Festival of the Arts Boca

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By Dale King The Pineapple Contributing Writer BOCA RATON, FL – The ninth annual Festival of the Arts Boca promises 10 days of “Beethoven, Broadway, Ballet and Banjos” when it takes over the north and south ends of Mizner Park from March 6 to 15. Events will take place either at the Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, or at the Cultural Arts Center, 201 Plaza Real. “The music program is really diverse, and the ‘Authors & Ideas’ segment is astounding,” said chairman and co-director Charles Siemon. “Throughout this cultural celebration, festival-goers will enjoy a rich line-up of performers as we bring back artists from years past and welcome some of the greatest intellectual leaders of our time.” One famed performer, flutist Sir James Galway, was part of the first Festival of the Arts Boca program in 2007, and he’ll be back with several other top flight musicians for a “Mozart Gala” on Friday, March 13 at 7:30 p.m. He’ll be joined by violin protégé Arnaud Sussman and pianist Conrad Tao, who, at age 13, appeared at the 2008 Festival. The music of Leonard Bernstein will be heard at the beginning and end of the Festival’s run. The cultural experience opens March 6, 7:30 p.m., with the screening of the film, West Side Story. The Festival Orchestra Boca will play Leonard Bernstein’s score and memorable songs with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim live while the newly re-mastered movie is shown in high definition on the big screen with the original vocals and dialogue intact. That isn’t all. “The Festival will close with a spectacular concert featuring the Young People’s Chorus of New York in Beethoven’s immortal Ninth Symphony,” said Siemon. During the performance, the young music students will sing “Somewhere” from West Side Story. In a special pre-Festival event March 4 at 7 p.m. in the Cultural Arts Center, Jamie Bernstein, one of Leonard Bernstein’s two daughters, will offer a lecture: “In Conversation with Jamie Bernstein – West Side Story and Her Father’s Legacy.” Siemon said those attending the festival will discover a stellar array of talented performers, authors, dancers and musicians. Banjoists Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn, his wife, will bring their special brand of tunes to the Amphitheater stage March 7 at 7:30 p.m. Fleck is a 10-time Grammy Award winner and has been nominated in more categories than any other musician in Grammy history. The Stars of International Ballet featuring principal dancer and choreographer Guillaume Côté from the National Ballet of Canada & Friends will take to the stage Sunday, March 8 at 7 p.m. Performers will also be on hand from the American Ballet Theater, Boston Ballet, National Ballet and Washington Ballet. “The ‘Authors & Ideas’ program brings some of the world’s greatest minds, with six Pulitzer Prizes winners among them, to South Florida,” Siemon said. Also on tap is what he calls “a thought-provoking documentary film, ‘Girl Rising,’ by Academy Award-nominated Richard E. Robbins. The piece journeys around the globe to witness the strength of human spirit and power of education to compel change. “The film features nine girls living in the developing world – ordinary girls who confront tremendous challenges and overcome numerous odds to pursue their dreams,” said Siemon. Prize-winning authors put the girls’ stories into words, and renowned actors give them voice. A half-dozen authors and journalists bring their own stories to the festival. Among them are Richard Ford, a contemporary American author; Clive Thompson, a renowned technology expert and writer for the New York Times Magazine and columnist for Wired and Michael Grunwald, best-selling author, senior staff writer for POLITICO magazine, editor-atlarge for The Agenda magazine, and contributor to Time magazine. He will talk about “Saving Paradise” (the Florida Everglades).

The schedule of events includes:

Wednesday, March 4 – 7 p.m. Jamie Bernstein Narrator, writer and broadcaster Cultural Arts Center Friday, March 6th – 7:30 p.m. Concert and Film: West Side Story Film with Orchestra, Festival Orchestra BOCA, Jayce Ogren, conductor Amphitheater Saturday, March 7 – 3 p.m. Girl Rising (documentary film) Cultural Arts Center Saturday, March 7 – 7:30 p.m. Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, banjoists Amphitheater Sunday, March 8 – 4 p.m. Richard Ford Pulitzer Prize-winning author “Let Me Be Frank with You” Cultural Arts Center Sunday, March 8 – 7 p.m. Stars of International Ballet Amphitheater Monday, March 9 – 7 p.m. Siddhartha Mukherjee Physician, researcher & Pulitzer Prize winning author “The Cancer Puzzle” Cultural Arts Center Tuesday, March 10 – 7 p.m. Clive Thompson Author, journalist & technology expert “Smarter than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better” Amphitheater Wednesday, March 11 – 7 p.m. Thomas Friedman Journalist & Pulitzer Prize-winning author “That Used to Be Us” Amphitheater Thursday, March 12 – 7 p.m. Michael Grunwald Award winning journalist & author “Saving Paradise” Cultural Arts Center Saturday, March 13 – 4 p.m. Lucinda Franks Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist & author “Love & Politics” Cultural Arts Center Sunday, March 15 – 4 p.m. Martin Goldsmith Broadcaster & author Cultural Arts Center Friday, March 13 – 7:30 p.m. Mozart Gala Flute, piano, violin & orchestra James Galway, Conrad Tao & Arnaud Sussmann with Festival Orchestra Boca, Constantine Kitsopoulos, conductor. Amphitheater Saturday, March 14 – 7:30 p.m. Young People’s Chorus of New York City and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony With Master Chorale of South Florida & Festival Orchestra Boca, Constantine Kitsopoulos, conductor. Amphitheater Tickets range from $15 to $125 per person and are available at www.festivalboca.com or by calling (866) 571-ARTS (866-571-2787). The All-Authors pass is $152 per person or $244 per person for premium seating.