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New Season: An 8-Month Journey With Performing Arts Center at Purchase College

Step Afrika!, Eddie Palmieri and Branford Marsalis with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra are among the big names that will appear during the new season at Performing Arts Center at Purchase College (PAC).

The PAC’s 2023-24 programming includes visits by audience favorites, new work from Purchase alumni, introductions to innovative emerging artists, and opportunities for creative encounters and engagement. The season’s thematic goal, says the PAC General Manager Ian Driver, is to build an artistic community.

“As much as possible, I’m looking to generate impact through the performances,” said Driver. The season’s highlights depend on attendees’ interests. In terms of creative engagement, he says the popular choices are Step Afrika! (September 23) and Urban Bush Women (February 24). For audiences seeking emerging artists, the highlights are A.I.M. (April 6) and Doug Varone and Dancers (March 16).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Driver adds: “I’m particularly excited by Branford Marsalis with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra (October 13) because that’s an exciting opportunity to mix a world-renowned jazz artist with chamber music.”

For more than 40 years, the PAC has been the hub of a creative community that assembles internationally acclaimed artists, rising stars and audiences. This community allowed the PAC to establish cherished traditions like the Rob Mathes Holiday Concert, which celebrates its 30th year in December.

“The holiday concert is a unique opportunity to celebrate an artist, a friend and a community that comes back year after year to see an event that represents continuity, celebration and family,” says Driver.

The PAC’s focus on community and continuity also includes the commission of new works from artists who have graduated from Purchase College. Alumnus Kyle Abraham received a BFA from Purchase College, and his contemporary dance company A.I.M will collaborate with choreographer Rena Butler—also a Purchase graduate—to produce a new work to be presented during their April 6 event.

Another Purchase College grad, Doug Varone, will debut a new dance piece called To My Arms/Restore, a two-part work that embodies Varone’s choreographic fascination with the interplay of the deeply emotional and the immensely physical.

Non-alumni will also premiere works. The October 13 performance by the Grammy Award winners Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Branford Marsalis includes the world premiere of a work by Antonio Garcia, commissioned by Orpheus.

The season begins on September 23 with a family-friendly performance by Step Afrika!, a celebrated African American dance company dedicated to preserving and promoting the tradition of stepping through performances that integrate songs, storytelling, humor and audience participation.

Driver asks art lovers not to look at the PAC’s new season as a series of individual, unconnected events, but as an eight-month journey. “As a patron, you’re evolving your creative tastes and creative life.”

The PAC’s season runs through April 20 at 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase.