Six Star Dedications on SPAC's Walk of Fame

Debut of New SPAC Education Program, The Performance Project: Youth in Motion, 7/8

Audience Choice Piece, 8/4 - the votes are in!

Saratoga Springs, N.Y. - The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) will host a series of special events throughout the 2016 50th Anniversary Season in celebration of the greater Capital Region community that has supported the venue for five decades. These events, including six Walk of Fame star dedication ceremonies, will be open to the public with purchase of tickets to corresponding SPAC performances. (Full calendar of events below). Uniting SPAC's rich past with the inspiration and promise of the future, the 2016 Season is a dynamic blend of tried & true and bold & new performances that will set the stage for the next fifty years of music and dance under the stars in the Spa State Park.

Marcia J. White, SPAC's President and Executive Director stated: "SPAC's 50th Anniversary Season is a celebration of the visionaries who brought SPAC to life and the community that has enhanced, enriched, and expanded SPAC for five decades. At SPAC we pride ourselves on creating an experience for our guests that goes far beyond the rise and fall of the stage curtain. We call it ‘the SPAC experience'
because our venue comes to life with artistry that knows no limits-inspiring audiences and building community through a shared experience.  As we celebrate SPAC's 50th Anniversary, we also express our gratitude to this community and its continued commitment to enriching and expanding SPAC."

Schedule of Community Events:

June 30 @ 8:00 PM: Twyla Tharp World Premiere

Eminent choreographer Twyla Tharp presents a world premiere performance made possible through Pathways
to Dance
and the support of the New York State Regional Economic Development Council. Pathways to Dance is an inaugural 10-organization, 8-county initiative dedicated to expanding dance offerings in the Capital Region.

July 8 @ 6:00 PM: 50th Anniversary Community Picnic, featuring National Dance Institute

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of SPAC's Opening Night
- July 8, 1966-with a Community Picnic on the SPAC lawn. Highlighting the picnic event will be the debut of a new SPAC education program, entitled, The Performance Project: Youth in Motion presented in collaboration with National
Dance Institute (NDI)
. NDI, a non-profit arts education organization for underserved youth in New York City, was founded in 1976 by ballet star and former New York City Ballet principal dancer Jacques d'Amboise. SPAC and the
Capital District and Saratoga Regional YMCAs have partnered to enable eighty local youth to join thirty New York City children in NDI's exciting debut performance on the SPAC stage. The Performance Project will serve as the prelude to the evening's much-anticipated performance by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

July 23 @ 5:30 PM: Golden Anniversary Gala, Honoring Founders & featuring Justin Peck World Premiere

SPAC will honor founders Marylou Whitney, the Dake Family,
and the Wait Family, who will serve as Honorary Chairs of the annual New York City Ballet Gala, themed the "Golden
Anniversary Gala."
The evening will feature a World Premiere ballet by New York City Ballet's Resident Choreographer Justin Peck, made possible through the generous support of Ron & Michele Riggi and Vincent & Patty

August 4 @ 8:00 PM: "Audience Choice"

The votes are in! After a month of online voting, SPAC audiences selected Bernstein's Overture to Candide as the opening piece featured on The Philadelphia Orchestra's August 4 concert, Sarah Chang ReturnsCandide, first performed in 1956, is an operetta based on Voltaire's novella of the same name.

August 5 @ 6:00 PM: Red Carpet Welcome to Michael Torke World Premiere for The Philadelphia Orchestra

Illustrious composer Michael Torke returns to Saratoga with a world premiere for The Philadelphia Orchestra made possible through the generous support of Charles & Candace Wait and The Adirondack Trust Company.  In celebration
of five decades of peerless music-making at SPAC, audiences will be welcomed to the once-in-a-lifetime performance with a Red Carpet Entrance.  In addition to Torke's four-movement symphonic work, the concert will also feature guest performances by New York City Ballet dancers in excerpts from Swan Lake.

August 7 @ 3:00 PM: CMS Debuts Appalachian

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center presents the SPAC Chamber Music debut of Aaron Copland's iconic
classic, Appalachian Spring Suite for Ensemble.  The CMS@SPAC 2016 Season is presented in memory of SPAC founder Newman E. "Pete" Wait.

