The Robert and Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Denver has announced its 2021-2022 season of Newman Center Presents, the multidisciplinary professional artist performance series. Last year, along with virtually every live performance show across the country, the series was cancelled due to COVID-19. Newman Center Presents returns this season with a robust, diverse set of performances, where we’ll get to see many of the artists that were to take the stage for the 2020-2021 series.
Aisha Ahmad-Post, incoming 2020 Executive Director of The Robert and Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts, made sure to focus on those performers this season. “I felt coming into this, during the pandemic like I did, that it is really important to prioritize honoring those contracts and those relationships with those artists, because artists I think more than anybody really lost out during this pandemic,” says Ahmad-Post, and the artists included this season will have something for just about everyone.
KUVO JAZZ enthusiasts will be excited to know that there is an entire Jazz Series on the ticket for the Newman Center Presents 2021-2022 season. Opening the series in November will be a performance by jazz vocalist Veronica Swift. Daughter of jazz artists, the late pianist Hod O’Brien and singer Stephanie Nakasian, Swift has truly made a mark early in her career. Her latest album “This Bitter Earth” reflects American contemporary life and uses the jazz classics we know and love.
Performing in February 2022 will be Indonesian pianist Joey Alexander. The youngest musician ever nominated for a Grammy Award in a jazz category, Alexander has solidified himself in the scene over the past six years with his original work. Rounding out the Jazz Series at Newman Center Presents will be the legendary Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis with two performances in February 2022, making it their Newman Center debut. Earlier this year, jazz icon Marsalis performed for the Newman Center, virtually, with his original composition “The Democracy! Suite” with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Septet.
These selected jazz performances this season clearly showcase the diversity of musical generations in the jazz scene today. “What does and does not count as jazz and who gets to make those choices?”, is a question Ahmad-Post hopes to explore for the next season of Newman Center Presents. “Most jazz musicians I know are really pretty versatile and they’re thinking about a lot of different things and they’re not just sitting down and playing whatever is in the Real Book. They’re composing, they’re involved socially in a number of causes, they’re thinking and listening to other stuff. I’m really hoping that we can start to really celebrate an even wider swath of the jazz mix.” Ahmad-Post is pushing the boundaries and challenging the notion of what should be in the pantheon of jazz, and this year’s Newman Center Presents looks like a great start in that direction. The lineup gives an opportunity for new voices and to make room for the next generation of jazz greats, including diversity in traditions of jazz where it may coincide with other genres.
The Newman Center Presents subscriptions for the Jazz Series and other performance series are on sale now, with individual ticket sales beginning October 1st. More information on Newman Center Presents 2021-2022 season can be found at Newman Center Presents.