Published: Sep 09, 2008 12:25 PM
Modified: Sep 09, 2008 12:25 PM
Abigail Washburn, Bela Fleck to kick off UNC's new season
CHAPEL HILL -- On the heels of its most successful season to date, in which more than 40,000 tickets were sold, Carolina Performing Arts at UNC will begin its fourth season on Thursday.Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet will perform at 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall. No stranger to North Carolina, Washburn is a veteran of Wilkesboro's MerleFest. The quartet features Grammy-winning banjo player and producer Bela Fleck, Grammy-nominated fiddler Casey Driessen and roots-classical cellist Ben Sollee.The 2008-09 season in Memorial Hall will continue through June 2009 and feature performances from some of the biggest names in music, dance and theater, including the Bolshoi Ballet, the New York Philharmonic, the Kirov Orchestra, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Pilobolus.The season also boasts an array of performances commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts, including works from New York-based multimedia group The Builders Association, Canada's Compagnie Marie Chouinard, Singaporean director Ong Keng Sen and Theatreworks, and German director-composer Heiner Goebbels with English vocal quartet The Hilliard Ensemble."This season is in many ways our most ambitious yet, in the depth of the programs, the scale of the companies we're presenting and the number of new works," said Emil Kang, executive director of Carolina Performing Arts. "In four years, we have grown and matured as a program. We're able to present things now that we never could have a year or two ago."Hailed as a "daring and definite talent" by The Wall Street Journal, Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet have won over some of the nation's top music critics. The group's cross-cultural take on folk and old-time music was praised for its ability to balance its geographical influences while maintaining an identity all its own."This will be a different kind of opener than we've had in previous seasons," Kang said. "Abigail is such an intimate performer, and the music she plays is beautiful, but also unique."The concert will open Carolina Performing Arts' 2008-09 American Roots series, the rest of which will be grounded in the musical flavor of New Orleans. Buckwheat Zydeco with Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas will perform on Oct. 3, and The Neville Brothers with pianist Dr. John will spend Mardi Gras in Chapel Hill for a Fat Tuesday performance on Feb. 24.Tickets for the Washburn-Sparrow concert are available online at www.carolinaperformingarts.org, by calling 843-3333 or at the Memorial Hall Box Office on Cameron Avenue, open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Tickets start at $25. Tickets for Carolina students with valid UNC One Cards are $10 each. Tickets for all other performances in the 2008-09 Carolina Performing Arts season also are on sale.
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2008 The Chapel Hill News