Ten different shows featuring the beauty of the Moscow Festival Ballet, the artistry of pianist Murray Perahia, the eclectic combinations of classical dance, Irish bagpipes, banjos, Brazilian sambas and string quartets with cutting-edge sounds, will fill the Valley Performing Arts Center at California State University, Northridge with music and song this February.
“We have a diverse menu of wonderful shows and a Valentine’s Day special featuring ‘Romeo and Juliet’ paired with drinks and dessert,” said VPAC’s interim director, Steve Thachuk. “This month, our audiences will be able to experience the best of traditional music and dance, or enjoy the artistry of new genres and evolving sounds.”
The entertainment begins Saturday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m. with the Tony Award-winning Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. The co-creator, director and choreographer of the smash musical “Fela,” Jones’ 30-year career has helped shape the evolution of contemporary dance through the creation and performance of more than 140 works. Founded as a multicultural dance company in 1982, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company is recognized as one of the most innovative and influential in the modern dance world.
Multiple Grammy Award-winning banjoist Béla Fleck will join the Brooklyn Rider String Quartet on Friday, Feb. 7, at 8 p.m. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described the quartet as “four classical musicians performing with the energy of young rock stars jamming on their guitars, a Beethoven-goes-indie foray into making classical music accessible, but also celebrating why it was good in the first place.”
Dance will take center stage on Thursday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m. and again on Friday, Feb. 14, at 8 p.m. The Moscow Festival Ballet will perform “Giselle” on Feb. 13 and “Chopinana” and “Romeo and Juliet” on Feb. 14.
“We are offering a special Valentine’s Day package for the Feb. 14 show,” Thachuk said. “Romance is sure to bloom with two tickets, two desserts and two drinks for just $105.”
The Bahai Orchestra Project, with classical pianist Stewart Goodyear, comes to the Valley Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 7:30 p.m. Audience members may find themselves dancing in the aisles the following night, Feb. 20, when the orchestra performs “Samba Spectacular,” an eclectic mix of Latin and American compositions.
Six-time Grammy Award-winner The Chieftains will bring its traditional Irish music to the Valley Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Feb. 22. The Chieftains was formed in Ireland in 1962 by Paddy Malone from the ranks of the country’s top musicians, including uilleann (Irish bagpipe) players. The Chieftains has become the best-known Irish band in the world.
A different type of music will take the stage on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 7:30 p.m. when Guitar Passions, a trio of acclaimed virtuosi, including multiple Grammy Award-winner Sharon Isbin, perform. Isbin has been hailed as “the preeminent guitarist of our time.” The trio’s repertoire will include a blend of classical Spanish, contemporary and other genres to create a unique collage of sounds.
The Pat Metheny Unity Group comes to the Valley Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. Metheny said the evening will reflect his effort to build “a platform capable of addressing the entire spectrum of things that I have done over the years, from ‘Bright Size Life’ to ‘Secret Story,’ from my Group projects to the Orchestrion and more. All in one place.”
February closes with the comparable Murray Perahia at the piano on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 7:30 p.m. The American pianist has been playing for more than 40 years in all of the major international music centers and with every leading orchestra. The Chicago Tribune said he can “breathe freshness and distinction into works we’ve heard many times before at this inspired level.”
The 1,700-seat Valley Performing Arts Center has established California State University, Northridge as a hub for culture and performing arts in the region. It was recently voted one of the top ten performing arts centers and theaters in Los Angeles by Time Out Los Angeles. For more information about the center or performances, visit the center’s website at http://www.valleyperformingartscenter.org/ or call the ticket office at (818) 677-3000.