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The Savannah Music Festival announces its 2019 lineup

tenThing, a ten-woman brass ensemble from Norway, will be performing compositions by Handel, Copland, and Astor Piazzolla at the 30th annual Savannah Music Festival. The festival takes place March 28 through April 13, 2019. CONTRIBUTED: TENTHING
tenThing, a ten-woman brass ensemble from Norway, will be performing compositions by Handel, Copland, and Astor Piazzolla at the 30th annual Savannah Music Festival. The festival takes place March 28 through April 13, 2019. CONTRIBUTED: TENTHING

The Savannah Music Festival, one of the Southeast's most creative cross-cultural musical events, staged in one of the Southeast's most walkable cities, recently announced the line-up for its 30th annual season, which takes place March 28 through April 13, 2019.

As is usual in Savannah’s yearly smorgasbord of sound, the festival is strong in three areas: classical music; Americana/roots/acoustic music; and jazz.

But it also offers rock ‘n’ roll, dance events, and a variety of world music, with musicians coming to Georgia’s coast from 19 countries and five continents.

In this year's crop of artists are 33 groups and individuals who have never played the festival before, including jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, New Orleans soulster Jon Cleary and Southern rocker Jeff Tweedy.

The festival will host more than 80 performances in nine venues, all inside Savannah's historic district, most of them easily reached by foot from downtown hotels. The performances will include recitals, concerts, dance parties and late-night jam sessions.

Among the notable concerts will be those by the festival’s trio of associate artistic directors, classical violinist Daniel Hope, mandolinist Mike Marshall, and jazz pianist Marcus Roberts.

Hope joins the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Robert Spano, for a performance of Beethoven's Triple Concerto, also featuring cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

The Marcus Roberts Trio will appear with the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra performing Gershwin, Stravinsky and Roberts' original work, "Rhapsody in D."

Marshall will perform with fellow mandolinist Caterina Lichtenberg and with longtime collaborator Darol Anger.

Another highly anticipated concert will be a presentation from Angélique Kidjo, a native of Benin, and her Afro-centric interpretation of the 1980 Talking Heads album, "Remain in Light."

Bluegrass and country hero Ricky Skaggs and his band Kentucky Thunder will be among the artists performing  at the Savannah Music Festival next spring. CONTRIBUTED: RICKY SKAGGS
Bluegrass and country hero Ricky Skaggs and his band Kentucky Thunder will be among the artists performing at the Savannah Music Festival next spring. CONTRIBUTED: RICKY SKAGGS

Savannah creates unique events by putting together musicians from disparate backgrounds to produce something new, such as its past pairings of Del McCoury’s bluegrass band with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and jazz pianist Aaron Diehl with flamenco guitarist Dani de Morón.

This season will bring new combinations. Former Blasters guitarist Dave Alvin will join country artists Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Robert Earl Keen for experiments in Americana. John Medeski's jazz-funk quartet Mad Skillet will join up with New Orleans soul-funk vocalist Jon Cleary.

Popular events include the Late Night Jazz Jam led by trombonist and Georgia native Wycliffe Gordon; and the festival’s closing night party, featuring James Brown’s favorite saxophonist, Maceo Parker, who plays a family-friendly afternoon set and then a late night, no-holds-barred dance party.

Other highlights:

The John Pizzarelli Trio and Grammy-winning vocalist Catherine Russell will collaborate on "Billie & Blue Eyes," a tribute to Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra.

•A trio of singer-songwriters — Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan — perform as I’m With Her.

•Watkins is an alumna of the acoustic trio Nickel Creek; her former bandmate Chris Thile will bring his quintet, Punch Brothers (playing what's described as "American country-classical chamber music") for a return performance at the festival.

•The all-female 10-piece brass ensemble, tenThing, will give two performances of classical music ranging from Lully and Handel to Copland and tango master Astor Piazzolla.

Tickets to the 2019 Savannah Music Festival are available online at savannahmusicfestival.org, by phone at 912-525-5050, and in person at the Savannah Box Office (216 E. Broughton Street).