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Musco Center for the Arts announces 2019-20 season

The fourth Musco Center for the Arts season at Chapman University will run September 2019 through May 2020 with a packed schedule of artists and groups from the worlds of opera, dance, theatre, and classical music as well as Broadway, jazz, country, and American roots music. Among the special events will be several spectacular holiday celebrations, culturally specific performances and festivals, and a live orchestra accompaniment of Disney’s Pixar movie music to screened excerpts from the studio’s most popular films.

Plácido Domingo Returns

“The season line-up is again crowned by our friend and advisor Plácido Domingo,” said Musco Center Dean and Artistic Director William Hall. “The international opera star will perform with other opera luminaries to lead the LA Opera Chorus and Orchestra in Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux, conducted by Eun Sun Kim. This will mark Domingo’s fifth appearance at Musco Center since he performed at our grand opening concert in 2016.”

“Maestro Domingo’s long relationship with S. Paul and Marybelle Musco quickly evolved into a favored relationship with the Musco Center and accelerated its emergence into the forward-thinking ranks of university-based performing arts centers,” said Musco Center Executive Director Richard T. Bryant, who with Dean Hall is responsible for curating and executing Musco Center programming.

Majority of Performers Also Teach Musco Master Classes

The majority of performing artists will combine their visit with Musco Master Classes for students on the day of their performance or one close to it. These 20 Master Classes enable small groups of students to learn from and work with international artists and scholars who perform and present what we teach at Chapman University. Members of the Musco Center Circle of Friends are also invited to observe.

Second Annual Provost Series Presents World Renowned Thought Leaders

For the 2019-20 Season, Musco Center will hold its 2nd Annual Provost’s Arts and Lecture Series. In it, world-renowned thought leaders will present profound ideas and lead lively discussions in their diverse fields of endeavor. Scheduled this season are Doris Kearns Goodwin (October 10), Matthew Ridley (November 6), and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (April 17). 

University Topics to be Explored Through New “Leap of Art” Performance Series

In addition to Master Classes, three of the scheduled events will launch Musco Center’s new “Leap of Art,” a new University topics performance initiative. These three performances come at the conclusion of residencies by innovators in fields of special interest to Chapman University and its scholarship.

“The topics explored in this first year’s pilot program align with specific areas that Chapman University is not only teaching but breaking ground in developing,” said Bryant. “At the core of both the residencies and the public performances that culminate them are intellectual pursuits of questions that need answering, challenges that need tackling, and mysteries that need solving.”

The first residency will be in September, when members of Diavolo dance company join Chapman’s dedicated Veterans Service Center and its Center for War, Memory, and Society to work with U.S. war veterans and community members. During the week they will create a new performance piece. Kevin Spencer will conduct the second residency, to expand on his extraordinary work discovering and then sharing magic as a tool for healing or easing conditions of autism, dementia, traumatic brain injury, and other challenges. He will be in residence February 2-8, 2020. The final residency, by Kaori Ishibashi, who performs as Kishi Bashi, is part of Musco Center’s ‘Collective Memory’ topic-based performance series, and investigates the concept of social empathy through the lens of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans. The week includes a film screening and culminates with Kishi Bashi’s April 1, 2020 concert.

Top Performers to Appear

Among the top performers appearing during the 2019-20 Season are Broadway star Mandy Patinkin in an intimate one-man show; an a cappella interpretation of Lagrime de San Pietro by director Peter Sellars; the fabled Juilliard String Quartet and Poland’s Wrocław Philharmonic with Bomsori Kim; country music superstar LeAnn Rimes; individual performances by guitar sensations Tommy Emmanuel and Jason Vieaux; Herb Alpert and Lani Hall; Italy’s Spellbound Contemporary Ballet company; and Second City improv. 

Fifth Annual Heartbeat of Mexico Planned

Musco Center’s “Heartbeat of Mexico” Festival, presented in association with Chapman University’s Latinx Staff and Faculty Forum, will return for its fifth year May 29-31, 2020. The weekend Festival is a mix of free family-themed music, dance, and cultural events on multiple stages, and evening entertainment by top international stars to be announced later in the season. This May 23-26, 2019, the fourth annual “Heartbeat of Mexico” will wrap up the 2018-19 Season over Memorial Weekend.

