Jazz Series

Tag: Jazz Series

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.

Lawrence University Jazz Series Welcomes The Bad Plus

The convention-breaking jazz trio The Bad Plus makes its Lawrence University debut Friday, February 1 at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel as part of the college’s 2012-13 Jazz Series.

Tickets, at $22-20 for adults, $19-17 for seniors and $17-15 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office in the Music-Drama Center, 920-832-6749.

The Bad Plus: Reid Anderson, bass; Ethan Iverson, piano; and David King, drums. Photo: Cameron Wittig.

The trio —Wisconsin native t Ethan Iverson on piano and Minnesotans Reid Anderson on bass and David King on drums — first performed together as teenagers once in 1990. They spent the next decade out exploring their own individual musical languages before reconnecting in 2000. A year later, they released their debut, self-titled album to critical acclaim, earning “best-of” honors from the New York Times, Chicago Reader and others.

As a band, The Bad Plus has continually attracted diverse audiences, combining ground-breaking original work with creative, genre-hopping covers of artists as diverse as Nirvana, Blondie and Pink Floyd as well as Neil Young, David Bowie and Black Sabbath.

The New York Times declared the band “better than anyone at mixing the sensibilities of post-60’s jazz and indie rock.”           

Bill Carrothers, who has played with many of the jazz world’s giants during a 31-year professional career, calls the Bad Plus “one of those groups that only comes along every once in a while in the timeline of our art form.”

“They are all consummate musicians, playing music in a way that is completely their own, doing so with one collective mind. They are taking the art form in new and unexpected directions” said Carrothers, who teaches jazz piano in Lawrence’s Conservatory of Music and collaborated on the Bad Plus drummer David King’s 2012 album “I’ve Been Ringing You.” “This is what we’re all trying to do, or would like to try to do. They’re actually doing it.”

The band’s discography of 10 albums includes 2010’s “Never Stop” and 2012’s “Made Possible,” both of which feature all original material. The trio, which has graced the covers of Downbeat and JazzTimes magazines, has toured steadily while collaborating with jazz legends Joshua Redman and Bill Frisell, among others.

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.


Panamanian Pianist Danilo Pérez Closes Lawrence University 2011-12 Jazz Series

Grammy Award-winning pianist and composer Danilo Pérez joins the Lawrence faculty jazz trio Friday, May 11 at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel for the final concert of the 2011-2012 Jazz Series.

Tickets, at $22-20 for adults, $19-17 for seniors, and $17-15 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office in the Music-Drama Center, or by calling 920-832-6749.

The Panama-born Pérez began playing piano at age three as a student of his father, Danilo Sr., and later studied classical music at the National Conservatory in Panama. After moving to the United States, he completed a degree in jazz composition at Boston’s  renowned Berklee College of Music. While at Berklee, Pérez began performing with jazz heavyweights Jon Hendricks, Terence Blanchard, Claudio Roditi and Paquito D’Rivera. In the late 1980s, Pérez became the youngest member of Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nations Orchestra. Today, in addition to his own trio, Pérez also performs as part of the Grammy Award-winning Wayne Shorter Quartet.

Danilo Pérez / Photo by Dragan Tasic

Pérez’ discography includes 15 albums, including 1998’s “Central Avenue” and 2010’s “Providencia,” both of which earned him Grammy Award nominations for best jazz album. He garnered two Grammy nominations for 2000’s “Motherland,” which was named that year’s best jazz album by the Boston Music Awards.  The New York Times praised his 1996 album “PanaMonk,” a tribute to both Thelonious Monk and his Panamanian heritage, as “a masterpiece of jazz synthesis.”

“Danilo’s music has the capacity to connect your soul with the unique sonorities of the universe in perfect harmony. It is just beautiful,” said José Encarnacion, instructor of jazz and improvisational music and jazz performance coordinator at Lawrence.

Encarnacion, a saxophonist, along with Dane Richeson, percussion and Mark Urness, bass will join Perez on stage as the Lawrence Faculty Trio.

Based in Boston, Pérez serves as artistic director of the Panama Jazz Festival, artistic advisor of the innovative Mellon Jazz Up Close series at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center and artistic director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook.

Renowned Performers, Rising Stars Featured in 2012-13 Artist and Jazz Series

Three-time Tony Award nominee Kelli O’Hara and a dynamic doubleheader weekend of award-winning jazz vocalist Kurt Elling and the renowned Maria Schneider Orchestra are among the celebrated performers on the 2012-13 Lawrence University Performing Artist and Jazz Series.

