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Carolina Performing Arts announces 2017-2018 season and the opening of

CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio at Carolina Square


(Chapel Hill, NC – May 17, 2017) – In addition to presenting 60 performances by 35 internationally renowned and emerging performers, the 13th season of Carolina Performing Arts (CPA) at the University of North Carolina will also feature the opening of CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio, a new, interactive, immersive space in downtown Chapel Hill.


Important announcements and themes for the 2017-2018 season include:


Opening of CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio – February 2018

CPA’s latest artistic venture, CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio, located in the new Carolina Square development off West Franklin Street, will serve as the physical and intellectual home for CPA’s world-class artists-in-residence to collaborate with faculty, students and the community. Programming at the nearly 7,000 square-foot facility will feature immersive and co-creative arts experiences, including interactive theater and time-based arts installations. More information is available at Performances scheduled for the inaugural season are:


Feb. 2-5             “Sound Maze” | Paul Dresher Ensemble

Feb. 19               “We are Gob Squad and So are You” | Gob Squad

Feb. 23 & 24      “Revolution Now!” | Gob Squad

Apr. 7                 Boots Riley and The Coup

Apr. 11-15         “The Fever” | 600 Highwaymen

May 5-6             “Farfalle” | Compagnia TPO


“CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio will offer a unique chance for students, faculty and staff to interact with visiting artists and represent Carolina’s commitment to using the arts as a way to further our research and teaching mission and to serve our hometown, our state and the world,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt.


CPA executive and artistic director Emil J. Kang envisions CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio as an incubator for artists and audiences to co-create experiences and to serve as the home for its artists-in-residence.


“These shared experiences will be immersive, interactive and intimate, all qualities that resonate with our desire to bring artists and audiences closer together,” said Kang.


Reimagining the Artist’s Role on Campus

The new season will also reflect CPA’s growing focus on broadening and deepening its long-term artist relationships and their relationships with the community. Through its first ever Andrew W. Mellon Foundation DisTil Fellowship program and The Nannerl O. Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professorship program, CPA will increase the number and length of its artist residencies, structure formal academic and community partnerships and offer audiences opportunities to engage with artists on multiple platforms.


“Our commitment to integrating the work of our world-class artists into the academic lifeblood of the University is rooted in the strong belief that the arts are uniquely qualified to communicate across social and cultural barriers, thus fostering the understanding of and empathy for different points of view and ways of life,” said Kang.


The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation DisTil Fellowship (Discovery Through Iterative Learning) invites artists to Carolina’s campus to collaborate with students and faculty in a department outside their own area of expertise, providing them the opportunity to gain new insights into questions they have been asking about their work and the world. DisTil Fellows bring the unique approach of the arts to faculty and students, helping them look at their own work through a new lens and will also share the results of their ideas and discussions with the wider community. The 2017-18 DisTil Fellows are:


  • Singer-songwriter Toshi Reagon, whose commitment to social consciousness and supporting communities will see her collaborate with the Department of City & Regional Planning in the College of Arts and Sciences to gain insight into their work studying the impacts of the environment, social policy, government decisions and healthcare on communities.
  • Installation artist and puppeteer Robin Frohardt, whose performance and installation experiences spur audiences to rethink our world. She has already begun work with the Department of Archeology in the College of Arts and Sciences on the emergence of plastic as relic and will continue to explore UNC faculty research on the impact of plastic bags in our environment, new ideas to lessen their impact on our future, and how archeologists study containers and remnants from the past.


The Nannerl O. Keohane Visiting Professorship is a joint program of the Provosts at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University. This is the first year artists have been included in this program. The Professorship brings scholars to both campuses for a series of residencies, with the mission to advance social engagement and innovation programs and inspire students and faculty to consider how their work can improve our communities. The 2017-18 Keohane Visiting Professors are:


  • Musician and writer Jace Clayton, also known for his work as DJ/rupture. Clayton uses an interdisciplinary approach to focus on how sound; memory and public space interact, with an emphasis on low-income communities and the global South. He will participate in the Duke FHI Social Practice Lab and collaborate with Carolina and Duke faculty and students to create new tools and performances that stretch across academic disciplines and cultural traditions.
  • Muralist Nina Chanel Abney, whose work touches on narratives on politics, race, homophobia, celebrity, consumerism and other challenging topics. She will connect with faculty in art, law and social work and with Campus Y students to discuss needs and interests in the community, and collaborate with local organizations to create a public mural in Chapel Hill.


 Artists Defying Classification

CPA presents artists who innovative and multidimensional work expands beyond the boundaries of traditional genre labels. The season kicks off Sept. 7 with Ghanaian global fusionist Jojo Abot, who combines Afrobeat, jazz, reggae and electronica with fashion, film, literature and performance art. In November, Big Dance Theater presents 17C, a CPA co-commissioned work, inspired by the exhaustive and eccentric 17th century diary of Samuel Pepys, which mirrors today’s social media obsession through a fascinating and wickedly funny combination of theatre and dance.


