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Aretha Franklin

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Known the world over as the undisputed, reigning “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin is peerless. A uniquely inventive performer of unmatched artistry, Aretha’s timeless classic hits have established her as a true cultural icon. To add to her 17 Grammy Awards and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Aretha was the recipient of a Presidential Medal of Freedom (America’s Highest honor) in 2005.

Performance Date: November 17, 2007

Art Garfunkel

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Although it has been 40 years since Bridge Over Troubled Water was recorded, Art Garfunkel’s image and signature vocal remain among the most instantly recognizable in popular music.  His “beautiful countertenor,” as Neil Strauss described Art’s voice in The New York Times, is clear and resonant, surely one of the finest instruments in all of popular music, and a time-honored friend to a world of listeners.

Performance Date: October 28, 2000

Australian Baroque Brass

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Founded in 2003, the Australian Baroque Brass boasts some of the finest musicians Australia has to offer, with its members also holding positions in the Sydney Symphony, Adelaide Symphony, West Australian Symphony, and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestras. The ensemble pioneered the use of period brass instruments in Australia and is known for its vast repertoire and precise performances. Through its recordings and concerts both in Australia and abroad the Australian Baroque Brass has established itself internationally as one of the finest groups of its kind.

Performance Date: January 22, 2008

Australian Chamber Orchestra with Dawn Upshaw

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Website: Website:

Internationally renowned, the Australian Chamber Orchestra is a product of its country’s vibrant, adventurous and enquiring spirit. Under the inspiring leadership of Artistic Director and Lead Violin Richard Tognetti since 1989, the ACO has performed as a flexible and versatile “ensemble of soloists”, in a variety of formations and collections. Joining the ACO for its Norton Center debut is four-time Grammy® Award-winning soprano Dawn Upshaw. Ms. Upshaw is the first vocalist to win a MacArthur “genius” grant for her role as an advocate for new music. She has achieved worldwide celebrity as a singer of opera and concert repertoire, and she sings with a warmth and radiance that have earned her the devotion of audiences everywhere. Ms. Upshaw and the ACO will perform a new work by Grammy® Award-winning composer Maria Schneider, who is known for her lush and lyrical compositions.


Performance Date: April 13, 2012


Bale Folclorico da Bahia

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This sizzling 38-member troupe of dancers, musicians, and singers—the most popular folk dance company in Brazil—performs a mix of choreography from African and South American traditions, including slave dances, the dramatic capoeira (martial arts) and maculele warrior dance, the exhilarating samba reggae, and the company’s masterpiece, Afixiré (“dance of happiness”). In an electrifying and vibrant display of movement, Balé Folclórico Da Bahia transforms traditional culture into “a spectacular display of color, movement, music and drama” (Chicago Sun-Times). The energy they bring to the stage leaves audiences celebrating in the aisles. Called “exuberant, indefatigable, and virtuosic” by The New York Times, this acclaimed troupe celebrates candomblé, the uniquely Bahian spiritual practices rooted in the Yoruba religion brought to Brazil by West African slaves. With explosive drumming, frenzied dancing and irrepressible energy, the artists “push themselves to their physical limits…they dance so hard that their spirits show” (Dance Magazine).


Performance Date: October 30,2013

Ballet Folklórico de México

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The LA Times calls the experience of seeing a performance by the acclaimed Ballet Folklórico de México a “passionate, impeccable, and unequaled point of entry to the riches of a fabulous culture.” Founded in 1952 by Amalia Hernández, this legendary ensemble is recognized throughout the world as one of the greatest of all folk dance companies. The stirring music, thrilling dance, and lavish costumes of this company of 80 dancers and musicians will transport you on a thrilling journey through the magical realm that is Mexico.

Performance Date: November 1, 2007

Ballroom with a Twist

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Conceived and Choreographed by Dancing with the Stars’ Louis Van Amstel

A brilliant new dance production conceived and choreographed by Emmy® Award-nominated and five-time Dancing with the Stars pro, Louis van Amstel. And who best to execute Amstel’s moves on the Newlin Hall stage than fabulous young dancers from TV’s So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars. As if that’s not enough, this performance also features DWTS Celebrity Pros Edyta Sliwinska and Jonathan Roberts, who bring their stunning energy from the small screen to the large stage. Need even more? The evening also features American Idol finalists David Hernandez (season seven) and Gina Glocksen (season six) providing live vocals. This show combines classic ballroom dance with the latest authentic hip-hop and Broadway styles. Ballroom with a Twist is an extravagant evening of great entertainment for the entire family.


