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Frost Amphitheater

Stanford Live's 2018-19 Season


By Chris Lorway, Executive Director of Stanford Live and Bing Concert Hall

Last season, we explored themes of nostalgia and national identity during a particularly memorable time in our nation’s history. We were inspired by the voices of over 100 extraordinary artists—each taking us on a unique journey to help us better understand the evolution of artistic practices in America over the last century. The celebration of nationhood can be a wonderful way to build pride and distill a commonality in the citizenship. But it can also lead to isolationism and leave various constituencies feeling as though they are not welcome to participate. As we witness the division of societies happening in countries around the world, my hope is that this global trend of polarization can be repaired through empathy.


“ This season focuses on human empathy through the examination of common shared experiences that connect us and help us better understand one another.”


For this reason, we are focusing this upcoming season on ideas and expressions that are deeply human and universal: what it means to experience life, love, and loss. These simple yet provocative words took us down a number of paths examining how people with various cultural backgrounds and histories ritualize these foundational stages of being. Beginnings of life, relationships, migration, mourning, and transcendence provide the threads of this rich tapestry. Our exploration of these themes—through thought-provoking theater, striking dance collaborations, and musical tributes—will examine how we as humans can discover common ground as we move together through life.

Dystopian Dream will be a centerpiece of Nitin Sawhney's fall residency.

New Orleans native Branford Marsalis celebrates the Crescent City's 300th birthday.

Artist residencies will play a more significant role in our program this year. Through the new Stanford Presidential Residencies on the Future of the Arts, we have invited a number of artists who will spend extended periods of time on campus, interacting with faculty, students, and the community. We are also proud to continue partnering with other organizations both on campus and off. For example, next spring we will present a new work exploring the plight of the Dreamers by Jimmy Lopez and Nilo Cruz, developed in partnership with Cal Performances. And finally, we will celebrate the culture of New Orleans—a city that epitomizes our season themes—as it celebrates its 300th birthday. Throughout this program, you will notice that we have used dividers to pose a series of thematic questions. We hope you will join us and our visiting artists as we search for answers to the complexities of our existence.


Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the performance of Dreamer, a new oratorio from Jimmy Lopez and Nilo Cruz.

Click here to view the full 2018–19 schedule