Subscriptions for both series are on sale now and subscribers may choose from the Artist, Jazz, or “Favorite 4” concert packages, with discounts available to senior citizens and students. Single-concert tickets go on sale Sept. 17, 2012. Contact the Lawrence University Box Office at 920-832-6749 or visit the Lawrence Performing Arts page for more information.

Kelli O'Hara

After starring runs in the Tony Award-winning revival of “South Pacific,” “The Pajama Game” and “The Light in the Piazza,” O’Hara has established herself as one of Broadway’s great leading ladies.

Hailed as Broadway’s “golden girl” by the New York Times, O’Hara brings her soulful soprano voice to the Lawrence Memorial Chapel March 9, 2013 as part of the four-concert Lawrence Artist Series.

Artist Series Opens Oct. 27

Cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley open the Artist Series Oct. 27 in an eclectic collaboration that crisscrosses classical and pop music genres, showcasing their talents as collaborators and soloists.  Their program will feature works by Bach and Gabrielli, Radiohead and Arcade Fire, Piazzolla and Stravinsky.

A pair of April 2013 concerts rounds out the Artist Series schedule. The Jupiter String Quartet, winners of both the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, performs April 12, 2013 while the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet, hailed as “arguably the best ensemble of its kind in the world” by the Manchester Evening News, takes the Memorial Chapel stage April 26, 2013.

Formed in 2001, Boston-based Jupiter added winners of the Young Concert Artists International auditions to its resume in 2005. One of America’ most dynamic young string quartets, Jupiter performed the entire cycle of Beethoven string quartets — all 16 — last summer for the Aspen Music Festival.

Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet

The Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet — the first permanently established wind quintet in the Berlin Philharmonic’s long history of chamber music — has been dazzling audiences around the world since 1988 with an uncanny ability to unite five disparate sounds into a collective smoothness.

Redefining the sound of the classic wind quintet, the ensemble’s repertoire includes the full spectrum of the wind quintet literature as well as works for enlarged ensemble, among them the sextets of Janácek and Reinicke or the septets of Hindemith and Koechlin.

“The 100-year-old tradition of excellence continues with next year’s exceptional Artist Series line-up,” said Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music. “It is amazing to think that we can experience, right in our own Memorial Chapel, the same performers who are playing to sold-out houses in New York, Los Angeles or Berlin just the week before. These are musical opportunities not to be missed.”

Jazz Celebration Weekend Kicks off Jazz Series

The Kurt Elling Quartet and the Maria Schneider Orchestra headline the Lawrence’s 32nd annual Jazz Celebration Weekend Nov. 2-3, respectively.

Kurt Elling

Elling, described as “the standout male vocalist of our time”‘ by the New York Times, performs with the Lawrence Jazz Ensemble. A nine-time Grammy Award nominee and 2009 Grammy winner for “Dedicated To You: Kurt Elling Sings The Music Of Coltrane And Hartman,” Elling has won the DownBeat Critics Poll Male Vocalist of the Year Award an astonishing 12 years (2000-2011) in a row. This will be Elling’s second appearance at Jazz Weekend, having previously performed in 2003.

An internationally renowned jazz composer and conductor, Schneider formed her 17-member orchestra in 1993. A weekly performer at Visiones in Greenwich Village early on, the orchestra has since become a staple at concert venues around the world, earning 2005’s “Large Jazz Ensemble of the Year”‘ award from the Jazz Journalists Association. Her orchestra’s albums “Concert in the Garden” and 2007’s “Sky Blue” earned Grammy Awards and were named “Jazz Album of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association and the Downbeat Critics Poll.

Maria Schneider

“I consider Maria Schneider the premier composer of music for the large jazz ensemble in the 21st century, and her Jazz Orchestra is among the finest big bands in the world today,” said Fred Sturm, director of jazz studies and improvisation music at Lawrence. “Her original works contain the most artistic renderings of melody, harmony, orchestration, and structure created by composers in all jazz-related genres over the past decade. Her scores and recordings have dramatically impacted the evolution of the jazz composition art form worldwide.”

The Bad Plus, a jazz trio born in 2000 that includes Wisconsin native Ethan Iverson on piano, brings its eclectic combination of avant-garde jazz with rock and pop influences to the Memorial Chapel Feb. 1, 2013. The band has recorded versions of songs by diverse artists ranging from Nirvana, Blondie and Pink Floyd to Neil Young, David Bowie and Black Sabbath. According to a Rolling Stone review of a Bad Plus performance, the band is “about as badass as highbrow gets.”

