Duke Performances — the professional performing arts presenting organization at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina — is dedicated to bringing world-class performing artists, who are diverse, essential, and forward thinking, to perform at Duke and in Durham, to engage the Duke and Durham communities and beyond, and to partner with artists on the development and presentation of performance. Drawing on the resources of a leading research university and an exciting and invigorated Durham community, Duke Performances serves as a space for reflection, a laboratory for creative and critical inquiry, and a place for socially engaged performance.
Annually, Duke Performances offers a robust season of 80-100 world-class performances, making extensive use of a network of Duke and Durham venues, and presenting artists spanning classical, new music, jazz, Americana, independent rock, international music, theater, and dance.
Duke University has a long-standing history of presenting the world’s leading artists to its community. In 1956 Duke University invited Ella Fountain Pratt to develop arts programs for the student union. During her years at Duke, Pratt presented artists as diverse as Leontyne Price, Pete Seeger, Itzhak Perlman, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Janis Joplin, and The Grateful Dead. Upon Pratt’s retirement in 1984, Kathy Silbiger was appointed program director for what was known as the Institute for the Arts. During her 22-year tenure, she presented guest artists, created an artist-in-residence program, and co-created programming with other arts-related academic departments at Duke. In 2004 Duke Performances was born out of its predecessor, the long-standing Duke Institute for the Arts.
Silbiger retired in 2006 and was succeeded in 2007 by current director Aaron Greenwald, at a point where the University made a significant commitment to the arts in its new strategic plan. Since that time the organization has commissioned, developed, and premiered major new work from numerous forward-thinking artists. Under Greenwald’s direction, Duke Performances has evolved into a world-class university presenter whose mission serves three distinct initiatives: artistic quality, supporting campus and academic priorities, and playing a role in the renaissance of the City of Durham.
June 12, 2018: Duke Performances Announces 2018/2019 Season
February 27, 2018: Duke Announces Three-Year Partnership with American Ballet Theatre
June 13, 2017: Duke Performances Announces 2017/2018 Season
April 18, 2017: Duke Performances Announces 2017 Music in the Gardens