As we gear up for the bounteous second half of Duke Performances 2011/12 season—which kicks off this month with the Branford Marsalis Quartet, pianist Simone Dinnerstein, and violinist Christian Tetzlaff—let’s pause for a second to round up some recent Duke Performances news. Read on for kudos, new announcements, cancellations, and substitutions.
ITEM: Independent Weekly music editor Grayson Currin has his eye on Duke Performances, which showed up in a list titled “10 in Local Music to Look for in ’12,” alongside the likes of the Bowerbirds and Mount Moriah; flourishing punk, rap, and metal scenes; and exciting shake-ups in local booking. Currin calls Duke Performances “the state’s best academic arts series, with smart but accessible themes,” with special praise for the series’ adventurous bookings and its utilization of diverse Durham venues. We at The Thread have to agree, though we may be a teensy bit biased.
ITEM: Duke Performances has added a bunch of new residency events to its season this year. These events are almost always free and open to the public, and provide opportunities to get more intimate with the performers than auditorium seats allow. You can listen to music with Branford Marsalis at the Motorco Music Hall; take in conversations with Robert Glasper and Mohammad-Reza Shajarian; sit in on a master class with Edgar Meyer, and more. For a full list of the new residency listings, dates, times, and locations, consult the Duke Performances website.
ITEM: Ticketholders take note; Trio Jean Paul’s two-night stand in the Nelson Music Room has been cancelled due to illness. Stepping in to take Trio Jean Paul’s place on January 27 and 28 is the redoubtable Claremont Trio, founded at Juilliard in 1999. They will play piano trios by Brahms, Mozart, Shostakovich, and Mendelssohn, though new music fans should go for the Friday night program, which features a new trio by the talented young composer Sean Shepherd. All Trio Jean Paul tickets will be honored for the Claremont Trio performances.
ITEM: A tip of the hat to Duke history professor (and one-time Thread guest poster) Laurent Dubois, whose new book Haiti: The Aftershocks of History just received a long and highly favorable New York Times review. As co-director of the Haiti laboratory of the Franklin Humanities Institute, Dubois knows of what he writes, and Aftershocks follows his “gripping” account of the Haitian Revolution, Avengers of the New World. The new book, says the Times, is “enriched by [Dubois’] careful attention to what Haitian intellectuals have had to say about their country over the last two centuries.” Aftershocks is available now from Metropolitan Books.