The Westport Arts Center has announced its Performing Arts Series of jazz and chamber concerts for the coming season.
The season will feature international musicians, including Croatian guitarist Ana Vidovic, as well as area performers such as the Hartford Jazz Orchestra. Among the artists returning for encore performances are Bernard Purdie and his Soul Band, and the Juilliard String Quartet.
The season opens Sept. 7 with a concert at the Pequot Library in Fairfield by the duo-pianists Misha and Cipa Dichter and ends next May 17 with the Juilliard String Quartet, also at the Pequot Library.
"I believe we at the Westport Arts Center have put together a season of stunning quality for the music-loving community, a level of excellence that includes both up-and-coming and well-established groups playing music of great renown," Russell Platt, arts center curator for chamber music, said in a news release.
Westport Arts Center jazz curator Brian Torff said the 2014-15 WAC jazz series "will provide a panoramic view on American and world music styles."
On Sept. 7, pianists Misha and Cipa Dichter are featured in the center's first concert of the season at 4 p.m. at the Pequot Library. They have performed in recital and with major orchestras across the world throughout their decades-long career. The Dichters will perform the Mozart Sonata in D Major, along with select pieces by Mendelssohn, Dvorak, and Rachmaninoff (Suite No. 2).
Bernard Purdie and his Soul Band will be on stage at 3 p.m. Oct. 5 at the arts center. Drummer and inventor of the "Purdie Shuffle," he has been called "the most recorded drummer in history."
On Nov. 2, the audience will be "Remembering Ella and Billie," with the Nicole Pasternak Quartet and Chris Brown at 3 p.m. at the center. Most often compared to singers like Peggy Lee, Anita O'Day and Billie Holiday, Pasternak favors the Great American Songbook. Her recordings include "Winter Samba," "Paris/Rio Express" and "Don't Go, Don't Leave, Please Stay."
The Dover Quartet, called "the young American string quartet of the moment" by the New Yorker, will perform music by Haydn, Beethoven, and major Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho on Nov. 9.
The 2014 Heida Hermanns International String Competition will feature young violinists, violists, cellists, and bassists from around the world competing for a first prize of $5,000. The competition, presented by the Connecticut Alliance for Music, will hold its semi-finals on Nov. 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and finals Nov. 23 from 2 to 5 p.m., both at the Westport Town Hall. The semi-final competition has free admission; the final competition concert cost is $20 for adults.
Brasilian Samba and bossa nova musicians jazz flutist Ali Ryerson and guitarist Joe Carter will team for a concert at the Westport Arts Center at 3 p.m. Jan. 11. The longtime duo of Ryerson and Carter will be joined by bassist David Finck and Brazilian percussionist Ze Mauricio to perform a program of Brazilian favorites.
A free-wheeling jam session with Brian Torff, the arts center's artistic director for jazz, and some of the community's most active musicians will be held on Feb. 1 from 3 to 5 p.m., at the Westport Arts Center. The jam sessions are intended to be a spontaneous exploration of jazz, blues and other music styles. Students and semi-professionals are encouraged to drop in and jam for free.
Narek Arutuynian is a young clarinetist who will be in concert at the Pequot Library at 3 p.m. March 1. He has performed with the Boston Pops, the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Morgan Library and Museum. He will perform sonatas for clarinet and piano by Brahms and Prokofiev, along with music by Weinberg, Finzi and Verdi in the Westport Arts Center series.
On March 23, the Hartford Jazz Orchestra will entertain at the Pequot Library from 3 to 5 p.m. Since its inception in 1965, the Hartford Jazz Orchestra has performed concerts with the Woody Herman, Stan Kenton band, and jazz greats Zoot Sims and Clark Terry.
The Croatian virtuoso classical guitarist, Ana Vidovic, will be on stage at 4 p.m. April 26 at the Westport Arts Center. Vidovic will perform music by Bach, Paganini, Walton and songs from a Spanish repertory.
The Juilliard String Quartet closes the Westport Arts Center musical season with a salute to the music of Vienna -- modern masterpieces by Webern and Berg, and, to close, Beethoven's triumphant final quartet in F Major, Op. 135. The concert, at 4 p.m. May 17, will be at the Pequot Library.
Tickets for the chamber and jazz concerts are $30, and $25 for members of the Westport Arts Center, except for the Juilliard String Quartet, which is $65 per ticket. Jazz Jams are $20; $15 for members. Student tickets are $10 for all events.
Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased online at www.westportartscenter.org, or by calling the arts center at 203-222-7070. Tickets are also available at the door 30 minutes before the start of the event and at the arts center in advance. A limited number of discounted senior tickets will be available for pre sale at the Westport Center for Senior Activities, 21 Imperial Ave.
The three season venues for the series are the Westport Arts Center, 51 Riverside Ave.; the Pequot Library, 720 Pequot Ave. in the Southport section of Fairfield, and Westport Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Ave. For more information, visit www.westportartscenter.org or call 203-222-7070.