Duke Performances

LIVE & ESSENTIAL: Curated Playlists

November 9, 2021


Join us this spring as we continue our season with twenty Live & Essential presentations, including new dance, contemporary theater, and music from established and emerging artists. We are thrilled to invite you to continue to safely experience live performances at Duke and in Durham in 2022.

These playlists, curated by music critic and reporter Jeremy Reynolds, will introduce you to the impressive musicians headlining our Spring ‘22 season.


The (Un)usual Suspects

From the Branford Marsalis Quartet to Imani Winds to Eighth Blackbird, Duke Performances’ fronts enormous musical variety in the strains of jazz and capital “C” classical and more contemporary works throughout the season, but the unifying factor is the A-list quality each of these soloists and chamber groups brings to the stage. Thrill to a bevy of music by rarely heard American composers — William Grant Still, Ruth Crawford Seeger, and Valerie Coleman, for example — balanced with the usual suspects like Haydn, Beethoven, and Bach in this instrumental playlist guaranteed to excite and inspire.

Voices Then and Now

Packing 400 years’ worth of vocal music into Duke Performances’ spring season makes for some zany juxtapositions, but for the musically curious, the variety of voices represents a feast for the ear. At one end of the smorgasbord, there’s Renaissance polyphony and the stripped-down stylings of contemporary composer and Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lang. In the middle, a variety of indie and folk-inspired groups like Sunburned Hand of the Man and Black Oak and fusion group The Illustrious Blacks. And on the other side, an AI-generated score based on the Beatles hit “Yesterday” and contemporary dancers interpreting covers of Stephen Stills’ “For What It’s Worth.”


Jeremy Reynolds (@Reynolds_PG) is the classical-music critic and reporter at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He also writes for Symphony Magazine, Early Music America magazine, Opera magazine, and others.