A festival dedicated to the celebrated record label ECM, the third annual Intl. Theater Festival, a rare recital from Jessye Norman and “A John Waters Christmas” highlight the 2004-05 UCLA Live season.
Broken down into series dedicated to theater, world music, jazz, spoken word and Artists Without Limits (AWOL), the UCLA Live season opens Oct. 1 with the Lyon Opera Ballet. UCLA Live director David Sefton, now in his third season, will announce the programming today.
In March, “Elective Affinities” will feature concerts by eight artists who record for Manfred Eicher’s 35-year-old modern classical and jazz label ECM: the Keith Jarrett Trio, saxophonist Jan Garbarek with the Hilliard Ensemble, composer Arvo Part, Tomasz Stanko Quartet, cellist Dino Saluzzi, singer Savina Yannatou, Anouar Brahem Trio and John Abercrombie. Eicher is the UCLA Live artist in residence.
“ECM has been able to take modern classical music and jazz — two worlds that don’t necessarily overlap — and without question succeed in seriousness, diversity and strident independence,” Sefton told Daily Variety, noting that he had been attempting to set up an ECM fest for five years, with London initially seen as the fest’s home. “Something of this scale really can’t be done with other labels. It’s one of the most important labels on the planet.”
Sefton continues to negotiate with other ECM acts to expand the series — dates for which are not yet set — and prior to its arrival will present ECM recording artist Charles Lloyd leading an homage to the late Billy Higgins, with Zakir Hussain, Geri Allen and others on Nov. 19. In March, ECM released “Which Way Is East,” a collaboration between Lloyd and the late L.A. drummer Higgins.
Theater series includes Brit troupe Cheek by Jowl performing a modern “Othello” Oct. 14-17; Nicaragua’s El Teatro Justo Rufino Garay staging the North American premiere of “La Casa de Rigoberto Mira al Sur” Oct. 26-31; the world premiere of “Modern Prometheus, LLC” by L.A.’s Osseus Labyrinth Nov. 17-20; and “Forbidden Christmas or The Doctor and the Patient,” created and directed by Rezo Gabriadze, and starring Mikhail Barishnikov, Jon DeVries, Luis Perez, Pilar Witherspoon and Yvonne Woods (Dec. 8-12).
Of “Modern Prometheus, LLC” Sefton said “I’m glad that, for the first time, we will include an L.A. company — international begins at home.” UCLA Live commissioned the work.
The 11 concerts in the world music series include Brazil’s Caetano Veloso making up for a canceled gig last season on Oct. 13-14; fellow Brazilians Hermeto Pascoal and Monica Salmaso on Nov. 4; “Arabesque,” a tribute to Serge Gainsbourg, on Nov. 18; saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera and guitarists Sergio and Odair Assad on Jan. 25; Los Lobos with Perla Batalla on March 4; and the return of gypsy guitarist Bireli Lagrene and Taraf de Haidouks on May 1.
Jazz shows besides the ECM fest and Higgins tribute include Wayne Shorter Quartet on April 9 and the Mingus Big Band returning on April 21.
The Jazz Passengers, led by Roy Nathanson and Curtis Fowlkes, will accompany a screening of “Creature From the Black Lagoon” in 3-D on Halloween, and the band Lambchop will accompany the screening of F.W. Murnau’s 1927 film “Sunrise” on Feb. 26.
New music ensemble Bang on a Can All-Stars will be joined by Philip Glass on Nov. 10; Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Emmanuel Ax partner on Beethoven works Dec. 6; the Eos Orchestra presents “The Bernstein/Sondheim Project” Feb. 24; soprano Norman sings April 2; Tin Hat Trio performs the scores to the 1911-1925 animation works of Ladislaw Starewicz on April 16; and Kent Nagano leads the American Youth Symphony in “Manzanar: An American Story” on June 2.
Laurie Anderson will present her latest work Nov. 5 and 6. Classical pianist Christopher O’Riley, whose interpretations of Radiohead songs made waves last year, will deliver the West Coast premiere of “Home to Oblivion: A Tribute to Elliott Smith” on May 26.
Waters will do his standup act on Dec. 9 as part of the spoken word series that includes Willem Dafoe interviewing Russell Banks and Michael Ondaatje on Nov. 7; poet Nikki Giovanni on Feb. 17; and David Sedaris with Sarah Vowell on April 26.
After opening with Lyon Opera Ballet Oct. 1 and 2, dance perfs include Ballet Preljocaj in the West Coast premiere of “Near Life Experience” Nov. 12-13; Matthew Bourne’s “Nutcracker!” Dec. 15-Jan. 2; and Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras Feb. 9-10.
Events are held on the UCLA campus at Royce Hall, Freud Playhouse, Schoenberg Hall and Macgowan Little Theater.