2013-14 Lawrence University Performing Arts Series Filled with Music Legends, Rising Stars

Jazz guitar icon Pat Metheny and his Unity Group and the adventurous classical vocal ensemble Seraphic Fire are among the celebrated musicians slated to perform on Lawrence University’s 2013-14 Performing Arts Series.

Pat Metheny

Season subscriptions for both the Artist and Jazz Series or a “Favorite 4” package are now available, with discounts available to senior citizens and students. Single-concert tickets go on sale Sept. 18. For more information, contact the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749. All concerts are held in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

“A wonderfully diverse line-up of stellar musicians makes next year’s Artist and Jazz Series concerts the place to be for lovers of great music,” said Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music. “I look forward to seeing lots of familiar as well as new faces there.”

The St. Louis Brass Quintet, one of America’s oldest such ensembles, kicks off the four-concert Artist Series Oct. 11. Praised by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for creating an “atmosphere that emanates from the stage,” the group has performed more than 2,500 engagements during its nearly 50-year history. The quintet includes founding member, St. Louis native and trombonist Melvyn Jernigan as well as top musicians from throughout the country.

Internationally acclaimed violinist Rachel Lee performs Feb. 8, 2014. Lee has showcased her prodigious skill worldwide since performing at the United Nations at age nine. A Harvard University graduate, Lee is noted for her compelling stage presence and commitment to a wide-ranging repertoire. She has enjoyed solo engagements with the National Symphony, the Aspen Sinfonia at the Aspen Music Festival and repeat performances with the Seoul Philharmonic. Most recently she has made orchestral debuts with the Chicago, St. Louis, Houston and Seattle Symphony orchestras.

Rachel Lee

One of the country’s most sought-after young pianists, Orion Weiss takes the stage April 11, 2014. Weiss has toured the United States, China, Israel and throughout Europe. Since graduating from Juilliard School in 2004, he has been named a “pianist to watch” by the Los Angeles Times and hailed as an “effortlessly brilliant performer” by the Arizona Republic. In 2010, the Classical Recording Foundation Named Weiss its “Young Artist of the Year.”

A week after Weiss, the vocal ensemble Seraphic Fire, along with Spektral Quartet visits April 18, 2014. Featuring some of the country’s most talented vocalists, Seraphic Fire performs a diverse repertoire of choral works, ranging from Gregorian chant to newly commissioned works. The 11-member ensemble received two Grammy nominations in 2012 for their recordings of Brahms’ “A German Requiem,” which debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Classical charts and a Christmas album that entered the top 10 on iTunes’ Classical chart on the day of its release.

“We’re incredibly fortunate to welcome Seraphic Fire to Lawrence,” said Stephen Sieck, co-director of choral studies at Lawrence. “The fact they were nominated for Grammys for two different projects in 2012 speaks to the level of excellence they bring. They combine the clear brightness of the best Early Music groups with the warmth and precise phrasing of the best European radio choirs.”

The Chicago-based, all-male Spektral Quartet blurs the lines between old and new music, pairing Beethoven and Mozart with Phillip Glass and Elliott Carter. Their innovative programs have become favorites of both classical music enthusiasts and new music aficionados.

Seraphic Fire

Lawrence’s 33rd annual Jazz Celebration Weekend opens the four-concert Jazz Series Nov. 8-9 with concerts by the Kate McGarry Quartet and the Yellowjackets, respectively.

Named DownBeat Magazine’s “Rising Star Vocalist” five times (2007, ’08, ’09, ’11, ’12), the “astute and sensitive” McGarry also earned a 2009 Grammy Award nomination for best jazz vocalist. Drawing upon everything from her cultural Irish tunes to musical theatre to pop favorites, her discography includes five critically acclaimed albums, including “Girl Talk,” a tribute to her favorite jazz women vocalists, which was named one of the top jazz CDs of 2012 by Downbeat.

The Yellowjackets, a smooth jazz and jazz fusion group, has been a jazz world mainstay since their formation in 1977. The four-member group, among the longest tenured groups in jazz history, has effortlessly evolved with the times, earning two Grammy Awards along the way. From their first self-titled album in 1981 through 2011’s 11-track CD “Timeline,” the Yellowjackets’ discography numbers 25 releases.

On March 15, 2014, Lawrence welcomes Pat Metheny and his Unity Group. Winner of an astonishing 20 Grammy Awards in 12 different categories, Metheny’s musicianship is legendary. A nonpareil guitarist as well as accomplished composer, his impressive body of work includes compositions for solo guitar, small ensembles, electric and acoustic instruments, large orchestras and even ballet pieces. Metheny previously performed at Lawrence in 1984.

He’ll be joined on stage by his powerhouse Unity Group that features four all-star musicians in their own right: saxophonist Chris Potter, drummer Antonio Sanchez, bassist Ben Williams and pianist Giulio Carmassi.

“Pat is one of the most original guitarists and composers on the planet,” said Jose Encarnacion, an instructor in Lawrence’s Jazz Studies department. “His music, which combines elements of folk, contemporary, progressive jazz and fusion, is always fresh and powerful.”

Kenny Garrett

The Kenny Garrett Quintet closes the jazz series May 2, 2014. In a stellar career spanning more than three decades, Garrett has established himself as the pre-eminent alto saxophonists of his generation. After launching his career with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, he has gone on to perform with many of the giants of the genre, including Art Blakey, Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, among others. The latest of his 19 albums as leader, 2012’s all-original “Seeds from the Underground,” earned two Grammy Award nominations. Garrett’s work often incorporates world music influences as reflected in his 2006, multi-award nominated disc “Beyond the Wall,” which interweaves his interests in Asian music with jazz.

This will be Garrett’s second appearance on the Lawrence Jazz Series, having previously performed in Feb. 2000.

“Kenny Garrett is one of my heroes and biggest inspiration,” said Encarnacion, a fellow saxophonist. “He is one of the most important alto saxophone players in the history of jazz. His voice is unique and in perfect alignment with the universe.”

About Lawrence University

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.