Also on the University of Washington series bill: Youssou N’Dour, Sō Percussion, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Garrick Ohlsson, Martha Graham Dance Company and Jeremy Denk.

Share story

Seat yourself in the University of Washington’s Meany Hall next season and you’ll be able to roam clear around the world, culturally speaking.

For 2015-16, Meany executive director and UW World Series artistic director Michelle Witt has lined up 27 acts from 16 countries. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour, So Percussion, the Peking Acrobats and Brazil’s Grupo Corpo are just a sampling. Chamber music, keyboard recitals, dance, world music and multimedia events are all in the works.

Here’s what’s coming:



UW World Series 2015-16 season

For more information on programs and season-ticket prices: 206-543-4880 or

Returning Seattle favorites include Sankai Juku (Oct. 1-3), Trisha Brown Dance Company (Feb. 4-6, 2016), Grupo Corpo (March 24-26) and Martha Graham Dance Company (May 5-7).

The Brown series will be bittersweet for fans of the Aberdeen-born dancer/choreographer/artist. Her renowned company will be on its farewell tour, presenting “Proscenium Works, 1979-2011,” and the Meany performances are the final shows. Brown, 78, is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and a member of the National Museum of Dance Hall of Fame, among many other honors, and her work “Set and Reset” is part of the baccalaureate curriculum for French dance students.

Sankai Juku will present the North American premiere of their latest piece, “Umasuna: Memories Before History.” The Martha Graham program includes a new work by Nacho Duato accompanied by a live male chorus.

Making their Seattle debuts are Akram Khan Company (Nov. 12-14), which blends classical Indian dance with contemporary sensibility, and MalPaso Dance Company (March 3-5, 2016), a Cuban company on its first U.S. tour that will perform to live music by Grammy winner pianist-composer Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble.


New York-based string quartet ETHEL kicks things off on Oct. 8, in collaboration with Grammy-winning Native American flutist Robert Mirabal, followed by Youssou N’Dour (Nov. 8). Highly eclectic husband-and-wife banjo duo Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn will appear ealy next year. (Feb. 13, 2016).

Latin Grammy-winning flamenco guitarist Vicente Amigo and “globalFEST On the Road — Creole Carnival” make their Seattle debuts March 16, 2016, and April 14, respectively. “Creole Carnival” features Haitian singer Emeline Michele, Brazilian samba combo Casuarina and a Jamaican one-string guitarist who calls himself Brushy One-String.


Another farewell appearance: Anonymous 4, the all-female vocal ensemble, will offer a “best-of” program of modern and ancient works at their final Seattle performance (Dec. 4). The foursome is disbanding after three decades of touring and 2 million albums sold.

Before that, the Danish String Quartet (Nov. 4) will bring early Beethoven (String Quartet No. 1) and late Beethoven (“Grosse Fuge”) to town, spicing it with Schnittke’s “Grosse Fuge”-derived String Quartet No. 3 and a piece by modern Danish composer Per Nørgaard.

So Percussion (Jan. 31, 2016) taps into Seattle’s own musical history when it performs John Cage’s “Third Construction” (composed while Cage worked at Cornish College of the Arts). Steve Reich’s “Mallet Quartet” and Bryce Dessner’s “Music for Wood and String” round out the program.

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (whose members include violist Richard O’Neill, a longtime Seattle Chamber Music Society favorite) presents works by Mozart, Schubert and Mendelssohn (March 19).

The season ends similarly to how it began, with early and late Beethoven string quartets performed by the Daedalus Quartet (April 29), and a brand-new work by UW composer Huck Hodge.


Seattle favorites Jonathan Biss (Oct. 20); Garrick Ohlsson — making his 16th series appearance (Jan. 12, 2016); and Jeremy Denk (March 18) return to town. Making their Seattle debuts: Russian pianist Yulianna Avdeeva (Dec. 1) and Russian-German pianist Igor Levit (Feb. 10, 2016), who both have won prizes for their keyboard prowess.

Denk, familiar from his cheeky yet dazzling Seattle Chamber Music Society performances, comes to us riding a particularly impressive wave of honors: a 2013 MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the 2014 Avery Fisher Prize and a 2014 “Instrumentalist of the Year” award from Musical America.


Some shows are available only to Meany subscribers until single tickets go on sale Aug. 3. Foremost among them: cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who’ll be here Dec. 8. This is a chance to see him in a far smaller venue than he usually plays (with ticket prices reflecting that fact — they start at $165).

Other special events: the Peking Acrobats (Jan. 23, 2016), dance/performance art troupe Jane Comfort and Company (April 7-9), sitarist Anoushka Shankar (April 9), Gil Shaham performing solo works for violin by Bach to images created by filmmaker David Michalek (April 16) and pianist Murray Perahia (April 20).