You may be wondering: “What is Piccolo Spoleto?” If so, you’ve come to the right place! This annual performing arts festival celebrates the performing arts in Charleston and promotes the local community, which makes it perfect for everyone interested in art. The Charleston Music Hall is the main venue for the event, which features many performances, a children’s festival, and a master class series. Below are some of the highlights of the festival:
A Performing Art Festival
Launched by the Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs in 1979, Piccolo Spoleto is a performing art festival that features performances by regional artists. With over 700 events over 17 days, the festival transforms Charleston into a thriving arts community. Aside from classical music, Piccolo Spoleto’s program offerings also include dance, jazz, poetry readings, and ethnic cultural presentations. And tickets are reasonably priced, making the festival a popular and affordable way to enjoy the arts in Charleston.
The Piccolo Spoleto festival combines professional musicians with local artists to bring audiences an exciting range of performances, even those who specialize in professional headshots. Each year, the Charleston Symphony and the Atlanta Wild Marching Band perform for a free outdoor concert. Guests can experience the music of both classical and modern composers while sipping wine and dining. Performing arts are in the Charleston area during the month of April, and there are a number of other events, including art galleries and theaters. The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art will present Alyson Shotz’s Force of Nature. Meanwhile, Pure Theatre will present two new productions and revives from past seasons.
Music is the heart and soul of the festival, so don’t miss a performance by the New South Festival Singers. This award-winning group has delighted Piccolo audiences for over twenty years. Under the direction of Lynn Swanson, their 2022 program, Feeling Human, a Journey Through the Soul, will feature works from Gregorian chant to Faure. Among the works on the program are Charleston premieres and rousing spirituals.
On the piano, you can catch the debut of two young pianists. Anna Savelyeva will perform Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto movement 1 in the recital “Rising Stars.” Payton Lee will perform a piece by Gustav Holst, and pianist Eric Pickford will play a piano piece by Wieniawski. Other soloists include Joshua Brock and Anna Savelyeva, who will perform Schumann’s Dicterliebe and the first half of his Cello Concerto, Op. 24.
Promotes Performing Arts in Charleston
The annual Piccolo Spoleto festival promotes the performing arts in Charleston. The festival debuted in 1977 and has since inspired the renovation of local performance venues. Its focus is on young artists, innovation, and the performing arts. The festival’s poster features art by New York-based artist Christopher Myers, and it also features stained glass. During the event, there are also masterclasses that teach dancers and musicians how to perfect their craft.
In addition to the opera production, Piccolo Spoleto also offers a variety of musical performances. In addition to its theater series, the festival also features cabaret shows by the Charleston Opera Theater and the Summerville Orchestra. There are even surprise pop-ups in the city and downtown Charleston. The performances are also complemented by outdoor poetry recitations, a crafts market, and an art exhibition in Marion Square.
The festival is organized in partnership with the City of Charleston’s Office of Cultural Affairs and has a diverse program of performances and activities. The festival attracts both local and international artists and complements the global scope of the Spoleto Festival USA. The festival features 700 performances and events over 17 days, transforming Charleston into a vibrant celebration of the performing arts. Visual arts exhibitions and performances, classical and jazz music, theater, choral music, and children’s programs are just a sampling of the diverse program offerings. Ethnic cultural presentations and films are also part of the festival.
Every year, the Festival presents over 500 arts events. The Piccolo Spoleto festival emphasizes community participation and accessibility. The festival is an outreach arm of the Spoleto Festival USA and will take place May 23-June 8, 2014. To participate in the event, artists must submit a work in any 2D media. The artwork must be original, and artists must provide a professional display tent. Applicants must also be onsite each day for the entire 17-day event.
Hosts a Children’s Festival
The renowned tenor Sam Hagan and pianist Mac Frampton will be performing for the Piccolo Spoleto Children’s Festival on Sunday, March 25. The concert will feature selections from Mozart’s Hymn of Praise to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Poulenc’s Chansons Francaises, and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Palms. The event will also feature the world premiere of a new composition by Kenton Coe called “The Architects of Heaven,” performed by the Carolina Concert Choir. They will be performing at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, 142 Church St., at 3:00 p.m.
