20th Anniversary Season

A milestone year! What started at Emory University from the vision and gifts of Flora Glenn Candler has come to full fruition in this exquisite venue thanks to the support of Donna and Marvin Schwartz.

On February 1, 2003, the Schwartz Center opened its doors. Thank you for joining us this season to mark two decades of exceptional performances with the 2022–2023 season, featuring the Candler Concert Series and concerts from the Schwartz Artist-in-Residence Program.

2023–2024 Season Subscriptions Are Available Here

Candler Concert Series

The Schwartz Center 2022–2023 Candler Concert Series featured the pinnacle of classical, jazz, and crossover music.

Susan Graham

Music from Copland House featuring Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano: A Standing Witness
Friday, September 23, 2022 at 8 p.m.

The Atlanta premiere of A Standing Witness opened the 20th anniversary season of Emory University’s Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. This Candler Concert Series performance is a monumental collaboration between Grammy Award–winning composer Richard Danielpour and Pulitzer Prize–winning author and former US Poet Laureate Rita Dove. The soaring music and probing poetry of this epic song cycle trace enormous social and cultural change in the United States.

Written especially for Susan Graham and the celebrated Music from Copland House ensemble, the 14 songs and one instrumental elegy of A Standing Witness comprise a sweeping retrospective of momentous events in American history over the past half-century, recounted in “testimonies” by an observer who is revealed in the epilogue. With lyrics from Rita Dove’s latest book of poetry, Playlist for the Apocalypse, the work begins in 1968, reflecting on events including the Kennedy and King assassinations, Woodstock, the Vietnam War, Nixon presidency, civil and women’s rights movements, economic boom times of the 1990s, the attacks on 9/11, and the whirlwinds of the last decade.

Watch a discussion about the creation of A Standing Witness moderated by Tameka Cage Conley with Richard Danielpour and Michael Boriskin:

Did you know?

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rita Dove was the featured poet of Emory's Raymond Danowski Poetry Library Reading Series in 2007 and 2016. Dove was also a featured speaker and guest during Women’s History Month events at Emory in 2011 and delivered the keynote address at Emory’s commencement in 2013, where she received an honorary doctor of letters degree.

Urban Bush Women: Women's Resistance

Women's Resistance photo by Hayin Heron

Urban Bush Women: Legacy + Lineage + Liberation
Thursday, October 20–Saturday, October 22 at 7:30 p.m.

Schwartz Center Dance Studio

Founded in 1984 by choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Urban Bush Women (UBW) is a Brooklyn-based performance ensemble and dance company under the artistic direction of Chanon Judson and Samantha Speis. In honor of UBW’s 35th Anniversary, Legacy + Lineage + Liberation celebrates the power of Women(+) in an evening of classic works that transcend genres and amplify the voices of Women(+) of color.

These iconic works by UBW Founder Jawole Willa Jo Zollar give multiple dimensions of life that resonate in this time of reflection around equity and justice, and that lift up Black lives in inspiring ways. Works include but are not limited to: Give Your Hands to Struggle; Girlfriends; Women’s Resistance; and I Don’t Know but I Been Told...if You Keep on Dancin’ You Never Grow Old.

Hélène Grimaud

Hélène Grimaud, piano
Thursday, October 27, 2022 at 8 p.m.

The world-renowned French classical pianist Hélène Grimaud makes a rare appearance in the Southeast for a transformative recital performance. In this Candler Concert Series performance, Grimaud performs Schumann’s Kreisleriana and selected works by Chopin, Debussy, and Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov.

“It is said that music rescues what has been lost. That is a beautiful idea. Yet in a sense, music does even more. Music peels back the layers of time to reveal the essence of experience,” Grimaud says. “Momentary pain, distress, elation, fade; what remains is sensation.”

In her Schwartz Center concert, Grimaud will perform Robert Schumann’s early masterpiece Kreisleriana, written in 1838 when his compositions had become more experimental and complex. This was a period of tormented courtship with pianist Clara Wieck, who would become his wife, and the music swings violently and suddenly between agitation and lyrical calm, between dread and elation.

