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By Arthur Stampleman

While theaters were dark at the Performing Arts Center, Purchase College this summer, behind the scenes, dozens were actively preparing for the season-long celebration of the PAC’s 40th anniversary.

The 2017-2018 season has great promise, with the Center pushing forward its vision — adding new artists, commissioning new works, and creating opportunities to interact with cutting-edge projects as well as artists that have been critical to its long critical and popular success.

Audience favorites such as the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Westchester Philharmonic, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center anchor the classical music programming. The Center is also pleased to have The Moscow State Symphony, violinist Sarah Chang, pianist Jeremy Denk, and the Brentano Quartet on its star-studded schedule. Those interested in adventurous repertoire will enjoy Kronos Quartet, The Orchestra Now, and the chamber ensemble Wild Up.

In dance, the Suzanne Farrell Ballet company makes a stop as part of their Farewell Tour; Purchase alum Kyle Abraham will present “Dearest Home” in the round in the Black Box Theatre; and the season will conclude with a gala celebration and the premiere of a new work commissioned from Jessica Lang and her company, which will be set to the music of Tony Bennett.

Opening night on October 6 will take place in the new and improved PepsiCo Theatre, with the world premiere of SITI Company’s production of “Hanjo” (co-commissioned by The Performing Arts Center). This haunting work is based on a 14th century Noh play; it examines issues of gender, identity, and the roles people play within each other’s lives in a most modern way. Noh drama is the oldest surviving form of Japanese theater and combines music, dance, and acting. The Purchase Repertory Theater will be performing “The Crucible” later in October.

A number of artists that call Purchase College and/or PAC their home base offer wide-ranging programs this season, including festival-style jazz, globalFEST on Tour, a dinner-and-drinks Joe’s Pub-style evening with Velvet Caravan, one of the more eclectic ensembles on the scene today, and more.

There will be artist talks before both Orpheus Chamber Orchestra concerts, the chamber music concerts, and before all three performances in the Jazz at The Center series, including the Branford Marsalis Quartet. Music lovers can find out about these ‘extras’ on Facebook or Twitter or sign up for PAC’s e-newsletter through its website.

Visitors to the PAC this year will enjoy the newly renovated PepsiCo Theater (including a fully upgraded sound system and new seats) and brand new Box Office software.

    “Create-Your Own” subscriptions are now on sale, allowing patrons to mix and match to create their own ideal series, and attend three or more events at 15-20% off the regular ticket price. Single tickets are now on sale by phone (251-6200), online (, or at the Box Office (open Wednesday through Friday from 12-6).


Branford Marsalis Quartet

© Ryan Anderson

Kyle Abraham in “Dearest Home”

© Tim Barden


Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

©Tristan Cook

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