Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 12:50 am est

Skirball Center offers varied slate of performances

Posted on August 25, 2013 | by Jake Folsom



The Skirball Center for the Performing Arts’ 2013-2014 season has a little something for everyone. For those whose musical tastes lean toward jazz or avant-garde, or perhaps something more popular, the season includes a varied roster of names, instruments and performances that run the cultural gamut.

This week, on Aug. 30, Brazilian multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Jorge Aragão takes the stage. His music cannot be confined to a singular genre — his output is categorized as both samba and pagode. Another genre-bending show comes Sept. 15 with a performance of avant-garde composer John Zorn’s 2004 piece “Book of Angels.” The piece runs three-and-a-half hours and features guest groups of many different genres.

Classicists may be a bit put off to learn that this spring the NYU Symphony is steering clear of standards such as Mozart or Bach. On May 12, they will perform composer Tan Dun’s piece, “The Map,” inspired by Dun’s trip to the Hunan Province in China. The piece will utilize the multimedia techniques Dun is known for, as he has integrated video and audio of the Hunan Province into his performance. While “The Map” uses Western instruments — it features renowned cello soloist Wendy Sutter — it also borrows from Chinese traditions such as antiphonal singing and percussive dance, which are heard via the aforementioned audio feed.

If these sound a bit musically esoteric, don’t despair. The season contains many pop culturally visible acts and easily accessible genres.

“Suddenly I See” singer KT Tunstall will grace the Skirball Center with her voice and stage presence on Sept. 24. The singer-songwriter is known for her roots in the United Kingdom, but has found creative inspiration after a visit to the deserts of Arizona. The Southwest influence will doubtlessly be audible as she performs cuts off her new album “Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon.”

Comedy album collectors will rejoice in the news that comedian Maria Bamford will headline Skirball Center’s fall comedy series on Nov. 8. This “Comedian of Comedy” has appeared on Adult Swim’s “Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” as well as the fourth season of “Arrested Development.” Past headliners of fall comedy have included Rob Delaney, Zach Galifianakis, Aziz Ansari, Kristen Schaal and Reggie Watts. Considering how these comedians’ careers have taken off, the time to see Bamford live might be sooner rather than later.

Many patrons are eager for an update on whether New York staple group The Joshua Light Show, described by Rolling Stone as “The Most Psychedelic Light Show of All Time,” will return to the Skirball Center stage. Interested students are encouraged to check in with the venue, which will continue to update its schedule throughout the year with more music and performance announcements.

A version of this article appeared in the Sunday, Aug. 25 print edition. Jake Folsom is music editor. Email him at 


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