College of Performing Arts Ensembles to be Featured

During the Musco Center season, there are also more than 40 large-scale student productions and concerts produced by Chapman University’s College of Performing Arts (CoPA) as part of the pre-professional curriculum in dance, music, and theatre. All CoPA events at Musco Center and other venues across Chapman University’s campus will go on sale in August 2019.

Musco Center Presents 2019-20 Season

Musco Center 2019-20 ticket subscriptions go on sale Thursday, June 6 at noon. Individual tickets to all shows will be available beginning Tuesday, June 18 at noon. To purchase tickets or get more information on the season, visit

Saturday, September 21, 2019 | 7:30pm
Diavolo – Architecture in Motion
Voyage, Veterans Project, and More
A Leap of Art Event
Musco Master Class

Diavolo, a cultural pillar of Los Angeles, weaves a living cinematic experience of powerful images and abstract narratives through dance. Founded in 1992, it continues to extend the boundaries of performance in imaginative pieces like Voyage, which it brings to Musco Center this fall. Inspired by space travel and the 50th Anniversary of the first moon landing, this beautiful dance piece conjures up a surreal landscape of infinite possibilities. This evening will also feature a new piece set on dancers and veterans from Orange County.
A Leap of Art Event culminates the residency by Diavolo  

Saturday, September 28, 2019 | 7:30pm
Disney’s Pixar in Concert
Film with The Chapman Orchestra and Professional Musicians
Musco Master Class

Don’t miss this unique concert experience, when a live symphony orchestra of professional and Chapman student musicians performs excerpts from Disney’s Pixar film scores. It’s a visually stunning, high-definition, multi-media family show featuring montages of memorable clips from Pixar’s 14 films — including Cars, WALL-E, Ratatouille, A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc. and Brave.

Thursday, October 10, 2019 | 7:30pm
Office of the Provost and Musco Center Present
Doris Kearns Goodwin: Leadership in Turbulent Times

Provost’s Arts and Lecture Series
Musco Master Class

In this talk based on her recent bestseller, Leadership in Troubled Times, renowned presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin offers an essential roadmap for both aspiring and established leaders in every field. Her latest book is a culmination of the five decades of study that led to her landmark profiles of Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Sunday, October 13, 2019 | 4pm
Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra
Rimsky-Korsakov – Scheherazade
Musco Master Class

After last season’s popular debut performance at the Musco Center, Kaleidoscope returns to perform Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, one of the most beautiful and exciting works written for orchestra. Now in their sixth season and recognized as one of the world’s fastest emerging conductorless orchestras, Kaleidoscope has been critically acclaimed in the LA Times, Washington Post, and Symphony Magazine. The program also features works for voice and orchestra with award-winning sopranos Alisa Jordheim (USA), Axelle Fanyo (France), and Jerica Steklasa (Slovenia), selected from Kaleidoscope’s international vocal competition, which received 1,600 applications from musicians in over 90 countries. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 | 7:30pm
The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Octet
Brahms, Beamish, and Mendelssohn
Musco Master Class

Drawing its membership from London’s world-renowned Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, this remarkably cohesive chamber ensemble, led by violinist Tomo Keller, performs in a range of instrumental configurations – from quartets to octets. The Washington Post has described their sound as “sweet and pure” and their ensemble work “airtight.” 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 | 7:30pm
The Second City Touring
The Second City’s Greatest Hits (Vol. 59)
Musco Master Class

The Second City comedy troupe that launched the careers of comedy icons from Alan Arkin and Mike Nichols to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler brings its mastery of improv and sketch comedy. Now touring its next generation of comedy superstars, Second City is putting a new spin on the storied company’s greatest hits, re-imagined for today. Show may contain adult themes. 

