2018 in Reviews

Headline Concerts

Elan Trotman with Rohn Lawrence

and Special Guest The Rahsaan Langley Project

Barbados-born, Berklee-educated saxophonist Elan Trotman and Elm City's own Rohn Lawrence are joined by The Rahsaan Langley Project to kick-off our headline series on the New Haven Green.

Flor de Toloache & Las Cafeteras

Flor de Toloache
NYC's Flor de Toloache brings the fireworks every time they perform, combining influences from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Colombia, Germany, Italy, and the U.S. to create an edgy, versatile, and fresh take on traditional mariachi music. This all-woman band has won hearts around the world, captivating crowds at The Grand Ole Opry, Coachella, and more. Bring your dancing shoes and get ready to fall in love.

Las Cafeteras
With its roots in community activism and its blend of influences, Las Cafeteras is a band with things to say and a vibrant way of saying them. Las Cafeteras brings together traditional Son Jarocho sounds, Afro-Mexican rhythms, the traditional dance zapateado, and inspiring lyrics—in English, Spanish, and Spanglish—to serve up a music both unique to East LA and universal in its appeal.

Ruth B

JUNO-award winning singer-songwriter Ruth B stunned the world with the success of “Lost Boys”—reaching the top 100 on iTunes and eventually rising to become the only piano ballad on the Billboard Top 40 when she was still in her teens. Inspired by The Beatles, Carole King, Lauryn Hill, and Taylor Swift, Ruth B combines a soulful voice with powerful lyrics that are both universal and unmistakably her own.

Join us as Ruth B shares songs from her phenomenal debut album, Safe Haven.

Amir ElSaffar

with members of the Rivers of Sound Orchestra and New Haven Symphony Orchestra

Iraqi-American trumpeter, santur player, vocalist, and composer Amir ElSaffar's Rivers of Sound Orchestra brings together musicians from a broad spectrum of musical worlds, creating a musical language that combines Middle Eastern "maqams" (modes) and instruments such as oud (lute), santur (hammered dulcimer), and hand percussion, with the rhythm, aesthetics, and instrumentation of contemporary Jazz. Rivers of Sound's 2017 release, Not Two, was described by the Chicago Tribune as "some of the most sensuously beautiful large-ensemble work being created today." For this performance, 10 musicians from Rivers of Sound are joined by 13 members of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra to form a hybrid ensemble performing new arrangements of ElSaffar's compositions, projected on a wider canvas.

Ticketed Performances

Radicals in Miniature

Obie Award-winning playwright Ain Gordon and percussionist Josh Quillen team up to tell stories of people who left an indelible impression on the world, even if their names have been long-forgotten by Google and other modern measures of success. From the tax man who visited Ain Gordon’s childhood household every year to downtown cabaret legend John Sex, each person’s story is told with tenderness and reveals the extraordinary ways in which they––and each of us––are all connected.

ensemble cantissimo

Founded in 1994, ensemble cantissimo is one of the most sought-after vocal ensembles in the German-speaking world.

A Billion Nights on Earth

Late nights are never as magical as they were when we were young. Celebrated director Thaddeus Phillips and visual artist Steven Dufala take audiences on a remarkable adventure in which a parent and child travel the world through a portal in their kitchen. Astonishing puppetry and Kabuki stagecraft animates larger-than-life penguins, milk cartons, astronauts, and squirrel before our eyes in this celebration of the wonders of childhood that you will want to experience with your kids and your parents.

The Muslim Choral Ensemble, Sri Lanka

The Muslim Choral Ensemble is the first Muslim ensemble in South Asia devoted exclusively to music of the Muslim world.


Staccato, choir of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) is comprised of university students. It boasts a wide and varied repertoire, focused mainly on a capella choral music of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Young People’s Chorus of New York City and Yale Choral Artists

The Young People’s Chorus of New York City® and Yale Choral Artists will premiere The Glass Box a new work by Paola Prestini, composed for both ensembles.

The Merchant of Venice

New England Premiere

In a utterly unique theatrical event, the Festival brings one of Shakespeare’s most well-known and controversial plays, The Merchant of Venice, to the Yale Law School Courtyard. First staged in Venice to commemorate the establishment of the Jewish Ghetto 500 years ago, the Compagnia de' Colombari’s new production, directed by Karin Coonrod, features a cast of five multi-ethnic actors to explore Shylock’s complex humanity as a father and merchant, villain and victim.

The Saturday, June 23 performance has been moved indoors due to weather concerns. Tickets still available.

