The Place To Be

From new faces to returning favorites, Arts & Lectures’ new season promises to be a milestone year

After a process of reinvention that included canceled events, virtual series and an abundance of external uncertainty, UC Santa Barbara Arts & Lectures for its 2022-2023 season is all the way back — and bringing to local stages some of its most ambitious projects ever.

Among them are several co-commissions, including Joyce DiDonato’s EDEN, Alisa Weilerstein’s FRAGMENTS, the Mark Morris Dance Group’s The Look of Love: An Evening of Dance to the Music of Burt Bacharach and the Danish String Quartet’s Doppelgänger Project, Part III. By commissioning new work from the world’s greatest artists, Arts & Lectures joins a small handful of partner organizations like Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in imagining and supporting the future of the performing arts.

After the challenges of the past two years, said Miller McCune Executive Director Celesta M. Billeci, Arts & Lectures has a “renewed dedication to the awe and wonder of a live performance or a brilliant lecture.” For its ability to thrive through a pandemic, she added, the organization also has many people to thank — from sponsors, to single ticket buyers, to students.

"Arts & Lectures is a community-based program. We couldn't do it without our patrons, our friends, UCSB students and university administration, our media partners and our supporters of educational outreach,” Billeci said. “We are so grateful for their continued support. Without their support and that of countless others, we wouldn't be able to do this."

On nearly every front, A&L’s programming for the coming season reflects a new level of urgency among artists to confront such global crises as climate change and systemic discrimination. DiDonato and Ballet Preljocaj will each present works featuring profound calls to action for the environment. Audiences for DiDonato’s EDEN will receive seeds to plant along with their programs, and Preljocaj promises an updated Swan Lake that sends the message that “whether with or without tutus, swans and lakes deserve to be protected.”

Four of the five events in the new season’s dance series include live musical accompaniment. Series opener Sw!ng Out will even encourage full audience participation with an onstage jam session.

As always, Arts & Lectures will again feature several new faces and rising stars, kicking off the season —and a new Americana series — with ascendant musician Charley Crockett (October 2). Just four days later, on October 6, Kyiv-based quartet DakhaBrakha brings their extraordinary world music to the Granada for a night in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. 

"A&L's 2022-2023 season of performances and public lectures unveils surprises and explores new ideas," Billeci said. "From opening week to month after month of fantastic performances and enlightening talks, Arts & Lectures is once again the place to be.”

All series tickets are now on sale, with discounts for faculty and staff. Purchases made before August 5, when single event ticket sales begin, get seating priority.

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