Also featured will be works by Valentin Silvestrov, Ukraine’s most famous living composer. At age 84, Silvestrov is living as a refugee in Berlin, where he has become a musical spokesman for his country, now at war with Russia. In concert, Grimaud will also perform works by Claude Debussy, Frederic Chopin, and Erik Satie, which she recorded on her 2018 album Memory

Maria Schneider Orchestra

Maria Schneider Orchestra
Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 8 p.m.
World Premiere Commission

Read the Concert Review from ArtsATL

NEA Jazz Master and Grammy Award–winner Maria Schneider leads her 18-member big band orchestra in its Atlanta debut. The evening of lush and complex works includes the world premiere of Schneider’s “American Crow,” commissioned as part of the Flora Glenn Candler Concert Series in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Schwartz Center.

Hailed as “a national treasure” by National Public Radio, Minnesota-born Schneider is a 2019 NEA Jazz Master, a 2021 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her 2020 album Data Lords, and the winner of seven Grammy Awards for her work in classical, jazz, and even pop with the late David Bowie. In addition to “American Crow,” the evening’s performance will include three major works from Data Lords, among others.

Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Mutter Virtuosi

Anne-Sophie Mutter and Mutter Virtuosi
Thursday, February 2, 2023 at 8 p.m.

Anne-Sophie Mutter and the 14-member Mutter Virtuosi take the stage for a celebratory concert that hails 20 years from the opening month of the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. A musical phenomenon performing major traditional works while constantly exploring new territory for her audience, this virtuoso violinist has been a fixture in all the world’s major concert halls—making her mark on the classical music scene as a soloist, mentor, and visionary.

The “undisputed queen of violin-playing” (The Times, London) leads the ensemble in an evening of exemplary string music that includes The Four Seasons by Vivaldi and the Atlanta premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Gran Cadenza—a virtuoso duo for two violins, written expressly for Mutter.

Guests are invited to join the Schwartz Center for a celebratory toast following the evening's concert.

West-Eastern Divan Ensemble with Michael Barenboim

West-Eastern Divan Ensemble with Michael Barenboim
Thursday, March 2, 2023 at 8 p.m.

Violinist Michael Barenboim—who as a soloist has recently appeared with Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, and Chicago Symphony—founded the West-Eastern Divan Ensemble out of the full West-Eastern Divan Orchestra to spread the ideas of unity through music further and to allow the public to experience the musicians' unique artistry and personality up close. 

The orchestra's origins lie in the friendship between its founders, Palestinian author/scholar Edward Said and Israeli conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim. In their conversations, they realized the urgent need for an alternative way to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This evolved into the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra that global audiences know today. Sharing the parent orchestra’s motto of “Equal in Music,” the ensemble brings together outstanding young Palestinian and Israeli musicians in a collaboration that supersedes national and cultural boundaries.

The evening's program includes Terzetto in C Major,op. 74, by Antonín Dvořák; Sonata (Duo) for Violin and Cello, M. 73, by Maurice Ravel; Trauermusik (Mourning Music) for Viola and Strings, by Paul Hindemith; and George Enescu's String Octet, op. 7.

Michael Barenboim, violin
Mohamed Hiber, violin
David Strongin, violin
Samir Obaido, violin
Miriam Manasherov, viola
Sindy Mohamed, viola
Astrig Siranossian, violoncello
Assif Binness, violoncello

Chad Lawson

Chad Lawson, pianist and composer
with Judy Kang, violin, and Seth Parker Woods, cello
Saturday, March 25, 2023 at 8 p.m.

Steinway Artist, pianist, and composer Chad Lawson is a modern-day master of reinvention—his bold interpretation of the classics, electronic loops, and atmospherics resonate with electronic dance music fans and neo-classical traditionalists alike. For his Schwartz Center debut, Lawson will be joined by acclaimed violinist Judy Kang (Lady Gaga, Ryuichi Sakamoto) and cellist Seth Parker Woods (Sting, Peter Gabriel). Bridging the gap between traditional and non-traditional audiences, the concert program features variations on compositions ranging from Chopin to Billie Eilish.

