Past Performing Arts Series Events

The Performing Arts Series at the Center for the Arts features a wide array of world-class musicians, cutting-edge choreography, and groundbreaking theater performances and discussions.

Image above: in February 2019, Los Angeles-based CONTRA-TIEMPO performed the New England premiere of joyUS justUS (2018) in the CFA Theater. Photo by Sandy Aldieri of Perceptions Photography.


2020
October September February January
2019
November October September March February
2018
November October September April February
2017
November October September March February
2016
November October September April February
2015
November October September April February January
2014
November October September

2020

October

The Era Footwork Crew: “Footwork Saves Lives” Panel Discussion
Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 7:00pm

The Era Footwork Crew co-founder, dancer, and activist Jamal “Litebulb” Oliver; writer, director, and editor Wills Glasspiegel; and dance group president Shkunna Stewart will discuss their work with the non-profit Open the Circle in a free panel discussion. Moderated by Assistant Professor of Dance Iddi Saaka with alumna Kiara Benn ’20.
Party in the Bardo: Conversations with Laurie Anderson—Episode Nine
Friday, October 9, 2020 at 4:00pm
WESU Middletown 88.1FM
The ninth episode of “Party in the Bardo: Conversations with Laurie Anderson” will feature a conversation between writer, director, visual artist, and vocalist Laurie Anderson and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Hearn from the multi-platinum selling band Barenaked Ladies.
Party in the Bardo: Conversations with Laurie Anderson—Episode Nine
Friday, October 9, 2020 at 4:00am
WESU Middletown 88.1FM
The ninth episode of “Party in the Bardo: Conversations with Laurie Anderson” will feature a conversation between writer, director, visual artist, and vocalist Laurie Anderson and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Hearn from the multi-platinum selling band Barenaked Ladies.
Working as an Artist of Color: An Intimate Conversation with Kristina Wong
Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 12:00pm

Wesleyan students join performance artist and writer Kristina Wong for a free virtual discussion about making solo work and addressing social and racial justice issues through the use of comedy and parody. Moderated by Assistant Professor of Theater Maria-Christina Oliveras.

September

Party in the Bardo: Conversations with Laurie Anderson—Episode Eight
Friday, September 25, 2020 at 4:00pm
WESU Middletown 88.1FM
The eighth episode of “Party in the Bardo: Conversations with Laurie Anderson” will feature a conversation between writer, director, visual artist, and vocalist Laurie Anderson and pianist, composer, and artist Jason Moran on WESU Middletown 88.1FM.
Party in the Bardo: Conversations with Laurie Anderson—Episode Eight
Friday, September 25, 2020 at 4:00am
WESU Middletown 88.1FM
The eighth episode of “Party in the Bardo: Conversations with Laurie Anderson” will feature a conversation between writer, director, visual artist, and vocalist Laurie Anderson and pianist, composer, and artist Jason Moran on WESU Middletown 88.1FM.
The Era Footwork Crew: Dance Workshop/Lab Session and Conversation with 860MVMNT
Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 7:00pm

The Era Footwork Crew will teach the basics of the Chicago style to dancers of all backgrounds and experience levels in a free workshop, followed by a conversation with Hartford-based street dance collective 860MVMNT moderated by Deborah Goffe MA '19.
Wills Glasspiegel and Brandon Calhoun: Footwork On Film
Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 7:00pm

Dance filmmakers Brandon Calhoun and Wills Glasspiegel will share dynamic films from their archive in a free screening followed by a post-show discussion with the artists moderated by Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance and African American Studies Joya Powell.
Party in the Bardo: Conversations with Laurie Anderson—Episode Seven
Friday, September 11, 2020 at 4:00pm
WESU Middletown 88.1FM
The seventh episode of “Party in the Bardo: Conversations with Laurie Anderson” will feature a conversation between writer, director, visual artist, and vocalist Laurie Anderson and iconic singer and visual artist ANOHNI on WESU Middletown 88.1FM.
Noontime Talk with Kristina Wong: Performance, Pandemic, and How to Forge a Career as an Artist
Friday, September 11, 2020 at 12:00pm

Wesleyan students join performance artist, comedian, and writer Kristina Wong for a free, virtual conversation about her career in theater. Moderated by Assistant Professor of Theater Katie Pearl.
Party in the Bardo: Conversations with Laurie Anderson—Episode Seven
Friday, September 11, 2020 at 4:00am
WESU Middletown 88.1FM
The seventh episode of “Party in the Bardo: Conversations with Laurie Anderson” will feature a conversation between writer, director, visual artist, and vocalist Laurie Anderson and iconic singer and visual artist ANOHNI on WESU Middletown 88.1FM.
Kristina Wong for Public Office
Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 7:00pm

Comedian and writer Kristina Wong performs her raucous work “Kristina Wong for Public Office” in a free, live broadcast from her home in Los Angeles.

