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Artistic director and founder of Juggerknot Theatre Company, Tanya Bravo, had her first brush with immersive theater in New York City when she met director Tamilla Woodard. Working on the play “Broken City,” Bravo and other actors led audience members on a theatrical journey through the streets of the Lower East Side. “I was so blown away by the concept and the lines that were crossed between ..
We humans do love our rituals. When an extended family gathers for the holidays, familiar traditions promise a comforting respite from an increasingly complex, chaotic world. Still, realistically, troubles and fears refuse to be left behind. They surface like unwelcome guests. So do resentments and stinging remarks born of deep knowledge. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, you wonder: ..
After a tryout run in Chicago, 34 previews and 746 performances on Broadway, and a tour launch in Buffalo, “On Your Feet!” has finally opened in the place where Cuban-born music superstars Gloria and Emilio Estefan made their dreams come true: Miami. At Friday’s red carpet opening at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, with the Estefans and their extended family in atte..
Whether the comedy is high or low, performer-writer Steve Martin has been making moviegoers, “Saturday Night Live” fans and theater lovers laugh for more than half a century – hard to believe it’s been that long, but he started early. Martin’s way with both cerebral jokes and physical comedy is abundantly on display in “The Underpants,” his 2002 adaptation of Carl Sternheim’s once-ban..
Robert Schenkkan’s “Building the Wall” begins as a wary conversation between two strangers: Rick, a white male convict awaiting a likely death sentence, and Gloria, a black female historian and college professor. For 90 minutes, the two talk. She probes; he explains and justifies and slowly paints a picture of a man-made Seventh Circle of Hell. By the time the play ends, the audience ..
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ award-winning play “An Octoroon” layers an antebellum melodrama with 21st-century parlance and perspective. The result is an innovative play-within-a-play that skillfully reminds us of slavery’s horrible past and its ever-present legacy. Area Stage Company’s production, thoughtfully directed by John Rodaz, brings together a talented cast to ensure this melodra..
Promising a night of airiness and ardor, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami will bring “Ballet’s Pointe of Passion” to the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, where the company joins an att..
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It’s a tall order to present a season as surprising as it is moving, as disturbing as it is delightful. Miami-Dade College’s Live Arts 2017-2018 season -- Ojala/Inshallah: Wishes from the Mu..
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When the Limon Dance Company returns to Miami-Dade this weekend, it brings with it the powerful vision of founder José Limon. He was a man deeply concerned about and connected to the humanity..
When Cardi B, with her trademark no-filter attitude, raps in her recent hit “Bodak Yellow” – Now I don’t got to dance/I make money move – she has something to sing about, with her smash hit N..
Despite a packed show schedule, including performing with the Frankfurt Opera in “Rinaldo,” Sarasota native, dancer and choreographer James McGinn had a chance to discuss the upcoming dance-opera ..
Anniversaries usually celebrate the success of a partnership with symbolic gifts of crystal, china, silver and gold. For the Arts Ballet Theater of Florida, the company celebrates 20 years of..
Nikolaj Znaider played in an orchestra for the first time at the age of nine, two years after he began to study violin. He still remembers the sense of discovery, as he listened to the children playing around him.“It’s like if you've only seen a garden,” recalls the now renowned violinist and conductor who will be performing with the Cleveland Orchestra this week. “And then all of a sudden you get to see a forest.”
After winning the International Carl Nielsen Violin Competition at age 16, Znaider soon found himself performing with the world’s top orchestras. But even as his reputation as a soloist soared, he would often slip into the violin section after playing a concerto in the first half of a concert, so he could keep playing after intermission, as a member of the orchestra.
“I had an ambition very early on to start conducting,” he says over the phone, while on a break from conducting an opera in Italy. “So it was a great way to familiarize myself with the impact the conductor has on an orchestra -- and with the feeling of being an orchestral musician.”
Baton now firmly in hand, Znaider is sought after as a conductor, notably serving as the principal guest conductor of the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra since 2010. Yet he keeps coming back to his 1741 Guarneri violin – and to the piece that won him prestige as teenager: the Nielsen Violin Concerto.
“It's like if they give you 10 flowers to smell,” he muses, “you might like all of them, but there's going to be some that you just love, that you want to smell again.”
Composed in 1911, Nielsen’s Violin Concerto is full of lyricism. The orchestra coddles the violin as it cries out a string of memories from long ago. Though he was born and raised in the same country as Nielsen, Denmark, Znaider claims to feel no nationalistic connection to the composer.
Instead, he learned the piece at the urging of Milan Vitek, a famous Czech violin teacher working in Copenhagen at the time. “He loved the piece,” he recalls, “so I learned it with him.”
The bravura embedded in this concerto attests to Nielsen’s own mastery of the violin, and make this virtuosic part severely demanding for the best violinists. But not for Znaider. “When you learn something at 16, it stays with you so deep,” he explains.“All these pieces I learned at that age, you can wake me up in the middle of the night, and I'll play you any of them, without practicing. I can't do that with the pieces I learned when I was 30 or 35.”
For several years, Znaider put the Nielsen concerto aside. Then, he recorded it a second time, in advance of the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth in 2015. “I discovered I liked it even more,” he observed. “Once you come to know the piece, you shed yourself of everything and you return once more to just the pure feeling of the music.”
When conductor Franz Welser-Möst invited Znaider to play the Nielsen at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the violinist jumped at the chance. Having collaborated with the Cleveland Orchestra before, he is eager to get back to what he calls their “wordless dialogue.”
“That’s the magic you feel in the hall,” he continues. “When you feel good musicians thinking together, responding to each other, and you get this feeling in the audience of something being created -- you have the feeling that this piece of music reorganized your molecules somehow.”
If that does happen, might Znaider sneak into the violin section of the Cleveland Orchestra for the concert’s second half
“What are they doing, Sibelius what?” he asks.
Jean Sibelius, Symphony No. 2.
“Yeah, why not?” Znaider laughs. “That could be fun. If they let me.”Nikolaj Znaider performs the Nielsen Violin Concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, 8pm on Thursday Feb. 2 and Saturday, Feb. 4, Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; tickets $39-$173; Arshtcenter.org.
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