18th Annual Virginia Arts Festival Announces 2014 Performances Featuring Lang Lang, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Stewart Copeland and Joshua Bell April 2 – May 29, 2014
The Virginia Arts Festival will explore worlds far and near, past and present, real and imagined in its spring 2014 presentations, with more than 50 performances by world‐renowned artists, on stages throughout southeastern Virginia.
Fans of music, dance and theater will travel from across the United States and around the world to see performances in Norfolk and throughout the Coastal Virginia region.
A spring tradition, the Virginia Arts Festival gets an early start in 2014 with a special presentation of the classical pianist superstar Lang Lang, February 13 in Norfolk’s Chrysler Hall. Hailed by The New York Times as the “hottest artist on the classical music planet,” this young virtuoso has thrilled audiences across the globe, including his performance in the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics before a worldwide audience of more than four billion.
In April, audiences will share a thrilling Festival‐commissioned world premiere—another coup in the Virginia Arts Festival’s history of “see‐it‐here‐first” opportunities. Stewart Copeland—famed as drummer for the landmark rock band The Police—will debut his new score for the epic 1925 film Ben‐Hur. One of Rolling Stone’s greatest drummers of all time, Copeland is also an accomplished composer who has written for orchestra, ballet and film (including Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumblefish and Oliver Stone’s Wall Street). Copeland himself will perform his new score with the Virginia Arts Festival Orchestra, to a 90 minute edited version of Ben‐Hur, April 19 in Chrysler Hall.
The Virginia Arts Festival takes pride in creating opportunities for audiences to experience great artists, and also in creating opportunities for artists to perform. When the beloved Dance Theatre of Harlem fell on hard times a decade ago and ceased touring, audiences around the world mourned. Now this beautiful, powerful company is back on its feet—and the Virginia Arts Festival will be among the first to present these phenomenal dancers outside of New York since 2004. At the centerpiece of this jubilant return engagement May 16‐18 is Robert Garland’s new work, Gloria, a tribute to the spiritual history of Harlem, performed for the first time to live music with the Virginia Symphony and the Virginia Chorale.
The Festival is also proud to announce, in partnership with the City of Norfolk, a three year residency with Dance Theatre of Harlem that will feature in‐depth community outreach and celebrate the essential role of African‐American dance as both a preserver of tradition and a force behind creative cultural change.
Broadway fans have long shuddered in anticipation at the prospect of an evening with the Demon Barber of Fleet Street; Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award‐winning musical Sweeney Todd is filled with dark wit, hauntingly beautiful songs, and a cast of characters never to be forgotten. The Virginia Arts Festival will co‐present the Virginia Opera’s must‐see production of this musical theater favorite bringing a cast of phenomenal voices to Sondheim’s signature work.
A much‐loved highlight of the Festival each year returns with spectacular new reasons to celebrate April 24‐27, as the Virginia International Tattoo honors Vietnam veterans and their families. Designated a signature event in the United States of America Vietnam War 50th Commemoration, the Tattoo will honor Vietnam veterans with an astounding cast featuring hundreds of performers from around the world—a moving display of patriotism, international cooperation and inspirational music.
Music lovers can count on the Virginia Arts Festival to showcase the greatest artists from around the world, and the 2014 Festival continues the tradition.