Spoleto Festival Announces 2012 Lineup

Mavis Staples, Rebirth Brass Band among jazz offerings at South Carolina fest

Renaud Garcia-Fons by Jan Scheffner image 0

Renaud Garcia-Fons by Jan Scheffner

The 2012 Spoleto Festival has announced its 2012 artist lineup. The festival, which takes place May 25-June 10 in Charleston, S.C., showcases artists in the areas of opera, theater, dance, physical theater, music and visual arts. The 36th annual festival will focuses its attention this season on the work of contemporary artists. The festival’s jazz programming, as described in a press release, is below:

Tickets will be available Monday, January 2, at spoletousa.org and 843.579.3100.


The Wells Fargo Jazz Series has become a showcase for a range of diverse musical styles loosely gathered under the broadly inclusive jazz umbrella; the 2012 installment will feature popular returning artists and exciting Festival newcomers. After her acclaimed Spoleto debut in 2001, Virgínia Rodrigues returns to the Gaillard stage lending her spellbinding contralto voice to songs steeped in African and Portuguese traditions; double-bass virtuoso Renaud Garcia-Fons’ unconventional style virtually reinvented the way the instrument could be played, resulting in an altogether new sound that enchanted Festival audiences in 2005; and Jake Shimabukuro, whose one-night-only appearance drew a record crowd to the College of Charleston’s Cistern Yard in 2009, brings his versatile ukulele and lightning-fast fingers back to Spoleto for two concerts at the Cistern Yard.

Twenty-two-year-old Cécile McLorin Salvant, described as “a young jazz prodigy” by Paris Hot Club magazine, recently took home first prize in the Thelonious Monk International Vocal Jazz Competition. This talented French-American vocalist makes her Spoleto debut at the 2012 Festival, as does gospel legend Mavis Staples, a ground-breaking artist whose history-spanning career broke the barriers of gender and race, paving the way for future generations of musicians, like Ms. Salvant, to rise to prominence.

At opposite ends of the Festival schedule-and of the musical spectrum-internationally acclaimed flamenco pianist David Peña Dorantes gracefully integrates classical, jazz, Celtic, and Brazilian themes in a concert during Spoleto’s opening weekend; while Rebirth Brass Band evoke the streets of their native New Orleans with a signature jazz/funk/hip-hop sound that brings an upbeat party atmosphere to the final days of the 2012 Festival.