Be part of the show! For each performance of Merchant of Venice, 24 people will have the opportunity to sit onstage with the actors for a great view of the performance and a chance to assist with one important theatrical action! To reserve one of these seats, select the date you’d like to attend, choose the regular-priced seating section and look for the ticket type “Onstage Seating.”

Kaki King

The Neck Is A Bridge To The Body

Recognized by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the greatest guitar players of her generation, over the past thirty years Kaki King has evolved from a prodigious finger-style player to a true visionary. Combining her insatiable imagination with virtuoso technique, The Neck is A Bridge to the Body is Kaki King at her storytelling best as she explores the creation myth and celebrates the guitar through an audio-visual feast that is not to be missed.


Mark Morris Dance Group

The Beatles’ groundbreaking album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” has turned 50. To salute this milestone in musical history, we’ve partnered with arts organizations from around the world to commission the Mark Morris Dance Group’s creation of Pepperland. A huge hit at its debut in Liverpool, Morris’ choreography combines with fresh arrangements of Beatles songs and new Pepper-inspired pieces to create “A brilliant homage to one of the great rock albums” -The Telegraph.

Tickets can be purchased at door at the Shubert Theatre. There is NO late seating for Pepperland.

Requiem for an Electric Chair

Toto Kisaku

With a gun to his head, Toto Kisaku was moments away from being killed by his government when his executioner showed him a moment of mercy. His only crime? Creating art that questioned the practice of child exploitation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Toto Kisaku found political asylum in the United States, but many people from his country have not been so fortunate. Be a part of the first audience to hear his harrowing story at the world premiere of his newest theatre piece Requiem for an Electric Chair.

Ideas Talks

Altar'd Spaces

The Coastal Reeds

The Coastal Reeds performs for schools and communities throughout Connecticut, showcasing the unusual and beautiful sounds of the double reed instruments. Take a journey through the history these instruments, experiencing music from the Renaissance to the present, learning how double reeds work, the interesting sound they make, and what makes them unique and fun to play. This program is fun and educational, appropriate for all ages.

Elegant Primates

Elegant Primates make original pop music for the 21st century. Playing original world beat pop music with Latin, African and Caribbean influences, they have performed for audiences of all ages at outdoor festivals, libraries, theaters and nightclubs. They blend rich four-part vocal harmonies with exciting, unusual percussion.

The Word

Weekly Word Warriors are passionate poets and rappers from New Haven high schools who have met weekly week to write, workshop, and perform poetry with teaching artists and special guests. They organize Citywide Youth Poetry Jams and satellite events at their sending schools. This performance focuses on poetry they've written influenced by the NEA Big Read book, Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine.

The Joe Carter Samba Rio Trio

Think: “Jobim meets Coltrane”. This international trio is well versed in the various Brazilian styles of music—Samba, Bossa Nova, Baiao, Choro. By combining this music with straight-ahead Hard Bop Jazz the trio creates a style known as Brazilian Jazz.


The Zikina experience starts with curiosity. If you’re like most audience members, you’ll immediately ask, “What is that he’s playing?” Uganda native Gideon Ampeire draws you in with a variety of traditional East African instruments rarely found in the US, including enanga (zither), adungu (harp), and kalimba (thumb piano)—all of which he builds himself.

The Recess Bureau

Created in 2015 by bassist/bandleader Jeff Moro, The Recess Bureau has played venues and events such as New Haven Jazz Festival, The Bitter End NYC, Branford Jazz Series, The Acoustic, BRYAC, and many more.

Carte Noire

Carte Noire musicians perform music as a language, combining diverse musical backgrounds to perform innovative, improvised programs. Drawing from jazz, contemporary and traditional classical music, world music, rock, and electronic music, the musicians invite audiences to share in their process of creation and discovery.

The Meadows Brothers

The Meadows Brothers' distinct brand of roots music combines folk, blues, country and rock 'n' roll into what the Boston Globe calls “An engagingly twangy sibling sound all their own.” Their 2017 release, “TRUTH”, demonstrates the brothers' keen ability to get to the heart of the matter with down to the bone melodies, blood harmonies, unsweetened songwriting, expressive guitars and blues tinged harp.

The Kenn Morr Band

The Kenn Morr Band performs Original Folk/Rock music featuring catchy melodies, thoughtful lyrics and unique instrumentation (guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, violin, bass, drums, accordion and three-part harmony.) Concerts are highlighted by the stories behind the songs.