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SPAC Hosts Pre-Performance Talks

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Artists and Experts Share Insights & Anecdotes
Highlights: Robert Battle, Peter Martins, Justin Peck, Hannibal, Stéphane Denève, Michael Torke, David Finckel & Wu Han, among many others!

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) announces the line-up for its popular Pre-Performance Talks series, intimate 30-minute conversations with SPAC’s performers, composers, choreographers, authors, and critics. Hosted an hour prior to the start of a performance, the talks feature the world’s biggest names in the classical arts, including Robert Battle, Peter Martins, Justin Peck, Stéphane Denève, Michael Torke, David Finckel and Wu Han, among many others. Audiences will hear first-hand insights and personal anecdotes, as well as historical context and background information. Led by SPAC’s Director of Arts Education Siobhan Dunham in the elegant Gold Room in The Hall of Springs, the talks often sell-out far in advance of the summer season. Pre-Performance Talks cost $5 to performance ticketholders and will become available for purchase online at on Sunday, 4/17, at 10:00 a.m.  The 2016 Pre-Performance Talks series is made possible through support from Celebrity Cruises.

“SPAC’s Pre-Performance Talks series is an extraordinary opportunity for local audiences to gain unprecedented access into the minds and hearts of the artists that they will see on the SPAC stage,” said Marcia J. White, SPAC’s President and Executive Director.  “The talks provide invaluable contextual information, ranging from the historical background of a piece of music, to the choreographic process behind a brand new ballet. Our audiences know that they won’t find an interview series of this caliber and diversity anywhere else, so the talks now sell-out long before the start of the season.”


June 17 @ 7 pm                               Doug Varone, Artistic Director

July 8 @ 7 pm                                  Robert Battle, Artistic Director

July 20 @ 7pm                                  Peter Martins, Ballet Master-in-Chief, NYCB
July 21 @ 7pm                                  Deborah Jowitt, dance critic, author
July 22@ 7pm                                   Deborah Jowitt, dance critic, author
July 23 matinee @ 1pm                     Mindy Aloff, Professor of Dance, Barnard College, author
July 26@ 7pm                                   TBA
July 27@ 6:45pm                              Paul Kolnik, photographer
July 28 matinee @ 1pm                     Conversation with a NYCB dancer
July 28 @ 7pm                                  Nancy Goldner, dance critic, author
July 29 @ 7pm                                  Troy Schumacher, dancer NYCB, choreographer,
July 30 matinee @ 1pm                     Justin Peck, soloist and Resident Choreographer, NYCB
July 30 @ 7pm                                  Mindy Aloff, Professor of Dance, Barnard College, author

August 3 @ 7pm                              Hannibal Lokumbe, composer, jazz trumpeter
August 4@ 7pm                               Stéphane Denève, conductor
August 5 @ 7pm                              Michael Torke, composer
August 6@ 7pm                               Ben Chang, electronic artist, Director of Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences at RPI
August 10 @ 7pm                            Keith Lockhart, conductor 
August 11 matinee @ 2pm               Joseph Conyers, bassist, The Philadelphia Orchestra
August 12 @ 7pm                            Janni Younge, director of Janni Younge Puppets
August 13 @ 7pm                            Steven Reineke, conductor
August 17@ 7pm                             Andre Watts, pianist
August 18 @ 7pm                            TBA
August 19 @ 7pm                            Robert Cafaro, cellist, The Philadelphia Orchestra
August 20@ 7pm                             Wu Han, pianist, David Finckel, cellist, Benjamin Beilman, violinist

For more information, go online to


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