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Stanford Live returns on Aug. 25

The 2021-22 season examines themes of reconciliation and forgiveness, highlights Indigenous and South African voices and features major U.S. dance premieres.

Stanford Live’s upcoming 2021-22 season looks familiar – many of the artists originally scheduled for last season will, at last, be taking the stage on campus. The narrative focus of last season carries over, too, with themes of reconciliation and forgiveness shaping the arc of performances. From artists whose work shares the histories and culture of Indigenous people across the globe to performances highlighting the critical role reconciliation plays in addressing histories and building inclusive communities, Stanford Live’s 2021-22 season seeks to empower artists and the important visions their work embodies.

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Stanford Live

Watch a special message from Executive Director Chris Lorway as he shares highlights from the upcoming season.

“It’s very surreal to be announcing such a similar program more than one year later,” says Chris Lorway, executive director of Stanford Live. “We are thrilled to honor the commitments we made to so many artists over the past two years and look forward to hosting them on campus.”

The 2020-21 line-up features jazz performances by Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah (Oct. 9) and Nduduzo Makhathini (Apr. 28) and orchestra performances from the Russian National Orchestra led by Kirill Karabits (Feb. 20), New Century Chamber Orchestra with music director Daniel Hope (Jan. 22), and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra with Branford Marsalis (Jan. 12). Hip-hop artist Frank Waln and singer-songwriter Raye Zaragoza (Feb. 3) share the stage in the Bing Studio and Patti LuPone (Jan. 14) brings a solo show to the concert hall. Theater performances include And So We Walked: An Artist’s Journey Along the Trail of Tears (May 20, 21 & 22), Anthony Hudson/Carla Rossi’s Queer Horror’s Gravest Hits and Carla Rossi Does Drag (Nov 5 & 6), Cliff Cardinal’s Huff (Jan. 27 & 28) and a return visit from Inua Ellams with An Evening with an Immigrant (Jan. 29 & 30).

Major dance premieres

Three major dance works co-commissioned by Stanford Live will have their U.S. premiere during the 2021-21 season.

Requiem: Fire in the Air of the Earth (Dec. 4) premieres at Stanford Live following a week-long residency. The new work by choreographer and MacArthur Fellow Kyle Abraham and composer and EDM artist Jlin explores death, folklore and reincarnation through a reimagining of Mozart’s Requiem in D Minor. Ten dancers from Abraham’s dance company A.I.M join Jlin to transform Mozart’s music into an electronic opus of ritual, mourning and birth.

Dance legend Yang Liping’s stunning reimagining of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (Jan. 21 & 22) premieres at Stanford Live in 2022. Originally scheduled for the 2019-20 season and the first performance to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the production spins an abstract tale of the path of salvation embodied by a sacrificial peacock in a universe where time, space and life coexist in endless reincarnation.

Transverse Orientation (May 14 & 15) by groundbreaking Greek director, choreographer and visual artist Dimitris Papaioannou will also make its U.S. premiere at Stanford Live. Co-commissioned by Stanford Live, Papaioannou’s latest work is an evening-length epic that combines music and elaborate stage imagery in enigmatic but powerful ways.

“In 2018, I traveled to Montreal to see Dimitris piece The Great Tamer,” says Lorway. “His visual landscape was both immaculate and raw and had me on the edge of my seat for the entire performance. I couldn’t wait to see what was next.”

Additional dance productions include Memphis Jookin’: The Show featuring Lil Buck (Feb. 28), an ode to Lil Buck’s hometown of Memphis that chronicles the emergence of the unique dance style known as Memphis jookin’, and FRAY from CandyBomber Productions (May 26 & 27), a fusion of hip-hop, ballet and video game design.

Artist residencies

Supporting artists remains an important part of Stanford Live’s mission, especially after more than a year of disruption and uncertainty in the performing arts due to COVID-19. Stanford Live continues to increase investment in commissions and co-productions and is expanding its residency opportunities to give artists the time, space and resources to develop new work at Stanford.

Electro-pop artist iskwē, which translates to “blue sky woman,” spotlights the importance and plight of Indigenous peoples and territories in Canada. (Image credit: Matt Barnes)

Two residencies will kick off the 2021-22 season, starting with a new work commissioned by Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Stanford Live and the American Modern Opera Company. Matthew Aucoin’s The No One’s Rose will have its world premiere at Bing Concert Hall in August (Aug. 25-29), the first performance with an audience in the hall since it closed in March 2020. This ambitious project has been six years in the making and features an all-star cast and creative team.

In early September, electro-pop artist and Indigenous rights activist iskwē – whose influences span jazz, R&B, industrial pop-rock, and trip-hop – will take over the Bing with her immersive new work acākosīk (Sep. 29 & 30), transforming the entire building into a space to experience her visceral and multidisciplinary performance.

Additional commissioned works this season include a new song cycle on digital surveillance by Gabriel Kahane (May 11) and 32 Sounds (Feb. 11), a new film and live performance by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Sam Green.

Tickets, health and safety

Member presale access is available now. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Aug. 24. Tickets to shows scheduled from September through December will be available for purchase during the summer. Visit for updates on sales to later performances.

In light of COVID-19’s impact around the world, there are many factors that may affect Stanford Live’s season. Some performances may need to move venues in order to work more safely, and some may be rescheduled or canceled entirely. Stanford Live promises to keep all patrons informed. Refunds and exchanges will be available for all canceled or rescheduled performances.

Stanford Live continues to work closely with health and university officials to ensure a safe experience for patrons. All events at Bing Concert Hall, Bing Studio, Frost Amphitheater and other venues on the Stanford University campus adhere to guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Santa Clara County, the state of California and Stanford University for increased health and safety procedures.

Tickets for 2021-22 season shows scheduled in the fall will be sold at full capacity.

Stanford Live is closely monitoring COVID-19 and the Delta variant. To protect the community, artists, and staff, Stanford Live is exploring the idea of checking for proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for all our indoor programming at Bing Concert Hall, Bing Studio, Memorial Church, and Memorial Auditorium. Currently, masks are required for all patrons at indoor events. Patrons should bring their own face coverings that cover their nose and mouth and wear them at all times. Masks with valves will not be allowed.

Patrons should stay home if they are experiencing a fever or any COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days, or have had close contact with anyone who is confirmed or is suspected of having COVID-19.

To read more about health and safety protocols, visit Stanford Live’s FAQ page.