← View All Articles

Juilliard in Aiken to celebrate memory of founder Gregory White Smith

Juilliard in Aiken is ready to “Make Miracles Happen” when its Performing Arts Festival and Outreach Program returns with eight days of performances and a lineup of spectacular young stars from March 7 – 15, 2015. With a theme based on the title of a book written by the late Juilliard in Aiken founder and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gregory White Smith, the 2015 program promises a seventh year of joy, hope, wonder and excitement. The final Saturday of the festival features a memorial celebration for Smith, who lost his nearly lifelong battle with brain cancer in April 2014. Steve Naifeh, current Juilliard in Aiken chair, says that the vision Smith and Sandra Field (the organization’s president emeritus) had six years ago was to bring Juilliard’s world-class art to as many people in the area as possible, without regard to circumstance or background. “Greg believed as I do, and as The Juilliard School does, that great art is transforming,” Naifeh says. “He wanted everyone, everywhere, to have access to it. That’s why all of our performances are either free or low-cost. And it’s why we have such an extensive outreach program.” Naifeh said the organization’s school outreaches have served more than 20,000 students since Juilliard in Aiken’s founding in 2009. This year the program will reach students from age five to college. Naifeh noted that the success of last year’s festival, which brought 1,000 people to a historically accurate, three-hour production of Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion, bodes well for the future. “It proved that Aiken audiences truly appreciate the level of quality that characterizes every performance,” he said. “The Juilliard School is one of the most prestigious and highly respected institutions in the world. I think our audience will be pleased that this year’s festival offers so much variety while maintaining Juilliard’s extremely high standards in terms of artistry and talent.” Highlights of the festival include the return of Juilliard Dance -- not seen in Aiken since 2012 -- and a free Juilliard Juniors Dance program for families with children ages 5 - 10. The Allant Trio will offer piano, violin and cello, and Juilliard Jazz will perform a concert at the Etherredge Center and during After Hours at the Willcox. The Showcase Concert on Friday, March 13 features piano duo Anderson & Roe and guest artist baritone Elliott Carlton Hines, who will also perform sacred songs in a worship service open to everyone on March 15 at Second Baptist Church. For the performance and outreach schedules and to purchase tickets, visit www.juilliardinaiken.com. Via: Juilliard in Aiken