teens at a summer music camp where they would play football and collaborate musically for hours on end. After a personnel change in the ensemble, they added Norweigan cellist Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin to the quartet and its current iteration was born. Celebrity Series audiences might remember them from their 2013 Debut Series concert when the quartet made their Boston debut and cemented their status as a strikingly intrepid chamber ensemble.

Violist Asbjørn Nørgaard says of their beginnings, “We started out playing string quartet in our early teens as an excuse to hang out, and on some level it is still like this. When you are with good friends, you don’t have to yell to be heard. It is the same playing chamber music with friends.”

The creative spirit the quartet brings to concert stages across the globe makes them uniquely qualified to bring an adventurous program to their Celebrity Series concert on January 28: three Beethoven string quartets juxtaposed with Schnittke’s String Quartet No. 3.

“Schnittke, who is famous for his ‘polystylistic’ technique, created his third string quartet by mainly using material from Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge and Orlando de Lassus’ Stabat Mater,” Nørgaard says. “So the juxtaposition of the Beethoven and Schittke is quite obvious…the Grosse Fuge being one of the most frustrated and angry pieces of music ever written. Interestingly, the audience often finds the Beethoven Grosse Fuge more ‘modern’ and ‘difficult’ than the Schnittke.”

As part of DSQ’s commitment as an ensemble to music making and exploration, they founded the DSQ-Musikfest about a decade ago. This homegrown festival allows the DSQ members to experience a “creative playground,” as Nørgaard describes it.

“Basically we do everything: the programming, the fundraising, the rigging of the room, we build a bar, we pick up the beer we want to be served (or we brew it), we are the stage managers, we introduce the music etc…and this is maybe what makes the festival most unusual. Because we made everything, the room feels like our private living room. The audience is not an audience, they are our guests and everybody helps each other to get a good experience. Everyone is pretty relaxed and we believe that this is a prerequisite for truly experiencing the depth that is so unique in classical music.”

On January 28 the Danish String Quartet will make Jordan Hall their living room and Boston audiences will be their guests.

Don’t forget to reserve your tickets!

Danish String Quartet
Saturday, January 28, 2017, 8pm — NEC’s Jordan Hall
Tickets $30 and up



Arts for All, Boston Community, Classical, Dance, Neighborhood Arts, News, Public Art


Celebrity Series is proud to announce that the organization has been awarded a $600,000 grant from the Barr Foundation. The grant award covers 30 months of activity to support artistically innovative programming,  deepen community engagement initiatives and upgrade our website.

Gary Dunning, President and Executive Director of the Celebrity Series, noted, “We are thrilled to receive this significant award from the Barr Foundation. This investment will catalyze artistic innovation and growth on concert stages, in our community collaborations, and in our work in the public realm. We are deeply grateful to the Barr Foundation for this meaningful vote of confidence in our work.”

Mixcla, Stave Sessions 2016

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Arts for All, Boston Community, Neighborhood Arts, Special Events

Stringfest: Shaw Pong Liu & Sandeep Das at the Salvation Army Kroc Center

Christani Pal, Community Engagement Assistant
Photos: Robert Torres

For her Fall residency with Celebrity Series, Shaw Pong Liu worked with four youth string ensembles on Chinese pieces that she arranged, as well as presented string workshops in schools across the city of Boston. Her collaboration with ensembles from Bridge Boston Charter School, Conservatory Lab Charter School, Boston CityWide String Orchestra, City Strings United and the Atlantic Youth Orchestra culminated in two spectacular performances alongside tabla player Sandeep Das as part of the Neighborhood Arts: Dorchester and Roxbury Stringfests.  Continue Reading


Diana Damrau and Xavier de Maistre’s performance cancelled

Celebrity Series of Boston has announced the cancellation of this Sunday afternoon’s scheduled performance by soprano Diana Damrau with harpist Xavier de Maistre. Ms. Damrau has severe bronchitis and sincerely regrets the cancellation. The recital was scheduled to take place on Sunday, December 4, 2016, at 3pm at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA.

The Celebrity Series of Boston is looking into the possibility of rescheduling the recital. Ticket holders are requested to retain their tickets until they receive notification of a rescheduled date or options to exchange, take a credit on their accounts, or donate tickets. Ticket holders may also receive a refund. Refunds will be issued at place of purchase. Patrons may also call Celebrity Series of Boston at (617) 482-2595.

Classical, Vocalist

“Soprano Diana Damrau Will Partner with harpist Xavier de Maistre, for a “one-of-a-kind musical experience.” Sunday December 4th

Soprano Diana Damrau is an international sensation. Known around the globe as one of the most sensitive interpreters of song and operatic roles, she is making her Celebrity Series of Boston recital debut on Sunday, December 4 at 3pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall. She will partner with harpist Xavier de Maistre, a rare musical combination for a vocal recital. Of a recent recital at Carnegie Hall, The New York Times proclaimed, “How much personality, how much dramatic fire, can you fit into the narrow dynamic range between pianissimo and mezzo piano — between really quiet and pretty quiet — and still project to the last row…A great deal, as it turns out.”

As one of the most sought-after interpreters of song, her recital will comprise of mostly French songs by Debussy, Hahn, Chausson, Duparc, and others, as well as a set of German songs by Strauss, and two harp solo arrangements for Mr. de Maistre. In advance of this weekend’s recital, Ms. Damrau spoke with the Celebrity Series by email to share some special insights about the program.

When asked why she decided to sing these songs with a harp rather than with a piano, Ms. Damrau replied that “The duo with harp is incomparable with the usual voice and piano duo. For me none replaces the other. Especially the French mélodies and Strauss songs match the possibilities of the harp very well. We are presenting a selection of our favorites of the French repertoire. “While looking forward to the entire recital experience, she is most looking forward to “L’invitation au voyage” by Duparc, a haunting melody of longing for the future in a new land full of beauty and delight. The gently rolling piano accompaniment originally composed for the song translates into the harp’s instrumentation with ease.

Of the recital, with such lush and moving music, Damrau invites you to “come and listen” to the unique sounds of the voice and harp for this one-of-a-kind musical experience. In the intimate setting of Jordan Hall, you will never be closer to what is sure to be a captivating afternoon of music making at the highest level.

Tickets and more information here.