Schwartz Center's 2019-2020 Candler Concert Series Celebrates Cultural Connections through Music

February 18, 2019

(ATLANTA) – The Schwartz Center for Performing Arts at Emory University explores how music can represent the voice of and find connections across diverse cultures in its 2019-20 Candler Concert Series.

Kicking off with Kronos Quartet’s Music for Change, the series journeys through the Americas, Europe, and Cuba before culminating in a celebration of local favorites, Robert McDuffie and Robert Spano. At the pinnacle of the series, we reflect on harmony through music with award-winning mezzo-soprano, Joyce DiDonato, whose project, In War & Peace, invites audiences to “look at the interwoven worlds of external conflict and serenity, internal war and peace, and to contemplate where you wish to reside within yourself.”

“Music is one of the beautiful things we share around the world – my hope is this coming season provides our audience the opportunity for new and meaningful shared experiences celebrating this commonality,” said Rachael Brightwell, managing director of the Schwartz Center.

Cultural connections continue with the pairing of acclaimed jazz pianist Brad Mehldau and classical tenor Ian Bostridge, two masters of their respective genres performing an entire new cycle. The season rounds out with the phenomenal pairing of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, Spanish classical guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas performing his solo work alongside a program of the AMERICANO Trio; and legendary jazz musician Jane Bunnett leading the all-female Cuban ensemble, Maqueque.

2019–2020 Candler Concert Series: 

Kronos Quartet with Mahsa Vahdat
Music for Change
Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 8 p.m.

In Music for Change, the Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet explores musical traditions and soundscapes with music from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Featuring Iranian vocalist, Mahsa Vahdat, the program highlights the rich diversity of artistic voices from these Muslim majority countries.  “My goal for Kronos has always been to be a revolutionary force,” says Kronos Quartet Artistic Director David Harrington, “not just in making music, but in exploring the ways that music can increase our understanding of our times and our connection to people around the world.”

Brad Mehldau, piano, and Ian Bostridge, tenor
Friday, October 18, 2019 at 8 p.m.

Spell-binding jazz pianist Brad Mehldau has always had a heart not only for jazz standards, but also for classical composers like Schumann and Brahms. Mehldau met Ian Bostridge in 2015 when they discovered that even beyond their mutual admiration, they had numerous similar musical affinities. Since that time, Mehldau has written an entire song cycle especially for the English tenor. Working closely together, these iconic artists will take the stage to traverse the borders separating musical genres. 

Joyce DiDonato–In War & Peace: Harmony Through Music
Sunday, November 3, 2019 at 7 p.m.

“If there is anybody to catch the inner, deeper sense of the music – the sense of inner conflict between war and peace – this is Joyce DiDonato. . .” - Opera World 

Honored four times as the ECHO Klassik Female Artist of the Year, the awe-inspiring mezzo-soprano from Kansas recently released her album, In War & Peace: Harmony Through Music to much acclaim. With the music of Handel and Purcell, among other masters, DiDonato brings this empowering theatrical performance to concert halls throughout the world, entreating us all to reflect on how we find peace in the midst of chaos.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with Khatia Buniatishvili, piano
Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 8 p.m.

With a history spanning more than seven decades, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has been at the forefront of music-making in the UK. As the RPO proudly looks to its future, its versatility and high standards mark it as one of today’s most open-minded, forward-thinking symphony orchestras. Led by internationally renowned and Olivier Award-winning conductor Mark Wigglesworth, the RPO is joined by the Georgian virtuoso pianist Khatia Buniatishvili for an evening featuring compositions by Jonathan Dove, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Jean Sibelius.

Pablo Sáinz Villegas
Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 8 p.m.

Praised as “the soul of the Spanish guitar,” Pablo Sáinz Villegas has become a worldwide sensation known as this generation’s great classical guitarist. With his “virtuosic playing characterized by irresistible exuberance” as described by the New York Times, Sáinz Villegas thrives over a continuous search for innovative ways to inspire diverse communities of society. The evening begins with a solo program, then Sáinz Villegas brings together the AMERICANO Trio to travel across the Americas on a musical journey weaving through nostalgic tango, vivid Venezuelan rhythms, and harmonic American bluegrass.

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque
Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 8 p.m.

Internationally acclaimed flutist, saxophone player, and pianist Jane Bunnett has devoted much of her professional life to an exploration of how Afro-Cuban melodies express the universality of music. Translated as “the spirit of a young girl,” Maqueque started out as a project to record and mentor young brilliant Cuban female musicians. Over the past five years, this award-winning ensemble has become one of the top groups on the North American jazz scene.

Robert McDuffie, violin, and Robert Spano, piano
Friday, April 10, 2020 at 8 p.m.

Grammy-nominated violinist Robert McDuffie enjoys a dynamic and multi-faceted career as a soloist with most of the major orchestras of the world. He returns to Atlanta to share the stage with the critically acclaimed artist, Robert Spano. Conductor and music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for nearly two decades, Spano bring his talents to the piano for this new duo recital collaboration featuring the works of Brahms and Beethoven. 

About the Candler Concert Series:

Made possible by a generous gift from the late Flora Glenn Candler, the Candler Concert Series brings internationally-renowned artists to the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts at Emory University. Candler artists range from large ensembles to solo artists and come from a wide variety of musical genres.

All concerts are presented in the Emerson Concert Hall of the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts  (1700 N. Decatur Rd., Atlanta, GA 30322). Tickets are available through the Arts at Emory Box Office online at, in person, or by calling 404.727.5050 Monday – Friday, noon – 6 p.m.

The Schwartz Center for Performing Arts is committed to providing performances and facilities accessible to all. Accommodation requests should be made at least 24 hours in advance of the event to the Arts at Emory Box Office at 404.727.5050, or by email at