Savannah Music Festival Presents 27th Season March 24 – April 9, 2016

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Spread throughout intimate venues in Savannah’s historic district, the 2016 Savannah Music Festival (SMF) lineup covers folk, traditional, popular, serious and studied music by renowned artists from across the globe. From March 24th through April 9th, SMF will present more than 100 performances spotlighting artists from around the globe.

“The growing international stature of our port city is reflected throughout this year’s program,” explains Executive & Artistic Director Rob Gibson, “which features artists from England, Serbia, Mali, France, Hungary, Germany, Portugal, Sweden, Canada, Bulgaria, Ireland, Spain, Indonesia, Trinidad, Austria, Denmark, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Romania, performing a vast range of styles and genres. Mixed alongside bluegrass, blues, country, Cajun, Zydeco, New Orleans music or the ever-evolving blend of Americana styles, the abundance of amazing talent in SMF’s 2016 season is unparalleled in our organization’s history.”

Fanfare Ciocarlia (Photo by Arne Reinhardt)

Fanfare Ciocarlia (Photo by Arne Reinhardt)

“Savannah, Georgia seems an unlikely setting for one of the best world music  festivals in the country…each
spring the City transforms itself into a global crossroads.” Afropop Worldwide

In 2016, African music is represented by Malian superstar Rokia TraorО, kora master BallakО Sissoko, and elder statesman KassО Mady Diabate  (who appears on a bill premiering Robert Sadin ’s “Night Songs”), along with the acclaimed Zimbabwean afropop band Mokoomba sharing the stage with Rhiannon Giddens. Irish supergroup The Gloaming makes their SMF debut, followed by a lunchtime concert with Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill. Flamenco guitarist Vicente Amigo brings his ensemble to the Trustees Theater, and Trinidadian trumpeter Etienne Charles leads a Caribbean Dance Party with his group Creole Soul. The engaging young traditionalists of Hungarian tamburitza band SЪndЪrgő share a bill with guitarist Julian Lage’s new trio, while the Swedish power trio VКsen follow up their 2009 SMF appearance by joining up with the Danish String Quartet and their sonically lustrous Woodworks program. This year’s closing night party is a Balkan Brass Band Blowout, with Romania’s Fanfare Ciocarlia and the Serbian Boban & Marko Markovic Orchestra.

(2nd from left) Daniel Hope, the Mr. and Mrs. Curtis G. Anderson Associate Artistic Director of Savannah Music Festival, and friends present the "Around Beethoven" program, which was bookended by two of Franz Schubert's greatest works, on March 19, 2015 at Trinity United Methodist Church. (Photo courtesy SMF)

Daniel Hope and Friends from Savannah Music Festival 2015 (Photo courtesy SMF)

“Superb classical  concerts.” The Wall Street Journal

Classical music programs at the 2016 festival cover the history of the genre, from the Renaissance to the modern day. In his 13th year as Associate Artistic Director, violinist Daniel Hope curates and leads an 8-concert chamber music series that brings together many of his European and North American colleagues. This year he invites French pianist Alexandre Tharaud  and clarinetist Patrick Messina, violist Paul Neubauer of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Additionally, David Finckel, Wu Han and Philip Setzer play the complete Beethoven Piano Trios, Mike Marshall & Caterina Lichtenberg perform in an all-mandolin concert of classical, folk and original works, and the Danish String Quartet has four concerts in their SMF debut. Recitals during SMF 2016 include Cameron Carpenter featuring the International Touring Organ, and pianists Alexandre Tharaud (who plays Bach’s Goldberg  Variations), Arnaldo Cohen and Jeremy Denk. Orchestral highlights include three concerts featuring the German baroque ensemble l’arte del mondo  with Werner Ehrhardt, which feature Marshall & Lichtenberg, Daniel Hope & Friends, and Passion in Practice, a Shakespearean acting troupe performing Pericles accompanied by Max Richter’s Four Seasons: Recomposed. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra returns for its eleventh annual SMF appearance under Robert Spano, with pianist Louis Lortie playing the Grieg Piano Concerto. Three vocal performances round out the robust 2016 classical schedule, including the return of the world-renowned early music vocal ensemble, The Tallis Scholars, and two co-productions with Sherrill Milnes & Maria Zouves’ Savannah VOICE Festival: Arias & Encores, and Mozart in Prague: An Operatic Journey. In a performance fusing classical and jazz, the SMF original production The Art of the Piano Trio celebrates the influential ensemble format with Daniel Hope, Simon Crawford-Phillips and Keith Robinson alongside the inimitable Marcus Roberts Trio.

