This story appeared as part of the 2010 Year in Review issue. The Daily Tar Heel resumes publication Jan. 10.
Memorial Hall offered a window on the wide world of performing arts in 2010.
With inspiring acts from around the globe, the University’s main auditorium showcased some of the art world’s most innovative and contemporary work.
Much of the year’s success came from the continued leadership of Emil Kang, executive director of the arts.
“I want the arts to be as big and as important as basketball on this campus,” Kang said in an interview in August as he began his sixth year at UNC.
One of the year’s most celebrated performance was the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma.
“It was an amazing transnational multi-instrumental ensemble,” said Sean McKeithan, marketing and communications coordinator for Carolina Performing Arts.
Ma was accompanied by musicians from all over the world in early August, as he performed innovative music from a variety of cultural traditions.
Another highly memorable performance was November’s presentation of Sutra.
Sutra — an avant-garde contemporary dance ensemble choreographed by Flemish-Moroccan legend Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui — fused martial arts, Buddhism, and western contemporary performance art.
The performance was one of only two U.S. stops on the group’s 2010 tour.
Yet not all performances were from the far corners of the world. A variety of pieces were tailored especially for UNC.
March’s collaboration between Brooklyn Rider and 2 Foot Yard brought the disparate American ensembles together in a world premiere work.
The piece was inspired by the book, “Einstein’s Dreams” by Alan Lightman, which tells what the story of the scientist’s mental state during the development of his famous theory of relativity.
It was a high point for the season and for office of the executive director of the arts’ larger mission.
“Where we can point exactly to what our influence was in new created output,” McKeithan said.
Yet performances did not always run smoothly.
On Sept. 15th, North Carolina bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs was due to to perform a show with the Red Clay Ramblers.
But Scruggs fell ill on the night of the performance and was unable to perform, leaving many of his devoted fans disappointed.
“Obviously there were disappointed Earl fans,” said Kara Larson, director of marketing and public relations for the office of the executive director for the arts. “We ourselves were disappointed Earl fans.”
Pianist Leon Fleisher’s September concert was also cancelled due to unspecified medical reasons. Fleisher will return to Chapel Hill on March 3rd, 2011.
Further talent is anticipated for the 2011 year.
The first ever International Theater Festival, coordinated by the office of the executive director for the arts, will launch in February 2011.
The festival will feature a wide variety of dramatic works, dances and music performances continuing throughout the semester.
“There’s some really incredible work coming this way,” McKeithan said.
Contact the Arts Editor at email@example.com.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.