February

Tabaimo and Maki Morishita: Fruits borne out of rust
Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 2:00pm
CFA Theater
The New England premiere of the whimsical, mischievous multimedia work Fruits borne out of rust, conceived and directed by Japanese visual artist Tabaimo in collaboration with choreographer Maki Morishita.
Tabaimo and Maki Morishita: Fruits borne out of rust
Friday, February 28, 2020 at 7:30pm
CFA Theater
The New England premiere of the whimsical, mischievous multimedia work Fruits borne out of rust, conceived and directed by Japanese visual artist Tabaimo in collaboration with choreographer Maki Morishita.
Beethoven’s 250th Birthday Bash
Friday, February 21, 2020 at 7:30pm
Crowell Concert Hall
The Wesleyan Music Department community celebrates the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) with an inspired, diverse mix of traditional and experimental tributes.
New England Dance on Tour
Friday, February 14, 2020 at 7:30pm
CFA Theater
Four regional dance artists showcase the diversity and richness of dance in New England, including the Storied Places Project featuring Wesleyan Dean of the Arts and Humanities and Professor of Dance Nicole Lynn Stanton and Professor of Music Jay Hoggard.

January

Golden Hornet’s The Sound of Science featuring Jeffrey Zeigler
Friday, January 31, 2020 at 7:30pm
Memorial Chapel, 221 High Street, Middletown
Cellist Jeffrey Zeigler performs the Connecticut premiere of The Sound of Science, featuring Pastaza, which reflects on the work of Wesleyan's Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies Barry Chernoff.

2019

November

Laurie Anderson: The Art of Falling
Friday, November 8, 2019 at 7:30pm
Crowell Concert Hall
Writer, director, visual artist, and vocalist Laurie Anderson performs the Connecticut premiere of the new work The Art of Falling, which explores the subject through sounds, images, poems, and electronics, with cellist Rubin Kodheli.

October

Netta Yerushalmy: Paramodernities
Friday, October 4, 2019 at 7:30pm
CFA Theater
The Connecticut premiere of choreographer Netta Yerushalmy's Paramodernities features a series of four dance-experiments, deconstructing landmark dances by Vaslav Nijinsky, Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, and Alvin Ailey.

September

Taylor Mac: A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (Abridged)
Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 7:30pm
CFA Theater
Taylor Mac performs the Connecticut premiere of the highly immersive and outrageously entertaining two-hour abridged version of A 24-Decade History of Popular Music highlighting various musical styles and artistic voices.

This event is sold out. A wait list will begin at the venue at 6:30pm on the day of the performance.

March

Alsarah and The Nubatones
Friday, March 29, 2019 at 7:30pm
Crowell Concert Hall
The Connecticut debut of Alsarah and The Nubatones will feature lavish, joyful East African retro-pop, full of Arabic-language reflections on identity and survival.
600 HIGHWAYMEN: The Fever
Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 7:30pm
CFA Theater
The Connecticut premiere of The Fever by Brooklyn-based theater artists 600 HIGHWAYMEN (the duo of Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone).
600 HIGHWAYMEN: The Fever
Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 2:00pm
CFA Theater [CANCELED]
The Connecticut premiere of The Fever by Brooklyn-based theater artists 600 HIGHWAYMEN (the duo of Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone).
600 HIGHWAYMEN: The Fever
Friday, March 1, 2019 at 7:30pm
CFA Theater
The Connecticut premiere of The Fever by Brooklyn-based theater artists 600 HIGHWAYMEN (the duo of Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone).

February

600 HIGHWAYMEN: The Fever
Thursday, February 28, 2019 at 7:30pm
CFA Theater
The Connecticut premiere of The Fever by Brooklyn-based theater artists 600 HIGHWAYMEN (the duo of Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone).
CONTRA-TIEMPO: joyUS justUS
Friday, February 8, 2019 at 7:30pm
CFA Theater
The New England premiere of joyUS justUS, a participatory urban Latin dance theater experience by Los Angeles-based CONTRA-TIEMPO.

2018

November

Music and Dance of Yogyakarta (Sold Out)
Friday, November 9, 2018 at 7:30pm
Crowell Concert Hall
In conjunction with a visit from Hamengkubuwono X, the Sultan of Yogyakarta in Indonesia, Wesleyan University hosts a performance by the court dancers and musicians of Yogyakarta.

