Since 1984 the Bryn Mawr College Performing Arts Series has presented great artists and performances to audiences in the Philadelphia area, creating an environment in which the value of the arts is recognized and celebrated. Talks and workshops provided free to the public help develop arts awareness and literacy. The Series works to lower barriers to arts access through its partnership with Art-Reach, a nonprofit dedicated to improving arts accessibility for people of all ages and circumstances, and through its low ticket prices.
Making her Philadelphia-area debut, Julie Fowlis is set to present an evening of vibrant and moving Celtic music. Fowlis’ peerless voice and fine musicianship won her the BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year Award in 2008. After that award, the Daily Telegraph predicted that Fowlis “could be the first Scottish Gaelic crossover star in the making.” Fowlis won the Gaelic Singer of the Year Award in 2007 and Album of the Year in 2007 and 2010 at the Scots Trad Music Awards (Scottish Traditional Music Awards). Her own proudest achievement was being named her homeland’s first-ever Gaelic Ambassador by the Scottish Parliament.
Her latest album, Julie Fowlis Live at Pertshire Amber, was released in January of this year. Since the release of her award-winning album Cuilidh in 2007, Fowlis has developed her own sound with a first-class touring ensemble that includes her husband Éamon Doorley, Dublin’s Tony Byrne, and Highlander Duncan Chisholm. She has worked with artists as diverse as Bill Whelan, John McCusker, Eddi Reader, Danú, and Salsa Celtica. As part of the internationally acclaimed Transatlantic Sessions 4 series on the BBC, she has also performed with James Taylor, Martha Wainwright, Stuart Duncan, Ronan Browne, Allan MacDonald, and Liam O’Maonlai (Hothouse Flowers), among others.
“There are some voices that carry much more than a melody. They transport you to another place, give you goose flesh and make magic out of thin air. Julie Fowlis has just such a voice,” —Evening-Standard, London.
In this celebrated one-man show, Obie-winning actor and visionary Guggenheim-winning playwright David Greenspan creates a dazzling and disorienting work that according to the New York Times is “part splashy Disney musical crossed with a Greek tragedy and a kitchen-sink drama, or an evening of Samuel Beckett plays as staged by Florenz Ziegfeld.”
With only a chair and a curtain, Greenspan portrays 22 characters including President Warren G. Harding; Febus, who has been trying to write this musical about Harding for most of his life; Koreen, who had been previously hidden away from the world in a gigantic tower (a la Rapunzel) by her controlling mother Yetti; Febus’s son Barclay, and others. Anchored by the Raconteur, the audience is guided through scenes at a frenetic pace and is hurtled from place to place: a fairy-tale landscape, the smoky back rooms of a hotel in Chicago in 1920, and more.
“The truism that theater is a place for collective make-believe has never seemed more true than at “The Myopia,” David Greenspan’s madcap, mind-bending odyssey into the poetics of the stage.” —Charles Ishwerwood, The New York Times
These Eastman School of Music residents will take on Novacek, Beethoven’s Quartet in A minor, Op. 132 and a newly minted work from their LifeMusic commissioning project, for this one-night only performance. Lauded for their dazzling technique, pure tone, and intensity of expression, the Grammy-winning Ying Quartet promises a bracing musical evening.
The Ying Quartet occupies a position of unique prominence in the classical music world, combining brilliantly communicative performances with a fearlessly imaginative view of chamber music. Now in its second decade, the Quartet has established itself as an ensemble of the highest musical qualifications in its tours across the United States and abroad. The group performs regularly in many of the world's most important concert halls, from Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House. The Ying Quartet's constant quest to explore the creative possibilities of the string quartet has led it to an unusually diverse array of musical projects and interests. At the same time, the Quartet's belief that concert music can be a meaningful part of everyday life has drawn the foursome to perform in settings as diverse as work places, schools, juvenile prisons, and the White House.
“These four Midwestern siblings play together with high energy, awesome coordination and precise intonation; they are young, but they have learned all that can be taught about playing their instruments and about performing together.” —The Washington Post
John Jasperse, one of the most important dance artists working today, is set to remount his groundbreaking Fort Blossom at Bryn Mawr this winter. Supported with funds from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through Dance Advance, Jasperse revisits the work, which reveals the body in all its facets as simultaneously special, even miraculous, and ordinary.
John Jasperse Company will take up residence at Bryn Mawr the week prior to the performances, creating opportunities for the public and students to engage with this articulate and controversial artist. The schedule of activities open to the public includes a symposium with visiting scholars, an open rehearsal and several master classes.
Fort Blossom, a challenging but gorgeous work, has only been performed four times previously. The central themes of Jasperse’s ongoing works are alive in this former “research piece.”
“The contrasts in Fort Blossom are dazzling: black and white, color and neutral tones, men and women, nakedness and body coverings, intimacy in bloom and tough, blocky structures. Fort Blossom is more austere than Excessories [Jasperse’s 1995 breakout work], but no less brave, no less exquisite.” Deborah Jowitt,—Village Voice
This production includes nudity and sexual content.
The wildly popular Rennie Harris Puremovement is set to turn the world of hip-hop on its ear as the fiercely beautiful women of the company take center stage. This one-night-only show, assembled for Bryn Mawr College, will include “Breath” and “3 b-boys and a girl.” It will also feature the brazen “Something to Do With Love,” choreographed to music by Nina Simone. Recent works by Harris, including Facing Mekka, have highlighted the company’s terrific female dancers, so Bryn Mawr, an all-women’s college, zooms in on this aspect of his work.
Lorenzo (Rennie) Harris (Artistic Director, Choreographer) celebrates hip-hop culture on his own terms, creating a body of work unparalleled for its masterful use of the language of hip hop in a concert dance setting. Using music and story sources from around the globe, Harris revolutionizes contemporary dance by fusing unlikely influences into a powerful theatrical experience.
Born and raised in North Philadelphia, Harris has taught workshops and classes at universities around the country and is a powerful spokesperson for the significance of “street” origins in any dance style. In 1992 Harris founded Rennie Harris Puremovement, a hip-hop dance company dedicated to preserving and disseminating hip-hop culture through workshops, classes, lecture demonstrationson hip-hop history, long-term residencies, mentoring programs and public performances. Harris founded his company based on the belief that hip-hop is the most important original expression of a new generation.
“Philadelphia's greatest cultural export” —The Philadelphia Inquirer