New Programs Complement VPAC’s November Line-Up

Turtle Island Quartet with guest Nellie McKay

Turtle Island Quartet with guest Nellie McKay

The Valley Performing Arts Center on the campus of California State University, Northridge will feature two new programs to complement the seven evenings of international music and dance in its November line-up.

On Thursday, Nov. 7, the VPAC’s first pre-show wine tasting, “Cabaret and Cabernet,” will be held at 6 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center lobby in conjunction with the 7:30 p.m. performance of the Turtle Island Quartet with Nellie Mckay.

The pre-show tasting is being held in collaboration with Cobblestone Vineyard, a small, family-owned enterprise that will be offering a chardonnay from Arroyo Seco and a cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley’s Atlas Peak. Full glasses will be available at concession stands throughout the evening.

Two-time Grammy Award-winning Turtle Island Quartet and Nellie McKay will perform a wide range of music, from Billie Holiday and Billie Strayhorn to the Weimer cabaret of the 1920s. Nellie McKay’s talents on the piano, mallets and ukulele, and Turtle Island’s acclaimed innovative rhythmic techniques are expected to unleash an unprecedented range of possibilities. A healthy dose of original music, for which both McKay and the Turtle Island Quartet are known for, rounds out the evening.

The second new program is a monthly, pre-concert lecture series: “Classroom in the Courtyard.” The November lecture, “Modern Dance: What Moves the Movement?” by CSUN kinesiology professor Paula Thomson, will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23, in the Valley Performing Arts Center complex. Thomson and a group of professional dancers will explore some of the elements, themes and movement vocabulary of modern dance.

The Lar Lubovitch performance that evening at 8 p.m. is part of the company’s 45th anniversary tour. Among its offerings is its choreographer’s poignant “Transparent Things,” based on Pablo Picasso’s painting “Family of Saltimbanques,” which depicts a world of street performers and entertainers.

Other VPAC November shows include the Grammy Award-winning sounds of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 1. Straight from an appearance at Lincoln Center, the acclaimed orchestra’s West Coast performance will feature artistic director and principal conductor Neeme Järvi and Narek Hakhnazaryan on cello. The orchestra will perform “Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten;” Dvořák’s “Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104;” and Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64.” When political borders opened for the first time in 2009, the group began to perform to American audiences who have an opportunity to gain special insight into centuries of masterful Baltic orchestral traditions.

Internationally acclaimed Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitián will perform on Friday, Nov. 8. Revered as guardians of the mariachi legacy, Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitián will present a repertoire of rhythms, dance and vocals. Founded in 1897, the group has been called the “best mariachi group in the world.”

Four days later, VPAC audiences can “travel” to Ireland for a rare Southern California appearance of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, featuring conductor JoAnn Falletta and Sir James Galway and Lady Jeanne Galway on flute, on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at 7:30 p.m. The group will perform a diverse repertoire ranging from classical to modern-day pieces and new commissions that may include Harty’s “In Ireland,” Mozart’s “Flute Concerto in D Major,” Hammond’s “Carolan Variations” and Mendelssohn’s “Symphony No. 3, Op. 56, A Minor.”

Adding laughter to VPAC’s November offerings, humorist David Sadaris will preform on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 7:30 p.m. Sedaris’ appearance in the Valley Performing Arts Center sold out last year and seats to next month’s performance are expected to go quickly. Don’t miss the humorist’s return to VPAC’s Great Hall with his razor-sharp observations and whimsical satire on a variety of subjects, from cultural euphemisms to political correctness.

The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra will grace VPAC’s stage at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21. Under the direction of conductor Keith Lockhart, the Pops will perform music from Broadway, concert halls and the silver screen. The evening will feature such favorites as the “Overture to Candide,” “Rhapsody in Blue,” “42nd Street,” “Hedwig’s Theme” from the Harry Potter movie series, “Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy,” “Dancing Queen” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.” The highlight of the night is expected to be a sing-a-long.

The 1,700-seat Valley Performing Arts Center has established California State University, Northridge has a hub for culture and performing arts in the region. For more information, visit the center’s website at or call its ticket office at (818) 677-3000.

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