The Walker's Provocative Lineup; Accordo Returns; Poetry and Pirates

By Espeland, Pamela | MinnPost.com, May 18, 2012 | Go to article overview

The Walker's Provocative Lineup; Accordo Returns; Poetry and Pirates


Espeland, Pamela, MinnPost.com


I can't say exactly when the Walker started mailing a Performing Arts Season catalog (not a misnomer; last year's ran 36 pages). I know that for fans of the arts, the Walker, and Philip Bither's programming, it's like the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book. As you turn the pages, you see a lot of things you want and a few eyebrow- raisers.

The 2012-13 season was announced Thursday. Dozens of events over eight months include six commissions, three world premieres, five residencies, exclusive U.S. engagements, the 40th anniversary of the Choreographers' Evening and the 25th year of Out There, a festival of new theater.

Plus a John Zorn-a-thon that begins at 3 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon and may end sometime after midnight at a nearby cathedral. Laurie Anderson is coming, and Deborah Hay, two members of the band Wilco, Ben Frost, Miguel Gutierrez, Hofesh Shechter Company, many women from Africa, Craig Taborn, Elevator Repair Service and more. Several visiting artists will work with local artists.

To describe everything in the season would take at least 13 pages (the length of the Walker's press release). You can read about it all online. In a nutshell, the season honors established artists and encourages emerging ones, continues and builds relationships, promotes individualism and collaboration, and is both diverse and inclusive. It looks to be provocative, hilarious, beguiling and disturbing. It is not about staying in your comfort zone. Describing the season and its potential effects on the audience, Bither used the word "cellular." Tickets are on sale now.

As of May 14, 53 Minnesota arts organizations and hundreds of artists have endorsed the Minnesotans United for All Families campaign to defeat the marriage amendment. Two related events are scheduled for Monday, May 21. For artists and arts organizations: a kick-off Arts Coalition Meeting at the Pantages Theatre at 6 p.m. RSVP to Laurel Wales, regional organization director, at 651-757- 5471 or here. For anyone interested: "Breaking Barriers," an evening of music, poetry, and conversation to benefit Minnesotans United for All Families at the Bridgewater Community Room, 215 10th Ave. S. in Minneapolis, from 5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. Expected to be on hand: Jim Detmar, Sally Wingert, Greta Oglesby, Tracey Maloney, Dennis Spears, Bradley Greenwald, John Calvin Rezmerski and others. FMI or RSVP to Roland Froyen.

After a successful third season, the chamber group Accordo has announced that it will return in 2012-13 with four concerts (up from three), starting Oct. 15 with works by Haydn, Bartok, Dohnanyi and Mozart. The remaining concerts are scheduled for Dec. 3, Feb. 3, 2013, and May 6. Tickets go on sale July 23.

Formed in 2009, Accordo spent its first two seasons at the Southern. Now c0-presented by the Schubert Club, Northrop Concerts and Lectures, and Kate Nordstrum Projects, it has a new home at the architecturally significant, acoustically fine Christ Church Lutheran in Minneapolis' Longfellow neighborhood, where Pastor Kristine Carlson and an army of volunteers have literally thrown open the doors. (Church members serve cookies and lemonade in the courtyard during intermission, and they caution you not to trip over steps on your way in.) It's as if Accordo, left homeless by the Southern's financial debacle, was adopted by three wise parents and a host of doting aunts and uncles. Attendance has been strong and reviews glowing. At the reception following Monday's concert, this season's closer, Schubert Club director Barry Kempton told the crowd that Accordo is nearly in the black.

Earlier this week, the Strib's Graydon Royce wrote about how classical music is moving out of big concert halls and into small venues. He focused mostly on Accordo but also mentioned a concert earlier this year at the Bryant-Lake Bowl by members of the Minnesota Orchestra and musicians from New York. (That was a great night.) If you enjoy classical music in intimate, casual spaces, you don't have to wait for Accordo's next season or another rare event like the BLB concert. …

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