Moss Arts Center announces 2023-24 season performances
The Moss Arts Center celebrates its 10th anniversary with a season of vibrant voices and fresh perspectives from around the world. From legendary performers, classical favorites, and family-friendly cirque to jazz and global music and innovative dance and theatre works, the upcoming season includes some familiar faces from seasons past as well as an array of new artists.
“This coming year is especially meaningful as it marks the 10th anniversary of the Moss Arts Center’s opening in fall of 2013,” said Ruth Waalkes, executive director of the Moss Arts Center and associate provost for the arts at Virginia Tech. “We’re proud to look back on 10 years of impact and the extraordinary performances, exhibitions, and creative engagements we’ve experienced together. You will find great breadth and depth once again this year with artists who inspire, challenge, and bring us immeasurable joy.”
“This season includes a special set of programs examining the impacts of climate change,” said Margaret Lawrence, Moss Arts Center director of programming. “Talks by Indigenous environmental economist Winona LaDuke and journalist Elizabeth Kolbert as well as performances from Cirque Mechanics and Sō Percussion are inspired by the environmental changes of our Earth. The centerpiece of these, ‘Small Island, Big Song,’ brings together Indigenous singers and musicians from Indian and Pacific Ocean island nations. Taking us on a journey along distant — yet interconnected — musical traditions, these artists lend their voices to the hope the wild beauty of their homelands can survive.”
Subscriptions will be available for the full season at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 4.
Moss Arts Center 2023-24 performances
Brentano String Quartet with Hsin-Yun Huang, viola
Friday, Sept, 22, 7:30 p.m.
Having first performed at the Moss in 2014, the ensemble returns for the center’s anniversary season joined by leading violist and Juilliard faculty member Hsin-Yun Huang. The program includes Haydn’s string quartet, “The Bird;” Brahms’ exuberant "Quintet for Strings in G Major;" and the premiere of James MacMillan’s "Viola Quintet."
Tuesday, Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m.
Rwandan writer and activist Odile Gakire “Kiki” Katese takes to the stage with Ingoma Nshya, the Women Drummers of Rwanda, for “The Book of Life,” a deeply moving perspective on life, loss, and recovery. The performance is filled with personal letters, stirring shadow puppetry, and joyous live drumming.
Mountain Stage with Kathy Mattea
Sunday, Oct. 1, 7 p.m.
Join Grammy-winning country and bluegrass star Kathy Mattea for an episode of “Mountain Stage” recorded live from the Fife Theatre. Airing on nearly 300 public radio stations across America, the radio show features musical performances from seasoned legends and emerging stars.
Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, and Shahzad Ismaily
“Love in Exile”
Saturday, Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m.
Spellbinding vocalist Arooj Aftab is the first Pakistani American to win a Grammy, MacArthur genius Vijay Iyer is an influential pianist, and multi-instrumentalist/composer Shahzad Ismaily has performed with Lou Reed and Tom Waits. Together, they create timeless, one-of-a-kind performances of haunting collaborative soundscapes.
“The Next Energy Economy”
Monday, Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m.
A Native American activist, economist, and author, Winona LaDuke has devoted her life to advocating for Indigenous people’s rights and environmental justice. The grassroots organizer is an Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe) member of the Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg and was a leader of the 2016 Dakota Access Pipeline protests.
“Krummelpap, Scandals Wrapped with Prayer”
Thursday, Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m.
Garage Dance Ensemble from O'Kiep, South Africa, brings this deeply personal and socially charged contemporary dance-theatre work that captures the personal and political circumstances and aspirations of the people of South Africa’s former mining community, Namaqualand.
Lionel Meunier, artistic director
Thursday, Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m.
Experience the luminous and rich tones of Belgian early music vocal and instrumental ensemble Vox Luminis in this evening performance of Bach’s sacred, brilliant, and dazzling early cantatas.
Pink Martini featuring China Forbes
Friday, Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m.
Audience favorite Pink Martini brings its infectious, bubbly sounds back to Blacksburg. With vintage jazz vibes, Pink Martini takes the audience on a musical trip around the world, from a samba parade in Rio to a French nightclub.
Javon Jackson with Nikki Giovanni and Nnenna Freelon
“The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni”
Friday, Nov. 3, 7:30 p.m.
A historic collaboration between poet and Virginia Tech legend Nikki Giovanni and saxophonist-composer and former Jazz Messenger Javon Jackson features hymns, spirituals, and gospel numbers hand-picked by Giovanni. They are joined by celebrated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon.
Seongbukdong Beedoolkee Theatre
“MEDEA on Media”
Wednesday, Nov. 8, and Thursday, Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m.
This Seoul, Korea-based innovative contemporary theatre company delivers an original take on the enduring Greek tragedy “Medea,” recasting the ancient tale as a commentary on contemporary media. With plenty of physicality and a dash of silliness, “MEDEA on Media” is also clever and profound.
Thursday, Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m.
Adding banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and voice to the string quartet, Invoke is reinventing classical music. Encompassing traditions from across America, including bluegrass, Appalachian fiddle tunes, jazz, and minimalism, the vibrant ensemble is fueled by its passion for storytelling.
Thursday, Nov. 30, 7 and 9 p.m.
Experimental composer and percussionist Deantoni Parks uses technology, hip-hop, sampling, and electronica to create sonic experiences. He has been a member of band Kudu and art rock group Bosnian Rainbows and has worked with John Cale, the Mars Volta, and other greats.