Vocalist Gretchen Parlato closes the four-concert Jazz Series May 10, 2013. A Los Angeles native, Parlato won the 2003 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition and two years later released her debut self-titled album to critical acclaim. Following the release of her second CD, 2011’s “The Lost and Found,” Parlato was named No. 1 Rising Star Female Vocalist in DownBeat Magazine’s Annual Critics Poll.

“Gretchen is one of the most unique, provocative, and hip singers on the scene today,” said Dane Richeson, professor of music in Lawrence’s jazz studies department. “She pulls together great musicians to work with her in her band and I promise hers will be a great concert.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

Grammy-Winning Bassist Christian McBride Closes Lawrence Jazz Series May 14

Two-time Grammy Award-winner Christian McBride and his acoustic jazz quintet Inside Straight performs Friday, May 14 at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel in the final concert of Lawrence University’s 2009-2010 Jazz Series.

Tickets, at $20-22 for adults, $17-19 for seniors and $15-17 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Christian McBride

Hailed as “perhaps the most exciting jazz bass player since Ray Brown” by All About Jazz, McBride has appeared on more than 250 albums, including five of his own releases. Playing both acoustic and electric bass, McBride has accompanied scores of jazz luminaries, among them Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Diana Krall.

Over the past two decades, McBride has been one of the most requested sidemen in the music business, touring with such renowned jazz musicians and their bands as Roy Hargrove and Pat Metheney.

Assistant Professor of Music Mark Urness, who teaches bass in the Lawrence conservatory of music, said McBride has been at the forefront of jazz bass playing for nearly two decades.

“His stunning virtuosity is combined with an intense rhythmic feel and a rare melodic gift,” said Urness. “He epitomizes the modern jazz artist by combining tradition with innovation.”

Named “Hot Jazz Artist” of 1992 by Rolling Stone magazine, McBride won Grammy Awards in 2009 and 2006 in the best jazz instrumental album, individual or group category. He was named co-director of The Jazz Museum in Harlem in 2005 and recently finished a four-year appointment as creative chair for jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  As a composer, McBride created “Bluesin’ in Alphabet City,” a commissioned work performed by Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

Inside Straight, McBride’s new quintet, recently released its debut album “Kind of Brown,” a collection of hard swing-to-bluesy groove tunes. The international cultural criticism magazine Pop Matters praised Inside Straight for creating “delicious music” and described the album as “hot. It puts a little jump in your step.”

“Inside Straight is a traditional acoustic jazz ensemble with innovative compositions and improvisations,” said Urness. “The band draws influence not only from classic jazz, but also from modern funk and hip-hop artists.”

Inside Straight features Eric Scott Reed on piano, Steve Wilson on saxophone, Warren Wolf, Jr. on vibraphone and Carl Allen on drums.

Season Subscriptions on Sale for 2010-2011 Artist and Jazz Performing Arts Series

The critically acclaimed Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra under the baton of musical director Edo de Waart and the first-ever all-Latin Jazz Celebration Weekend highlight Lawrence University’s eight-concert 2010-2011 Artist and Jazz Series.

Season subscriptions are currently on sale, with discounts available to senior citizens and students. Reserve tickets can be ordered for the Artist, Jazz or a “Favorite 4” series that allows subscribers to select any combination of four concerts from either series. Single-concert tickets go on sale Sept. 16. For additional ticket information, contact the Lawrence Box Office at 920-832-6749.

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

Recognized as a pioneer in the world of new music among American orchestras, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s 88 full-time professional musicians take the Lawrence Memorial Chapel stage Friday, April 1, 2011. Founded in 1959, the MSO conducts nearly 150 concerts a year and has performed on tour in Europe, Japan and Cuba, as well as Carnegie Hall and other venues throughout the United States.

Joining the MSO on the Artist Series schedule are the six-member Rhythm and Brass, which opens the series Saturday, Sept. 25; soprano Measha Brueggergosman performs Wednesday Feb. 9, 2011; and The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet closes the series Friday, April 16, 2011.

Luciana Souza

For the first time in its 30-year history, Jazz Celebration Weekend goes all Latin, with Brazil’s Grammy-winning jazz singer Louciana Souza and her quartet opening the weekend Nov. 5. Raised in a family of bossa nova innovators, Souza has emerged as one of jazz’s leading singers and interpreters, creating a body of work with sophisticated lineage in world music that transcends traditional boundaries.