Performance Date: November 18, 2011


Photo of Barnum

PT Barnum is in the circus business despite his wife’s wishes, working with talents such as the oldest woman alive, Joice Heth, the tiny Tom Thumb and the famous Swedish opera singer, Jenny Lind, with whom he falls in love. In the end, he returns to his wife and joins with another circus owner, James Anthony Bailey, to form the Barnum and Bailey circus.

Performance Date: September 21, 1982

Bavarian Philharmonic Orchestra

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Comprised of musicians from Germany’s leading orchestras, including the Berlin and Munich Philharmonics, who come together for special projects under Music Director Enoch zu Guttenberg, the Bavarian Philharmonic has achieved a reputation as one of Europe’s elite symphonic ensembles during the decade since it was founded in 1997.

Performance Date: October 22, 2007

BBC Concert Orchestra

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Keith Lockhart, Conductor Website: Website:

Famous for their versatility, the  BBC Concert Orchestra players can turn their hands to classical, jazz, film music and crossover. They also provide the mesmerising soundtracks for many of the BBC’s nature programs. ‘Versatility’ and ‘flexibility’ are the BBC Concert Orchestra’s bywords. Its standard 56-strong membership can expand or contract according to the needs of the program. Leading the orchestra was Maestro Keith Lockhart, currently serving as Conductor of the Boston Pops. He is known for his friendly, informative and enthusiastic style, and will certainly encourage this extraordinary ensemble to give one of their best performances ever.

Performance Date: November 11, 2010

Beach Boys

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With more than 100 million albums sold, including the platinum Sounds of Summer released just two years ago, Billboard magazine named them the No.1 selling American band of all time.  “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” “Little Deuce Coupe,” “I Get Around,” “Surfer Girl,”  “Surfin’ Safari,” “In My Room.” The list of three dozen Top 40 Beach Boys hits just goes on and on.  Original member Mike Love and Grammy-winning songwriter Bruce Johnston (Barry Manilow’s  “I Write the Songs”), a member of the band since 1965, head the current Beach Boys.


Performance Dates: October 24, 2008; October 15, 1999

Beaux Arts Trio

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Menahem Pressler, piano; Isidore Cohen, violin; Peter Wiley Website:

Pianist and founding member Menahem Pressler, along with all of his Trio colleagues, violinist Daniel Hope and cellist, Antonio Meneses, continue to ignite overwhelming enthusiasm from audiences around the world. From the United States to Russia, from Japan to Germany, from Israel to Brazil, this renowned ensemble’s extensive engagements have brought it the highest praise and ovations from all of the world’s major music centers including New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., London, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney. Chosen as Musical America’s Ensemble of the Year in 1997, the Trio has been invited and re-invited by these centers for over 100 concerts and master classes each year. The Beaux Arts Trio’s superb musicians, distinguished history, comprehensive repertoire and expansive discography, contribute to its reputation as a hallmark of chamber music.

Performance Dates: March 14, 2000; April 14, 1999; February 25, 1990

Bela Fleck and Brooklyn Rider: A Banjo Quintet

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Website: Website:

Béla Fleck, a banjo virtuoso with 14 Grammys® and over 30 Grammy® nominations has worked in bluegrass, country, classical, jazz, and world music. Nominated for more Grammys® in more categories than anyone in music history, Béla has performed and collaborated with Edgar Meyer, Dave Matthews Band, Bonnie Raitt, the Grateful Dead, Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Thile, and many more. This season, he takes the stage with the adventurous string quartet Brooklyn Rider. At home in both clubs and concert halls, they have appeared in venues as varied as Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress and SXSW. Much of the group’s desire to extend the borders of conventional string quartet programming comes from their longstanding participation in Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. In addition to their Norton Center performance with the Silk Road Ensemble in March 2013, Brooklyn Rider previously performed at the Norton Center with Yo-Yo Ma in 2008.


Performance Date: November 16, 2013

Ben Folds

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Ben Folds first found mainstream success as the leader of the critically acclaimed, platinum selling Ben Folds Five. He has gone on to have a very successful solo career, recording multiple studio albums, a pair of records documenting his renowned live performances, a remix record, music for film and TV, as well as numerous collaborations with artists from Sara Bareilles to William Shatner.

