Friday July 23, 2010
Tags for: Cleveland Museum of Art's 2010-11 VIVA & Gala Series Welcomes 21 Performances from 10 Countries
  • Press Release

Cleveland Museum of Art's 2010-11 VIVA & Gala Series Welcomes 21 Performances from 10 Countries

exterior of the CMA building

Schedule highlights include a unique collaboration with The Cleveland Orchestra, four-concert miniseries of Latina performers and re-inauguration of the museum's McMyler organ

CLEVELAND (July 23, 2010) — The Cleveland Museum of Art's 2010-11 VIVA & Gala performing arts series will launch in October with an ambitious schedule of programs that takes audiences around the globe. VIVA & Gala has built a reputation among regional audiences for bringing one-of-a-kind artists to Cleveland, and the upcoming season is no exception, with 21 performances from 10 different countries.

This year's lineup ranges from the 50-member mixed choir State Symphony Capella of Russia and the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble of India to master Chinese musician Yang Wei and Grammy Award-winning Mariachi Los Camperos of Mexico. In a first, the museum has partnered with The Cleveland Orchestra in a unique, three-concert collaboration to bring a program of chamber works by Italian composers to Gartner Auditorium.

The season also will boast a distinctly Latin flair, with a four-concert miniseries of Latina performers, and three ensembles from Cuba, who will bring the island's music and dance to Cleveland for the first time following seven years of restricted U.S. entry for Cuban artists. Several free concerts also are featured, including the first organ recital at the museum in more than five years, designed to celebrate the restoration of Gartner Auditorium's McMyler organ, and two performances featuring ensembles from Oberlin Conservatory: the Contemporary Music Ensemble and Collegium Musicum. Performances take place in the museum's Gartner Auditorium unless otherwise noted.

"This year's Viva & Gala programming is a testament to the success of Gartner Auditoriums renovation," says Massoud Saidpour, director of performing arts, music and film at the Cleveland Museum of Art. "Our upcoming season will make full use of the auditorium's enhanced acoustics and flexible theatrical facilities in presenting what is always one of Cleveland's most diverse performing arts series."

The entire schedule includes:

David Higgs, organ
Friday, October 1, 2010, 7:30 p.m.

While the renovation of Gartner Auditorium was a milestone in museum history, the job is now fully complete with the Holtkamp Company's restoration of the McMyler organ. The restoration of the McMyler organ was made possible through a generous gift of the Musart Society, and this special event is co-sponsored by the Cleveland Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Free, tickets required.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010, 7:30 p.m.

"Once heard, never forgotten ... one of the most glorious voices to have emerged on the international stage ... you know instantly that you are in the presence of a rare talent." –Sunday Times (London)

Hailed as the "Flamenco Queen," Buika is the daughter of political refugees from Equatorial Guinea in Africa and grew up in a gypsy neighborhood on the Spanish island of Mallorca. The New York Times calls her unique blend of flamenco, jazz, soul and blues "luminous ... magnificent ... superb!" Part of the miniseries "Faces of Latina Performers." $39, $35; CMA members $38, $34

Lizt Alfonso's Dance Cuba
Wednesday, October 27, 2010, 7:30 p.m.

"Her company of superb performers can do it all and do it at such high caliber, commitment and skill, while exuding beauty and pride." –Dance Insider

The New York Times has described performances by Lizt Alfonso's company of 20 young women as shows in which "each work dazzles on its own." Alfonso's choreography blends classical ballet, Spanish classical dance, Afro-Cuban, flamenco and Cuban popular dance styles, while dancers are accompanied by live Cuban music. The troupe returns to the museum after a sold-out performance in 2003. Part of the miniseries "Faces of Latina Performers." $39, $35; CMA members $38, $34

Mariachi Los Camperos
Friday, November 5, 2010, 7:30 p.m.