October

ETHEL and Robert Mirabal: The River
Friday, October 26, 2018 at 7:30pm
Crowell Concert Hall
Adventurous string quartet ETHEL joins forces with GRAMMY Award-winning Taos Pueblo flutist and Native American instrument maker Robert Mirabal to present The River.
Becca Blackwell: They, Themself and Schmerm
Friday, October 5, 2018 at 10:00pm
World Music Hall
The Connecticut premiere of New York City-based trans actor Becca Blackwell's disturbingly hilarious one-person show They, Themself and Schmerm.
Becca Blackwell: They, Themself and Schmerm
Friday, October 5, 2018 at 7:30pm
World Music Hall
The Connecticut premiere of New York City-based trans actor Becca Blackwell's disturbingly hilarious one-person show They, Themself and Schmerm.

September

Raphael Xavier: Point of Interest
Friday, September 21, 2018 at 7:30pm
CFA Theater
Crackling with high-energy physicality, Raphael Xavier's Point of Interest features a series of solos, duets, and quintets set to his soundscape of beats, spoken word poetry, and musical rhythms.

April

Celebrating 100 Years of Thelonious Monk featuring the T.S. Monk Sextet
Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 8:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall
Bandleader T.S. Monk has "charted his own course as a composer, arranger and melodic drummer" (NPR), and concludes the 17th annual Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra Weekend with a performance by his Sextet. The concert opens with members of the Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra, directed by Jay Hoggard, performing compositions by Thelonious Monk at 7:45pm.
Kronos Quartet [SOLD OUT]
Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 7:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall
The GRAMMY Award-winning Kronos Quartet returns to Wesleyan to perform a wide-ranging program of music from around the world, featuring adventurous string quartets either written for or arranged for the legendary group, including the world premiere of Jacob Garchik's arrangement of the John Coltrane tune "Alabama."

February

Manual Cinema: Ada/Ava
Friday, February 23, 2018 at 8:00pm
CFA Theater
Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques, and innovative sound and music in the Connecticut premiere of Ada/Ava (2013).
Masayo Ishigure: Koto 360°
Friday, February 16, 2018 at 8:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall
Masayo Ishigure began playing the koto at the age of five in Gifu, Japan, and continues to stretch the limits of the thirteen-stringed instrument.
Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group: Citizen
Friday, February 9, 2018 at 8:00pm
CFA Theater
Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group returns to Wesleyan with the Connecticut premiere of Citizen (2016), questioning what it means to belong and what it means to not want to belong.

2017

November

Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble: Cellular Songs (Work in Progress)
Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 7:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall
As the culmination of her residency at Wesleyan, Meredith Monk will be joined by the women of her GRAMMY Award-nominated Vocal Ensemble in a work in progress showing of Cellular Songs.
Meredith Monk In Conversation with Judy Hussie-Taylor
Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 7:00pm
Ring Family Performing Arts Hall
Meredith Monk will be joined by Danspace Project's Judy Hussie-Taylor in conversation.

October

Roomful of Teeth
Friday, October 27, 2017 at 8:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall
The GRAMMY Award-winning vocal project Roomful of Teeth is dedicated to mining the expressive potential of the human voice.
Roomful of Teeth Workshop: Belting 101
Friday, October 27, 2017 at 12:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall
Do you want to sing louder without wearing out your voice? Members of Roomful of Teeth will lead a short workshop on belting that includes the technique (what it is and what it's not) and how to do it healthily.
Le Patin Libre: Vertical Influences
Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 6:00pm
Spurrier-Snyder Rink, Freeman Athletic Center, 161 Cross Street, Middletown
Five skaters from the Montréal-based company Le Patin Libre make their Connecticut debut with Vertical Influences (2014).
Le Patin Libre: Vertical Influences
Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 2:00pm
Spurrier-Snyder Rink, Freeman Athletic Center, 161 Cross Street, Middletown
Five skaters from the Montréal-based company Le Patin Libre make their Connecticut debut with Vertical Influences (2014).
Somi
Friday, October 13, 2017 at 8:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall
Superb jazz chanteuse Somi blends modern jazz, African music, and the singer-songwriter tradition.
Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion: Dearest Home
Saturday, October 7, 2017 at 8:00pm
CFA Theater
Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion returns to Wesleyan for the Connecticut premiere of their new dance work Dearest Home (2017).
Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion: Dearest Home
Saturday, October 7, 2017 at 2:00pm
CFA Theater
Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion returns to Wesleyan for the Connecticut premiere of their new dance work Dearest Home (2017).
Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion: Dearest Home
Friday, October 6, 2017 at 8:00pm
CFA Theater [Friday SOLD OUT]
Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion returns to Wesleyan for the Connecticut premiere of their new dance work Dearest Home (2017).

