World Music Series ‘SPAC On Stage’ Opens Tonight With Russian Renaissance

The program, which runs throughout August, offers concert-goers the opportunity to sit on SPAC's main stage during performances.

Russian Renaissance
Russian Renaissance kicks off the "SPAC on Stage" season.

Tonight (August 6) at 8pm, folk fusion group Russian Renaissance will kick off the popular “SPAC on Stage” concert series at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC). Returning after a very successful run last year, the “SPAC on Stage” series will take place every Monday in August at 8pm, and offer patrons a unique and intimate concert-going experience: 350 audience members (that’s it per show; so be sure to buy your tickets well in advance) will get the rare opportunity of sitting directly on the amphitheater stage during performances of first-class music (talk about front row seats!).

The popular series of diverse musical performances is also an opportunity to bring more world music to Saratoga and the Capital Region area. “This year’s lineup represents both an eclectic mix of genres and cultural diversity, bringing vibrant musicians to Saratoga from different parts of the world,” says Elizabeth Sobol, President and CEO of SPAC. And it’s truly a stellar lineup. As I already noted, the series kicks off tonight with Russian Renaissance, a quartet of instrumentalists, who play a fiery brand of Russian folk music on traditional Russian folk instruments. After winning the $100,000 Grand Prize at the 2017 M-Prize Competition, the richest prize for chamber music in the world, Russian Renaissance has gone on to redefine the possibilities of their traditional folk instruments (balalaika, domra, button accordion and the balalaika contrabasso) through stunning fusions of tango, folk and jazz, among other genres.

Below, check out a complete roundup of the “SPAC on Stage” series:

-On August 13, audiences will enjoy the Miami-based Nu Deco Ensemble. This chamber orchestra meshes modern classical music with the performance, verve and visual art of pop music. Nu Deco regularly collaborates with a host of local Miami musicians, composers, dancers, DJs and visual artists to hybridize compelling musical and multi-media art.

-The hip-hop/classical duo Black Violin will be returning to SPAC on August 20 to give another mind-meltingly good performance. Classically trained instrumentalists Kev Marcus and Wil B (both from Florida) will show off their virtuosic abilities to fuse multiple genres of music with just a couple of violins and a killer beat. Sobol’s a big fan. “Black Violin, who were unable to perform last year due to the hurricane, will bring their stereotype-challenging presence across classical, hip-hop, rock and R&B genres,” she says.

-Closing out the series on August 27 will be the band that’s from Montreal-by-way-of-Chad, H’SAO. Of all the groups, H’SAO is perhaps the hardest to classify with mesmerizing harmonies and songs that shift back and forth across the musical spectrum. It might be easiest to say that if you enjoy mostly a cappella music then you’ll definitely love H’SAO (check them out—my socks were thoroughly knocked off).

Tickets to “SPAC on Stage” cost $40-$50, depending on your location on the stage itself. For more information visit spac.org.

Jeff Dingler
Jeff Dingler

Jeff Dingler is saratoga living's Senior Writer. He's a graduate of Skidmore College and a professional musician.

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