Thursday, October 17, 2019 | 7:30pm
The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra
With the Chapman University Big Band                
Musco Master Class

The Count Basie Orchestra, launched in Kansas City in 1935, stands among the definitive ensembles of the Big Band Era. Still going strong and still boasting members handpicked by the late bandleader, the 17-member group directed by Scotty Barnhart continues to serve up the danceable rhythms of swing. Carmen Bradford is the vocalist, and the Chapman University Big Band opens the program.

Sunday, October 20, 2019 | 4pm

Taimane – Elemental Tour

Taimane, her band, and dancers    

Honolulu-born Taimane is a Hawaiian music phenomenon, equally at home peeling off rock riffs, delicately finger-picking Bach, or singing and playing her own hauntingly poetic compositions. She began playing at age 5 and at age 13 was discovered by Hawaiian music icon Don Ho jamming on the beach with local musicians. She continues to transcend expectations of what a ukulele can – and should – do.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019 | 7:30pm
Office of the Provost and Musco Center Present
Matthew Ridley: The Evolution of Everything
Provost’s Arts and Lecture Series
Musco Master Class

Science writer Matthew Ridley brings the same encompassing understanding that made his books The Origins of Virtue, The Rational Optimist, The Evolution of Everything and others into bestsellers. With wit and humor, he enlivens his discussion based on extensive research into biology, economics, and the climate. The New York Times has said that Ridley “forces us to see life through new eyes.”

Sunday, November 10, 2019 | 4pm
LeAnn Rimes in Concert

Country music superstar LeAnn Rimes, who took the world by storm at just 14, is an internationally beloved, multi-platinum-selling singer-songwriter with two Grammy Awards, 12 Billboard Music Awards, two World Music Awards, and three Academy of Country Music Awards. In the acoustic perfection of the Musco Center, this country music legend’s strong, beautiful, and lyrical voice is sure to soar. 

Sunday, November 24, 2019 | 4pm
Mandy Patinkin in Concert: Diaries
With Adam Ben-David on Piano

In Diaries, a new stage piece based on his own Nonesuch recordings, Broadway and powerhouse Mandy Patinkin will provide an intimate exploration of brilliant songwriting by Stephen Sondheim, Randy Newman and others. This intimate performance, with piano accompaniment, features Patinkin’s signature style in a mix of pop and traditional musical-theatre fare. Patinkin also has starring roles in TV favorites, including Chicago Hope, Criminal Minds and Homeland.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019 | 7:30pm
Tommy Emmanuel, CGP
With very special guests Jim & Morning Nichols

Australia’s Tommy Emmanuel is among the world’s foremost finger-style guitarists, known for a complex technique that incorporates a percussive effect on the guitar body. Self-taught, with no formal musical training, he does not read music and yet, remarkably, performs folk, rock, country, jazz, blues and more with blistering virtuosity and astonishing ease. Emmanuel is joined by Jim and Morning Nichols. Vocalist Morning Nichols has performed with Mark Murphy, Chet Atkins, Tommy Emmanuel, Martin Taylor, the Les Brown Big Band, and many more. Guitarist Jim Nichols has performed and recorded with Kenny Rankin, Chet Atkins, Hubert Laws, Buddy Montgomery, Van Morrison, Toots Thielemans, Tom Waits, and others. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 | 7:30pm
Nochebuena: Christmas Eve in Mexico
Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles with Mariachi Garibaldi
Musco Master Class

Celebrate the holidays with Nochebuena, an evening of joyous music and dance featuring two of L.A.’s most acclaimed performance ensembles. Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles has worked with Grammy Award-winning Lila Downs, Pepe Aguilar, and many more, and recently collaborated on performances celebrating Pixar’s Coco. Also performing will be Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar, one of the premier mariachi ensembles in California. 

Saturday, December 14, 2019 | 7:30pm
Sunday, December 15, 2019 | 4pm
A Southern California Christmas
Orange Community Master Chorale and More

Join us for our third annual holiday spectacular, “A Southern California Christmas,” featuring more than 150 musicians, singers, dancers from across the Southland as they lead the audience in a program packed full of your favorite carols. From the triumphal tones of a brass fanfare to the thrilling sound of a chorus in full voice and the sugarplum dreams woven by dancers’ feet, there’s something for all ages in this merry delight. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019 | 7:30pm
Mark O’Connor’s An Appalachian Christmas

Three-time Grammy Award-winner Mark O’Connor and his band create an unforgettable evening of holiday classics, fiddling, and bluegrass as they perform hits from their chart-topping An Appalachian Christmas album. Their music blends bluegrass, Americana, jazz, classical, and indie folk. 

