The University of Washington’s Meany Center for the Performing Arts, newly renamed from UW World Series, today announced its programming for the 2016/17 Season, including 23 events in four subscription series—World Dance, World Music, International Chamber Music and President’s Piano Series—as well as a special holiday presentation

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April 4, 2016


Season Highlights Include Performances of Three Works Co-Commissioned by Meany Center, Five Events Showcasing Washington Artists, Four Northwest Premieres, One West Coast Premiere and One Seattle-Area Debut

Subscription Packages are On Sale Now. Single Tickets Go On Sale August 1

SEATTLE, WA—The University of Washington’s Meany Center for the Performing Arts, newly renamed from UW World Series, today announced its programming for the 2016/17 Season, including 23 events in four subscription series—World Dance, World Music, International Chamber Music and President’s Piano Series—as well as a special holiday presentation.

Michelle Witt, Executive and Artistic Director of Meany Center, remarks, “We are thrilled to present the exciting inaugural season of Meany Center for the Performing Arts. Our commitment to featuring extraordinary artists from around the globe continues as we support the expanded development of new work, innovative public engagement and learning in the arts.”

Programming highlights of the 2016/17 Season include:

·         The Northwest premiere of Meany Center co-commission Layla and Majnun, performed by the Mark Morris Dance Group with The Silk Road Ensemble.

·         Tesseracts of Time, a work created in collaboration with internationally recognized architect, Washington native, and UW alumnus Steven Holl, and performed by Jessica Lang Dance in its Northwest debut.

·         The  Washington, D.C.-based percussive dance troupe, Step Afrika!, performing the West Coast premiere of Meany Center co-commission, Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence, which celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of painter Jacob Lawrence, a former UW professor.

·         The Northwest premiere of a Meany Center co-commission from British composer Mark Anthony Turnage, performed by the Emerson String Quartet, and an appearance with guest pianist and UW professor Craig Sheppard.

·         The Northwest debut of singer/songwriter Emel Mathlouthi, called “The Voice of the Tunisian Revolution.”

·         Seattle-area debut by the all-male French-Algerian dance troupe La Compagnie Hervé Koubi.


The 2016/17 World Dance Series brings renowned companies and choreographers from around the world to Seattle to inspire and engage audiences with their creative collaborations and thought-provoking performances.

The six-concert series includes:

Photo credits: David O’Connor; Amber Star

·         Mark Morris Dance Group with The Silk Road Ensemble, and Azerbaijani singers Alim Qasimov and Fargana Qasimova, give the Northwest premiere of Layla and Majnun. Co-commissioned by Meany Center, this collaborative presentation features Morris’ choreography, telling the ancient Persian tale of love, madness and mysticism with music composed by Azerbaijani and Soviet composer, Uzeyir Hajibeyli. (October 6-8)

Photo credit: Todd Rosenberg

·         Jessica Lang Dance makes its Northwest debut with Tesseracts of Time, a work created in collaboration with internationally recognized architect, Washington native and UW alumnus Steven Holl. This “Dance for Architecture” is in four sections, each of which correspond to the four types of architecture: (1) Under the ground (2) In the ground (3) On the ground (4) Over the ground. Also on the Veteran’s Day weekend program is Thousand Yard Stare, set to Beethoven’s late String Quartet No. 15, Op. 132, honoring wounded veterans and those affected by war. (November 10-12)

Photo credit: Meredith Hanafi

·         Step Afrika! performs a new and expanded production of its signature work, Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence, which was co-commissioned by Meany Center in honor of the artist’s—and former UW professor’s—centennial. The work is inspired by Lawrence’s famous 60-panel masterpiece, The Migration Series.  Featuring projected imagery of Lawrence’s iconic paintings, spoken word, dance and percussion, this multimedia production tells the story of African American migrants moving north in the early 1900s. (February 16-18, 2017)

·         Shen Wei Dance Arts performs Neither, a new evening-length work set to Morton Feldman’s opera of the same name, with libretto by Samuel Beckett. The Chinese-born choreographer and MacArthur Fellow, Shen Wei, is acclaimed for his unique style of choreography, which fuses influences as varied as traditional Chinese arts, American high modernism and Western contemporary dance. (March 16-18, 2017)

Photo credit: Nathalie Sternalski

·         La Compagnie Hervé Koubi, the French-Algerian company of choreographer Hervé Koubi, makes its Seattle debut with its all-male corps of French-Algerian and African dancers in What the Day Owes to the Night. This physical work for 12 dancers draws on capoeira, martial arts, urban and contemporary dance skills, combined with imagery evoking of Oriental paintings and the stone filigree of Islamic architecture.  The Washington Post called this troupe, “A stunning fusion of acrobatics, gymnastics, b-boying modern dance and ballet.” (April 13-15, 2017)