Lawson is the host and creator of the iHeart-nominated and acclaimed mental wellness podcast ‘Calm It Down’ (600k+ downloads). In a world full of noise, Chad’s meditative music invites us all to take a moment and reconnect with who we are. He makes music for the mind, body, and soul.

Fleck, Meyer, Hussain, and Chaurasia

Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer, and Zakir Hussain, with Rakesh Chaurasia
Thursday, April 20, 2023 at 8 p.m.

Beginning with the most creative exponent of the banjo in our time, Béla Fleck, this unique quartet also features the greatest living player of the tabla, the legendary drummer Zakir Hussain; acclaimed virtuoso of the classical and bluegrass bass, Edgar Meyer; and the great Indian flutist Rakesh Chaurasia. With their decades of artistry and the magic of improvisation, the result is a powerful four-way musical dialogue to close out the Schwartz Center’s 20th Anniversary season.

Schwartz Artist-in-Residence Program

The Schwartz Center's 2022–2023 Schwartz Artist-in-Residence programs providedmeaningful contact with performing artists, composers, and art scholars from throughout the world.

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch

An Evening with Fred Hersch and esperanza spalding
Thursday, January 19, 2023 at 8 p.m.

The duo of jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch and jazz vocalist esperanza spalding celebrates the 2023 release of their album Alive at the Village Vanguard recorded at the legendary club. Renowned for her artistry, spalding is a worthy heir to the leading ladies of jazz vocals and Hersch is well known for his many significant duo partnerships. The remarkable chemistry of their partnership is truly exhilarating as they present an evening of songs from the Great American Songbook, music from Brazil, and jazz compositions including several penned by Hersch.

Opens Thursday, February 16, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.
Runs Thursday–Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.
Schwartz Center Theater Lab

Theater Emory reimagined this Thornton Wilder classic set in the American Southeast in the 21st century. It is a powerful story of an Atlanta community of immigrants as we follow two families as they go through life, love, and even death. This production is a multilingual interpretation, featuring translated passages by Nilo Cruz and Jeff Augustin.

Our Town, by Thornton Wilder centers on a small New Hampshire town Grover's Corners at the turn of the century, using minimalist production values to track the simply daily lives of the town's inhabitants as they fall in love, marry, and die. The work premiered at New Jersey's McCarter Theater in 1938 before eventually coming to Broadway the same year, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In addition to a 1940 film adaptation and 1955, 1977, 1989, and 2003 TV broadcasts, Our Town has become a favorite of regional and community theaters as well as schools.

Warren Wolf, vibraphonist

Emory Jazz Fest 2023
February 9–11, 2023

Friday at 8 p.m. | Warren Wolf and the Emory Jazz Fest All-Stars | $30
Saturday at 8 p.m. | Emory Big Band | Free

Sharing its 20th Anniversary with the Schwartz Center, the Emory University Jazz Fest is a three-day event providing world-class jazz with master classes, artist lectures/demonstrations, and concerts.

Vibraphonist Warren Wolf takes the stage with the Emory Jazz Fest All-Stars to kick off Emory University’s Jazz Fest 2023 on Friday, Feb. 10 at 8 p.m. A multi-instrumentalist from Baltimore, Warren Wolf will join All-Stars Gary Motley (piano), Edwin Livingston (bass), Clarence Penn (drums), and Gregory Tardy (saxophone). Wolf has collaborated with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Jeremy Pelt and “Creation,” Nicholas Payton, Tim Warfield, Ron Carter, Wycliffe Gordon, esperanza spalding, and many others.