Thursday, January 30, 2020 | 7:30pm
Wrocław Philharmonic with Bomsori Kim, Violin
Chopin, Brahms, & More
Musco Master Class

Poland’s sensational Wrocław Philharmonic performs in concert with guest violinist Bomsori Kim, winner of numerous international competitions. Founded in 1945, the orchestra is the principal resident ensemble of the country’s National Forum of Music (NFM) and is famed for championing both the traditional classical repertoire and music of the 20th and 21st centuries. The New York Times hailed Kim as a musician of “fierce dramatic commitment.” 

Saturday, February 8, 2020 | 7:30pm
The Mac King Comedy Magic Show
Part of Musco Magic Week with Kevin Spencer

A Leap of Art Event

Who better to cap Kevin Spencer’s “The Magic of Healing” residency, part of the first ‘Topic-Based Performance’ series, than the magician Penn & Teller called “a god.” They have also called Mac King “the greatest comedy magician at least alive today, and maybe who ever lived.” King has been “Magician of the Year” at Hollywood’s famed Magic Castle, appeared on seven NBC specials, and had his long-running act voted among the best shows in all of Las Vegas. A Leap of Art Event culminates a week’s residency by Kevin Spencer 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 | 7:30pm

Roberto Devereux in Concert
Starring Plácido Domingo
With LA Opera Orchestra, Chorus and Principals
Musco Master Class

Legendary tenor Plácido Domingo returns with Davinia Rodriguez, Ramón Vargas and a stellar LA Opera cast to perform a concert staging of Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux, conducted by Eun Sun Kim. It’s the story of the Earl of Essex, a top courtier to Queen Elizabeth I. Rodriguez stars as the queen, with Domingo as the wronged husband caught up in the web of deceit spread by Devereux, played by Vargas.

Thursday, February 27, 2020 | 7:30pm
Herb Alpert and Lani Hall
Musco Master Class

Herb Alpert, who turned Tijuana Brass into gold with “The Lonely Bull,” “A Taste of Honey,” and many more, and Lani Hall, who gave Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 its classic voice on “Mas Que Nada,” “Fool on the Hill” and others, perform selections from the Great American Songbook and the Tijuana Brass and Brasil ’66 catalogues. The husband-and-wife team has 11 Grammy Awards between them.

Saturday, March 7, 2020 | 7:30pm
Gil Shaham, Violin
Akira Eguchi, Piano
Bach, Prokofiev and More
Musco Master Class

The brilliant violinist Gil Shaham, renowned as an American master, combines flawless technique with enough personal warmth and generosity of spirit to fill a concert hall to the rafters. He is joined by his longtime duo partner, pianist Akira Eguchi, who has won the hearts of audiences around the world as a collaborative pianist.

Sunday, March 8, 2020 | 4pm
VASCAM, in association with Musco Center Presents
Obsessed Pho More – Contemporary Ballet & Art Songs
Vietnamese American Society for Creative Arts & Music

One of the most creative local arts organizations, the Vietnamese American Society for Creative Arts and Music (VASCAM), returns to Musco Center with Obsessed Pho More, hot on the heels of their popular operatic production Of Times and Perspectives in 2018. The program features choreography by former L.A. Dance Project Associate Director Carla Körbes and Sarah Wroth, ballet master and former Boston Ballet dancer. VASCAM’s mission is to cultivate, nurture, and promote creative arts and music by Vietnamese Americans and Vietnamese overseas, as well as cross-cultural Vietnamese-U.S. matters. It provides a platform for creative artists from every generation to share their art works within Vietnamese American communities and beyond.

