Arts and Culture 2011

Amy Holtcamp



A musical preview of Spoleto 2011

Posted 4/28/2011 12:21:00 PM

In about a month, Charleston will be filled with art lovers there to enjoy the 2011 Spoleto Festival. Every year, the Spoleto Festival brings together the best artists from around the world for a two-week smorgasbord of music, dance, opera, and theater.

Still haven’t bought your tickets? Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some of my festival picks.

Today, the spotlight is on music. The festival was founded by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti, so it should come as no surprise that Spoleto’s musical programming is a perennial highlight of the festival.

For one night only on June 5, you can hear Béla Fleck & The Flecktones. Fleck plays the banjo and has spent his career marrying Bluegrass to World Music by collaborating with artists from places like Uganda, Tanzania, Senegal, Mali, South Africa and Madagascar and exploring the African roots of the banjo.

Indie-pop musicians Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips were commissioned by the Andy Warhol Museum to compose songs to accompany Warhol’s rarely seen silent film portraits, Screen Tests. Spoleto presents Wareham and Phillips in concert along with the film that inspired them.

I’m thrilled about the Wells Fargo Jazz series at Spoleto this year. Four-time Grammy Award-winning singer Dianne Reeves is returning to Spoleto with her sultry voice that has been compared to Sarah Vaughn’s and Nina Simone’s.

You might have caught Trombone Shorty on the HBO series Treme, which is set in the musician’s neighborhood in New Orleans. Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue will perform their unique blend of jazz, hip-hop and funk on June 9-10.

Wells Fargo Jazz also will mark the U.S. debut for some exceptional international artists. Even if you don’t think you like accordion music, the romance of Toninho Ferragutti’s music will change your mind. Willy González and Micaela Vita blend the best of traditional Argentinean folk with the best of electronic music creating a sound that is both charmingly familiar and stunningly modern.

Many of the musical offerings also give you the chance to take in some of Charleston’s most beautiful architecture at the same time. The Bank of America Chamber Music series is performed in the historic Dock Street Theatre, and programs like Intermezzi and the Westminster Choir Concerts are in some of the Holy City’s loveliest churches.

It’s also worth mentioning that you should go out of your way to attend a concert at the Cistern Yard during your time at Spoleto. This beautiful outdoor venue is just a wonderful way to enjoy the romance of Charleston while you listen to the beautiful music lined up for the 2011 season.

Click here for more information on concert schedules or the Spoleto season. The Spoleto Festival 2011 runs May 27-June 12.