Displaying items by tag: SPAC

 SARATOGA SPRINGS — In the month of February, Saratoga Performing Arts Center adds three new programs to its virtual Learning Library that further its mission to promote inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in the arts. 

Created to bring free original arts educational content to students, families and educators at a time when in-school classes are often not feasible due to the pandemic, the SPAC Learning Library has collaborated with more than 25 professional regional musicians and dancers including Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company and Caroga Arts Collective, as well as summer resident companies New York City Ballet, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and The Philadelphia Orchestra. 

SPAC’s Learning Library will offer new programming including lessons in Stepping and South African Gumboot Dancing, wheelchair-accessible dance lessons and a new series of music lessons that guide children through the beginning stages of learning an instrument. 

In 2019, SPAC’s free education programs reached more than 49,000 young individuals, offered more than 400 classes, presentations, performances, and events, and partnered with more than 120 schools and non-profit organizations across the greater Capital Region. 

To learn more about the programs, go to: www.spaclearninglibrary.org

Published in Entertainment
Wednesday, 23 December 2020 13:12

SPAC Board Recaps a Reimagined 2020 at Winter Meeting

SARATOGA SPRINGS — “Just over seven months ago, SPAC took the unprecedented measure of cancelling its whole Summer season in the face of the worsening coronavirus pandemic. Taking that step felt literally like walking off a cliff,” SPAC President and CEO Elizabeth Sobol explained, as the Board of Directors for the Saratoga Performing Arts Center gathered virtually Dec. 10 for its winter board meeting.

Like many cultural institutions around the world, 2020 at SPAC was remarkably different than initially planned.

As a result of the cancellation of SPAC’s classical season, the organization’s earned income dropped by $6 million, or 60% of its budget.  SPAC had projected a potential shortfall of over $1 Million, “a breathtaking gap that brought our very survival into question,” said Sobol.

At the meeting, Sobol extended gratitude for the extraordinary generosity of the community, with which  the potential deficit was eliminated leaving SPAC ending the year in the black. 

The 2020 recalibration led to over 50 hours of online programming including: Freihofer’s Jazz Fest Stay Home Sessions in partnership with Caffè Lena; the SPAC Reimagined series of locally-shot dance videos that paid tribute to the 2020 classical season; the world premiere of Testament - a radio play about Beethoven written by Damian Lanigan and co-produced with Saratoga Shakespeare Company, as well as exclusive performances by Joshua Bell and Time for Three filmed in Saratoga and at SPAC, and a GPS-enabled work of public art in the Saratoga Spa State Park that used music to illuminate the natural environment created by Ellen Reid. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the venue was unable to celebrate the completion and opening of its transformational new construction project, The Pines @ SPAC. Nonetheless, The Pines and its various indoor/outdoor spaces allowed SPAC to open its gates for over 200 events.  Over 8,000 attendees came through the doors from July to December, just 50 people at a time, abiding by strict COVID-19 protocols. 

Fall of 2020 brought the launch of CulinaryArts@SPAC showcasing innovative chefs and restaurants in the region with safe, intimate dining events, and throughout the summer and fall, audiences attended wellness, art, dance and drumming classes; screenings of classic films, chamber music, orchestral music and dance; meetings and gatherings that could not have happened safely in their usual indoor locations.  All proceeds from the culinary, wellness, dance, drumming and art classes went back to chefs, farmers, teachers and practitioners.

Given the uncertainties of what 2021 may bring with regard to the pandemic, SPAC is currently planning a number of potential scenarios to present a season that will be ready to meet whatever the prevailing conditions are this Spring and Summer.

“What we know is this,” said Sobol, “one way or another, there will be a SPAC season – and one way or the other, we are committed to ensuring a Saratoga presence by our beloved resident companies.”

Published in Entertainment

A Socially Distanced, Interactive, Outdoor Experience Co-Commissioned by SPAC 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — On Monday, Sept. 21 Saratoga Performing Arts Center will present Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK, a GPS-enabled work of public art in the Saratoga Spa State Park that uses music to illuminate the natural environment. 

Created by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Reid and co-commissioned by Saratoga Performing Arts Center as part of its SPAC REIMAGINED 2020 season, Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK is an immersive audio experience tailor-made for the Saratoga Spa State Park featuring its famous natural springs, wooded areas, a geyser, a waterfall and more. The New York Philharmonic, also a co-commissioner of this work, is presented the World Premiere of Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK on Sept. 10 in New York City's Central Park. 

