The Savannah Music Festival (SMF) unveiled its ambitious 2008 program, a 17-day musical arts marathon featuring nearly 100 events that comprise Georgia's largest music festival. The not-for-profit organization announced that between March 20 and April 5, 2008, its expansion will continue with an array of premieres, one-time-only productions, singular U.S. appearances by international artists and a wealth of educational initiatives. The 19th annual festival will be spread throughout theatres, auditoriums, clubs, open-air thoroughfares and historic places of worship in the old seaport city at the start of its 275th anniversary year.
The 2008 SMF includes extensive amounts of original programming, making it one of the nation's most distinctive musical arts events. SMF 2008 premieres commissioned works by drummer Stewart Copeland, just off of a world tour with The Police, and jazz trombone great Wycliffe Gordon. Inventive and singular productions such as The World of Slide Guitar features virtuosos Jerry Douglas, Derek Trucks, and Debashish Bhattacharya, while Piano Showdown showcases masters such as Hank Jones, Marcus Roberts & Eric Reed. An unprecedented array of classical music concerts spotlights Sensations, six originally conceived chamber music programs under the musical direction of Daniel Hope, and a rare performance by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with Robert Spano conducting pianist Garrick Ohlsson playing the third piano concerto by Rachmaninoff.
"We relish producing this panoply of events in the backdrop of one of America's most beautiful and historic cities," said Rob Gibson, SMF Executive & Artistic Director. "Our primary objective continues to be introducing more people to engaging musical experiences because they provide us with meaning and with a distinctive type of pleasure and emotional stimulation. The musical arts help us to not only develop our own individual senses, but they provide a common bond that benefits the general populace."
SMF continues to combine a diverse array of regional and American musical genres – jazz, blues, Cajun, zydeco, country and bluegrass – with an amalgamation of acclaimed international styles performed by artists whose works are often unfamiliar to U.S. audiences. More than 50 artists from outside the country appear during the 2008 festival, including the brilliant Brazilian mandolin player Hamilton de Holanda, who leads his explosive quintet in its only U.S. engagement.
The 25-year old Spanish vocal prodigy Antonio Pitingo, in only his second U.S. appearance, displays his "flamenco soul" singing that has captured the imagination of his native country.
Contemporary West African music (Angelique Kidjo), modern Portuguese fado singing (Ana Moura), traditional Persian artistry (Ali Akbar Moradi) and acclaimed Indian dance (Nrityagram) are also showcased in special productions.
Educational initiatives also remain at the forefront of SMF's mission. The expanded SWING CENTRAL High School Jazz Band Competition and Workshop offers an opportunity for first-class instruction to some of America's finest young musicians over three days of workshops with jazz masters in a variety of clinics and master classes. Another SMF series affords more than 13,000 students from surrounding counties the opportunity to attend age-appropriate concerts featuring outstanding musicians in historic theaters.
Tickets and series passes are available at http://www.savannahmusicfestival.org/ , by calling 912-525-5050 or at the box office at 216 E. Broughton Street in Savannah.
2008 SAVANNAH MUSIC FESTIVAL SCHEDULE by series
DEEP IN THE SOUTH sponsored by Kennickell Print and Communications
Blind Boys of Alabama with Adolphus Bell, Soul Gospel greats with one-man blues band opening
Marty Stuart, Further details TBA due to passing of Porter Wagoner (initially scheduled to appear) in late October
Carolina Chocolate Drops, Young African American Piedmont stringband
Red Stick Ramblers, Cajun, western swing and Gypsy jazz
SAVANNAH JAZZ PARTY sponsored by Critz, Inc. and Mercedes-Benz USA
Piano Showdown, Featuring Eric Reed, Carl "Sonny" Leyland, Hank Jones and Marcus Roberts
Swinging Around the World, Featuring Italian vocalist Roberta Gambarini, Swedish guitarist Andreas Oberg, NEA Jazz Master Hank Jones, tenor saxophonist Todd Williams and others
West Coast Jazz Meets Southern Swing, Featuring Eric Reed Trio with Jeff Clayton from the West, Marcus Roberts Trio with Marcus Printup from the South
GREAT PERFORMERS sponsored by Memorial Health
Daniel Hope and Sebastian Knauer, Long-time collaborators perform works by Schubert, de Falla and Mendelssohn Emerson String Quartet with special guest Wu Han, Han joins America's leading string quartet
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Robert Spano, with Garrick Ohlsson, Special performance of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 and Rachmaninoff's third piano concerto
Beaux Arts Trio, Menahem Pressler leads this 52 year-old piano trio on its final tour
ANY ERA MUSIC sponsored by VeriSign, Inc.