Trombonist Conrad Herwig performs Nov. 6 on the second night of Jazz Celebration Weekend along with the Lawrence Jazz Trio and the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble. With series of “Latin Side” CDs, including tributes to John Coltrane and Miles Davis, Herwig has created a highly identifiable niche in contemporary jazz.

The remaining Jazz Series includes Donny McCaslin, who brings his sonorous tenor sax to the Lawrence Chapel stage Feb. 25, where he’ll be joined by The Lawrence Brass. The two-time Grammy Award-winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra closes the series May 6.

Rhythm & Brass incorporates influences as divergent as Josquin Des Prez, Pink Floyd and Johann Sebastian Bach in creating musical presentations that cross time, geographic and cultural boundaries.

Canadian soprano Brueggergosman, one of today’s most vibrant performers, has earned international critical acclaim for her innate musicianship, voluptuous voice and supreme stage presence beyond her years.

The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, a 2005 Grammy Award winner, brings a special energy to the concert stage with its eclectic programs and dynamic musical interplay. The quartet continues to break new ground with fresh interpretations of works from the contemporary and world-music realms.

McCaslin’s incisive twists and purposeful turns of his emotionally charged solos have wowed audiences and critics alike for the past decade. While he has recorded seven albums, his solo work with large ensembles has turned heads, resulting in a Best Jazz Instrumental Solo Grammy nomination in 2004.

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra features some of world’s finest musicians, most of whom lead their own bands when not performing with the orchestra. Co-founded by legendary trumpeter Thad Jones and drummer Mel Lewis, the ensemble still plays virtually every Monday night at the renowned jazz club Vanguard Village, New York City’s most famous basement, where it got its start in 1966.

Lawrence University Announces 2009-10 Artist and Jazz Performing Arts Series

APPLETON, WIS. — An eclectic mix of renowned performers and rising stars, including the multi-talented Bobby McFerrin and pianist Simone Dinnerstein, bring their musical virtuosity to Appleton for the eight concert 2009-10 Lawrence University Artist and Jazz Series.

New York’s internationally acclaimed African-American quintet Imani Winds opens the Artist Series season Oct. 17. The Paris-based Ebène String Quartet, known for its careful attention to dynamic detail, comes to the Lawrence Memorial Chapel Feb. 5. Acclaimed operatic tenor Anthony Dean Griffey performs with renowned pianist Warren Jones April 9. Dinnerstein, “a phenomenon in the world of classical music” according to the Washington Post, closes the series April 30.

Audience favorite Steve March Tormé opens the Jazz Series Nov. 6, kicking off Lawrence’s annual Jazz Celebration Weekend with the Lawrence Faculty Jazz. The Wisconsin Homegrown Jazz Quintet performs the second half of Jazz Celebration Weekend Nov. 7. McFerrin brings his inimitable style to the stage Feb. 19 in a performance with the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble. Bassist extraordinaire Christian McBride and his band Inside Straight closes the Jazz Series May 14.

Season subscriptions to either the artist, jazz or a “favorite 4” series that allows subscribers to select any combination of four concerts from either series, are currently on sale, with discounts available to senior citizens and students. Single-concert tickets go on sale Sept. 16. Contact the Lawrence Box Office at 920-832-6749.

Since its 1997 founding, the Grammy-nominated Imani Winds has carved out a distinct presence in the classical music world with its dynamic playing, culturally poignant programming and genre-blurring collaborations. With two member composers and a deep commitment to commissioning new work, the group is enriching the traditional wind quintet repertoire while bridging American, African, European and Latin American traditions.

The Ebène String Quartet — four young musicians from France all still in their 20s — has quickly become one of Europe’s most talked-about ensembles. The group made its American debut earlier this year in an eight-city concert tour to rave reviews. The New Yorker called their playing “so secure, alive, rich-toned, and profoundly musical that age ceased to be an issue.” The quartet is distinguished by its versatility, displaying equal facility in the classical repertoire and contemporary music.

Griffey, named one of 12 “exceptional singers of distinction” by Musical America magazine in 2005, added a pair of 2009 Grammy Awards (Best Opera Recording and Best Classical Album) in February to his impressive resume for his work on the Los Angeles Opera’s “Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.” He has captured critical and popular acclaim on opera, concert, and recital stages worldwide and is perhaps best known for his portrayal of the title character in Benjamin Britten’s “Peter Grimes,” which he has performed with New York’s Metropolitan Opera and the San Diego Opera. Long-time vocal coach Warren Jones, who will be Griffey’s accompanist, has been praised as “a singer’s greatest partner.”