September

Ping Chong: All Islands Connect Under Water - A Lecture with Media
Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 7:00pm
Ring Family Performing Arts Hall
Since 1972, Ping Chong‘s work has explored the intersections of race, culture, history, art, and technology in the modern world.

March

Tempesta di Mare: A Tale of Two Italian Cities
Friday, March 31, 2017 at 8:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall
Members of Philadelphia’s Tempesta di Mare perform baroque chamber music from Venice and Naples on period instruments during the Connecticut premiere of A Tale of Two Italian Cities.
A Conversation with Emily Mann
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 7:00pm
Memorial Chapel
Director and playwright Emily Mann in conversation with Quiara Alegría Hudes, Wesleyan's Shapiro Distinguished Professor of Writing and Theater.
Urban Bush Women: Walking with ’Trane
Friday, March 3, 2017 at 8:00pm
CFA Theater
Urban Bush Women returns to Wesleyan with the Connecticut premiere of Walking with ’Trane (2015), inspired by the musical life and spiritual journey of John Coltrane.

February

Muhal Richard Abrams Quintet
Friday, February 24, 2017 at 8:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall
Pianist and National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Muhal Richard Abrams performs with his Quintet.
texts&beheadings/ElizabethR by Karin Coonrod
Friday, February 17, 2017 at 8:00pm
CFA Theater

Four actresses from the theater collective Compagnia de’ Colombari offer a fractured portrait of the queen in the New England premiere of texts&beheadings/ElizabethR (2015)

2016

November

Darrell Jones: Hoo-Ha
Saturday, November 19, 2016 at 8:00pm
World Music Hall
The New England debut of choreographer Darrell JonesHoo-Ha in a salon format merges voguing and postmodern dance to express the release of the oppressed feminine in the male body.
Darrell Jones: Hoo-Ha
Saturday, November 19, 2016 at 2:00pm
World Music Hall
The New England debut of choreographer Darrell JonesHoo-Ha in a salon format merges voguing and postmodern dance to express the release of the oppressed feminine in the male body.
Darrell Jones: Hoo-Ha
Friday, November 18, 2016 at 8:00pm
World Music Hall
The New England debut of choreographer Darrell JonesHoo-Ha in a salon format merges voguing and postmodern dance to express the release of the oppressed feminine in the male body.
Derek Gripper
Friday, November 4, 2016 at 8:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall
South African musician Derek Gripper interprets kora (21 string harp) compositions for solo classical guitar during his New England debut at Wesleyan.

October

Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn
Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 8:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall

Grammy Award-winning banjo and vocal duo (and husband and wife) Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn perform original music, Appalachian murder ballads, gospel, chamber music, and blues.

Camille A. Brown and Dancers: BLACK GIRL—Linguistic Play
Friday, October 7, 2016 at 8:00pm
CFA Theater
Camille A. Brown & Dancers perform the Connecticut premiere of BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play (2015), presenting a nuanced spectrum of black womanhood in a racially and politically charged world.

September

Kaneza Schaal: GO FORTH
Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 8:00pm
CFA Theater
The New England premiere of GO FORTH (2016) by Kaneza Schaal ’06 animates a series of burial vignettes with projection, sound, and dance inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
Kaneza Schaal: GO FORTH
Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 2:00pm
CFA Theater
The New England premiere of GO FORTH (2016) by Kaneza Schaal ’06 animates a series of burial vignettes with projection, sound, and dance inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
Kaneza Schaal: GO FORTH
Friday, September 16, 2016 at 10:00pm
CFA Theater
The New England premiere of GO FORTH (2016) by Kaneza Schaal ’06 animates a series of burial vignettes with projection, sound, and dance inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
Kaneza Schaal: GO FORTH
Friday, September 16, 2016 at 7:00pm
CFA Theater
The New England premiere of GO FORTH (2016) by Kaneza Schaal ’06 animates a series of burial vignettes with projection, sound, and dance inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

April

Wu Man and the Shanghai Quartet: A Night in Ancient and New China
Friday, April 1, 2016 at 8:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall

The Shanghai Quartet returns to Wesleyan for their Connecticut debut with pipa virtuosa Wu Man performing A Night in Ancient and New China, plus Beethoven's String Quartet No.11.

February

Kota Yamazaki/Fluid hug-hug: OQ
Friday, February 12, 2016 at 8:00pm
CFA Theater

Choreographer Kota Yamazaki's company Fluid hug-hug performs the New England premiere of OQ, a stunning work performed by a "stellar cast" (The New York Times) inspired by Japanese renga—a collaboratively-written form of linked poetry.

