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Savannah Music Festival – Georgia’s Largest Musical Arts Event – Announces 26th Season, with Debut of Opera, Program Expansion, & Extensive International Lineup (March 19–April 4, 2015)

Savannah Music Festival – Georgia’s Largest Musical Arts Event – Announces 26th Season, with Debut of Opera, Program Expansion, & Extensive International Lineup (March 19–April 4, 2015)

The historic district of downtown Savannah plays host to more than 100 performances during the annual Savannah Music Festival (SMF), providing an ideal backdrop for an event that celebrates exceptional artistry in jazz, classical, and a variety of American and international musical traditions. The 2015 edition of SMF takes place from March 19 through April 4, with a lineup that includes the debut of opera at SMF, an expansion of the number of programs staged, and the organization’s most international festival to date. “With the incredible success of the 25th anniversary season in 2014, our community made it clear that it has embraced SMF as a significant economic driver, arts education leader, and mainstay marquee event,” explains SMF Executive & Artistic Director Rob Gibson. Tickets to the 2015 festival go on sale November 6, 2014 at 10am (ET), online at, by phone at 912-525-5050, or at 216 E. Broughton Street in Savannah.

Last year, describing the SMF as “Georgia’s most delightful music festival,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution marveled: “How did a city of 150,000 (360,000 in the metro area) create a music festival that rivals Spoleto in Charleston? How did Savannah slip past Atlanta and claim this prize? A visit to Savannah for the first three days of the festival offered a few clues: relentless hospitality, choice, and courage.”

Opera, symphonic, chamber, and recital highlights
New in 2015, the Savannah Music Festival introduces opera to its programming through a co-production of Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi with the Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF), featuring the Savannah Philharmonic under Eugene Kohn with principals Mark DelavanVerónica Villarroel, and Micaela Oëste. In celebration of Sherrill Milnes’s 80th birthday, these three arts organizations join forces to present two nights of opera, a chamber orchestra concert with Daniel Hope & Friends, and a vocal concert with singers from the SVF.

SMF Associate Artistic Director Daniel Hope has again helped curate a ten-concert chamber music series that features his friends and colleagues from across North America and Europe, including the Emerson String QuartetBrooklyn Rider, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. SMF 2015 recitalists include pianists Murray PerahiaStephen HoughPaul Lewis, and Nikolai Lugansky, and guitarist Milos Karadaglić. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is scheduled to appear at SMF 2015 with cellist Lynn Harrell performing the Dvorák Cello Concerto alongside Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony.

Jazz, blues, gospel, and R&B highlights
Jazz has always been central to SMF programming, typically figuring most prominently during the week of SMF’s Swing Central Jazz program featuring Associate Artistic Director Marcus Roberts. Highlights of the 2015 jazz programming are the Marcus Roberts Trio, the Warren Vaché Quintet on a bill with the Jason Marsalis Vibes QuartetDianne Reeves, trumpeter Sean Jones’s quartet sharing a bill with vibraphonist Warren Wolf & Wolfpack, the Julian Lage & Jorge Roeder duo, the annual late night jam with the Sean Jones QuartetWycliffe Gordon, and friends, and concerts designed to celebrate the music of jazz luminaries Bud Powell, Benny Carter, and Louis Armstrong. Blues, gospel, and R&B are prevalent in the 2015 festival schedule, with Mavis StaplesBuckwheat ZydecoHeritage Blues Orchestra, and Irma Thomas joining the Dirty Dozen Brass Band for a “New Orleans Soul & Brass Party.” The original cabaret production “Come Rain or Come Shine” welcomes theater and opera veteran Kurt Ollmann to the SMF stage.

Acoustic, rock, and global roots music highlights
Many of the country’s finest bluegrass ensembles are scheduled for SMF 2015, such as IBMA Entertainer of the Year Balsam RangeThe Boxcars, Jerry Douglas’s Flatt & Scruggs project the Earls of Leicester, and Hot RizeThe Band Courtbouillon featuring Steve Riley, Wayne Toups and Wilson Savoy hosts SMF’s 2015 Cajun Dance Party. National Heritage Fellows The McIntosh County Shouters return to perform slave shout songs from the Georgia coast. A three-night run of western swing features the Hot Club of Cowtown and Asleep at the WheelDirk Powell & Riley Baugus share the stage with Vusi Mahlasela, and songwriters abound with theater performances by “Southern Troubadours” Joe ElyRuthie Foster, and Paul Thorn, in addition to Josh RitterLucinda Williams, and Rosanne Cash. Folk-rock artists Shovels & Rope share the bill with Austin’s Shakey Graves, and The Barr Brothers perform alongside Apache RelayThe Wood Brothers return to Ships of the Sea North Garden for an outdoor show with the AJ Ghent Band.

Mike Marshall, mandolinist and Director of SMF’s Acoustic Music Seminar, performs with his Brazilian group Choro Famoso, composer Clarice Assad, and her ensemble Off The Cliff. Taiko troup Kodo brings its “One Earth: Mystery” project to SMF 2015, both Kayhan Kalhor and Béla Fleck perform with Brooklyn Rider, Irish supergroup Lúnasa returns, Adonis Puentes & the Voice of Cuba Orchestra preside over the Latin Dance Party, and Ukrainian drum and song ensemble DakhaBrakha closes out the festival.

For the complete schedule, visit In early February, a second wave of pop/rock concerts will be added to the SMF 2015 schedule. High-resolution photo and press material downloads are available at (user: press password: SMF2015!).

About the Savannah Music Festival
A non-profit performing arts organization, the Savannah Music Festival (SMF) is dedicated to presenting world-class celebrations of the musical arts by creating timeless and adventurous productions that stimulate arts education, foster economic growth, and unite artists and audiences in Savannah. In addition to year-round music education and broadcast initiatives, SMF produces one of the most distinctive cross-genre music festivals in the world. The 2015 festival runs from March 19 through April 4, including more than 100 performances in intimate venues throughout Savannah’s historic district. For more information

Media contacts
Ryan McMaken (912) 234 3378, ext. 104; [email protected]
Glenn Petry (212) 625 2038; [email protected]


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© 21C Media Group, November 2014

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