In this 20th anniversary celebration for both Jazz Fest and the Schwartz Center, the general public is also invited to observe free lecture/demonstrations and master classes with the artists. Jazz Fest 2023 will come to a close on Saturday, Feb. 11 with a performance by the Emory Big Band, featuring the Gary Motley Trio, Randy Hunter, Michael Cruse, and members of the string section of the Emory University Symphony Orchestra.

Jazz Fest 2023 Schedule of Events:

All events took place in the Emerson Concert Hall at the Schwartz Center unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, Feb. 9 at 2:30 p.m., Demonstration with Warren Wolf
Friday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m., "Composing Images" An exhibit celebrating 20 years of Jazz Fest; Chace Gallery; runs through Saturday, Feb. 11 at 10 p.m. before moving to Emory's Woodruff Library
Friday, Feb. 10 at 8 p.m., Warren Wolf and the Emory Jazz Fest All-Stars
Saturday, Feb. 11 at 11:30 a.m., Jazz Clinic; Tharp Rehearsal Hall
Saturday, Feb. 11 at 8 p.m., Emory Big Band with the Gary Motley Trio, Randy Hunter, Michael Cruse, and members of the Emory University Symphony Orchestra

Saturday, March 4, 2023 at 8 p.m.

Award-winning violinist Anyango Yarbo Davenport and Emory’s Director of Piano Studies Elena Cholakova perform a recital concert featuring works by Florence Price and John Corigliano, among others.

Lawrence Brownlee

Lawrence Brownlee, tenor: Rising
Friday, March 17, 2023 at 8 p.m.

A leading figure in opera, both as a singer on the world's top stages and as a voice for activism and diversity in the industry, Lawrence Brownlee has captivated audiences and critics around the globe. With the premiere of his new project, Rising, Brownlee and pianist Kevin J. Miller will perform texts by Black authors and poets of the Harlem Renaissance, set to music by leading new composers such as Shawn Okpebholo, Damien Sneed, Emory Alumnus Joel Thompson, and others.

Of this project, Lawrence Brownlee says, "These past years have been a trial, both for humanity as a whole, and the African-American population here in the United States. But through all these many challenges we have faced, I have also seen moments of strength, inspiration, hope, and great beauty. It is those themes of uplift, elevation, and rebirth that we have tried to focus on with this new project Rising, taking poems from the giants of the Harlem Renaissance, and working with some of today’s most talented African-American composers, to create something that speaks not just to our struggles, but to our triumphs."

Also, as part of the 2022–2023 Schwartz Artist-in-Residence Program, Lawrence Brownlee conducted a vocal master class then joined composer Joel Thompsonfor a conversation about their work together. 

Cellist Seth Parker Woods (performing as part of the Candler Concert Series on Saturday, March 25 with pianist Chad Lawson and violinist Judy Kang) has established a reputation as a versatile artist and a fierce advocate for contemporary arts. As part of the Schwartz Artist-in-Residence Program, Woods and Emory faculty composer Katherine Young are developing a new work for solo cello during his time in Atlanta.

Join us for the following free events as part of this residency:

MONDAY, MARCH 27 | Performing Arts Studio, 1804 N Decatur Rd, Atlanta, GA 30322
Free, No Registration Required

1 pm: Open Rehearsal with Seth Parker Woods and Katherine Young

4 pm: Master Class—Collaboration and New Practices

Emory University Symphony Orchestra

EUSO Composer Commission Project
April 22, 2023 at 8 p.m.
and April 23, 2023 at 4 p.m.

In celebration of Emory University Symphony Orchestra’s centennial anniversary in 2023, the EUSO Composer Commission Project presents a collaboration between the Schwartz-Artist-in-Residence program, EUSO, and Emory composition faculty, bringing to campus emerging composers from backgrounds currently underrepresented within American classical music.

Composer Sofia Rocha has been selected as the 2022–2023 EUSO Composer Commission Project recipient. Rocha’s work will premiere in this free concert presented by the EUSO and Emory Choirs at the Schwartz Center.

In addition to this Schwartz Artist-in-Residence Commission Project, the EUSO and Emory Choirs will present Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.

Tickets are not required for this free concert.