Photo credit: Zoran Jelenic

·         Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo—New York’s all-male comic ballet company—brings its signature twist on classic ballet combining humor, artistry and athleticism to Meany Hall to conclude the World Dance Series in 2016/17. “It’s always heartwarming to have these glamorously funny personalities back in town,” said the Sunday Times, London. (May 18-20, 2017)


Six outstanding chamber ensembles will perform on Meany Center’s 2016/17 International Chamber Music Series, exploring a range of repertoire by mixing up genres, periods and influences to more fully reflect the changing face of chamber music around the world.

·         The U.K.-based Heath Quartet opens this series in 2016/17 with a program that includes works by Haydn and Dvořák, as well as by fellow countryman, Sir Michael Tippett. As part of the Quartet’s visit to Meany Hall, they will also partner with Seattle public schools to explore how chamber music can be a catalyst for creativity. (October 27)

·         One of the world’s premier wind quintets, the Imani Winds partner with Italian pianist Fabio Bidini in several pieces of their varied program which includes a work by its flutist, Valerie Coleman, as well as by Rimsky-Korsakov, Piazzolla, D’Rivera, Mozart and Shaheen.  (November 15)

·         Dedicated proponents of music by today’s composers, the JACK Quartet has performed to critical acclaim around the word, from the U.S. and London to Japan and Argentina. Deemed “superheroes of the new music world” by the Boston Globe, the group brings their trailblazing energy to Meany Hall in 2016/17.  (January 10, 2017)

·         The Escher Quartet serves as artists of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and was one of the few chamber ensembles to be awarded a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, which they received in 2013. They bring a program of Beethoven, Webern and Debussy to their Meany Center recital.  (February 1, 2017)

Photo credit: Sian Richards

·         Canada’s award-winning baroque ensemble, Tafelmusik, is known for its creative approach to period performance. They perform their latest multimedia innovation, J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation for their 2016/17 Meany Center appearance. Circle of Creation combines text, music and projected video and images to explore the world of the artisans—papermakers, violin carvers, string spinners and performers—who helped J.S. Bach realize his musical genius. Presented in collaboration with Early Music Guild. (March 11, 2017)

·         The renowned Emerson String Quartet—celebrating 40 years and countless honors together—gives the Northwest premiere of a Meany Center co-commission from British composer Mark Anthony Turnage, as part of a program that also features a guest appearance by pianist and UW professor Craig Sheppard. (April 21, 2017)


With four concerts that bring music from the corners of the globe to the U.S., Meany Center’s World Music Series celebrates all genres of music, from Portuguese fado to Japanese taiko drumming and from African song to Tunisian rock. These celebrated artists transport audiences to other cultures through their stunning performances.

Photo credit: Kampagnen Foto

·         Mariza, the renowned Portuguese fado singer, returns to Meany Hall in 2016/17 with a program that, according to Rolling Stone, “turns fado’s ancient sadness into a majestic modern sound.” (November 1)

·         Kodo, the percussion ensemble from Japan, has brought the art of taiko drumming to audiences around the world since its founding 35 years ago in 1981. With drums ranging in size from just a few pounds to 900 pounds, as well as other traditional Japanese instruments, Kodo returns to Seattle with two Meany Center performances. (February 3-4, 2017)

Photo credit: Nicolas Baret

·         African vocalist/dancer and percussionist Dobet Gnahoré sings in seven African languages, backed by a Pan-African band. Originally from the Ivory Coast, Gnahoré settled in France during unrest in Africa, and continued to create diverse music that ranges from delicate ballads to reggae and pop to upbeat African grooves (March 2, 2017)

Photo credit: Ghaith Ghoufa

·         Tunisian singer/songwriter Emel Mathlouthi makes her Northwest debut with Meany Center in the spring of 2017. Banned from her own country’s airwaves, her creative voice has been given international exposure via the internet and social media outlets. With influences as broad as rock, oriental and trip-hop, her lyrical style and powerful message create a unique presentation. (May 13, 2017)


Six internationally acclaimed masters of the keyboard join Meany Center’s diverse lineup of piano recitals during the 2016/17 Season.