The exhibit is free to the public and can be experienced while following social
distancing guidelines.   

“Bringing this project to our park is part of our vision to connect the unique beauty of our natural surroundings... the lush pines, woodland walks, geysers and natural springs...with art and music. We’re excited that Saratoga is only the second place, after NYC, to present the installation – and excited to be offering this unique art/nature experience to visitors to the Saratoga Spa State Park,” says Elizabeth Sobol, President and CEO of SPAC. 

Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK features a newly-written score, performed by SOUNDWALK Ensemble, as well as special musical “Easter eggs” hidden around the park for participants to discover. 

After downloading the free app and putting on headphones, participants embark on a mile-long route around the Saratoga Spa State Park, featuring the Vale and Geyser Springs. Movement around the park triggers Ellen Reid’s soundscape -- musical cells which she carefully crafted to harmonize with the park’s landscape and attractions. The experience is guided by the listener: the path the participant chooses dictates the music they hear, ensuring that no two visits will be exactly the same. The installation will remain accessible in the park until Nov. 1. 

Composer and sound artist Ellen Reid was awarded the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her opera, p r i s m. Along with composer Missy Mazzoli, Ellen co-founded the Luna Composition Lab. Luna Lab is a mentorship program for young, female-identifying, non-binary, and gender non-conforming composers. Since 2019, she has served as Creative Advisor and Composer-in-Residence for Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Her music is released on Decca Gold. 

For more information, go to: spac.org.

Published in Entertainment

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A new audio play providing a portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven at a time of personal crisis will celebrate its world premiere on Aug. 22.

SPAC is celebrating the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth with Beethoven 2020 and “Testament” - written by Damian Lanigan and co-produced with the Saratoga Performing Arts Center will have its World Premiere streaming on both SSC and SPACBeethoven.org from 8 p.m. Aug. 22 until 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 23.   

“Testament” is a portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven grappling with the loss of his hearing and emerging from his suffering to write one of the greatest symphonies of all time. 

Directed by Marcus Dean Fuller and featuring recordings by The Philadelphia Orchestra, “Testament” had originally been planned as a live performance at SPAC’s Spa Little Theater as part of the SSC’s 2020 summer season, but in response to COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings, the company pivoted to an audio presentation that Fuller describes as a “musically driven audiobook.” 

Published in Entertainment
Thursday, 06 August 2020 15:19

SPAC Announces Virtual Beethoven 2020 Festival

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s “Reimagined” series continues with a virtual Beethoven 2020 festival, which will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth. 

Highlighting the virtual festival are special events including an exclusive Beethoven recital with pianist Jonathan Biss on Aug. 21, the World Premiere of Testament on Aug. 22, a theatrical production in collaboration with Saratoga Shakespeare Company, and a Caffè Lena “Stay Home Sessions” concert with Philadelphia Orchestra musicians on Aug. 15. 

“SPAC’s planned presentation of the complete Beethoven symphony cycle with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin was slated to be some of our most important programming of the season. Instead, we are honoring the great composer with a season long virtual festival and a completely new online platform with all nine symphonies, an exclusive concert with Jonathan Biss, a special lecture series, our gorgeous SPAC REIMAGINED ballet shorts set to his music and much more. It is our hope that this curated collection will still provide a profound and deeply moving musical experience -- just in a new format,” said Elizabeth Sobol, SPAC President & CEO, in a statement. 

The reimagined 2020 season also includes previously announced community events such as SPAC’s partnership with COESA to present the healing arts with Tai Chi and guided Meditation classes, the SPAC Reimagined ballet shorts featuring New York City Ballet, The Philadelphia Orchestra and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the virtual Freihofer’s Jazz Fest Stay Home Sessions and the on-going SPAC Learning Library. In addition, the Center has opened up its campus to various arts-related activities for children and young people. 

All Beethoven festival events are free and will be accessible virtually on SPACBeethoven.org. Select events will also be screened on SPAC’s grounds to members only (limited to 50 people). Visit spac.org for additional details. 

For a full schedule and more information visit spac.org

Published in Entertainment

SARATOGA SPRINGS — "SPAC REIMAGINED," a series of unique, locally shot dance videos that pay tribute to the 2020 classical season and feature all three of SPAC's resident companies are premiering through July 25 at spac.org, and on SPAC’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

Created by videographers and NYCB dancers, Emily Kikta and Peter Walker, the project combines the talents of seven dancers and four choreographers from New York City Ballet, alongside music performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The videos will culminate with a longer-form, exclusive performance on Saturday, July 25. 

