Yale Schwarzman Center's Spring Season Features Cross-Cultural Artists Blending Dance, Music and Virtual Reality in Powerful Performances

Yale Schwarzman Center

Renee Fleming, Lonnie Holley & Mourning [A] BLKstar, Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn, Lorelei Ensemble and Sonia De Los Santos are just a few of the incredible artists featured in Schwarzman Center’s Spring line-up!

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Jan. 17, 2024 – Transformation is in the air with Yale Schwarzman Center’s spring 2024 line-up. With artists spanning genres and the globe, the first five months of 2024 take Yale and New Haven audiences on life-changing journeys with each performance and call us to deepen our senses and experience new sensations.

Executive Director Rachel Fine and Associate Artistic Director Jennifer Harrison Newman today announce highlights of YSC’s 2024 spring programming line-up featuring an exciting mix of high-caliber artists who invent new sounds, ask us to get up and dance, and deliver alluring performances.

Fine said, “The 2024 Schwarzman spring season builds on our exhilarating fall programming, inviting the entire Yale and New Haven communities to join us for both world-renowned and emerging artists who pull us into their work with magnetism. Our spring 2024 season will be animated by an eclectic blend of cultural leaders and brilliant performing artists who offer indelible entertainment and community-building experiences.”

Newman said, “From free dance classes to a kids’ dance party, there will be more ways to experience dance at the Center. With our first ever virtual reality experience, we hope to ignite curiosity and encourage exploration while also inviting audiences to pause and rest. This spring we are thrilled to continue expanding the breadth of artists and experiences on offer.”

The following is a sampling of what to expect this season, in addition to collaborations with New Haven arts organizations and some of the best in student productions, free and open to the public. Be sure to check https://schwarzman.yale.edu for updates.

Lonnie Holley & Mourning [A] BLKstar

The season kicks off tomorrow with Legendary musician and visual artist Lonnie Holley in concert with the Afrofuturist collective known as Mourning [A] BLKstar—a band that wraps live instrumentation and hip-hop production around cosmic stories of apocalypse and survival. The performance will be followed by a discussion with Lonnie Holley led by Ross Wightman, the Technical Manager and Curator of the Sound Art Series for Yale’s Center for Collaborative Arts & Media (CCAM).

This event is part of the CCAM Sound Art Series and is presented by Yale Schwarzman Center in partnership with CCAM; Yale School of Art; Yale School of Music; and the Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration.

Renée Fleming

The season continues this Friday, January 19 with a recital and masterclass by living legend and acclaimed soprano, Renée Fleming, in Yale School of Music’s Sprague Hall. Fleming will offer opera favorites and new works by Fauré, Liszt, Grieg, Björk and more.  The musical accompanist for the recital will be pianist and Professor in the Practice of Voice Gerald Martin Moore.

As a global advocate for the study of the powerful connections between the arts and health, on January 20, in the Schwarzman Center’s Commons, Fleming will offer the forum, Music & Mind, alongside popular professor Dr. Laurie Santos of the Happiness Lab podcast and Dr. AZA Allsop from the Yale Department of Psychology.

Fleming is presented by the Schwarzman Center in partnership with the Yale School of Music.

Darshan Trio

On February 3, the newly-established Darshan Trioviolinist Vijay Gupta ’07MM, cellist Yoshika Masuda, and pianist Dominic Cheli ’16MM—brings its visionary sound and innate musicality to two performances in The Dome. The trio juxtaposes chamber music and new music, creating a mosaic program with new ways of presenting and experiencing classical music.

Darshan Trio draws its name from the Sanskrit word meaning “sight, vision and beholding of a sacred object, and the sacred within.” Known not only for music, but also for social justice advocacy, the Darshan Trio artists take listeners on a compelling journey of sound.

Sarah Elizabeth Charles & Jarrett Cherner

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, vocalist Sarah Elizabeth Charles and pianist Jarrett Cherner will host an intimate and open-hearted wellbeing concert on Thursday, February 15. The concert features Charles’s multilayered vocals and Cherner’s emotionally rich piano playing in a live jazz performance—a musical exploration of mindfulness and self-care. The duo’s debut project, Tone, touches on themes embedded in “being kind to and loving oneself” and then encourages the audience to share that loving-kindness outward into the world.  Sarah Elizabeth Charles and Jarrett Cherner are presented in partnership with the Good Life Center at Yale.

Baye & Asa

Amadi ‘Baye’ Washington and Sam ‘Asa’ Pratt, known as the dance duo Baye and Asa, met when they were 6 years old, becoming over the years, in their words, “bodies shaped by a shared education.” They have presented their movement art projects at The Joyce Theater, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Pioneer Works, Jacob's Pillow, and many more. At the Schwarzman Center Baye & Asa will present two public performances: “Suck it Up,” a duet confronting the violent fallout of male insecurity and entitlement, and a new work for five dancers on Friday, January 26 and Saturday, January 27.

Baye & Asa’s visit includes a public dance class in the Schwarzman Dance Studio on Sunday, January 28, offered as part of the Center’s new EveryBody Dances at Yale Schwarzman Center dance class series.

The Living Earth Show, Samuel Adams & Post:ballet : Lyra

Deemed one of the “22 for ’22 performers to watch” (Washington Post), The Living Earth Show presents multimedia productions featuring music, movement and visual art. New Haven will experience the group’s collaboration with composer Samuel Adams ’10MM and Bay Area dance collective Post:ballet in Lyra, a program of live music, film, and dance, on Tuesday, February 27.