“Holiday Pops Spectacular”
Saturday, Dec. 2, 4 p.m.
A much-anticipated audience favorite returns to the Moss, filling the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre with holiday cheer as only the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and its “Holiday Pops” program can. Audiences of all ages love this spirited holiday event.
Sunday, Dec. 17, 4 p.m.
The New River Valley’s own Blacksburg Master Chorale is joined by a professional orchestra and soloists to present one of the most iconic works of the holiday season, Handel’s “Messiah,” which features 80 singers performing the glorious and resounding “Hallelujah Chorus.”
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
Tuesday, Jan. 23, 7:30 p.m.
Led by Grammy-winning trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, America’s most famous big band Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra returns with a program celebrating percussionist Max Roach. Considered one of the greatest jazz drummers of all time, Roach used his music to address racial, political, and social issues.
“Zephyr: A Whirlwind of a Circus”
Wednesday, Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m.
Cirque Mechanics makes a Moss encore with a fun-for-all-ages theatrical circus show inspired by the power of wind. “Zephyr” harnesses human power to generate an energetic experience, complete with a rotating windmill and breathtaking aerial acrobatics.
“The Look of Love”
Saturday, Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m.
Internationally celebrated choreographer Mark Morris presents an evening-length homage to the legendary Burt Bacharach. Favorites such as “Walk on By” performed by a live, spirited band and Broadway vocalist propel Morris’ deceptively simple, yet glorious movement.
“An Evening with Elizabeth Kolbert”
Tuesday, Feb. 27, 7:30 p.m.
Longtime journalist with The New Yorker Elizabeth Kolbert has met with top scientists to get to the heart of the debate over global warming. Her book “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize.
Friday, March 15, 7:30 p.m.
Traversing soul, R&B, jazz, hip-hop, and rock, Grammy winner Meshell Ndegeocello has defied and redefined the expectations for women, queer artists, and Black music for over 30 years. She remains one of few women who write the music, sing the songs, and — bass in hand — lead the band.
Sō Percussion with Caroline Shaw
and special guest Shodekeh
Wednesday, March 20, 7:30 p.m.
Multi-genre quartet Sō Percussion joins forces with two preeminent collaborators for an evening of music bridging the worlds of classical and pop. The program includes selections performed with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw and groundbreaking breath artist, beat boxer, and composer Dominic Shodekeh.
Tuesday, March 26, 7:30 p.m.
East Los Angeles Chicano indie-folk band Las Cafeteras has taken the music scene by storm with its infectious live performances. With jaranas and requintos (Mexican ukulele-sized guitars) and the rhythmic percussion created by dancing on a wood floor, Las Cafeteras remixes roots music as modern-day troubadours.
Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
Thursday, April 4, 7:30 p.m.
Featuring only ukuleles and the voices of its performers, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain returns to the Moss for an unforgettable evening. Fresh and entertaining, both modern and old-fashioned, the orchestra is best known for playing versions of famous rock songs and film themes, sometimes in amusing new ways.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Saturday, April 13, 7:30 p.m.
An inspired blend of dance and impeccable humor, the world-class, all-male parody ballet company Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo makes its Southwest Virginia debut. Dancing en pointe, the performers celebrate rather than mock the spirit of dance as an art form.
Wednesday, April 17, 7:30 p.m.
An inspiring multimedia concert confronts climate change as artists from Pacific and Indian Ocean nations blend traditions to create music celebrating the ways we are all connected. The result is a breathtakingly beautiful sound made by those who sing for the seas.
Jakub Hrůša, conductor
Hélène Grimaud, piano
Friday, April 26, 7:30 p.m.
With a musical lineage stretching back to the 18th and 19th centuries — to Mahler and Mozart — Germany’s Bamberg Symphony is a favorite around the world. Its Moss debut features works by Brahms, Schumann, and Richard Wagner, one of the most revolutionary, emotional — and polarizing — figures in the history of music.
“An Evening with Leslie Odom Jr.”
Saturday, May 4, 2024, 7:30 p.m.
He wowed audiences in his breakout role as Aaron Burr in “Hamilton,” and now Leslie Odom Jr. comes to the Moss for an intimate musical evening. With a career spanning all performance genres, Odom has received recognition with Tony and Grammy awards as well as multiple Emmy and Oscar nominations for his achievements in Broadway, television, film, and music.
Subscriptions for the 2023-24 season offer discounted prices, priority seat selection, and first access to major events, including pre-sales for Broadway performances.
This year, there are four ways to subscribe:
Premier Plus Subscription includes 22 performances at a 25 percent discount off adult ticket prices and tickets for the two 2023-2024 “Broadway in Blacksburg” performances (titles announced this summer).
Premier Subscription features 22 performances at a 25 percent discount off adult ticket prices.
Gold Build Your Own Subscription allows for a 20 percent discount off the price of adult tickets for 12 or more performances.
Silver Build Your Own Subscription starts at just five performances at a 15 percent discount off ticket prices.
Student and youth tickets are always $10 per performance, including in subscriptions.
Subscriptions can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300. Currently, only subscription packages are available for purchase for the 2023-24 season. Tickets for individual performances will be available beginning Thursday, Aug. 3.
Note that Garage Dance Ensemble, “MEDEA on Media,” and Deantoni Parks are available as package add-ons with a discount.