Chamber Music Redfined

Building on the success of its opening season in the newly renovated Moeser Auditorium, CPA will present artists working at the leading edge of innovation in chamber music. Attacca Quartet and Spektral Quartet are devoted to commissioning and performing new work; cellist Katinka Kleijn, of the Chicago Symphony Orchestras and International Contemporary Ensemble collaborates with Chicago Symphony Orchestra composer-in-residence Samuel Adams in a recital of new music for cello and electronics; and Baroque Orchestration X (B.O.X.) collaborates with Antwerp-based indie rockers Dez Mona to create a shimmering modern song cycle called Saga which explores themes of home and memory against a delicate Baroque soundscape.


Additional Season Highlights

Season highlights include a fully staged production of the opera “Cold Mountain,” written by Pulitzer Prize-winner composer Jennifer Higdon, based on the best-selling novel by Carolina alumnus Charles Frazier presented in collaboration with North Carolina Opera, Octavia E. Butler’s “Parable of a Sower,” a new opera based on the epic novel of the same name, with music and lyrics by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon, which blends science fiction and African American spiritualism; the return of three CPA friends: Academy of St. Martin in the Fields led by music director and violinist Joshua Bell, who will also perform the Beethoven Violin Concerto, two performances by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with music director Riccardo Muti; and two nights with Broadway superstar Audra McDonald.


Other CPA favorites include pianist András Schiff, bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers, Galician bagpiper Cristina Pato, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Nederlands Dans Theater, banjo virtuoso Abigail Washburn, singer/songwriter Tift Merritt, Cloud Gate Dance Theater of Taiwan, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Carolina Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.”


Single tickets and subscriptions go on sale to the general public on June 7. More details on the 2017-18 season, including ticket information, digital brochure and artist profiles is available at Details on CPA’s CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio is available at





Sept. 7                                  Jojo Abot

Sept. 28 & Oct. 1                   “Cold Mountain”


Oct. 10                                   Pedja Mužijević, piano

Oct. 25                                   András Schiff, piano


Nov. 2                                    China National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra, Lu Jia, chief conductor, Ning Feng, violin, Gautier Cupocon, cello

Nov. 3                                    Christina Pato Quartet

Nov. 6                                    Spektral Quartet

Nov. 9 & 10                            “17c” | Big Dance Theater

Nov. 16 & 17                          Octavia E. Butler’s “Parable of the Sower”


Dec. 2 & 3                              “The Nutcracker” | Carolina Ballet

Dec. 7                                    Khatia Buniatishvili, piano

Dec. 9                                    Big Band Holidays | Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis


Jan. 12 & 13                            Steep Canyon Rangers

Jan. 18                                   “Saga” | Dez Mona and B.O.X

Jan. 22                                   Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano

Jan. 30 & 31                           Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater


Feb. 2-5                                 “Sound Maze” | Paul Dresher Ensemble*

Feb. 13                                  Attacca Quartet

Feb. 15                                  Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet

Feb. 16 & 17                          Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Riccardo Muti. music director, Clementine Margaine, mezzo-soprano

Feb. 18                                  Katinka Kleijn, cello and Samuel Adams, electronics

Feb. 19                                  “We are Gob Squad and So are You” | Gob Squad

Feb. 23 & 24                          “Revolution Now!” | Gob Squad


Mar. 2 & 3                              Audra McDonald

Mar. 6                                    “Formosa” | Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan

Mar. 20                                  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Joshua Bell, music director

Mar. 22                                  Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei

Mar. 23                                  “Del and Woody” | Del McCoury Band

Mar. 25                                  Lawrence Brownlee, tenor

Mar. 28 & 29                          Nederlands Dans Theater


Apr. 4                                     Daymé Arocena

Apr. 7                                     Boots Riley and The Coup

Apr. 11-15                              “The Fever” | 600 Highwaymen

Apr. 20                                   Tift Merritt


May 5-6                                 “Farfalle” | Compagnia TPO


*Denotes the opening of CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio




About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 318,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 157 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.


About Carolina Performing Arts

The mission of Carolina Performing Arts (CPA) is to enrich lives by creating and presenting exceptional arts experiences and connecting them to the UNC community and beyond. Established in 2005 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CPA presents the very best from the full spectrum of the performing arts: internationally renowned recitalists and orchestras, chamber ensembles, jazz, folk, and world music artists, dance and theater. CPA strives to nurture artistic innovation and the development of new works on and off campus; to challenge and inspire audiences with powerful and transformative performances; and to integrate the arts into the life of the University, embracing its mission of teaching, research and public service.


Carolina Performing Arts contact: Mark Z. Nelson, (919) 966-3834,

Communications and Public Affairs contact: MC VanGraafeiland, (919) 962-7090,

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