Blues in the Night, with Nappy Brown, Bob Margolin, Adophus Bell and others
Derek Trucks Band, Southern rock slide virtuoso and contemporary rock guitar god An Evening with Stewart Copeland
PREMIERE of original work
Screening of Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out, followed by Q&A
The Sparrow Quartet, Abigail Washburn, Béla Fleck, Casey Driessen and Ben Sollee
PIANO PRODIGIESYundi Li, The youngest to ever win the International Chopin Competition at age 18 in 2000Yu Kosuge, Outstanding technique and beautiful touch distinguish this young master's playing
Jonathan Biss, At 27, Biss has already established a flourishing international career
CONNECT AMERICANA sponsored by Connect Savannah, Connect Statesboro, and Charles and Rosalie Morris
Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, Cajun music greats
Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby, Bluegrass and mountain music with piano
Cherryholmes, Phenomenal bluegrass family band
Steep Canyon Rangers, Bluegrass powerhouse from North Carolina
Jennifer Larmore, One of the world's leading mezzo sopranos
Audra McDonald, Four-time Tony Award winner and astounding vocalist
Ana Moura, Rising star of Portuguese fado music
ECHOES OF IBERIA
Hamilton de Holanda Quintet, Brazilian mandolin virtuoso leads a stellar group of musicians
Gabriel Grossi & Daniel Santiago, Brazilian guitar and harmonica duo
Pitingo, Sole practitioner of "flamenco soul," and one of the most entrancing vocalists alive
Angelique Kidjo, Ana Moura opens, the queen of Afropop with fado diva opening Tiempo Libre, The top timba group in the U.S. hosts a dance party
SENSATIONS sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Harrison
Six intimate concerts of original chamber productions in historic venues curated by Associate Artistic Director, Daniel Hope, featuring Zuill Bailey, Ivan Chan, Philip Dukes, Emerson String Quartet, Daniel Hope, Annika Hope, Benny Kim, Sebastian Knauer, Josephine Knight, Patrick Messina, CarlaMaria Rodrigues and Wu Han.
BIG WORLD OF MUSIC sponsored by National Office Systems
Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, Enchanting Odissi dance accompanied by Oriya music ensemble
Ali Akbar Moradi, Traditional Persian lute master and composer
The World of Slide Guitar, Featuring Derek Trucks, Jerry Douglas, Debashish Bhattacharya and Bob Brozman
JAZZ NOW & FOREVER sponsored by Robert and Jean Faircloth
Boogie Woogie Piano: Carl "Sonny" Leyland, British born boogie woogie scholar and performer
Andreas Oberg Quartet, young Swedish swing and Gypsy jazz guitarist
The One and Only Wycliffe Gordon, Premiere of original work by Wycliffe Gordon and Swing Central Finale
GEORGIA ON MY MIND sponsored by Georgia Music Hall of Fame and Georgia Department of Economic Development
Modern Skirts, Melodic piano-driven power pop from Athens
Sweet Singing Harmony Harmoneers, Jubilee gospel quartet from Atlanta Scrapomatic featuring Kristina Train, Acoustic blues-based group with Savannah native and recent Blue Note signee, Train
Fa So La Workshop, Sacred Harp Singing w/ Richard Delong
Sean Costello/Eric Culberson, Full-throttle electric blues from Atlanta and Savannah
SILENCE IS GOLDEN sponsored by Savannah Convention and Visitors Bureau
Silence Films with piano accompaniment by Rick Friend
Buster Keaton in The Scarecrow and Sherlock, Jr.
Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail
15th ANNUAL AMERICAN TRADITIONS COMPETITION sponsored by Memorial Health
Long before American Idol, there was the American Traditions Competition. Amateur vocalists sing from the American songbook and compete for over $30,000 during this 4-day event that attracts entrants from across the country. Esteemed 2008 judges include Kirby Shaw, Shirlee Emmons, Jacqueline Hairston, Sandra Walker and Gregory Broughton.
THE MUSIC EDUCATION SERIES sponsored by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation
More than 13,000 students from Chatham County schools are bussed into downtown Savannah for age-appropriate concerts performed by world-class musicians in historic theaters. A total of 19,500 students are served by 2008 music education programs, free of charge.
About the 2008 SMF Poster Design
Each year, SMF engages students from Savannah College of Art & Design in a contest for the design of its poster. The 2008 poster winners are Margaret Poplin (first place) and Tom Schmuck (second place).
About the Savannah Music Festival
The Savannah Music Festival is Georgia's largest musical arts festival and one of the most distinctive cross-genre music festivals in the world. SMF is building a robust history on its devotion to living, vibrant musical traditions, regularly producing premieres, commissioned works and rare regional appearances by renowned artists in jazz, classical, blues, bluegrass, gospel and other styles of American and international roots music. Artists collaborate, students and master musicians intermingle, vocalists showcase their talents and communities uplift and celebrate over seventeen specially conceived days and nights.