Savannah Music Festival’s 2010 season is comprised of original productions, unique pairings, and a focus on instrumental virtuosity, including world-class artists in jazz, classical, bluegrass, blues, gospel, and a wide variety of other American and international musical traditions. Set in the idyllic atmosphere of Savannah in the early spring, these unique programs combine to create a musical arts event with worldwide resonance. Savannah Music Festival (SMF) runs from March 18 through April 3.
“With the ever widening gap between commercial music and the performing arts,” remarks SMF Executive & Artistic Director Rob Gibson, “we want to serve as a bridge that connects audiences with a wide range of first-class artistry, while also illuminating musical traditions from all over the world.”
A multi-generational gathering of great mandolinists featuring Mike Marshall, Chris Thile, and Caterina Lichtenberg reaches back to the origins of the instrument in Italian music from the 1600s, also spotlighting the mandolin’s history up to the present day. The most formidable husband/wife team in the history of southern rock/blues, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, perform a one-time only set of ‘60s and ‘70s soul music.
The Big World of Music series pairs innovative American instrumentalists with international virtuosos in Wizards and Gypsies: The Assad Brothers and the Roby Lakatos Ensemble; Mark O’Connor’s Hot Swing! and the Renaud Garcia-Fons Trio; and the Bill Frisell Trio with Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba.
Divas of Country Music features two of neo-traditional country music’s biggest talents: Patty Loveless and Kathy Mattea.
The passionate and gritty blues, rhythm & soul of Ruthie Foster intersects with the intimate and rich sound of Savannah native Kristina Train, whose debut recording is being released this month on Blue Note Records.
Major Minors: Teenage acoustic music sensations Sarah Jarosz and Sierra Noble share a bill showcasing their youthful virtuosity and their respective trios.
Jazz elder statesmen Dick Hyman, Ken Peplowski and Howard Alden are paired with the youthful and hard-swinging Gerald Clayton Trio.
Mike Marshall’s innovative Big Trio and western swing/alt-country rockers The Belleville Outfit perform on the opening night of the festival.
The “first family of bluegrass,” Cherryholmes, shares the stage with North Carolina singer/multi-instrumentalist Shannon Whitworth.
The New Orleans Blues Party features the Henry Butler Trio joined by several special guests and jazz greats throughout the evening. Additional jazz and blues productions include the annual Piano Showdown, which this year pits Butler, Marcus Roberts, Gerald Clayton and Dick Hyman at opposite ends of the stage, on different Steinways, performing solos and duets.
Ben Tucker at 80 celebrates the birthday of Savannah’s beloved jazz bassist/composer in a program featuring such jazz stalwarts as Marcus Printup, Wycliffe Gordon and Kevin Bales. The prolific jazz pianist Dick Hyman plays an all-Fats Waller concert. All Star Swing Summit, the culmination of SMF’s Swing Central High School Jazz Band Competition & Workshop, features the Clayton Brothers, the Marcus Roberts Trio, the Ted Nash Ensemble, and the Georgia Horns featuring Chris Crenshaw, Wycliffe Gordon and Marcus Printup.
The 2010 festival also includes recitals by Yefim Bronfman, Nicole Cabell, and Gabriela Montero and Gautier Capuçon. A wealth of concerts include performances by She & Him (M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel), the Emerson String Quartet (two distinct programs of Dvorak), David Finckel, Wu Han and Philip Setzer (performing both Schubert Piano Trios), a gospel music workshop and show with James Bignon and the SMF Mass Choir, a Zydeco Dance Party with Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys, The Del McCoury Band with Curtis Blackwell & the Dixie Bluegrass Boys, family shows with Roger Day and RJ & the Upbeats, an organ recital by Charles Tompkins, David Greely’s Cajun Fiddle Showcase, the 17th annual American Traditions Vocal Competition, the U.S. Army Strings, the Tattnall River Shapenote Singers, Ken Peplowski and Howard Alden, and Gerald Clayton.