2015

November

Brooklyn Rider
Saturday, November 21, 2015 at 8:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall
Click here to view the full album on Flickr.

Hailed as “the future of chamber music” (
Strings), groundbreaking string quartet Brooklyn Rider performs works by Franz Schubert, Bill Frisell, Vijay Iyer, Glenn Kotche, and a U.S. premiere by Assistant Professor of Music Paula Matthusen
Faye Driscoll —Thank You for Coming: Attendance
Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 8:00pm
Patricelli '92 Theater
Click here to view the full album of photos taken at the dress rehearsal on Flickr.
Dancers and audience share a dynamic, joyful ritual of action and transformation in the Connecticut premiere of this dance theater work by choreographer and director Faye Driscoll.
Faye Driscoll —Thank You for Coming: Attendance
Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 2:00pm
Patricelli '92 Theater
Click here to view the full album of photos taken at the dress rehearsal on Flickr.
Dancers and audience share a dynamic, joyful ritual of action and transformation in the Connecticut premiere of this dance theater work by choreographer and director Faye Driscoll.
Faye Driscoll —Thank You for Coming: Attendance
Friday, November 13, 2015 at 8:00pm
Patricelli '92 Theater
Click here to view the full album of photos taken at the dress rehearsal on Flickr.
Dancers and audience share a dynamic, joyful ritual of action and transformation in the Connecticut premiere of this dance theater work by choreographer and director Faye Driscoll.

October

Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill
Saturday, October 17, 2015 at 8:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall

Click here to view the full album on Flickr.

Violinist Martin Hayes and guitarist Dennis Cahill perform adventurous interpretations of traditional Irish tunes with irresistible rhythm.

September

Dorrance Dance
Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 8:00pm
CFA Theater
Connecticut debut of choreographer Michelle Dorance’s combination of tap and modern dance, which is “edgy, seductive and smart” (Chicago Tribune)
Dorrance Dance
Friday, September 25, 2015 at 8:00pm
CFA Theater
Connecticut debut of choreographer Michelle Dorance’s combination of tap and modern dance, which is “edgy, seductive and smart” (Chicago Tribune)
Nicholas Payton Trio featuring Gerald Cannon and Herlin Riley
Friday, September 18, 2015 at 8:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall
Grammy Award-winning trumpet player Nicholas Payton performs with his Trio featuring bassist Gerald Cannon and drummer Herlin Riley.

April

The Nile Project
Friday, April 10, 2015 at 8:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall
The dozen musicians in The Nile Project perform “joyous and even raucous” (NPR Music) songs from traditions of Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, and Uganda in this Connecticut premiere.

February

Tari Aceh! Music and Dance from Northern Sumatra
Friday, February 27, 2015 at 8:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall
Connecticut premiere by nine female traditional Acehnese dancers featuring songs and body percussion from the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
Compagnie Marie Chouinard
Saturday, February 7, 2015 at 8:00pm
CFA Theater
Montréal’s Compagnie Marie Chouinard returns to Wesleyan with two new dance works, described as “a hurricane of unbridled imaginativeness” (The New York Times)
Compagnie Marie Chouinard
Friday, February 6, 2015 at 8:00pm
CFA Theater
Montréal’s Compagnie Marie Chouinard returns to Wesleyan with two new dance works, described as “a hurricane of unbridled imaginativeness” (The New York Times)

January

Calefax Reed Quintet
Friday, January 30, 2015 at 8:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall
Amsterdam’s Calefax Reed Quintet breathes new life into classical chamber music by Bach, Shostakovich, and others arranged for oboe, clarinet, sax, bass clarinet, and bassoon.

2014

November

Riffat Sultana and Party
Friday, November 7, 2014 at 8:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall
The New England debut of Sufi fusion singer Riffat Sultana and Party. Her divinely soulful voice evokes her musical ancestry, blending Indian and Pakistani influences with guitar, tabla, dhol, bansuri, and harmonium.

October

Vijay Iyer Trio
Saturday, October 11, 2014 at 8:00pm
Crowell Concert Hall
A “distinctive redefinition of the jazz piano trio” (JazzTimes) by pianist Vijay Iyer, with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Tyshawn Sorey MA '11.

September

LeeSaar The Company: Princess Crocodile
Friday, September 19, 2014 at 8:00pm
CFA Theater
“In its emotional nakedness, free-associative logic, and frank sensuality, the work of the Israeli-born couple Lee Sher and Saar Harari is inventive and arresting.”
—The New Yorker