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings (Photo by Jacob Blickenstaff)

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings (Photo by Jacob Blickenstaff)

“Savannah excels at programming through the prism of Americana … Musical traditions from this country
are at the heart of what goes on there.” Charleston Post & Courier

Opening weekend Americana concerts include double-bills with roots rockers Marc Broussard and the Paul Thorn Band, Cajun and Zydeco dance music with Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys and Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys, and bluegrass greats Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and Blue Highway. Georgia-born soul star Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and Athens-based Drive-By Truckers bring a homegrown sound to SMF in 2016, while indie-folk innovator Andrew Bird and stringband David Rawlings Machine make their SMF debuts. Pink Martini featuring China Forbes performs A Spring Fling in their SMF return. Guitarist Ry Cooder joins husband and wife team Sharon White and Ricky Skaggs for a program of bluegrass, blues and gospel, honky-tonk hero Dwight Yoakam comes to the Johnny Mercer Theater, and Houston, TX retro-soul group The Suffers shares a bill with the dynamic indie-folk of Langhorne Slim. This season’s Blues in the Garden concert presents the North Mississippi Allstars with harmonica great Charlie Musselwhite, Del McCoury and David Grisman perform as Del & Dawg, and Haas Kowert Tice shares the stage with the Bryan Sutton Band. On the final weekend, SMF presents the Time Jumpers featuring Vince Gill, Dr. John & the Nite Trippers, Darrell Scott, Rhiannon Giddens, and the annual Stringband Spectacular, an original production with young acoustic musicians finishing a week of master classes with SMF artists and clinicians Mike Marshall, Julian Lage, Bryan Sutton and Darrell Scott.

Cecile McLorin Salvant

Cecile McLorin Salvant

“…an all-star galaxy.” JazzTimes

Jazz at SMF is an assembly of unique double bills and rare regional appearances by artists, mostly contained in the intimate wood and brick surrounds of the Charles H. Morris Center. Kicking off the schedule is the world premiere of He Said, She Said  featuring Freddy Cole and RenО Marie . That production is followed by a three-day run of Swing that Music : a double bill including Catherine Russell  and vaudevillian acoustic swing ensemble The Hot Sardines . Solo lunchtime jazz concerts include pianists Aaron Diehl  and Harold Mabern , and guitarist Matt Munisteri . Other lunchtime jazz concerts are the Randy Napoleon Trio , Aaron Diehl Trio , Brianna Thomas Quartet  and Indonesian piano phenom Joey Alexander , who also plays with his trio in an evening show. Jazz double bills also include Cecile McLorin Salvant and the Monty Alexander Trio , and Tenor Titans , featuring ensembles led by saxophonists Stephen Riley  and Eric Alexander . The culmination of this year’s Swing Central Jazz  week features the Oscar Micheaux silent film Within Our Gates  at the Lucas Theatre for the Arts, with an original Wycliffe Gordon  score performed by a 19-piece jazz orchestra under his direction. And in one of the most in-demand tickets at SMF, the Wycliffe Gordon Quintet  leads a late night jazz jam at the Morris Center, when jazz musicians from across the festival schedule join them on the bandstand.

For the complete schedule, visit

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