Performance Date: May 7, 2004

Ben Vereen & Leslie Uggams in On Broadway!

Photo of Ben Vereen & Leslie Uggams in On Broadway!

“An opportunity to thank all the people who prayed for me” is the way Ben Vereen describes his concert tour “On Broadway!,” with Leslie Uggams.

Performance Date: January 20, 1997

Berlin Chamber Orchestra

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The Kammerorchester Berlin (Berlin Chamber Orchestra) is one of the oldest chamber orchestras in the German-speaking countries. Since its inception in 1945, the Berlin Chamber Orchestra has become one of the most prestigious ensembles active today. One of the city’s oldest ensembles, it first captured international attention appearing with Helmut Koch, its first artistic director.

Performance Date: November 8, 2000

Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet

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Comprised of principal players from the orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet continues to astonish audiences worldwide with their range of expression, their tonal spectrum, and their conceptual unity. Indeed many listeners and critics agree that the ensemble has succeeded in virtually redefining the sound of the classic wind quintet. The Indianapolis Star says, “Superb… Dazzling… Astonishing… In shifts of tempo and dynamics, I doubt a strand of hair could have been put between the sound of one player and another.”


Performance Dates: February 9, 2010; February 28, 1999

Beyond Glory starring Stephen Lang

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In a 75-minute tour de force one-man production, stage and film actor Stephen Lang enters into the personas of seven real American soldiers and sailors, rendering firsthand accounts of the actions which resulted in each of them receiving the nation’s highest military accolade: the Congressional Medal of Honor. Beyond Glory gathers these men together in the present, as aged and scarred vets, to look back on the defining moments of their lives and to examine with pride, pain and wonder the meaning of ‘courage’ and ’humility.’ Beyond Glory is not simply a play: it is a journey through pivotal moments of the American story, moments that resound with lasting meaning for audience members old enough to remember, and those young enough to yearn for inspiration. Stephen Lang is known for numerous stage and screen works, including Avatar (Colonel Miles Quaritch), Public Enemies, Gettysburg, A Few Good Men, Terra Nova, and Death of a Salesman (Broadway with Dustin Hoffman).


Performance Date: November 18, 2013

Big River

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Twain’s timeless classic sweeps us down the mighty Mississippi as the irrepressible Huck Finn helps his friend Jim, a slave, escape to freedom at the mouth of the Ohio River. Their adventures along the way are hilarious, suspenseful and heartwarming, bringing to life your favorite characters from the novel-the Widow Douglas and her stern sister, Miss Watson; the uproarious King and Duke, who may or may not be as harmless as they seem; Huck’s partner in crime, Tom Sawyer, and their rowdy gang of pals; Huck’s drunken father, the sinister Pap Finn; the lovely Mary Jane Wilkes and her trusting family. Propelled by an award winning score from Roger Miller, the king of country music, this jaunty journey provides a brilliantly theatrical celebration of pure Americana.

Performance Date: November 2, 1987

Bill Engvall with special guest Lee Cruse

Photo of Bill Engvall with special guest Lee Cruse

American Comedy Award winner for “Best Male Stand-up Comedian” and beloved contestant on the most recent season of Dancing with the Stars, Bill Engvall is a true show-business star.  He starred in and executive produced his own self-titled sitcom for TBS, which ran for three seasons, and starred in the NBC series, The Jeff Foxworthy Show, where he played Jeff’s best friend.  His first album, “Here’s Your Sign,” was certified platinum and held the #1 position on the Billboard Comedy Chart for 15 straight weeks.  Engvall was part of the hugely successful Blue Collar Comedy concert films, which have sold more than 9 million units and are some of the most watched movies and specials in Comedy Central history.  He also has several solo specials, including “Here’s Your Sign, Live” and “Dorkfish,” which was certified gold, surpassing Jerry Seinfeld’s album to rank #1 on Billboard’s Comedy Chart.


Lee Cruse has become the gold standard for comedy in the Bluegrass and beyond. He’s been making Kentuckians laugh through radio, as well as Lexington’s #1 morning television program for over a decade. “I really do have the best job on the planet. I love my Kentucky home, so to have the opportunity to visit these fascinating places and the great people is a privilege. It’s like I’m the community dog; people seem happy to see me and they’re always giving me snacks.”  Lee took his talents to the stage in 1995 to become a stand-up comic and Kentucky audiences will have the chance to enjoy him LIVE on stage before both performances of Bill Engvall at the Norton Center.

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