Adams’s score imagines The Living Earth Show percussionist Andy Meyerson and guitarist Travis Andrews as one single hyper-instrument—a 21st century lyre. The result is a sonic experience that straddles the fragile and often imperceptible line between earthly and digital realms. The Living Earth Show exists to push the boundaries of technical and artistic possibility while amplifying voices, perspectives, and bodies that the classical music tradition has often excluded. The organization uses the tools of experimental classical music to foreground artists whose perspectives have been traditionally excluded.

Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn

GRAMMY® Award-winning singer, songwriter and clawhammer banjo player Abigail Washburn and Chinese musical prodigy, Wu Fei, master of the guzheng (the ancient 21-string zither), will perform music from their self-titled album on Saturday, March 2. Known for blending music from their homes in Appalachia and China, the effervescent resonances of Fei’s guzheng zither dance around Washburn’s expressive banjo playing, intertwining to create a new musical language. Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn’s performance highlights shared humanity through the transformative power of song and a cross-cultural blend of music.

Lorelei Ensemble

Praised for its “full-bodied and radiant sound” (The New York Times) and “stunning precision of harmony, intonation, and... spectacular virtuosity” (Gramophone Magazine), Lorelei Ensemble will perform its enriching, storied music for New Haven on Thursday, March 7. This Schwarzman Center event will be a co-production with the world-renowned Yale Glee Club.

Led by founder and artistic director Beth Willer, Lorelei has established an inspiring mission, curating culturally relevant and artistically audacious programs that stretch and challenge the expectations of artists and audiences alike. Committed to education, Lorelei empowers young artists to be our next creative leaders through its work with rising performers and composers at children’s choirs, high schools, colleges, and universities across the country. Lorelei Ensemble has performed at celebrated venues across the country, including Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tanglewood Music Center, and Boston's Symphony Hall.

Bombina Bombast: Slumberland

Bombina Bombast is an award-winning performing arts company that utilizes virtual reality as its expressive medium. Bombina Bomast will present the original VR project Slumberland on Tuesday, March 26, launching a creative exploration in into an insomnia-driven question, “Why can’t I sleep?”

Bombina Bombast explains, “We live in an attention economy. The way we structure life and work today keeps us from sleeping. Up to 30% of people in developed countries now suffer from chronic insomnia. We are too tired to do something about a system that is profiting from our every glance or sliding finger on a screen… Slumberland is our way to try and get some rest, together with you. Because isn’t the most radical thing then, to sleep?”

Rennie Harris Puremovement American Street Dance Theater

Rennie Harris Puremovement American Street Dance Theater will perform Nuttin But A Word on Tuesday, April 30. This acclaimed work pushes the boundaries of street dance movement vocabulary and the evolving stories about our neighborhoods. It inspires audiences to view street dance culture through an appreciative lens while challenging the viewers' perspective of street and Hip-hop dance.

Rennie Harris Puremovement’s visit includes a public dance class in the Schwarzman Dance Studio on Sunday, March 28, offered as part of the Center’s new EveryBody Dances at Yale Schwarzman Center dance class series.

9th Annual Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program Festival

The 9th Annual Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program (YIPAP) New Native Play Festival will take place from April 23-25. YIPAP will present developmental readings of both works by acclaimed professional Native playwrights and the winning plays submitted to the Young Native Playwrights Contest. YIPAP works to promote and cultivate Indigenous storytelling and performance to further authentic representation in the New Haven community and across the field.

Sonia De Los Santos

In this family program, Latin GRAMMY® nominee Sonia De Los Santos will perform music from her albums, Mi Viaje: De Nuevo León to the New York Island, ¡Alegría! and Esperanza on Saturday, May 11. Called “one of the Latin Children’s music artists you should know” by Billboard, she has performed at renowned venues and festivals with her band such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Lollapalooza, The Getty Museum, and The National Gallery of Art.

Born in Mexico, her songs are inspired by various Latin American rhythms such as huapango, cumbia, salsa, and festejo, as well as the North American folk traditions from the U.S. Sonia has been dedicated to performing family music since 2007.

Dance Theatre of Harlem

On Friday, February 23, in collaboration with the Wu Tsai Institute, and building on the success of a previous collaboration between Dance Theatre of Harlem and Zuckerman/Columbia University, Yale Schwarzman Center will present, Brain and the Barre: Human Cognition Made Visible Through Dance. Bringing leading research on human cognition in conversation with world-class ballet dancers from the Dance Theatre of Harlem; DTH Artistic Director Robert Garland; Shreya Saxena, Assistant Professor Biomedical Engineering & Wu Tsai Investigator; and Samuel McDougle, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Director, Action, Computation, & Thinking (ACT) Lab convene in a live demonstration of mind body connections through learning, memory, and creativity.

This engagement includes a public dance class hosted by Dance Theatre of Harlem in the Schwarzman Dance Studio, offered as part of the Center’s new EveryBody Dances at Yale Schwarzman Center series. Watch the Schwarzman Center website for details.

JJJJJerome Ellis

Self-described “animal, artist, and proud stutterer” JJJJJerome Ellis will be performing Tuesday, January 23, followed by a Q&A and signing of his latest book, Aster of Ceremonies. In the novel, Ellis rewrites history, creating a world that blooms backward, reimagining what it means for Black and disabled people to have taken, and to continue to take, their freedom. Ellis is presented in partnership with the Yale Institute of Sacred Music.

Ellis’s musical work features contemplative soundscapes and vocals. The artist, who performed at the Schwarzman Center last June in association with the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, has received a Fulbright Fellowship (2015), a United States Artists Fellowship (2022), a Foundation for Contemporary Art Grants to Artists Award (2022), a Creative Capital Grant (2022). Ellis's residencies include MacDowell (2019, 2022), Ucross (2021), Lincoln Center Theater (2019), ISSUE Project Room (2021), and La MaMa (2021).