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CONTACT: Barbara L. Bickerman, public relations coordinator, Stanford Lively Arts (650) 725-1960,
John Sanford, writer, News Service (650) 736-2151,

Passion marks 33rd season of Stanford Lively Arts

Osvaldo Golijov's La Pasión Según San Marcos, based on the Gospel according to St. Mark, could very well be the year's hottest ticket for a Bay Area musical event. A highlight of the Stanford Lively Arts 2002-03 season, the Pasión makes its Northern California premiere at 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, in Memorial Auditorium.

When it was presented by the Boston Symphony last year, "the crowd made a sound that will echo in the musical world for some time," wrote Alex Ross in The New Yorker. "It was a roar of satisfaction, rising up from all corners of Symphony Hall."

Helmuth Rilling, a conductor and founder of the International Bach Academy in Stuttgart, commissioned the Passion (along with three others by different composers) for the 250th anniversary of Bach's death. Golijov's roughly one-and-a-half-hour piece is a genre-busting treat: The Argentine-born composer seems to have one foot planted in Europe, the other in South America. The result is classical music in the idiom of a Latin street festival. Musicians play instruments such as the berimbau, tres and bata drums, as well as violins, cellos and trumpets. The music is infected with the rhythms and sounds of mambo, samba, rumba and flamenco. A total of 75 singers, dancers and musicians take the stage. The orchestra will include members of the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Stanford's ensemble-in-residence.

Tickets for the performance are still available.

But if you're unable to snap one up, the season still holds plenty in store, such as the world premiere of an innovative collaboration between the elastic-bodied dancers of Pilobolus and the St. Lawrence String Quartet (Jan. 24 and 25).

A new work by Brenda Way, artistic director of the ODC/San Francisco dance company, and a new musical piece by Georgian composer Zurab Nadarejshvili written especially for the St. Petersburg String Quartet (with guitarist Paul Galbraith), also will premiere on Jan. 11 and March 5, respectively.

The season includes West Coast premieres of Birdbrain, the Australian Dance Theatre's wry and quirky interpretation of Swan Lake (Oct. 11), and the Squonk Opera's Burn, a contemporary take on Dante's Inferno (Jan. 17). Japanese taiko sensation Eitetsu Hayashi also is set to make his Northern California debut presenting an original program inspired by the works of 18th-century painter Jakuchu Ito (Oct. 13).

In the spring, the youthful dancers of Nederlands Dans Theater II (members are no older than 21) will perform surefooted, supple work (April 25 and 26).

For a performance by a very young talent, check out the debut recital of 10-year-old pianist and composer Kit Armstong (Nov. 10), who already has written more than 15 works, including piano sonatas, string quartets and a symphony. Armstrong will perform works by Mozart and Bach.

Many Bay Area favorites are scheduled to return to Stanford this season, including flutist James Galway (March 16); pianist Barbara Nissman, who will perform a program largely dedicated to the works of Prokofiev to mark the 50th anniversary's of the composer's death (Jan. 15); the Emerson String Quartet (Jan. 10 sold out; Oct. 6 still available); and Mummenschanz, the Switzerland-based troupe whose surrealistic stage costumes and acts make for a gigglefest of playful surprises (March 13-15). (Parents: Mummenschanz should get a prize for its ability to keep a large majority of the 10-and-younger set rapt for an entire performance.)

Substantial ticket discounts are available for those ages 15 and younger and for Stanford faculty, staff and students. Discounts also are available for groups. Members of the Stanford Alumni Association get 10 percent off mini subscriptions; non-Stanford students with a valid high school, college or university ID get $3 off full ticket prices.

Tickets may be purchased by visiting the Ticket Office in Tresidder Union or calling (650) 725-2787; charging by fax at (650) 725-6230; visiting the Lively Arts website at; or mailing the order form found in the 2002-03 brochure, which can be obtained at the Ticket Office, by calling (650) 725-2787 or by visiting the website (where an events schedule also is posted).

Please note these updates and changes to the original schedule: The Nov. 3 performance of Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble has sold out; Cardinall's Musick has canceled its November tour and will not be appearing at Stanford Nov. 8; due to the popularity of Sérgio and Odair Assad, Lively Arts has been able to arrange a second performance on May 10 at 2:30 p.m. in Dinkelspiel Auditorium.


By John Sanford

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