EventMay 3 - 5, 2019

CalArts Presents 2019 Annual World Music and Dance Festival

CalArts’s Aza West African Ensemble performs at last year’s World Music Festival | Image: Angel Origgi

From May 3 - 5, CalArts will host the 2019 World Music and Dance Festival, representing musical traditions from around the globe.

Presented annually by The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, audiences can experience more than 20 outdoor concerts all free of cost on the school's campus. The 2019 festival features music from Bali, Ghana, India, Iran, Latin America and more. Below is a promotional video for this year's musical weekend:

Since its inception in the 1970s, the festival has brought celebrated international artists to CalArts and given students the opportunity to actively participate in programming – running tech, crew, concessions, and more – staying true to the school's method of “learning by doing.”  Students and faculty from the World Music program will also have the opportunity to perform alongside these artists.

Some of this year’s performance highlights include:

  • Pranesh Khan and his brother Aashish Khan, two legends of North Indian classical music;
  • Sulley Imoro, a traditional Dagomba drum player and current visiting faculty from Ghana;
  • I. Nyoman Wenten, master of the Balinese gamelan;
  • The faculty-led Balkan Ensemble, performing arrangements from regions such as Romania, Bulgaria, Serbo-Croatia and Macedonia;
  • A procession led by the Brazilian Drumming Ensemble exploring carnival rhythms including samba, batucada and bloco afro;
  • Rain at Sunset, a work written by student Brandon Carson which features an 18-player ensemble combining Gamelan with Western instruments;
  • CalArts’ very own and greatly admired Salsa Band.

The festival also includes a screening of the film Bali: Beats of Paradise. Nyoman Wenten, along with dancer Nanik Wenten, were the subjects of this recent documentary, which will be shown at CalArts’ Bijou Theatre on Sunday, May 5. The film, directed and produced by Livi Zheng, explores the history of Balinese culture and Gamelan Music. Watch the trailer below:

All the performances will take place at The Wild Beast Concert Pavilion and The Remo and Ami Belli stage at CalArts. Last year’s festival marked the expansion to two stages, and this year’s edition promises even more to enjoy, with food trucks, a vendor village, instrument makers, raffles and giveaways. The Remo stage will also host hands-on drum circles for children of all ages. A full schedule of activities and performances is available online.

CalArts has a long history of nurturing traditional and new forms of music from many cultures. The school’s World Music Program was founded by pioneering educator Nicholas England, and was one of the first schools in the US to offer degree programs in World Music Performance.

Students in the World Music Performance specialization closely study music and dance practices from a variety of musical cultures, while simultaneously acquiring solid grounding in music theory, musicianship skills and music history and literature. Unlike traditional ethnomusicology or anthropology curricula, the program is focused on high-level performance in non-Western traditions, achieved through close-knit instruction and performance projects, classes in music cultures of the world, relevant theoretical studies and ethnology.

Parking for and admission to the festival are free, although reservations are suggested and can be made on Eventbrite. It is a family-friendly event with content appropriate for all ages. For more information, please visit the CalArts website.

Event Details

CalArts World Music and Dance Festival

The Remo and Ami Belli Stage and The Wild Beast Concert Pavilion
California Institute of the Arts, 24700 McBean Pkwy, Valencia, CA

Friday, May 3, 5:30 pm
Saturday, May 4, 11:30 am
Sunday, May 5, 11:30 am

Admission: Free and Open to the Public

Full Programming Schedule
Reservations Suggested
Directions to CalArts

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