·         Korean pianist and silver medalist at the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Joyce Yang returns to the President’s Piano Series next season with a wide-ranging program that includes Scarlatti’s Four Sonatas, Schumann’s Romances, Op. 28, Vine’s Anne Landa Preludes, Debussy’s Estampes, Granados’ Selections from Goyescas, and Ginastera’s Danzas Argentinas.  (November 3)

·         American pianist Jonathan Biss also returns in 2016/17 for a solo recital featuring music of Brahms, Kurtág and Beethoven. (December 10)

·         French-Canadian pianist Louis Lortie brings an all-French program to Meany Hall this season, featuring works by Rameau, Poulenc, Satie, Saint-Saëns, Fauré, Debussy and Messiaen. (January 11, 2017)

·         Young British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor has taken the piano world by storm since winning the 2015 BBC Music Magazine Instrumental Award and received Gramophone’s Young Artist of the Year award, among other honors. His program represents both the Classical and Romantic periods, with works by Schumann, Mozart, Beethoven, Granados, Scriabin and Liszt. (February 14, 2017)

Photo credit: Dario Acosta

·         Grammy award-winning virtuoso and seemingly fearless pianist Yefim Bronfman brings a varied recital program of Bartók’s Suite, Op. 14, Schumann’s Humoreske, Debussy’s Suite bergamasque and Stravinsky’s Petrushka(April 18, 2017)

·         Russian pianist Kirill Gerstein has earned a reputation of renown and musical intelligence, winning a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. His program opens with Brahms’ Sonata No. 2 in F Minor, and features what has become a signature work in his repertoire: Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes. (May 16, 2017)

Photo credit: John David Pittman

An Appalachian Christmas—Mark O’Connor with the O’Connor Family Band

American bluegrass, jazz, and country violinist, fiddler, composer and music teacher Mark O’Connor—a Seattle native— brings members of his family to Meany Hall for a special presentation of music from his album of the same name, An Appalachian Christmas.   The multiple Grammy Award-winner describes this program in his own words: “Appalachia is the original melting pot of our country featuring more diverse styles of American music than just about anywhere. Growing up in the O’Connor musical household, Christmas time was a wondrous mixture of Christmas carols, fiddling, bluegrass, and other traditional American music. And that is the spirit of An Appalachian Christmas.” (December 15)

Ticket Information:

Discounted full-series subscriptions and Choose Your Own subscriptions are on sale now. Prices for full-series subscriptions begin at $146; Choose Your Own subscription prices vary according to selection. Subscriber benefits include priority seating, free ticket exchanges (upgrade charges may apply), discounts off additional single ticket purchases and lost ticket replacement. Full-series subscribers also have the opportunity to purchase discounted parking passes.

Single tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday, August 1.

Subscriptions may be purchased through the ArtsUW Ticket Office:

·         Phone: (206) 543-4880

·         In Person: 1313 NE 41st Street, Seattle, WA 98105

·         Online:

Meany Center offers discounts for seniors, youth, students, UW employees, UW retirees and members of the UW Alumni Association. Two free youth subscriptions are available with every adult subscription purchased to the President’s Piano or International Chamber Music Series, ages 5-17 only. For more information about prices and benefits, visit

Meany Center offers a variety of lectures, master classes, workshops, pre-and post-show conversations, free campus concerts and community events in tandem with visiting artist engagements. Visit and explore the calendar, or click on “Related Events” for individual artists.

About Meany Center for the Performing Arts

Meany Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Washington fosters innovative performances that advance public engagement, cultural exchange, creative research and learning through the arts. Meany Center provides opportunities for diverse artists, community, students and faculty to connect in the discovery and exploration of the boundless power of the arts to create positive change in the world.

The complete chronological calendar with program details follows:

2016/17 Season (Chronological)

Mark Morris Dance Group with The Silk Road Ensemble
World Dance Series
Thursday-Saturday, October 6-8, 2016
8:00 PM; 2:00 PM (10/8 only)

Layla and Majnun (Northwest premiere, co-commissioned by Meany Center)

Heath Quartet
International Chamber Music Series
Thursday, October 27, 2016
7:30 PM

HAYDN: Quartet in F-sharp Minor, Op. 50, No. 4
TIPPETT: Quartet No. 5
DVOŘÁK: Quartet in G Major, Op. 106

World Music Series
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
8:00 PM


Joyce Yang
President’s Piano Series
Thursday, November 3, 2016
7:30 PM

SCARLATTI: Four Sonatas
SCHUMANN: Romances, Op. 28
VINE: Anne Landa Preludes
DEBUSSY: Estampes  
GRANADOS: Selections from Goyescas 
GINASTERA: Danzas Argentinas

Jessica Lang Dance (Northwest debut)
World Dance Series
Thursday-Saturday, November 10-12, 2016
8:00 PM

