“Concertos, symphonies, sonatas—I can’t get enough! How can I make the most of the classical music program at this year’s Festival?”
You’re a concert hall denizen who loves the classics—classical music, that is. Welcome to the club! This season is packed with great options whether you’re into brass, woodwinds, strings, or all of the above. Here’s just one possible itinerary to give you a sampling of what’s on offer.
SATURDAY, MAY 30
- 1:00pm: Bank of America Chamber Music at Dock Street Theatre
Geoff Nuttall has been busy assembling an immensely talented ensemble of musicians to present a diverse array of 11 programs for this year’s Bank of America Chamber Music at the historic Dock Street Theatre. It’s the perfect lunchtime treat that leaves your evening free for heavier fare. The content of this year’s Chamber programs will be announced in April, but here’s a sneak peek at some of the featured composers: Beethoven, Schubert, and new work from Spoleto’s composer-in-residence, Jessica Meyer.
- 5:00pm: Westminster Choir Concert at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church
Experiencing the enduring tradition of a Westminster Choir Concert is a definite must for classical music lovers. Under the direction of the Festival’s Director of Choral Activities Joe Miller, this ensemble’s shimmering sonic alchemy is, at once, virtuosic and versatile.
- 8:00pm: The Planets at the Gaillard Center
An orchestral suite in seven movements (Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune), Holst’s masterwork The Planets has been a favorite among concert hall audiences since its premiere one hundred years ago. Better still, this concert has a local twist—it’s being conducted by native Charlestonian Jonathon Heyward, features an additional piece by Charleston composer Edmund Thornton Jenkins, and a performance of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 by Charleston-born pianist Micah McLaurin. A rich assortment of music for a true classical fan.
SUNDAY, MAY 31
- 3:00 PM: Omar at the Sottile Theatre
The true story of a 19th-Century African scholar enslaved and brought to Charleston, Omar is this year’s featured opera, and a world premiere to boot. In addition to a fascinating narrative, this opera will feature music by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels. The Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra will be in the pit, providing a rich folk-infused classical soundscape to accompany the singers on stage.
- 8:00 PM: The Stations at Memminger Auditorium
The Stations is an multi-sensory experience where singers guide attendees through a collection of Tom Kiefer’s photography featuring objects taken from migrants at the southern border. This powerful choral-and-visual concert is your chance to see a true Festival institution: the Westminster Choir. Celebrating its 100th year, the Choir will perform music from late-Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo. The choral singing will only feature minimal instrumentation, but the heavenly aura of voices in such a unique setting will surely be unforgettable.
MONDAY, JUNE 1
- 8:00 PM: Four Seasons Recomposed at the Sottile Theatre
We’re wrapping up this itinerary with one last chance to see the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra in action: Four Seasons Recomposed. Max Richter’s 2012 reimagining of Antonio Vivaldi’s classic symphony made waves upon its release, and it’s sure to leave you with a lasting impression. If you’ve never heard it, get ready for something brand new—and yet somehow comfortably familiar.
“This sounds like my forté! What now?”
Tickets to these—and all—Festival performances are available online at spoletousa.org or by phone at 843.579.3100. Remember: this is just a suggested itinerary to show you what a Festival experience could look like. We encourage you to browse all of the Festival’s classical music offerings to find the experience perfect for you!
NOTE: The 2020 Festival has been cancelled. For more information, click here.