Yale Schwarzman Center announces 2023/2024 season featuring boundary-pushing artists & powerful performances

Yale Schwarzman Center

Corinne Bailey Rae, Renée Fleming, Julia Bullock, Ash Fure & Joseph Keckler are just a few of the boundary-pushing artists featured this season!

Songs steeped in ancestral pain, powerful performances giving voice to the voiceless, and sonic sculptures that are both playful and meant to be played represent just a few of the thrilling cultural offerings of Yale Schwarzman Center’s second season.

Executive Director Rachel Fine and Associate Artistic Director Jennifer Harrison Newman today announce highlights of Yale Schwarzman Center’s 2023/2024 programming lineup featuring a tantalizing mix of high-caliber artists who bend genres, thoughtfully juxtapose the absurd with the profound, and deliver rare and immersive performances.

Fine commented, “The 2023/2024 season at Yale Schwarzman Center promises to be a memorable celebration of creative expression and community unity. The artists activating the Center’s many spaces this season invite us to explore both contemporary ideas and emerging themes through works that are pioneering, poignant, timely and provocative. I’m proud of our ambitious second season that builds on the strong foundation laid in our first. We would like to thank our friends across Yale and New Haven who break bread and break boundaries with us, making this and future seasons possible.”

The following is a sampling of what to expect this season, in addition to our monthly Sessions series, collaborations with New Haven arts organizations, and some of the very best in student productions, all of which will be open to the public during the academic year. Be sure to check https://schwarzman.yale.edu for updated information.

Corinne Bailey Rae

The season kicks off on September 9 with a performance by two-time Grammy® winner Corinne Bailey Rae on the heels of her fourth studio album Black Rainbows. Inspired by the Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago which today serves as a cathedral of Black art, Rae wrote the 10-track collection over the course of six years and pushed herself to the brink of perfectionism while capturing the essence of the powerful cultural and historical artifacts.

Rae will appear in conversation with Yale Professor Daphne Brooks prior to taking the stage with her band. “Audiences will have a very special evening with the opportunity to hear the personal impressions and insights that went into creating this watershed musical catalog—a true look inside the mind of a great artist,” said Harrison Newman.

Wide ranging in its themes, Black Rainbows’ subjects are drawn from encounters with objects in the Arts Bank, Theaster Gates’s curated collection of Black archives comprising books, sculpture, records, furniture, and problematic objects from America’s past. From the rock hewn churches of Ethiopia to the journeys of Black Pioneers westward, from Miss New York Transit 1957 to how the sunset appears from Harriet Jacobs’ loophole, Black Rainbows explores Black femininity, Spell Work, Inner Space/Outer Space, time collapse, ancestors, and music as a vessel for transcendence.

Black Rainbows is presented in partnership with Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Black Sound and the Archive Working Group, the Department of African American Studies, Yale Center for British Art, Yale Institute of Sacred Music, Yale School of Art, and Yale School of Management.

Ash Fure

From October 21-28, internationally renowned sonic artist and composer Ash Fure returns to New Haven to unveil her new venture ANIMAL: A Listening Gym Called “purely visceral” and “staggeringly original” by The New Yorker, Fure’s full-bodied sonic architectures work on the senses in startling ways. A finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Music, Fure is the recipient of two Lincoln Center Emerging Artists Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rome Prize in Music Composition, a DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Prize, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant for Artists, a Fulbright Fellowship to France, a Darmstadt Kranichsteiner Musikpreis, and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship from Columbia University. She co-artistic directs The Industry LA and is an associate professor of music at Dartmouth College.

Both a total installation and a site for live performance, sonic artist Ash Fure's "listening gym" offers up an underworld of sound. The project features full-body sonic machines that function like a sensory circuit workout: you press, you lift, you lean, you lie, you exercise your animal capacity to sense. Set within the spherical acoustics of The Dome, each station on the circuit feeds sound back into the whole, charting lines of listening and collective calibration that animate the social utility of sound. Fure performs live on a custom gym rig at designated showtimes throughout the run, and a squad of elite listeners works the circuit with the crowd, like an underground resistance in training.

“Fure has created a singular experience where live performance, sculpture, and light coalesce for a full bodied work-out of  sound immersion,” added Harrison Newman.

