August 21, 2015

Spectacular Lineup of Award-Winning Artists to Perform at Festival Miami 2015

Freda Payne
The University of Miami Frost School of Music and presenting sponsor UHealth – University of Miami Health System announce the extraordinary lineup for its annual multi-genre music festival, FESTIVAL MIAMI, Florida’s premier live music festival. From October 16 to November 7, 2015, the Festival will offer vibrant performances by the biggest names on the music scene from around the globe who will showcase their talents alongside the outstanding students and faculty artists from the Frost School of Music. More than 20 performances, organized into four themes: Great Performances, Jazz and Beyond, Music of the Americas, and Creative American Music, will be held in the intimate setting of the 600-seat UM Maurice Gusman Concert Hall, 1314 Miller Drive, on the Coral Gables campus.

The Festival’s 32nd season kicks off on a bright note on October 16 when South Florida concert-goers will be treated to an unforgettable program featuring the music of three visionary American composers. The highlight of the evening will be a riveting performance by one of America’s newest artistic treasures – the Billboard chart-topping piano sensation SIMONE DINNERSTEIN who will perform the Florida premiere of Phillip Lasser’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra – The Circle and the Child with the FROST SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA. Alan Hovhaness’s landmark And God Created Great Whales and Howard Hanson’s epic Symphony No. 5 complete the program of standout works.

Additional Festival Miami highlights include the annual SONGWRITERS SHOWCASE – Johnny Mercer Re-Imagined, held on October 20, that will place the spotlight on the remarkable talents of songwriters and performers from the Frost School’s Bruce Hornsby Creative American Music (CAM) Program. The students will give a fresh spin on classic songs by the legendary Johnny Mercer, who penned such beloved standards as “Autumn Leaves,” “Moon River,” and “Skylark,” showcasing all new versions of classic works by this brilliant writer. This event will be hosted by Rey Sanchez, CAM Program Director and Jon Brielle, Vice President of the Johnny Mercer Foundation. The following evening, October, 21, country music fans will be treated to an “unplugged” and “in the round” evening of music by Nashville’s songwriting giants when the NASHVILLE COUNTRY ALL-STARS (Craig Carothers, Tony Arata, Dave Berg, and Annie Mosher) showcase their biggest hits recorded by Garth Brooks, Keith Urban, Trisha Yearwood, Rodney Atkins, and many others. Cuban-born piano master GONZALO RUBALCABA, who has been heralded by The New York Times as “one of the greatest musicians in jazz… a pianist of almost supernatural abilities,” will be joined by his fellow Frost School faculty artists, including percussion virtuoso and winner of the Concert Artists Guild International Competition SVET STOYANOV with trumpeter/bandleader JOHN 
Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
They will enthrall audiences in their new musical home with a thrilling jazz program on October 22. The Grammy-and Emmy Award winning tenor JOHN EASTERLIN will thrill audiences with Broadway and opera favorites and classic arias by Mozart, Bernstein, plus more celebrated composers on October 24 on a program that features Grammy nominated jazz arranger and Dean of the Frost School of Music SHELLY BERG as special guest. On October 25, the inimitable LOS ANGELES GUITAR QUARTET -- recognized as one of the nation’s most groundbreaking and virtuosic instrumental ensembles -- will present music from their album New Renaissance and arrangements of classics by Ralph Towner, Pat Metheny, and Chet Atkins from their Grammy-winning project Guitar Heroes, as well as premiere works by Atanas Ourkouzounov, Tilman Hoppstock, and Dweezil Zappa.

Musical sparks will fly in a new interpretation of Brahms’s Horn Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 40 on October 28 when admired Frost horn faculty member, motion picture and solo recording artist RICHARD TODD performs with violin soloist and Cleveland Institute of Music’s President JOEL SMIRNOFF and award-winning pianist and NPR’s From the Top host CHRISTOPHER O’RILEY. Todd will also perform Olivier Messiaen’s solo horn work “Appel Interstellaire.” Solo piano and violin works by Bach and chamber music gems round out the evening’s program. CYRILLE AIMÉE, who is an extraordinary revelation in contemporary vocal jazz, will perform with the 2015 DownBeat Collegiate Award winning FROST STUDIO JAZZ BAND and JAZZ VOCAL 1 ENSEMBLE on October 29. The young, New York-based French singer AIMÉE blends standards with Gypsy swing and bossa nova. Since she won the 2012 Sarah Vaughan Jazz Competition, she has quickly become widely acclaimed as a favorite of jazz aficionados. Multi-platinum selling singer-songwriter and pianist BEN FOLDS will perform his critically acclaimed Concerto for Piano and Orchestra with the Frost School’s stellar HENRY MANCINI INSTITUTE ORCHESTRA on October 30. His concerto, which he composed in 2013 and has since been performed by symphony orchestras to sold-out audiences around the globe, will be featured on his upcoming new album "So There," which is slated for release in September 2015."

On Halloween afternoon, the FROST SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA presents Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Children’s Suite for Orchestra) by John Williams, plus music by Saint-Saëns and Mussorgsky. The young and young-at-heart are invited to dress in Halloween costumes and enjoy post-concert treats courtesy of Festival Miami.

Black Violin
The Festival continues on November 1 with an exhilarating sonic celebration when the violin/viola hip-hop duo BLACK VIOLIN, comprised of string musicians Kev Marcus and Wil B, will once again shatter stereotypes of classical musicians by offering their fresh take on classical music, incorporating influences from R&B and soul to rock and beyond. Named one of the hottest new bands at the South by Southwest (SXSW®) Festival, Black Violin is sure to “wow” audiences with their high-energy, genre-bending sounds. Grammy nominated jazz organist extraordinaire JOEY DeFRANCESCO has been credited with being a vital force in the revival of the Hammond B3 organ as a jazz instrument. On November 3, he will entertain audiences with his swinging style and astounding originality as he performs in the great tradition of the unforgettable Jimmy Smith. FREDA PAYNE, who will forever be associated with her 1970 breakthrough R&B hit “Band of Gold,” returns to her musical roots as an American jazz singer in the tradition of Nancy Wilson and Ella Fitzgerald on November 5. She will captivate audiences with her artistic prowess on a program that includes “Save Your Love for Me,” plus more enthralling selections with a trio that will feature Frost School of Music Dean SHELLY BERG on piano.