 “In a time when the usual parameters and processes of presenting live performance have evaporated, SPAC has been reinventing itself – and the ways in which we provide great art and artists to our community,” said Elizabeth Sobol, President and CEO of Saratoga Performing Arts Center, in a statement. “This year marks our fourth collaboration with NYCB dancers and videographers Emily Kikta and Peter Walker, but it is the first time that the series will incorporate artists from across our entire classical season.  We feel fortunate to have this artistic gift to share – something to fill, if just a little, the enormous void created in a ballet season without New York City Ballet.” 

 The artists choreographed, rehearsed and shot the films over a two-week period, and features four new digital works filmed exclusively on the grounds of SPAC and in the Saratoga Spa State Park and are all set to music originally planned to be performed during the 2020 classical season. 

Emily Kikta has been a dancer in New York City Ballet since 2010. Peter Walker has been a dancer and choreographer with the New York City Ballet since 2011. New York City Ballet dancers featured in the videos include Devin Alberda, Christina Clark, Uma Deming, Meaghan Dutton-O’Hara, Anthony Huxley, Emily Kikta and Peter Walker. The pieces were choreographed by Emily Kikta, Peter Walker, Devin Alberda and Christina Clark. All artists were tested for COVID-19 prior to coming to the Capital Region and the artists strictly adhered to the CDC’s guidelines for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19. 

Published in Entertainment

SARATOGA SPRINGS — From black-and-white images from the depths of Congress Park to pastel sketches of placid lakes, SPAC as created a social media page created for, and featuring images by members of the community.“Saratoga Performing Arts Center is deeply committed to the transformative power of art and beauty to restore and enrich the human spirit,” the organization says. “In these challenging times, we hope that this online forum inspires and creates a sense of community and hope.  We invite you to join us in a sharing of poetry, art, music, dance – things of beauty that bring you joy and light under the dark clouds of uncertainty.”  The page may be viewed at Facebook, by visiting “Sparked By Beauty.” 

Published in Entertainment

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Annual summertime Spa City favorites, The Dave Matthews Band, will be kept off the road this year as a result of the global pandemic. 

As such, a pair of DMB’s previously scheduled dates this July have been postponed and have been rescheduled to take place one year later, July 9 and July 10, 2021. 

The band issued the following statement this week: We are disappointed to announce, that in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we will be moving all of our 2020 summer dates to the summer of 2021. We make this decision with the health, safety, and well-being of our fans, touring crew, and venue staff as our priority.

Your previously purchased tickets will be honored for these rescheduled performances, and we’re happy to announce that the 2021 tour includes a few additional stops that were not included on the 2020 tour. We are also providing fans with the option to refund your tickets at the point of purchase. We are incredibly grateful for all of our fans who come out to see us every summer and will miss seeing you all. For now, we will keep everyone in our hearts and minds until we can be together again.

On sale information for the new 2021 dates will be available at a later date.

Published in Entertainment
Thursday, 30 April 2020 13:32

Summer at SPAC: Wishin’ & Hopin’

SARATOGA SPRINGS —  NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week announced the possibility of some regions of the state gradually “reopening” after May 15, although he warned that potential phased-approach would not include attractions that would cause a large number of visitors flooding in from other areas. “You can’t do anything in one region that would increase the visitors to that (reopened) region,” he said. As such, the waiting game is in full swing in the Spa City -   just wishing and hoping and planning and dreaming, to paraphrase a Dusty Springfield song -  regarding the anticipated waves of the COVID-19 virus and its effect on everything from the competition of thoroughbreds at the racecourse to the staging of concerts at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. 

In a letter posted on SPAC’s website, organization President and CEO Elizabeth Sobol writes: “We understand that your own future planning may be affected by public concerns around the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of everyone in our SPAC family and the Community are of critical importance to us, and we are adhering to guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as consulting continuously with local and state health authorities about the safest path forward for the coming months.” 

The New York City Ballet, scheduled to stage their residency at SPAC mid-July, have cancelled their Spring Season 2020 performances at Lincoln Center, which was slated to run through May 29. 

The Philadelphia Orchestra, whose homestand at SPAC is set to stage in August, have cancelled all their rehearsals, performances, and events through June. 