"Spectacular!" –Seattle Times

This Grammy Award-winning mariachi band — under the direction of Nati Cano — combines lively music and colorful costumes as the artists perform a jubilant program appealing to both young and old. During 40 years of music making, Mariachi Los Camperos has both mirrored and shaped this native Mexican music, performing with a vibrancy and intensity that distinguishes the group as one of the finest mariachi bands in the world. $39, $35; CMA members $38, $34

State Symphony Capella of Russia
Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 7:30 p.m.
Performance at the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus, Slavic Village

"What a choir! Beautiful, noble, ideally balanced sounding, diversity of timbres, flawless clear intoning. ... We can only dream about such a choir." –Le Monde de la Musique

Presented as a complement to the museum's exhibition Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe, the State Symphony Capella of Russia, a 50-member mixed choir, makes its Cleveland debut with a program featuring select pieces from the Eastern Orthodox repertoire of the Middle Ages, plus choral works by Schnittke, Tavener, Rachmaninov and more. Under the direction of Valeri Polyansky, the State Symphony Capella of Russia was founded in 1991 with the merger of the USSR State Chamber Choir and the State Symphony Orchestra of the USSR Ministry of Culture. $39, $35; CMA members $38, $34

This performance will take place at the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus in Slavic Village. Dedicated in 1891, this beautiful landmark was designed by William H. Dunn.

Masters of Chinese Music: Facets of the Pipa with Yang Wei
Friday, December 10, 2010, 7:30 p.m.

Deeply rooted in the Chinese people's love for nature, traditional music is a reflection of Earth's natural beauty and mystery. In this program, master instrumentalist Yang Wei performs an array of traditional Chinese solo music displaying the versatility of the pipa (Chinese lute). Yang Wei has traveled the world performing solo and ensemble music at some of the most prestigious performance halls alongside such luminaries as cellist Yo-Yo Ma. $30, $26; CMA members $29, $25

Perú Negro with Eva Ayllón
Friday, January 21, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

"Perú Negro is so much unadulterated fun ... imbued with theatrical flair and charming comic digressions." –Boston Globe

Formed 40 years ago to preserve Peru's African heritage, Perú Negro has performed all over the world as "Cultural Ambassadors of Peruvian Culture." A nonstop carnival of rhythm, Perú Negro's high-energy show is made up of festive and celebratory dances interwoven with vibrant live music. The ensemble is accompanied by the dynamic singer Eva Ayllón — the best-known voice in contemporary Peruvian music. Part of the miniseries "Faces of Latina Performers." $39, $35; CMA members $38, $34

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and New Century Chamber Orchestra
Wednesday, February 2, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

"True to form, Salerno-Sonnenberg was an emotional live wire." –Philadelphia Inquirer

Since the violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg recently took the helm as artistic director of the California-based, conductorless New Century Chamber Orchestra, the profile of this outstanding group has risen considerably. This mixed program includes works by Piazzolla, Tchaikovsky, Hugo Wolf and others. $30, $26; CMA members $29, $25

Iva Bittová and the Calder Quartet
Friday, February 18, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

"Iva Bittová is an extraordinary artist. Raw and defined, passionate and contained, she has the soul of a gypsy, the voice of a troubadour and the mind of a genius." –NPR, All Things Considered; "The Calder Quartet is always ready to stretch boundaries." –Los Angeles Times

Moravian fiddler and singer Iva Bittová joins the revered Calder Quartet in a concert program of charm and wit. String quartets by Leoš Janácek and Béla Bartók are interspersed and augmented by Bittová, who performs solo and as a "fifth member" of the quartet. This classical music collaboration shines a spotlight on Eastern Europe, and especially the Czech Republic. $30, $26; CMA members $29, $25

Yasmin Levy
Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

"That magical mix of memory, nostalgia, tender beauty and hope, to perfection." –BBC Radio

In her deeply moving voice, Yasmin Levy sings Ladino songs: the 500-year-old Sephardic or Spanish-Jewry songs that have been passed down orally from generation to generation. The Israeli singer was introduced to Ladino songs at an early age by her late father, Isaac Levy, who is credited with having saved this musical tradition from extinction. Part of the miniseries "Faces of Latina Performers." $39, $35; CMA members $38, $34

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble
Friday, March 11, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

