Boston Conservatory at Berklee Center Stage Returns with Eight Innovative Performances

Curated performance collection showcases regional premieres, beloved classics, and thrilling new works.

September 3, 2019

Boston Conservatory at Berklee announces its second annual Center Stage, a curated performance collection that showcases eight of the Conservatory’s extraordinary performances in dance, music, and theater, and spotlights the remarkable talent of the school’s performers. This year’s Center Stage lineup, which includes new spins on beloved classics, regional premieres, and unique artistic collaborations, is curated from the school’s 700-plus performances set for the 2019–2020 season.

Center Stage kicks off with Boston Conservatory at Berklee's Chamber Series’ presentation of Russian Giants (November 1), a program celebrating three of Russia’s towering classical composers: Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, and Shostakovich. Showcasing an impressive lineup of Boston Conservatory faculty talent, the program will be performed by acclaimed faculty members Lila Brown (viola), Judith Eissenberg (violin), Max Levinson (piano), Matthew Marsit (clarinet), Markus Placci (violin), Aleksandr Poliykov (piano), and Rhonda Rider (cello), with special guest Allison Eldredge (cello). This performance is part of Chamber Series, an ongoing performance series celebrating chamber works, which is artistically directed by Conservatory Professor of Violin Markus Placci.

Next, Boston Conservatory’s contemporary classical music ensemble, contraBAND, presents a one-of-a-kind evening: A Woman Sees How the World Goes with No Eyes (November 5). Under the direction of Assistant Professor of Orchestral Studies and Contemporary Music Vimbayi Kaziboni, this avant-garde program features the work of 12 leading female composers, including Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono, Chaya Czernowin, Alison Knowles, Boston Conservatory Associate Professor of Composition Eun Young Lee, and more. All three of Boston Conservatory’s divisions—dance, music, and theater—will participate in this performance for an unforgettable immersive experience.

Following contraBAND is the beloved Shrek the Musical (November 14–17), based on the 1990 book by William Steig and the 2001 DreamWorks animated film about adventure, unlikely friendships, and learning to love yourself. Written by Jeanine Tesori and directed by Boston Conservatory Associate Professor of Theater Laura Marie Duncan, this stage adaptation puts a dark spin on this popular fairy tale, setting it in an urban environment.

In December, Center Stage highlights the exclusive East Coast premiere of the fully orchestrated version of Glory Denied (December 5–8), a contemporary opera by esteemed American composer Tom Cipullo, based on the true story of America’s longest-held prisoner of war. Conducted by Boston Conservatory Associate Professor of Opera Andrew Altenbach and directed by Boston Conservatory Professor of Opera Johnathon Pape, this 100-minute opera is set during and after the Vietnam War and follows the complex emotional transition of Colonel Jim Thompson and his family as he returns home from war to a world that has moved on without him. Composer Tom Cipullo will be on campus for the run of this production to guest teach and work with Boston Conservatory voice and opera students. Cipullo will also be holding a post-performance talkback with audience members after the Friday, December 6 performance.

Celebrating the end of the semester and the close of the calendar year, Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble and Choruses present an exciting collaboration (December 12) in Boston’s historic Old South Church. Conducted by Boston Conservatory faculty George Case, Nathan Reiff, and Chair of Instrumental Studies Matthew Marsit, this program juxtaposes recent works by Susan Botti and Christopher Marshall with Anton Bruckner's epic Mass No. 2 in E Minor to inspire inward reflection and outward exploration beyond oneself to space and the great beyond. Composer Susan Botti will also be on campus for this event, both as the soprano soloist in her piece, entitled Cosmosis, and to work with the student ensembles in rehearsal. Botti will also be holding a pre-performance talkback with audience members at 7:30 p.m.

After a short break, Center Stage resumes in the spring with the Tony Award–winning musical spoof The Drowsy Chaperone (April 9–12), directed by Boston Conservatory professor of theater and acclaimed director Paul Daigneault. It depicts a musical theater fan who plays his favorite 1920s cast album which magically comes to life and transports him to the Jazz Age. He encounters a screwball bride, a bumbling best man, a desperate theater producer, a daffy society hostess, bootlegging gangsters, and an intoxicated chaperone in this affectionate homage to classic American musicals.

Next, Boston Conservatory Professor of Orchestral Studies Bruce Hangen directs Boston Conservatory Orchestra with Silkroad Artist Cristina Pato (April 19) in an exciting program of works by Beethoven, Saint-Saёns, and Vázquez. This performance features a special collaboration with international Silkroad artist and gaita player Cristina Pato, highlighting Pato’s personal Gaita and Orchestra Commissioning Project as well as continuing the celebrated long-term collaboration between Boston Conservatory and the Grammy Award–winning Silkroad Ensemble. It also marks the orchestra’s first performance at Worcester's historic Mechanics Hall.

The final performance of this Center Stage season is Boston Conservatory’s spring dance concert, Limitless (April 23–26), 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 an incredible lineup of masterwork and contemporary reconstructions choreographed by some of the world’s leading dance creators. This year’s presentations include Murray Louis’s 1984 masterpiece, Four Brubeck Pieces, set to music by Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond, that will be performed live by the Berklee College of Music Brubeck Ensemble; Camille A. Brown’s 2006 celebration of New Orleans, New Second Line, with music by Los Hombres Calientes; a reconstructed piece by internationally sought-after choreographer and Rubberband Group’s artistic director Victor Quijada; and excerpts from a classical ballet staged by faculty members Adriana Suarez and Gianni Di Marco.

Tickets for Center Stage performances go on sale September 11 and can be purchased online at or in person at both the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Berklee Performance Center box offices. For a complete listing of 2019–2020 events, and to purchase tickets online, visit

Performance Information at a Glance

Chamber Series: Russian Giants
Artistic Direction by Markus Placci
November 1, 2019
8:00 p.m., Friday
8 Fenway, Seully Hall, Floor 4

contraBAND: A Woman Sees How the World Goes with No Eyes
Conducted by Vimbayi Kaziboni
November 5, 2019
8:00 p.m., Tuesday
31 Hemenway Street, Studio 401, Floor 4

Shrek the Musical
Directed by Laura Marie Duncan
November 14–17, 2019
8:00 p.m., Thursday–Saturday
2:00 p.m., Saturday–Sunday
Boston Conservatory Theater, 31 Hemenway Street, Floor 2

Glory Denied
Conducted by Andrew Altenbach and Directed by Johnathon Pape
December 5–8, 2019
8:00 p.m., Thursday–Saturday
2:00 p.m., Sunday
Boston Conservatory Theater, 31 Hemenway Street, Floor 2

Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble and Choruses
Conducted by Matthew Marsit, George Case, and Nathan Reiff
December 12, 2019
8:00 p.m., Thursday
Old South Church, 645 Boylston Street

The Drowsy Chaperone
Directed by Paul Daigneault and Choreographed by Aaron Tolson
April 9–12, 2020
8:00 p.m., Thursday–Saturday
2:00 p.m., Saturday–Sunday
Boston Conservatory Theater, 31 Hemenway Street, Floor 2

Boston Conservatory Orchestra with Silkroad Artist Cristina Pato
Conducted by Bruce Hangen
April 19, 2020
3:00 p.m., Sunday
Mechanics Hall, 321 Main Street, Worcester, MA
This event is ticketed through the Mechanics Hall Box Office

Spring Dance Concert: Limitless
Artistic direction by Tommy Neblett
April 23–26, 2020
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

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.

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.