Whether it is Emmy Award-winning acting, the best guitar quartet in the world, or a trio of sisters breathing new life into classical music, Hope College?s Great Performance Series (GPS) has it all.
The season opens Thursday, Sept. 19, at the Knickerbocker Theatre with Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, a company that, according to series coordinator Derek Emerson, has been defining jazz dance since 1962. "Both their choreography and dancers have received ecstatic reviews, and their performance will be a great start to the season," Emerson said. The company's visit to Hope College is partially underwritten by the Heartland Arts Fund Program that is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs.
On Thursday, Oct. 17, GPS welcomes the first of two 2001 Van Cliburn piano competition finalists when Wang Xiaohan performs at Dimnent Memorial Chapel. The competition, Emerson noted, is one of the toughest in the world, and only six finalists are selected. The youngest finalist, the 20-year-old Wang showed he is a risk-taker when he performed one of his own compositions in the competition, a practice typically discouraged. Wang, from China, has been performing internationally for several years.
When the Ahn Trio hits the stage on Wednesday, Nov. 6, the members will bring with them a combination of talent, Juilliard training and a take-no-prisoners attitude, according to Emerson. The three Korean sisters have established themselves in the classical world, but have also appeared on MTV and have been featured in magazines such as "GQ," "Time" and "Vogue," and Emerson noted that their fresh approach should please both the new and old classical music fan. "The Washington Post" said that the trio "balanced unanimity and individuality in a spirit that is at the heart of chamber music."
The spring semester will begin with Anthony Zerbe, a favorite from the 2000-01 season. "Two years ago, Anthony Zerbe and Roscoe Lee Browne stunned our audience with their spoken-word performance," Emerson said. Now the Emmy Award- winning Zerbe, a veteran of stage, television, and movies, returns to GPS in his one-man show on the works of E.E. Cummings, "It's All Done with Mirrors," on Saturday, Jan. 11, at the Knickerbocker Theatre. Fresh from filming the two sequels to the hit movie "The Matrix," Zerbe will spend a week on campus directing Hope students in their own spoken- word performance.
The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet will perform at Dimnent Memorial Chapel on Tuesday, Feb. 18. Emerson described the quartet as a collection of four outstanding guitarists who combine to take guitar playing to new levels. "With concerts that appeal to fans of artists ranging from Bach to Led Zeppelin, the quartet shows why its recordings consistently hit the Billboard charts," he said. The "Worchester Phoenix" described a concert as "a cross between avant garde highbrow and Grateful Dead-like cerebral meanderings. It was hot-blooded guitar playing at its best."
On Thursday, March 6, another young Van Cliburn finalist appears on the Dimnent Memorial Chapel stage. The Ukranian-born Oleksiy Koltakov is only 22, but has already performed all over the world. After the Van Cliburn competition, he took second place at the Murray Dranoff International Two Piano Competition. "His high-octane recital was a blistering demonstration of how many notes can fit into 75 minutes," said "The Oregonian" after a recent performance.
The series ends with the highly acclaimed Camerata Sweden on Friday, April 4, in Dimnent Memorial Chapel. "This conductor-less chamber orchestra is known for its characteristic interpretation of enchanting beauty and musical balance," Emerson said. "The New York Times" praised the group with "There's elegance, bravura, triumphant collaboration." The orchestra is under the direction of the legendary Levon Chilingirian.
All concerts being at 8 p.m. with the exception of Zerbe, whose performance begins at 7 p.m. Season tickets are available now, and cost $55 for regular adult admission, $45 for senior citizens, and just $115 for a whole family. A season subscription can save an individual the cost of three shows. Individual tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for senior citizens, and $5 for children, and go on sale approximately one week prior to the performance.
Ticket information may be obtained by calling (616) 395-6996. Additional information may also be obtained by visiting www.hope.edu/arts, which also carries links to all the performers' Web pages.