"The most luminous dance event of the year." –New York Times

The radiant Nrityagram Dance Ensemble — six female dancers under the artistic direction of Surupa Sen — blends the classical dance forms of India with contemporary concepts. The company transports viewers to the mythical world of Hindu gods and goddesses with the sensuous flow of Odissi, the oldest of India's classical dance forms. International tours have taken the company to Europe and prestigious U.S. destinations including the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and Aspen Dance Festival, among others. $39, $35; CMA members $38, $34

Spiritual Unity: The Legacy and Music of Albert Ayler
Friday, March 18, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

"'Trane was the father. Pharoah was the son. I was the holy ghost." –Albert Ayler; "Marc Ribot is a deceptively articulate artist who uses inarticulateness as an expressive device." –The New York Times

This fall marks 40 years since the untimely death of jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler (born in Cleveland), a major figure in the development of post-Coltrane jazz. The legacy of his music and philosophy resound not only in the jazz canon but also across European free improvisation, Asian electronic music, American jazz and beyond. Ayler's magnum opus "Spiritual Unity" is the touchstone event celebrating this music and what came after. The concert features guitarist Marc Ribot's aptly named band Spiritual Unity and original Ayler collaborator Henry Grimes, with special guests. $30, $26; CMA members $29, $25

13 Most Beautiful … Songs for Andy Warhol's Screen Tests with live music by Dean & Britta
Wednesday, March 23, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

"Only in the Screen Tests does Andy Warhol on film achieve the ethereal beauty of his best paintings." –Guardian; "Lovely, languid music." –Pitchfork

"Warhol," wrote cultural critic Louis Menand, "made movies that eliminated (along with the acting and the drama) the cinematic. He found that people who could sit through them experienced them as cinema." And so it is with the artist's legendary Screen Tests — silent, single-camera, four-minute film portraits of various Factory studio stars, friends, socialites and hangers-on shot in the narcotized mid-sixties. In a groundbreaking project, the Warhol Museum recently went into its archives to revisit its collection of nearly 500 screen tests. Dean Wareham, of the bands Galaxie 500 and Luna, was invited to select from this cache and create music for each short film. The result is "13 Most Beautiful," an evening of songs set to Warhol's hypnotic black-and-white films featuring Wareham's critically acclaimed band Dean & Britta. The evening includes a preconcert talk with Paola Morsiani, the museum's curator of contemporary art, at 6:30 p.m. $30, $26; CMA members $29, $25

Septeto Nacional de Cuba
Friday, April 8, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

They "can legitimately claim to be inventors of salsa" writes the New York Times about Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro de Cuba. For more than 80 years and in more than 35 countries around the world, Septeto Nacional de Cuba has been the champion of the traditional sound of Cuban music. The group's exceptional musicianship and artistry is firmly rooted in the musical explosion of Cuban son (song) that took place during the 1920s and 1930s, evoking the nostalgic elegance of the dancing ballrooms and clubs of the era. $39, $35; CMA members $38, $34

Los Muñequitos de Matanzas
Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

Hailed by the Western media as the "reigning regents of rumba," "the essence of Cuba's musical soul" and "truly keepers of a sacred flame," Los Muñequitos de Matanzas are the undisputed masters of Afro-Cuban ritual music. Founded in 1952, the group is a veritable orchestra of rhythms. Three generations of dancer/singers, the ensemble remains a seminal force in the development of Afro-Cuban dance, song and percussion. The music of Los Muñequitos de Matanzas keeps alive 500 years of the vibrant culture of the African diaspora intrinsic to Cuba's living legacy. $39, $35; CMA members $38, $34

Italian Masterworks: A Chamber Music Series with The Cleveland Orchestra and Special Guests
Sunday, May 1, 2011, 2:00 p.m.; Wednesday, May 4, 2011, 7:30 p.m.; and Friday, May 6, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