The SPAC Jazz festival June 27-28, headlined by Nile Rodgers & Chic, and Kool & The Gang, is still on at this point, as are the majority of summer pop concerts presented by Live Nation, with few outright cancellations - June 7: Celtic Woman; June 13: Zac Brown Band, and Aug. 3: Dead & Company, among them. 

Cancellations may come at any time. As it stands at this moment, the schedule of summer pop concerts at Saratoga Performing Arts is as follows: 

June 6: The Lumineers - III: The World Tour
June 24: KIDZ BOP Live 2020 Tour
June 30: Steely Dan with Special Guest Steve Winwood
July 2: Tedeschi Trucks Band - Wheels Of Soul 2020
July 3: Lindsey Stirling 
July 8:  Alanis Morissette with Special Guest Garbage and also appearing Liz Phair
July 9: Bob Dylan, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, The Hot Club Of Cowtown
July 10, 11: Dave Matthews Band
July 12: Countryfest 2020 with Brantley Gilbert & More
July 21: Chicago with Rick Springfield
July 22: Nickelback: All The Right Reasons Tour
July 24: Matchbox Twenty 2020
July 25: The Black Crowes Present: Shake Your Money Maker
July 26: The Doobie Brothers - 50th Anniversary Tour
July 29: Rod Stewart
Aug. 1: Journey with Pretenders
Aug. 4: Disturbed: The Sickness 20th Anniversary Tour with Staind & Bad Wolves
Aug. 9: Foreigner: Juke Box Hero Tour 2020
Aug. 11: Incubus with 311
Aug. 18: Sammy Hagar & The Circle and Whitesnake with Special Guest Night Ranger
Aug. 23: Goo Goo Dolls: The Miracle Pill Summer Tour
Aug. 31: Daryl Hall & John Oates
Sept. 6: Maroon 5
Sept. 6:  Meghan Trainor
Sept. 11: Backstreet Boys: DNA World Tour
Sept. 12: The Australian Pink Floyd Show - All That You Feel World Tour 2020

Visit spac.org for more details.

Published in Entertainment

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A local performance by Celtic Woman – scheduled to appear at Saratoga Performing Arts Center June 7 – has been cancelled, the band announced this week. Refunds are at Point of Purchase only. Internet and Phone orders will automatically be canceled & refunded, according to SPAC.

Last week, The Zac Brown Band announced it was cancelling all tour dates through mid-September, including a previously announced June 13 date at SPAC. To our knowledge, these are, thus far, cancellations of the Live Nation summer pop concert series at the venue. 

Meanwhile, in lieu of the ability to continue its staging of live performances, Caffe Lena is taking a different approach. The long-running Phila Street café plans to broadcast previously filmed performances. 

“Every night we gather for music and conversation on Caffe Lena's rapidly growing YouTube channel. After a few days of flailing, (apologies for all the schedule changes!!) we've decided to not even try doing anything live on stage for the foreseeable future. Instead, we're mining our private archive of recorded concerts, bringing the musicians into the "chat room" with us, and re-living a great performance together,” the venue announced on its web site. “Please come! We'd love to welcome you to the party. You can chat if you want, or just watch quietly from the sidelines. Either way, it's good company and the sound and video production will put you right back in the best seat in the house. 

This past week shows featured the likes of The Lustre Kings, Jim Gaudet, and Spa City native and Figgs’ co-founder Pete Donnelly, and upcoming performances include the Gibson Brothers.  The “Stay At Home” Sessions broadcast at 8 p.m.  and the stream may be accessed via caffelena.org. 

This month, Northshire Bookstore launched a virtual events program. Anchored around a standing Thursday 5 p.m. Northshire Live virtual event, it will feature weekly authors and guests via Zoom. 

Northshire event managers Rachel Person and Dafydd Wood will host a wide-ranging conversation about books from their respective homes. Each week will feature one or more author guest stars who will read from and discuss a recent or forthcoming book. 

Next up: the weekly virtual community gatherings for book lovers will feature Janice Shade, author of Moving Mountains: The Power of Main Street Americans to Change Our Economy 

And, if you haven’t heard. Bob Dylan – who performed at Caffe Lena in a time when John F. Kennedy was President of the United States, has just released a 17-minute song about the assassination of JFK. 

“Greetings to my fans and followers with gratitude for all your support and loyalty across the years,” reads the brief introductory statement posted on Dylan’s website. “This is an unreleased song we recorded a while back that you might find interesting. Stay safe, stay observant and may God be with you…”

The song may be heard at: bobdylan.com.


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