Many delights have combined to create an entertainment experience like no other in the region this year. A well-designed venue, extraordinary performers, an engaged audience and a few new tricks make this season of Patten Performances an outstanding one—especially according to those planning the season.
“This may be artistically the strongest line-up we’ve ever had,” says Robert Boyer, director of the Patten Performances, an InSight series. “It’s an acoustic show featuring Rosanne Cash with her husband, John Leventhal. “It really fits the hall perfectly.”
Boyer has collaborated with university faculty and the Southern Lit Alliance to get the most from artists during their stay in Chattanooga, this fall. And although the entire performance season (through April, 2017) is offering five artists, fewer than in previous years, it is increasing the number of events surrounding their visits. Each performance will be preceded by “conversation events” designed to gain community involvement, create opportunities for students to fulfill coursework and broaden the demographics of audiences.
One event planned is “an evening with the songwriter as poet” developed by Southern Lit Alliance and meant to be a intimate conversation about the artistic process Ms. Cash goes through in producing her songs. And, although her legendary family name may precede her, she has amazing accomplishments and a unique style of her own.
Rosanne Cash With John Leventhal
Pre-eminent singer/songwriter, Rosanne Cash has released 15 albums of extraordinary songs that have earned four GRAMMY Awards and nominations for 11 more, as well as 21 top-40 hits, including 11 No. 1 singles. Nothing shabby about those accomplishments, but did you know she is also an author whose four books include the best-selling memoir, “Composed”? The Chicago Tribune called it “one of the best accounts of an American life you’ll likely ever read.” Her essays have also appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, the Oxford-American, the Nation and many more print and online publications.
In addition to continual touring, Cash has partnered in programming collaborations with the Minnesota Orchestra, Lincoln Center and San Francisco Jazz. She completed a residency at the Library of Congress in December 2013.
Cash was awarded the SAG/AFTRA Lifetime Achievement award for Sound Recordings in 2012 and not one to let the dust settle, she received the 2014 Smithsonian Ingenuity Award in the Performing Arts. She was chosen as a Perspective Series artist at Carnegie Hall and hosted four concerts last year, including a major show of her own last February. She also served as 2015 Artist-in-Residence at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. She performed three concerts there last September. On October 11, 2015 she was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.
Cash’s landmark 2009 album, “The List,” won the Americana Music Album of the Year award. In her latest release, “The River and the Thread,” the product of a collaboration with her husband, co-writer, producer and arranger—John Leventhal—Cash evokes a kaleidoscopic examination of the geographic, emotional, musical and historic landscape of the American South.
“The album has received impressive worldwide acclaim and attained the highest debut in the Billboard charts of any of her previous albums,” according to publicist, Andy McIntyre. It received three Grammy Awards earlier this year.
The UTC/Patten Performances will introduce Ms. Cash to its stage on Friday, September 16, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. for a musical evening evoking the American South.
Later in the year, on the evening of November 1st, Patten Performances present, Parsons Dance, a New York City-based modern dance company.
“This company is internationally renowned for creating and performing contemporary American dance of extraordinary artistry that is accessible and enriching to diverse audiences,” says Jess Applebaum, a publicist for CAMI Spectrum. Founded in 1985 by artistic director David Parsons and Tony Award-winning lighting designer Howell Binkley, Parsons Dance is known for its energized, athletic, ensemble work and it has collaborated with iconic artists across all disciplines. These include Billy Taylor, Milton Nascimento, Allen Toussaint, William Ivey Long, Donna Karan, Annie Leibovitz, and Alex Katz.
The sexy, athleticism, exuberant personality and joyous movement that is Parsons Dance is comprised of eight full-time dancers and maintains a repertory of over 80 works—20 with commissioned scores—choreographed by David Parsons. “The company’s style is a fusion of the gesture and movement that make up the modern dance vocabulary, and the discipline and precise execution one expects from a classical company,” adds Applebaum.
For UTC performing arts faculty, engaging with Parsons Dance brings it one step closer to creating a dance minor at the university. “This company is graceful, innovative and accessible to most audiences,” adds Boyer.
Parsons Dance has toured more than 383 cities, 22 countries and five continents to perform for the most notable theaters, festivals and presenters worldwide, including The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Maison de la Danse, Teatro La Fenice and Teatro Muncipal do Rio de Janeiro. This is the third time the dance company has performed in Chattanooga. New York Magazine called Mr. Parsons “one of modern dance’s great living dance-makers.”
The Patten Performance Series resumes in January, 2017. For information on related events and admission prices see utc.edu/patten.
Photography courtesy of Patten Performances