In a first-of-its-kind collaboration, the Cleveland Museum of Art and The Cleveland Orchestra present a program of the great chamber works of Italian composers. This concise survey of Italian masterworks features several centuries of music, from the Renaissance to present day, performed by members of one of the greatest orchestras in the world under assistant conductor James Feddeck. Featuring music by Boccherini, Berio, Vivaldi, Scelsi, Scodanibbio, Dallapiccola and more. $20 per concert or $50 for all three; CMA members $18 per concert or $48 for all three

Endgame: A Play by Samuel Beckett
Thursday, May 19–Sunday, June 11, 2011; Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.
Performed at the Brooks Theatre of The Cleveland Play House

"A magnificent theatrical experience." –London Times

Nobel Laureate playwright Samuel Beckett shunned publicity throughout his life, only to become a worldwide cultural phenomenon. In Endgame — widely regarded as his masterpiece — high literature meets physical comedy. Beckett's play is a portrayal of Hamm — a blind, chair-bound tyrant — and Clov, his forgetful, fumbling servant/confidant. They coexist in a mutually dependent and fractious relationship. In the room are Hamm's ancient parents, Nell and Nagg, who live in trashcans and occasionally pop out to demand food or engage in farcical conversations. Through laughter and precise metaphor, Beckett probes deeply into the human condition. The production will feature Dorothy Silver and Terence Cranendonk and is directed by Massoud Saidpour. $29, CMA members $27.

Performed at the Brooks Theatre at the Cleveland Play House, Endgame will be the last play scheduled at this legendary theatre building, as the Cleveland Play House is relocating to PlayhouseSquare in May 2011 after 84 years.


Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble: Music of David Lang
Saturday, November 13, 2010, 2:00 p.m.

One of the finest American chamber ensembles dedicated to concert music of the 20th and 21st century is here in Northeast Ohio. Under the direction of Tim Weiss, the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble will turn the spotlight on Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lang in a composer portrait featuring "Cheating, Lying, Stealing" and "The Little Match Girl Passion," among other works. Fre , tickets required.

Collegium Musicum
Wednesday, December 8, 2010, 7:30 p.m.
Performance in the museum's 1916 building rotunda

In celebration of the Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe exhibition and newly reopened medieval galleries, Oberlin Conservatory's 40-voice Collegium Musicum will sing in the museum's rotunda. Specializing in the performance of medieval, Renaissance and early baroque music, this student ensemble is under the direction of Steven Plank. No tickets required.

Subscriptions go on sale beginning July 27 to museum members and Aug. 10 to the general public. Subscribers can save up to 25 percent off single ticket prices through packages that include all concerts ($416-$460 non-members; $401-$443 for museum members) or select programs ($178-$325 non-members; $169-$315 for museum members). Individuals may also choose to create their own, custom packages by selecting four or more concerts at a savings of 5 percent. Details can be found at

Single tickets for individual performances go on sale beginning Aug. 24 for members and Sept. 1 for non-members. Tickets are available by calling the Cleveland Museum of Art box office at 888-CMA-0033 or online at

The VIVA! & Gala season is made possible in part by the Ernest L. and Louise M. Gartner Fund, the P. J. McMyler Musical Endowment Fund and the Anton and Rose Zverina Music Fund. Additional support provided by the Musart Society. Support for "Faces of Latina Performers" is provided by Kathryn Karipides and David Brown in memory of their beloved friend May Chicris. The official media sponsor is WVIZ/PBS and 90.3 WCPN ideastream.

About The Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art is renowned for the quality and breadth of its collection, which includes more than 40,000 objects and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts. Currently undergoing a multi-phase renovation and expansion project, it is a significant international forum for exhibitions, scholarship, performing arts and art education. Admission to the museum has been free since its founding charter.

The Cleveland Museum of Art has a membership of more than 21,500 households and is supported by a broad range of individuals, foundations and businesses in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. The museum is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. Additional support comes from the Ohio Arts Council, which helps fund the museum with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. For more information about the museum, its holdings, programs and events, call 888-CMA-0033 or visit


Editor's Note: Music and/or video samples as well as photographs of artists are available upon request. Programs subject to change.

Contact the Museum's Media Relations Team:
(216) 707-2261