ANIMAL: A Listening Gym is commissioned by the Schwarzman Center and built in collaboration with stock-a-studio. Fure’s engagement is part of Yale alum Bryce Dessner’s multi-year residency as the inaugural Artist-in-Residence in Music at Yale Schwarzman Center, in collaboration with extraordinary musicians, artists, thinkers, and doers at and beyond Yale, and produced in partnership with ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann.

Joseph Keckler

On October 5, audiences will experience An Evening with Joseph Keckler Hailed by the New York Times as a “major vocal talent… with a trickster’s dark wit,” the American singer, musician, performing artist and writer is known for his affecting—and at times absurdist—stories and songs that balance everyday episodes with otherworldly sounds.

Keckler’s work has been presented by NPR Tiny Desk, Lincoln Center, Centre Pompidou, among others, and played in venues such as Hammerstein Ballroom and Ryman Auditorium as the national opener for rock group Sleater-Kinney. His story and essay collection, Dragon at the Edge of a Flat World, was published in 2018 and his writing has appeared in VICE, McSweeney’s and other publications, including Theater: Yale’s Journal of Criticism, Plays, & Reportage. He currently tours with his production, Train With No Midnight. He wrote, composed and stars in a forthcoming film, directed by Laura Terruso, and is currently working on a new EP. 

El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered by the American Modern Opera Company (AMOC*)

On December 15, YSC presents the AMOC* production of contemporary composer John Adams’s El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered with libretto by Peter Sellars and concept by Julia Bullock, “one of opera’s fastest-rising stars” (Vanity Fair). El Niño is a chamber music arrangement created and conducted by Christian Reif and was first performed at The Met Cloisters in 2018. The New York Times calls it “intimate, affecting and quietly rich with activism.”

This rarely performed work celebrates Latin American poets and voices of women. In her reflections on the work, Bullock writes “El Niño, alternatively, not only explores the central themes of the nativity – the immaculate conception, the unique relationship between birthparent and child, and gift giving – but the work ruminates on the notion that with the promise of new life, there is the equal threat of inexplicable violence and sacrifice.”

JACK Quartet presents Catherine Lamb's divisio spiralis

JACK Quartet’s collaboration with Catherine Lamb has become a central artistic relationship, pushing forward the creative work of both the composer and quartet. Lamb’s music represents a facet of the very cutting edge of string instrument writing today. JACK has spent its existence expanding their abilities as chamber musicians and taking part in the conversation about enriching the language of possibilities in string quartet music. That challenge in Lamb’s music comes through the lens of harmony and not through extended techniques or unusual rhythmic demands, but rather a yogic attention to the sustained sound of the strings resonating traditionally. On December 1, experience the indefinable magic of Catherine Lamb's divisio spiralis in The Dome.

Since their founding in 2005, JACK Quartet has been introducing audiences worldwide to a range of experimental chamber music by established and emerging artists. JACK Quartet is committed to helping dismantle outmoded classical music pipelines for composers through their JACK Studio program, and they are the Quartet in Residence at The New School in New York City.

Renée Fleming

Renée Fleming is among the most acclaimed singers of our time, performing on the stages of the world’s greatest opera houses and concert halls. Honored with five Grammy awards and the U.S. National Medal of Arts, Fleming has sung for momentous occasions from the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to the Diamond Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

From January 18-20, 2024, Renée Fleming will grace Yale Schwarzman Center.

“Renée Fleming is a rare jewel who is heralded for her artistry, her humanity and commitment to the arts and we are blessed to have her as a Schwarzman Center Advisory Board Member. Her performance and collaboration with the Schwarzman Center and the Yale School of Music this season are unparalleled opportunities for our campus and New Haven communities to hear a living legend,” said Fine.

Fleming’s current concert calendar includes appearances in London, Milan, Paris, and at Carnegie Hall. In November, she starred in the world premiere staging of The Hours, a new opera based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and award-winning film, at the Metropolitan Opera. She won the 2023 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo Album for Voice of Nature: the Anthropocene.

Venue and Ticket Information

All performances in YSC’s 2023-24 season are free. Tickets will be released to the campus and general publics for each performance. More details about YSC’s 2023-24 season, including a full listing of performance dates can be found on the YSC website. For the most current information on all ticket releases and the full season line-up, subscribe to the YSC newsletter and never miss an update https://schwarzman.yale.edu/subscribe