Every spring, for 17 days and nights, Charleston, South Carolina hosts the Spoleto Festival. Featuring classical chamber, symphonic and choral music, jazz, opera, theater, dance, and other artistic expression, the Spoleto Festival has well earned international recognition as a premier showcase for the renowned and emerging artists who perform there.
In 1977 Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti, Christopher Keene, and others founded the Spoleto USA festival as an American counterpart to their annual Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. They selected the lovely and cosmopolitan city of Charleston — replete with gardens, wonderful hotels and restaurants, stunning architecture, and a warm climate — as their choice to host Spoleto USA, where over 200 American and international premiers have been featured.
According to its organizers, the the Spoleto Festival’s mission is “to present programs of the highest artistic caliber while maintaining a dedication to young artists, a commitment to all forms of the performing arts, a passion for contemporary innovation, and an enthusiasm for providing unusual performance opportunities for established artists.” The fulfillment of their stated mission has brought Spoleto USA yearly international acclaim.
This year’s performances include:
Tony Award-winner Garry Hynes makes her operatic debut directing one of the great 20th century operas
Sci-fi, art history, and a little conspiracy theory mix to challenge how we treat each other in this twenty-first-century opera
A mother-and-son duo tell a heartwarming story of family, arranged marriage, and the quest for the perfect bride
Australian acrobatic ensemble executes breathtaking feats and pushes the boundaries of human physicality
Finnish aerialist challenges the boundaries of movement in a spellbinding program featuring animated projections, trapeze, and aerial ballet
South African choreographer Gregory Maqoma draws inspiration from his ancestral past in the vibrant work Exit/Exist
This sleek contemporary ballet company presents a diverse repertoire of adventuresome choreography
Popular twice-daily concert series features 11 fresh and distinctive programs performed by a talented roster of artists
The Festival’s acclaimed choir-in-residence performs works by Daniel Elder, Eriks Esenvalds, Brahms, and Durufle.
Westminster Choir presents two exquisite settings of this timeless hymn of praise
The unofficial “first family of the banjo” combines powerful vocals and revolutionary instrumental techniques
This young singer/songwriter‘s music walks the line between jazz and pop
A trio of banjo, guitar, and bass expand folk music and embody the spirit of exploration with their innovative and original music
Rising star Joseph Young leads the Festival Orchestra in a showcase of orchestral splendor with works by Barber, Adams, and Bartók
John Kennedy leads the Festival Orchestra in a program comprised of Beethoven’s seventh symphony and two homages to the masterpiece
The film score composer for The Piano andGattaca is joined by Festival musicians for an evening of his compositions
An all-day party including picnicking, a beer garden, fireworks, and a mainstage concert by Charleston’s own Shovels & Rope
Guitar, piano, and percussion explore the sublime possibilities of popular music from their native Argentina and other parts of South America
A finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Vocal Competition, this young singer is a rising star on the American jazz scene
A Mandolinist-led ensemble brings to life the rich syncopation and counterpoint of Brazilian choro music
This British pianist and composer moves effortlessly between classical and jazz
This Louisiana-born singer/guitarist blends country, R&B, and blues-rock in her scuffed, rootsy songs
One of the Festival’s most popular jazz vocalists returns to Charleston in a performance paying tribute to the legendary Eartha Kitt
Part saxophonist, part opera tenor, Hakon Kornstad is not to be missed