Tesseracts of Time, i.n.k., The Calling and Thousand Yard Stare

Imani Winds with Fabio Bidini, piano
International Chamber Music Series
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
7:30 PM

COLEMAN: Red Clay and Mississippi Delta 
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Selections from Scheherazade
PIAZZOLLA: Contrabajissimo
D’RIVERA: A Farewell Mambo
MOZART: Quintet in E-flat Major for Winds and Piano, K.542
SHAHEEN: Dance Mediterranea

Jonathan Biss
President’s Piano Series
Saturday, December 10, 2016
7:30 PM

BRAHMS: Klavierstücke, Op. 118
KURTÁG: Selections from Jatekok
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111

Mark O’Connor with the O’Connor Family Band
Special Events
Thursday, December 15, 2016
7:30 PM

An Appalachian Christmas

JACK Quartet
International Chamber Music Series
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
7:30 PM


Louis Lortie
President’s Piano Series
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
7:30 PM

SATIE: Gymnopedie I
RAMEAU: Les Sauvages
POULENC: Les soirées de Nazelle
RAMEAU: L’Egyptienne 
SAINT-SAËNS: Africa, Fantaisie Op. 89
MURAIL: Comme un oeil suspendu et poli par le songe
SATIE: Véritables Préludes flasques (pour un chien)
FAURÉ: Prélude in G Minor Op. 103, No. 3
SAINT-SAËNS: Valse nonchalante
DEBUSSY: La plus que lente
POULENC: Barcarolle
FAURÉ: Barcarolle in E-flat Major, Op. 70
MESSIAEN: Ile de Feu, No. 2
DEBUSSY: Isle Joyeuse

Escher String Quartet
International Chamber Music Series
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
7:30 PM

BEETHOVEN: Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 127
WEBERN: Five Pieces for Quartet, Op. 5
DEBUSSY: Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10

World Music Series
Friday-Saturday, February 3-4, 2017
8:00 PM


Benjamin Grosvenor
President’s Piano Series
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
7:30 PM

SCHUMANN: Arabesque, Op. 18
MOZART: Sonata No. 13 in B-flat Major, K. 333
BEETHOVEN: Sonata in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2, “Moonlight”
SCRIABIN: Sonata No. 2 in G-sharp Minor, Op. 19, “Fantasy”
GRANADOS: Selections from Goyescas, Op. 11
LISZT: Rhapsodie espagnole

Step Afrika!
World Dance Series
Thursday-Saturday, February 16-18, 2017
8:00 PM

The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence (West Coast premiere, co-commissioned by Meany Center)

Dobet Gnahoré
World Music Series
Thursday, March 2, 2017
8:00 PM


International Chamber Music Series
Saturday, March 11, 2017
7:30 PM

J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation

Shen Wei Dance Arts
World Dance Series
Thursday-Saturday, March 16-18, 2017
8:00 PM


La Compagnie Hervé Koubi (Seattle-area debut)
World Dance Series
Thursday-Saturday, April 13-15, 2017
8:00 PM

What the Day Owes to the Night

Yefim Bronfman
President’s Piano Series
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
7:30 PM

BARTÓK: Suite, Op. 14, Sz. 62, BB 70
SCHUMANN: Humoreske in B-flat Major, Op. 20
DEBUSSY: Suite bergamasque

Emerson String Quartet
Craig Sheppard, piano
International Chamber Music Series
Friday, April 21, 2017
7:30 PM

SHOSTAKOVICH: String Quartet No. 4 in D Major, Op. 83
TURNAGE: Shroud (2016) (Northwest premiere, co-commissioned by Meany Center)
DVOŘÁK: Piano Quintet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 81

Emel Mathlouthi (Northwest debut)
World Music Series
Saturday, May 13, 2017
8:00 PM


Kirill Gerstein
President’s Piano Series
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
7:30 PM

BRAHMS: Piano Sonata No. 2 in F-sharp Minor, Op. 2
LISZT: Transcendental Etudes, S.139 

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
World Dance Series
Thursday-Saturday, May 18-20, 2017
8:00 PM


Schedule and programming subject to change.

Meany Center’s Visiting Artists program for the 2016/17 Season is proudly sponsored by Microsoft, ArtsFund, Office of Arts & Culture and 4Culture.

Layla and Majnun is a Mark Morris Dance Group/Cal Performances, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, California production in association with Meany Center for the Performing Arts, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Chicago, Illinois; Hopkins Center for the Arts, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.; Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois; Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York, New York; Sadler’s Wells, London, England; and University Musical Society at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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