Sunday, March 15, 2020 | 4pm
Jason Vieaux, Guitar
Musco Master Class

Called “the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation” by NPR, Grammy Award-winner Jason Vieaux has been a featured guest artist with more than 100 orchestras around the world and soloed in every major U.S. guitar series. “Vieaux makes everything look and sound easy…every note comes out fully formed, and the music speaks eloquently for itself.” – The Washington Post.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 | 7:30pm
Double Edge Theatre
Leonora and Alejandro: La Maga y el Maestro
Musco Master Class

An artist-run organization founded in 1982, the Double Edge Theatre ensemble creates inventive pieces energized by imagination. Leonora and Alejandro is a great example. Steeped in magical realism, it is a fantasia on the relationship between Leonora Carrington, the famed British-born Mexican surrealist and feminist, and Alejandro Jodorowsky, a celebrated Chilean filmmaker/provocateur.

Thursday, March 19, 2020 | 7:30pm
Lagrime di San Pietro (Tears of St. Peter)
Los Angeles Master Chorale – Grant Gershon, Artistic Director
Musco Master Class

From the creative mind of acclaimed director Peter Sellars comes his first a cappella staging. Composer Orlando di Lasso, knowing that his Lagrime di San Pietro (Tears of St. Peter) was to be the last piece he would write, packed every measure with intensity and poetic lyricism. Now Sellars and his 21 singers reinvigorate his work into an emotional tour de force.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020 | 7:30pm
Kishi Bashi with Chamber Orchestra
Part of Chapman WWII Japanese-American Incarceration Memory Project
A Leap of Art Event
Musco Master Class

Kishi Bashi performs music from his new film, Omoiyari, with a chamber orchestra. “Omoiyari,” Japanese for compassion towards others, is the lens through which the multi-instrumentalist-singer-composer, in both his film and music, explores how empathy and the lack of it has played key roles in our modern quest for social equality and sustainable society. As part of his visit Kishi Bashi will screen selections from his film and participate in events related to Chapman’s WWII Japanese-American Incarceration Memory Project. A Leap of Art Event culminates a week’s residency by Kaori Ishibashi, who performs as Kishi Bashi  (see Leap of Art section)

Sunday, April 5, 2020 | 4pm
Spellbound Contemporary Ballet
Direct from Italy
Musco Master Class   

Spellbound Contemporary Ballet will perform a program of exhilarating choreography. The Italian company’s dancers, wrote the Philadelphia Inquirer, have “such chameleon-like suppleness, they were not only spellbinding, but breathtaking.” Artistic Director Mauro Astolfi’s vision, to create work that combines a pure gestural expressiveness with classical technique and training, “is a model of invention,” according to Ballet Review U.S.A. and has earned it full houses around the world.

Friday, April 17, 2020 | 7:30pm
Office of the Provost and Musco Center Present
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow
Provost’s Arts and Lecture Series
Musco Master Class

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the engaging host of PBS’ immensely popular “Finding Your Roots,” discusses his research into how genealogy and genetics provide greater understanding of individual history and greater appreciation for cultural diversity. Professor Gates, who directs Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, is author of 17 books and is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and documentarian.

Saturday, May 2, 2020 | 7:30pm
Juilliard String Quartet
Beethoven and More on the 250th Anniversary of Beethoven’s Birth
Musco Master Class

The peerless Juilliard String Quartet returns to Musco Center for a second consecutive year, offering a public performance as well as a master class for Chapman student string musicians. Since its founding in 1946, the mighty JSQ has conquered the planet with performances energized with passion and imbued with elegance. The Boston Globe calls it “the most important American quartet in history.”

Sunday, May 3, 2020 | 4pm
Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra
Mahler’s Ninth Symphony
Musco Master Class

After last year’s popular debut performance at the Musco Center, Kaleidoscope returns with their biggest program ever to perform Mahler’s Ninth Symphony with over 70 musicians. Now in their sixth season and recognized as one of the world’s fastest emerging conductorless orchestras, Kaleidoscope was recently featured in the LA Times, Washington Post, and Symphony Magazine. Don’t miss this incredible performance and find out why they have quickly become a favorite of Musco Center audiences.

This article was released by Musco Center for the Arts at Chapman University.