August 11 @ 3:00 PM & August 12 @ 8:00 PM: Premiere of The Firebird (Special Thursday Matinee)

SPAC presents special Thursday matinee and Friday evening performances of The Firebird, a world premiere production created by the puppeteers behind Broadway's War Horse. This spectacular production, set to Stravinsky's famous work and performed by The Philadelphia
Orchestra, is made possible by SPAC, Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, Ravinia Festival, Sun Valley Summer Symphony, and Hollywood Bowl.

August 18 @ 8:00 PM:  Renée Fleming's SPAC Debut

One of the most beloved and celebrated musical ambassadors of our time, soprano Renée Fleming-"the people's diva"-will make her SPAC debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra.  Fleming captivates audiences
around the world with her sumptuous voice, consummate artistry, and compelling stage presence. In 2014 she brought her voice to a vast new audience as the first classical artist to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.

SPAC Walk of Fame Star Dedications:

Throughout the 2016 Season, SPAC will dedicate six stars on its Walk of Fame to influential artists and community leaders who have shaped SPAC's history:

June 26 @ 7:00 PM: Chick Corea, Legendary Jazz Musician

On Sunday, June 26, SPAC will present keyboard virtuoso Chick Corea with a Walk of Fame Star in honor of his contributions to jazz music and to SPAC throughout his career. Corea performed at the inaugural 1978 Saratoga Jazz Festival, founded by jazz impresario George Wein.  Currently celebrating his 75th birthday year (June 12), Corea returns to SPAC for his 9th jazz festival appearance, in a trio format featuring Christian McBride on bass and Brian Blade on drums. Corea has received 22 GRAMMY® Awards, including a 2015 Award for Trilogy, and 63 GRAMMY® Award nominations-making him the 4th most nominated artist in GRAMMY® history.  A DownBeat Hall of Famer and NEA Jazz Master, Chick Corea has attained living legend status after five decades of unparalleled creativity and staggering artistic output. 

July 20 @ 7:00 PM: George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein, Founders of New York City Ballet

SPAC will present Walk of Fame Stars to two of the most influential figures in dance in the 20th century, legendary choreographer George Balanchine and arts patron Lincoln Kirstein. Together Balanchine and Kirstein co-founded New York City Ballet in 1948, creating one of the world's foremost ballet companies, renowned for its athletic, contemporary style with a repertory of original ballets that has forever changed the face of classical dance.  Both were pivotal in the establishment of SPAC as New York City Ballet's summer home, and as such, in the establishment of the first summer home for a ballet company anywhere in the
world.  After the Ballet's Opening Night in 1966, Kirstein praised the venue, saying, "I believe [SPAC] to be the greatest theater in the world for the spectacle of dancing.  And it is neither flattery nor chauvinism that makes me
say so. I mean it."

July 30 @ 7:00 PM: Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Governor of New York State, 1959-1973

Governor Nelson Rockefeller played a vital role in the creation of SPAC in both public and personal capacities,
committing land in the Spa State Park to the creation of the amphitheater and dedicating critical financial support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to the project.  At SPAC's 1964 Groundbreaking, Governor Rockefeller exclaimed,
"I can't help but be impressed and feel strongly that in America, the things that are done, the things that are good, that are exciting, that are wonderful, come from the individual creativity and responsibility of free citizens. I
don't think that I have been on a platform with as many men and women who have contributed so much to the cultural, recreational and dynamic growth of America
as are gathered here today."

August 10 @ 7:00 PM: Ed Lewi, SPAC Public Relations Executive Extraordinaire

Visionary public relations executive Ed Lewi served SPAC for over twenty years, first as Director of Publicity and Promotion, later as Promotion Consultant, and finally, as a
member and Secretary of the Board of Directors.  Lewi's creativity and foresight established some of the most memorable moments in SPAC's history, shaping public perception of SPAC and its artistic offerings, and building new audiences.

August 17 @ 7:00 PM: Maestro Eugene Ormandy, Music Director of The Philadelphia Orchestra, 1936-1980

Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra for over 40 years, Eugene Ormandy is legendary for his cultivation of the distinctive "Philadelphia Sound," a uniquely rich, resonant sound that made the Orchestra famous around the world. Ormandy served as a consultant to the design of the amphitheater, resulting in the impressive acoustics that have distinguished SPAC as one of the finest outdoor music venues in the world. At Opening Night of the Orchestra's inaugural residency in 1966, Ormandy stated, "I believe that history was made ... and I would be surprised if arts centers all over the country-indeed, all over the world-did not want to copy this incomparable amphitheatre."

***Photos of SPAC's 2016 Programs and Artists can be found at: