Celebrating Black Excellence Throughout 25th Anniversary Season

September 23, 2021

The UGA Performing Arts Center has celebrated diversity as long as it has been open. In 1996, the new facility was christened with a performance by legendary soprano Jessye Norman, a Black Georgia native. The upcoming 25th anniversary season includes concerts featuring African American musicians at the pinnacles of their chosen fields.

Southern Journey: An Afro-Americana Celebration! featuring Ranky Tanky and special guest Dom Flemons (Nov. 16) is a double bill of Grammy-winning acts. Ranky Tanky, a Charleston-based band, will be joined by Flemons, a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, for an evening of jazz, gospel, funk, R&B, and old-time music. Ranky Tanky is also participating in the Performing Arts Center’s Performances for Young People children’s concert series.

The name Marsalis is synonymous with accomplishment in jazz. Big Band Holidays (Dec. 7 & 8) is a program featuring the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, led by trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis. Saxophonist Branford Marsalis then brings his own quartet to Hodgson Hall (Feb. 19, 2022).

Nobuntu (Jan. 25, 2022) is a dynamic female a cappella quintet from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, acclaimed throughout the world for their rousing performances of traditional songs, gospel, Afro-jazz, and crossover music. Nobuntu is also on the Performances for Young People series.

In the first of two Atlanta Symphony Orchestra visits this season (March 4, 2022), Michelle Cann of the Curtis Institute of Music is the soloist in the Piano Concerto in One Movement by 20th century Black American composer Florence Price.

The Grammy-winning Pacifica String Quartet (April 19, 2022) is joined by one of the most prominent Black orchestral musicians in the U.S., Anthony McGill, principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic. The program includes the Clarinet Quintet by rising Black American composer, pianist, and educator James Lee III.

The 25th anniversary gala performance (April 24, 2022) features Broadway, TV and film star Audra McDonald, winner of six Tony Awards. “She is probably the most talented person on this planet,” says the New York Times. Her concert will include a mix of Broadway songs, standards from the Great American Songbook, and more.

For a complete list of all UGA Presents performances, click here. Tickets for all performances are now on sale online here, by calling the Performing Arts Center Box Office at (706) 542-4400, in in person Mon-Fri, 10 am-5 pm).

Pictured: Ranky Tanky; Photo: Peter Frank Edwards