Aside from the opera, the Piccolo Spoleto Festival will also feature children’s performances and the Global Village of World Music. The festival’s poster image, designed by James Innes, is a representation of the connection between artist and audience. The painting features a confluence of two swaths of color and beautiful emerging light. The event’s final performance is at 4:15 pm in Hampton Park.
The Charleston Symphony Orchestra will perform several concerts during the Piccolo Spoleto festival. The Charleston Symphony Orchestra will be performing three of their Concert Series series this year. Also, the Anderson University Chamber Singers will perform pieces from Beethoven’s “Ravel” and Handel’s “Porgy and Bess.”
The City of Charleston’s Piccolo Spoleto Children’s Festival will also host the Art of Discovery Youth Art Exhibit. The festival welcomes children in grades 4 through 12 to submit their artwork, and select pieces will be displayed as part of the annual art exhibit. The Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center and NAMI Charleston are sponsoring the event. They are looking for art that speaks to personal challenges. The deadline for submissions is May 11th.
Hosts a Masterclass Series
During the Spoleto Festival, the Piccolo Spoleto Festival offers a master class series led by guest artists. During the festival, master classes are held by dance companies such as Porgy and Bess, Company Wang Ramirez, and L-E-V. Other masterclasses take place during the festival, including sessions with Hillel Kogan, composer Terence Blanchard, and Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg.
This year’s festival will feature a performance by the Kandinsky Trio on Oct. 30 at the U.S. Custom House in Charleston, South Carolina. The concert will be free and open to the public. Concertgoers can enjoy the beautiful backdrop of Hampton Park as they listen to the performance. For more information about the concert, visit the Piccolo Spoleto website. The Kandinskys’ latest CD, In Foreign Lands, was selected as one of the top ten CDs of 2003 by WNED. The Charleston Post and Courier has hailed them as an extraordinary group with a bright future.
The festival also presents an exceptional master class series by Stephanie Mortimore. The award-winning artist has held the Principal Piccolo position with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since 2000. She served as Acting Principal Flute during the 2008-09 season. Her accomplishments include the first prize in the Myrna Brown Competition, a James Pappoutsakis Scholarship, and a Grammy Award-winning recording with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Mortimore is also active as a recitalist and has given numerous performances. In addition to performing with the Met Orchestra, she has given many concerts and masterclasses in New York, Chicago, and Dallas.
The Piccolo Spoleto Festival offers a wide array of performances, from classical to contemporary. The festival highlights the work of local artists as well as emerging talent from the region. While the parent festival has a children’s program, the master class series is geared toward adults. Those who attend the events are sure to enjoy their time at the festival. The master class series is free and open to the public.
Hosts a Music Festival
During its annual music festival, Piccolo Spoleto brings the arts community to Hampton Park for a weekend of family fun and events. There are plenty of food and beverage vendors, and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra co-presents the event. In addition, the festival’s Early Music Series features classical works by Bach, Vivaldi, and Mozart. Tickets are available at the box office, online, or at the event.
New Trinity Baroque performs a varied program of classical and baroque music. The ensemble utilizes period instruments, historically informed techniques, and stylistically appropriate singers. On opening night, they perform “The Grand Tour” with works by Bach, Telemann, and Vivaldi. The concert will conclude with a special performance by the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Afterward, take some time to browse the children’s art exhibition.
The ensemble of the Southern Appalachian Chamber Singers is another great choice. This 20-voice choir from Atlanta performs choral works from different eras, including the Renaissance and the contemporary. The group will also perform excerpts from Stephen Paulus’ Mass and Gloria by Francis Poulenc. These concerts are a highlight of the Piccolo Spoleto music festival. And don’t miss the Festival Singers’ performances of choral works.
During the outdoor art festival, Marion Square is transformed into an open-air market. The festival is a perfect opportunity to experience the art scene in the city and meet local artists. The event is free and open to the public Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. There are no admission fees and all activities are free for members.