John Zorn’s 70th birthday celebration to kick of Walker Art Center’s performing arts season

16 July 2023

An all-day celebration of avant-garde composer John Zorn’s 70th birthday will kick off the Walker Art Center’s 2023-24 performing arts season on Sept. 9.

Zorn, who has a long-standing history with the Walker, will collaborate with more than 20 musicians — including guitarists Bill Frisell and Julian Lage, the JACK Quartet, keyboardist John Medeski and percussionist Sae Hashimoto — to create a series of one-of-a-kind musical experiences that respond to works in the Walker’s collection. It will also include three evening concerts in the Walker’s McGuire Theater.

The rest of the Walker’s season, which was announced Wednesday, includes a series of music, dance and theatrical events, all of which take place in the McGuire Theater unless otherwise noted. For more details, see Season highlights include:

Alabaster dePlume: 8 p.m. Sept. 14, the leader of the London jazz/new music scene makes his Minnesota debut.
Dianne McIntyre Group: 8 p.m. Oct. 5-7, pioneering Black dance innovator returns to the Walker with the world premiere of a new work featuring an evening-length score by composer Diedre Murray and poems by playwright Ntozake Shange.
Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer and Shahzad Ismaily Trio: Love in Exile, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10, Cedar Cultural Center: Grammy Award–winning vocalist Arooj Aftab performs with the Love in Exile Trio, featuring two longtime Walker-supported artists, polymath pianist Vijay Iyer and multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily.
Nacera Belaza: L’Onde, 8 p.m. Oct. 27-28, the French Algerian choreographer immerses five dancers in a darkened theater for a meditation on the body’s capacity for transformation.
Trajal Harrell: The Koln Concert, 8 p.m. Nov. 7-8, dance artist Trajal Harrell is joined by seven dancers backed by Keith Jarrett’s best-selling jazz piano recording.
Choreographers’ Evening 2023: 4 and 7 p.m. Nov. 25, the Walker’s annual dance showcase celebrates Minnesota’s dance community with performances by a roster of local choreographers and movement artists. This year’s program is curated by dancer, choreographer and 2021 McKnight Fellow Darrius Strong.
Sandbox Percussion: Seven Pillars by Andy Akiho, 8 p.m. Nov. 29, Sandbox Percussion performs composer Andy Akiho’s Grammy-nominated piece with light design by theater director Michael McQuilken.
Beth Gill: Nail Biter, 8 p.m. Dec. 8-9, Choreographer Beth Gill’s new work explores ritual and dance through science fiction and ancient myth.
Out There 2024: This annual festival highlights new innovations and radical approaches to theatrical live performance. It includes Ligia Lewis: A Plot/A Scandal, 8 p.m. Jan. 11-13; Aya Ogawa: The Nosebleed, 8 p.m. Jan. 25-27; Big Dance Theater, The Mood Room, 8 p.m. Feb. 8-10; and Honor, an Artist Lecture by Suzanne Bocanegra starring Lili Taylor, 8 p.m. Feb. 22-24.
Tomeka Reid Stringtet: 8 p.m. March 2, Chicago-based cellist, composer and MacArthur Genius Tomeka Reid performs her full Stringtet, a 17-member improvising chamber orchestra that features jazz and classical players such as Mazz Swift, Jason Kao Hwang, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Sylvia Bolognesi and Tomas Fujiwara.
Avant Joik: 8 p.m. March 16, Nordic artists Katarina Barruk and Maja Ratkje combine traditional Sami extended vocal technique with experimental electronic soundscapes. The music is paired with live visuals by Sami artist Matti Aikio.
Shamel Pitts, Tribe: Black Hole — Trilogy and Triathlon, 8 p.m. March 21-23, A multi-disciplinary performance choreographed by movement artist Shamel Pitts and performed by his Brooklyn-based arts collective Tribe. It combines dance, original sound, video projection and light design to transport a trio of Black performers to a cosmic void.
Damon Locks’s Black Monument Ensemble: 8 p.m. April 20, conceived initially as part of multi-media artist and activist Damon Locks’ sample-based sound collage work, Black Monument Ensemble has become a live spectacle that makes uplifting music.
Abby Z and the New Utility: Radioactive Practice, 8 p.m. May 15-18, choreographer Abby Zbikowski presents a highly physical, often ecstatic dance work with intimate, on-stage seating.

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