“The line-up this year is striking in its diversity and quality,” said Joanna Marie Kaye, director, Festival of the Arts BOCA. “Our performing artists include saxophonist Branford Marsalis, Violinist Sarah Chang, jazz pianist Joey Alexander and Sergio Mendes with Brasil 2017. We are also presenting a semi-staged production of Puccini’s beloved opera La Boheme and the world premiere of the original Pink Panther film performed with live orchestra.”
Presented by Schmidt Family Centre for the Arts, the Festival was conceived to bring high caliber performers and artists to the area to promote the cultural arts as well as bring an enriching experience for the residents of Boca Raton, North Broward and Palm Beach County.
“The governing organization has a mission of bringing world-class music, authors, culture and more to Boca,” said Kaye. “Additionally the organization provides educational programming in the local schools which include school visits and classes with our performers and authors.”
The Festival is jammed-packed with a lineup of talent beginning today – March 2 at 7:00 p.m, with the Author & Ideas series. Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Jennifer Egan who wrote, A Visit from the Goon Squad, talks about Novelist as Journalist/Journalist as Novelist at the Cultural Arts Center.
Friday, March 3, at 7 p.m., Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis will join The Symphonia, Boca Raton conducted by Constantine Kitsopoulos in a program that will include music by the legendary John Williams from some of his most memorable film scores – Catch Me if You Can, Star Wars and Harry Potter.
When asked about what she’s looking forward to most about this year’s Festival, Kaye had to think it through.
“That’s a tough one because I am looking forward to so many things,” said Kaye. “I guess, if I had to pick one, I would go with our opening night with Branford Marsalis. I have always admired his playing and his opinions about music. Joining him will be The Symphonia, Boca Raton conducted by Constantine Kitsopoulos. Along with a concerto for saxophone and orchestra, there will be some great film music by John Williams including suites from Catch Me if You Can, Harry Potter and Star Wars. That’s a pretty potent cocktail of talent right there.”
Saturday, March 4, at 4 p.m. the Authors & Ideas series continues with Bob Mankoff, Cartoon editor of The New Yorker – I Only Read It for the Cartoons: An Insider’s History of the New Yorker at the Cultural Arts Center.
Saturday, March 4, at 7:30 p.m., They’re calling it Opera for the 99 Percent as the Festival aims to make this operatic experience something everyone can afford – with tickets starting at $9.99. The Festival presents of the most popular operas of all time, Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème, in a semi-staged version, done in Italian with English supertitles. The performance will include the Symphonia conducted by Constantine Kitsopoulos. Don’t miss this chance to become an opera fan at the Mizner Park Amphitheater.
Sunday, March 5, at 7 p.m. Thirteen-year-old Indonesian jazz pianist, Joey Alexander returns after a stellar performance at last year’s Festival that stunned the audience.
“I feel like I can’t even call Joey Alexander a breakout performer anymore,” said Kaye. “He has just been nominated for his third Grammy.”
This year, Alexander will be paired with 13-year old Mexican classical pianist Daniela Liebman – a double billing of teenage prodigies.
“She happens to be the youngest soloist in Mexico’s history to appear with a professional orchestra, at the age of 8,” said Kaye. “She has won first prize in several international competitions and solos with orchestras all over the world.”
Get ready for Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Accompanied by The Symphonia and Constantine Kitsopoulos, the two teens will perform Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and new symphonic arrangements of Joey Alexander’s music at the Mizner Park Amphitheater.
Monday, March 6, at 7 p.m. The Authors & Ideas series continues with Pulitzer Prize-winner, executive editor and executive vice president at Random House, contributing editor at Time magazine and presidential historian, Jon Meacham discussing The Art of Leadership – Lessons from the American Presidency at the Mizner Park Amphitheater.
Tuesday, March 7, at 7 p.m. More from the Authors & Ideas series as theoretical physicist Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe, makes cutting-edge scientific concepts entertaining in his discussion, Beyond Einstein: Space, Time and Reality at the Mizner Park Amphitheater.
Friday, March 10, at 7:30 p.m. Festival of the Arts BOCA headliner and world-renowned violinist, Sarah Chang will perform quite possibly the most popular violin concerto, full of romance, Violin Concerto in G Minor by Bruch. The program will also include the Symphonia with Maestro Constantine Kitsopoulos and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with yet another fabulous artist, 18-year-old Daniel Hsu. Hsu, a 2016 Gilmore Young Artist, is renown as an emerging young talent. He’s performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra this past summer and has performed with many orchestras around the world, including the Golden Gate Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, El Camino Youth Symphony and the Fremont Symphony Orchestra.
“He attends the Curtis Institute of Music,” said Kaye. “He has taken many prizes in competitions and performed with many orchestras around the world and will make his Carnegie Hall debut next month. He will be the soloists in the dynamic Piano Concerto No. 1 by Tchaikovsky.”
All happening at the Mizner Park Amphitheater.
Saturday, March 11, at 7:30 p.m., You’ll see the Pink Panther in a whole new way as the Festival presents the world premiere of Blake Edwards’ classic 1964 comedy film starring David Niven, Peter Sellers, Robert Wagner, Capucine and Claudia Cardinale on a giant screen at Mizner Park – but with a spectacular twist. The Grammy-winning score will be performed live by the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, conducted by Constantine Kitsopoulos.
“We are honored to be chosen as the first venue for this exciting project,” said Kaye.
The grand finale, the Festival’s last performance on Sunday, March 12, at 7 p.m. is an exclusive South Florida appearance by three-time Grammy Award-winning Sergio Mendes & Brasil 2017. Mendes is widely recognized as one of the most successful Brazilian artists of all time. He’ll be performing some of his most popular songs including, Mas Que Nada to Boca Raton, giving Boca and the Festival a big a kiss goodnight, ending the Festival in a dynamic fashion at the Mizner Park Amphitheater.
“The Festival is a great source of pride in our community,” said Kaye. “We have something truly special. Not only to we get to enjoy it, but people come from all over the country to experience it with us. For our local artistic community, it is a great way to show that not only can we bring in world-class guest artists, but we also have world class artists who live and work right here in our hometown. We should be very proud of them.”