Boston Conservatory at Berklee Announces Center Stage, a Curated Collection of Eight Innovative Performances

August 28, 2018 Tori Donahue

Boston Conservatory at Berklee proudly announces Center Stage, a curated performance collection that showcases the Conservatory’s dynamic range in dance, music, and theater, and spotlights the extraordinary talent of the school’s student performers.

Each year, Boston Conservatory presents more than 700 free and low-cost performances in dance, music, and theater as part of the school’s rigorous degree programs. Center Stage, which focuses on eight of the most exciting performances from the 2018–2019 lineup, gives new audiences an unforgettable introduction to Boston Conservatory, and gives long-time patrons a wonderful new way to appreciate the school’s finest presentations.

“I’m thrilled to announce that, starting this year, the Conservatory will give special recognition to some of the most innovative pieces that our faculty and students are producing,” said Boston Conservatory at Berklee Executive Director Cathy Young. “Center Stage is not your typical conservatory fare—these performances push limits and explore new territories; many feature collaborations with world-class guest artists. This performance collection is representative of where we’re headed as a leading school for training performing artists—presenting work that is both sophisticated and engaging, thrilling and thought provoking, and highlighting our extraordinary students, the influential artists of tomorrow.”

Center Stage kicks off on October 30 with Boston Conservatory’s Contemporary Classical Music Ensemble, contraBAND, performing a concert of works by contemporary African composers Ayo Ogunranti, Kevin Volans, Vimbayi Kaziboni, Hamza El Din, and Joshua Uzoigwe. The concert also introduces the esteemed Vimbayi Kaziboni as Boston Conservatory’s newest faculty conductor. Kaziboni, a Zimbabwean-born conductor and former Fulbright fellow, joins the Conservatory after serving as assistant conductor of Ensemble InterContemporain in Paris, France. He is widely regarded as one of the foremost interpreters of modern and contemporary music of his generation.

Next in line is a spectacular performance in Symphony Hall on November 16 featuring the Boston Conservatory Orchestra and soloists Sandeep Das (tabla), Maeve Gilchrist (Celtic harp), and Kaoru Watanabe (Japanese shinobue flutes/taiko drums) from the Grammy Award–winning Silkroad Ensemble. Presenting an eclectic program of poetry-inspired orchestral works by Tan Dun, Dinuk Wijeratne, Maeve Gilchrist, Gabriela Lena Frank, Alexander (Li) Rahbari, Kaoru Watanabe, Osvaldo Golijov, and Colin Jacobsen, this must-see event marks the first performance in a long-term collaboration between the famed group and Boston Conservatory.

Rounding out the fall is a production of Mary Zimmerman’s play Metamorphoses, directed by respected dramaturg, stage director, and Boston Conservatory Professor of Theater Theresa Lang. Metamorphoses brings Ovid's tales to life with stunning visuals. Set in and around a pool of water on stage, the play juxtaposes the ancient and the contemporary in both language and image to reflect the variety and persistence of narrative in the face of inevitable change.

After a short break for the holidays, Center Stage picks up in February with the contemporary American opera Hydrogen Jukebox, directed by Boston Conservatory Associate Professor of Opera Nathan Troup. Known for his distinct visual style and work bringing new pieces to life, Troup dives into rich content in this innovative multidisciplinary piece that combines the distinctly American voices of Allen Ginsberg and Philip Glass to create a personal portrait of America from the 1950s through the 1980s. The opera features content from Ginsberg’s highly personal poems to his reflections on social issues, including the anti-war movement, the sexual revolution, drugs, Eastern philosophy, and environmental awareness.

Next, Boston Conservatory at Berklee musicians join the Ambient Orchestra, led by composer/conductor Evan Ziporyn and featuring internationally renowned cellist Maya Beiser as soloist, for performances of cultural icon David Bowie's complete final album, Blackstar, in a stunning new arrangement for orchestra and cello by Ziporyn, written for Beiser. The collaboration, Bowie Symphonic: Blackstar, will be performed on tour across the country.

Center Stage then presents the Kander and Ebb seminal classic Cabaret, directed by guest director Otis Sallid, the 2018–2019 Boston Conservatory at Berklee Kunkemueller Artist in Residence. Sallid, a veteran of Broadway and notable producer, director, and choreographer in film and television, has worked with such artists as Spike Lee, Alvin Ailey, and Debbie Allen, and will bring his diverse range of skills not only to direct Cabaret, but also at the finale of Center Stage in the spring dance concert, Limitless.