Dinnerstein has gained international attention as a commanding and charismatic artist since making a triumphant New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall in 2005. She has performed around the world, including the Salle Cortot in Paris, the Copenhagen Music Festival and London’s Wigmore Hall. Her recording of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” was released in August 2007 and shot to No. 1 on the Billboard Classical Chart in its first week of sales. Piano Magazine hailed the disc as “precisely the kind of playing that the early 21st century most needs, infused as it is with a deep and pervasive sense of beauty and tenderness of heart.”

Tormé has spent the past three decades as a working musician since releasing his critically acclaimed debut record “Lucky” in the late 1970s. His concert repertoire spans the musical spectrum, from classic American standards to his own original music, which reflect the influences of the Beatles, Steely Dan and Todd Rundgren, among others. The New York Daily News has called Tormé “so personable, his voice so becoming and his performance so filled with élan, that he is always interesting.”

The Wisconsin Homegrown Jazz Quintet features five world-class instrumentalists all with state roots, including two with ties to Lawrence: bassist Ike Sturm, son of Lawrence’s director of jazz studies and improvisational music Fred Sturm, and drummer Zach Harmon, son of renowned composer John Harmon, the first director of Lawrence’s jazz studies program. The group’s members have worked with many jazz luminaries, among them Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Joshua Redman.

McFerrin, winner of 10 Grammy awards and creator of the iconic pop classic “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” makes his fourth appearance at Lawrence in a performance of “Migrations” with the LU Jazz Ensemble. The work, which McFerrin commissioned Fred Sturm to write, is a “musical plea for world unity” that showcases 23 indigenous songs from 21 countries. In the work, McFerrin improvises and interprets Sturm’s scores of an aboriginal chant from Australia, a Mbuti Pygmy tribal song of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and an Inuit chant from Greenland, among others.

Despite not yet turning 40 years of age, McBride has been among the most omnipresent figures in the jazz world for 20 years. Bassist, composer, arranger and educator, McBride’s career collaborations read like a Who’s Who of music’s most dynamic artists, including Sonny Rollins, James Brown, R&B superstars Isaac Hayes and Natalie Cole, pop icons Sting and Don Henley, hip-hop’s Queen Latifah, opera legend Kathleen Battle and bass virtuoso Edgar Meyer. The quintet “Christian McBride & Inside Straight” is scheduled to release its first CD, “Kind of Brown,” this June.

Lawrence University Jazz Series presents NEA Jazz Master Benny Golson

The Lawrence University Jazz Series will continue on February 17 with NEA Jazz Master and saxophonist Benny Golson. Joining Golson on stage will be the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble (LUJE) and the Lawrence Jazz Trio.

The concert, which takes place at 8:00 p.m., will be held at Lawrence Memorial Chapel. Tickets for this concert are available at the Lawrence University Box Office, 920-832-6749, and range from $15 for students to $22 for adults.

Golson comes to Lawrence University through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Masters On Tour program, organized by the NEA and Arts Midwest and supported by Verizon.

A composer, arranger, lyricist, producer and tenor saxophonist of world renown, Golson has contributed his distinctive saxophone style to ensembles led by such jazz greats as Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Earl Bostic and Art Blakey.

For more than five decades Golson has made major offerings to the world of jazz by composing standards such as “Killer Joe,” “Along Came Betty,” “Five Spot After Dark” and “I Remember Clifford,” along with compositions and arrangements for musicians such as Count Basie, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald. He has given hundreds of performances in the United States, Europe, South America, Far East and Japan.

In 1996, Golson was named an NEA Jazz Master. Established in 1982, the NEA Jazz Masters program honors living legends for their exceptional contributions to jazz and helps to connect them, and their music, to the American people through broadcasts, publications, educational initiatives and NEA Jazz Masters On Tour. The NEA Jazz Masters Initiative is sponsored by Verizon with additional support provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation through a grant to Chamber Music America.

Most recently, Golson appeared as himself in Steven Spielberg’s film, “The Terminal” and recorded his new CD “Terminal 1,” which was released in June 2004, with Concord Records. He is currently putting the finishing touches on two books, a major college textbook and his autobiography.

For additional information on this and other “Performing Arts at Lawrence” series concerts, please visit www.lawrence.edu/news/performingartsseries.