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Harris Theater to celebrate 10th anniversary in grand style

MarizPortugal’s Fado star will perform concert Harris Theater for Music Dance Oct. 23.

Mariza, Portugal’s Fado star, will perform in concert at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance on Oct. 23.

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Updated: May 15, 2013 12:22AM

This fall will mark the 10th anniversary of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, that 1,500-seat venue adjacent to Millennium Park that has made its mark by presenting an audacious array of performances by world class artists from both Chicago and around the globe.

Driven by the motto “collaborate, innovate, and celebrate,” the theater plans to celebrate its first decade in grand style, with a slew of premieres and debuts, including performances by its nearly three dozen resident companies.

The centerpiece of the 2013-2014 season will be 10 designated performances, scattered throughout the year, selected because they illustrate the Harris’ mission of presenting collaborative new works, diverse programming, and critically-acclaimed artists and ensembles. The pivotal “10 for the 10th” are:

— Sphinx Virtuosi featuring the Harris debut of mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves (Oct. 1): Graves will join this alumni ensemble of young, award-winning African-American and Latino string musicians for a program including works by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Bach, Vivaldi, and Piazzolla.

— Les Violons du Roy with special guest mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, conducted by Bernard Labadie (Oct. 17): In her Harris debut, Blythe will join this acclaimed Canadian chamber music ensemble in a program of selections by Gluck and Handel.

— Michael Tilson Thomas & New World Symphony (NWS) (Oct. 19): This program will include a Harris commission featuring work by videographer Netia Jones, plus Chicago Opera Theater soloists, and violinists from Music Institute of Chicago. Comprised of the country’s most promising young classical musicians, the NWS will perform Italian composer Niccolò Castiglioni’s “Inverno In-ver,” for which Jones will create a one-of-a-kind video/visual installation. The Italian-themed concert will open with a selection of violin duets by Luciano Berio that will pair NWS violinists with musicians from Music Institute of Chicago. The performance will conclude with Igor Stravinsky’s ballet score, “Pulcinella,” with soloists from Chicago Opera Theater.

— Mariza, Portugal’s Fado star (Oct. 23): The three-time Grammy-nominee returns to the Harris with a new program that includes songs from all her recordings (including several never performed before a live audience), plus her favorite songs from other artists.

— The complete Bach Brandenburg Concertos performed by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (Dec. 18): This concert opens CMS’ third year of residency at the Harris Theater.

— Savion Glover’s STePz (Jan. 24, 2014): This new project, in its Chicago premiere, will showcase Glover’s unique approach to tap dance and sound that fuses traditional music selections of the past with his distinctively new tap style, his feel for the complexity of jazz phrasing, his flair for improvisation and his “energy of the future.”

— Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet (Feb. 27-28, 2014): This virtuosic San Francisco company, seen this past season in collaboration with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, returns by itself for two programs — “Constellation,” King’s ground-breaking collaboration with artist Jim Campbell, which will include a live performance by Israeli mezzo-soprano Maya Layhani, and a new piece with renowned double bassist and composer Edgar Meyer.

— New York City Ballet star Wendy Whelan’s “Restless Creature” (March 20, 2014): A program of duets featuring work by choreographers Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s resident choreographer, Alejandro Cerrudo.

— Trey McIntyre Project (April 3, 2014): The world premiere of a Harris-commissioned work in which musicians from the Music Institute of Chicago will perform live with this high-energy contemporary American dance troupe that has gained an international reputation.

— France’s Ballet Preljocaj in “Blanche Neige”/“Snow White” (May 2-4, 2014): The Chicago debut of this acclaimed Provence-based troupe puts a contemporary spin on the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale with a full-length story ballet choreographed by Angelin Preljocaj, set to music from Mahler’s symphonies, and featuring sexy, warrior-inspired costumes by haute couture designer Jean Paul Gaultier and sets by Thierry Leproust. Preljocaj’s work (which will involve a bit of nudity except at Sunday’s matinee), is marked by the use of everything from inventive gestures to acrobatic wall climbing.

Additional music performances will further enhance the programming of the “10 for the 10th” season:

— The Cuatro Festival (Nov. 23): Featuring the Puerto Rican Philharmonic Orchestra, presented in collaboration with the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance Puerto Rican Arts Alliance, in a program exploring the West African and Spanish history of Puerto Rico’s Vejigante tradition.

— Conductor and violinist Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica (Feb. 7, 2014): Featuring this chamber ensemble of the most talented musicians from the Baltic region, as well as Kremer’s performance as a solo violinist in pieces by Weinberg and Shostakovich.

— The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s French Revelations program (March 18, 2014), featuring the work of Ravel, Debussy, Roussel and others; and a special performance (April 29) by co-artistic directors David Finckel and Wu Han of the complete Beethoven’s Cello Sonatas.

Completing the 2013-2014 season is the popular Family Series, featuring three engaging shows f about an hour each, specially created for children ages 4 to 9 and their families.

New to the 2013-2014 season is the Harris Flex Pass option, which gives patrons the flexibility to choose their own package of any 3 or 5 performances with access to the best seats and prices before single tickets go on sale. For additional information and tickets call (312) 334-7777 or visit

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