A striking and relevant work, The Consul, offers audiences a more traditional opera experience. Directed by Boston Conservatory Professor of Opera and esteemed stage director Johnathon Pape, this Pulitzer Prize–winning opera by Gian Carlo Menotti was a response to the many stories of refugees fleeing Eastern Europe after World War II. The opera was inspired by real refugee stories and Menotti’s own experience being labeled by the U.S. as an “enemy alien” because of his Italian citizenship during the war. First performed in 1950, The Consul remains a powerful and relevant story almost 70 years later.

The final performance of the inaugural Center Stage season is Boston Conservatory’s spring dance concert, Limitless, with artistic direction by Boston Conservatory Dean of Dance Tommy Neblett. An energizing evening that will move seasoned dance lovers and newcomers alike, Limitless features a thrilling lineup of masterwork reconstructions and world premieres by José Limón, Itzik Galili, and Otis Sallid, as well as a special Boston Conservatory/Berklee College of Music collaboration featuring the Berklee Indian Ensemble, the Berklee Balkan Choir, and the Berklee American Roots Ensemble.

Tickets for Center Stage, and the rest of the Conservatory’s 200-plus free and low-cost performances, go on sale September 12 online and in person at both the Berklee Performance Center Box Office and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee Box Office. For a complete listing of 2018–2019 events, and to purchase tickets online, visit the Conservatory's Events website section.

About Boston Conservatory at Berklee

Boston Conservatory at Berklee provides a progressive learning environment where students are challenged to realize their potential as artists and inspired to pursue their dreams. Long recognized for its specialized training in dance, music, and theater, the Conservatory’s recent merger with Berklee now combines this rigorous, focused instruction with unparalleled access to a broad range of academic and creative opportunities. Set in the cultural, historical, and educational hub of Boston, this extraordinary institution represents the future of performing arts education.

Performance Information at a Glance

Boston Conservatory Classical Contemporary Music Ensemble: contraBAND
Conducted by Vimbayi Kaziboni
October 30, 2018
8:00 p.m., Tuesday
31 Hemenway Street, Studio 401, Floor 4
FREE

Boston Conservatory Orchestra with Silkroad Artists
Conducted by Bruce Hangen
November 16, 2018
8:00 p.m., Friday
Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Ave, Boston
$
This performance is made possible in part by the generous support of Alex Rigopulos and Sachi Sato, B.M. '02 (Berklee College of Music).

Metamorphoses (Theater)
Directed by Theresa Lang
December 12-15, 2018
8:00 p.m., Wednesday–Saturday
Boston Conservatory Theater, 31 Hemenway Street, Floor 2
$

Hydrogen Jukebox (Opera)
Directed by Nathan Troup
February 7–10, 2019
8:00 p.m., Thursday–Saturday
2:00 p.m., Sunday
Boston Conservatory Theater, 31 Hemenway Street, Floor 2
$

Bowie Symphonic: Blackstar
Arranged and Conducted by Evan Ziporyn
Maya Beiser, solo cellist
Ambient Orchestra, featuring musicians from Boston Conservatory at Berklee

February 28, 2019
Venue and times TBA
Blackstar will be performed on tour nationally. Learn more about additional performances online at bostonconservatory.berklee.edu/events.
$

Cabaret (Theater)
Directed by Otis Sallid
March 7–10, 2019
8:00 p.m., Thursday–Saturday
2:00 p.m., Saturday–Sunday
Boston Conservatory Theater, 31 Hemenway Street, Floor 2
$

The Consul (Opera)
Conducted by Andrew Altenbach and directed by Johnathon Pape
March 28–31, 2019
8:00 p.m., Thursday–Saturday
2:00 p.m., Sunday
Boston Conservatory Theater, 31 Hemenway Street, Floor 2

Limitless: Spring Dance Concert
Artistic direction by Tommy Neblett
April 11–14, 2019
8:00 p.m., Thursday–Saturday
2:00 p.m., Saturday–Sunday
Boston Conservatory Theater, 31 Hemenway Street, Floor 2
$
 

Box Office Information

Boston Conservatory Box Office
617-912-9222
boxoffice@bostonconservatory.edu

Boston Conservatory Box Office business hours: Wednesday through Friday, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tickets to Boston Conservatory events may also be purchased in person at the Berklee Box Office, located at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Monday through Saturday between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Beginning one hour prior to the performance start time, tickets may be purchased in person directly at the venue where the event is taking place. All day-of ticket sales are subject to availability. Please note that in-person sales are not subject to a fee.