Spoleto Backstage

Selecting the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra

Jun 7, 2019
Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra members carry their insturments in downtown Charleston
Victoria Hansen

They are sure signs of Spoleto in downtown Charleston; instrument toting musicians and scorching heat.  Among the jostling violin cases, is Shannon Fitzhenry.  She’s back for her second year with the annual Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, one of 92 musicians chosen to play.

“The goal is to get up in time to warm up before rehearsal,” she laughs.  The Charleston native grew up with Spoleto, but admits she didn't fully appreciate it until she  moved away to study music at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland.

Sid Scott/What Girls Are Made Of

On this final episode of Spoleto Backstage for 2019, host Adam Parker speaks with Cora Bissett, writer and star, and Orla O'Loughlin, director, of the play "What Dreams Are Made Of." Based on Bissett's life story, the production follows a Scottish schoolgirl's rise to rock and roll stardorm and her rollercoaster journey along the way.

Pianist David Virelles and percussionist Roman Diaz teach a class at the Charleston Jazz Academy
Victoria Hansen

Scribbling notes on a dry erase board just won't do.  So David Virelles plays them instead, on a piano.  The Cuban composer and pianist is teaching a masters class at the Charleston Jazz Academy in North Charleston, as part of the Spoleto arts festival's community outreach program.

In just a couple of hours, he's performing too.

"I hope the students walk away with what it takes to play music," Virelles says.  "It takes a lot of discipline, perseverance and love.  You have to be passionate about it and really spend time to be any good."

Spoleto Festival USA

On this edition of Spoleto Backstage, host Adam Parker chats with Rob Taylor, director of Choral Activities at the College of Charleston, artistic director of the Taylor Festival Choir, and director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Singers, about his series of choral concerts as part of Piccolo Spoleto Festival 2019.

Sonatas and Soundscapes host Bradley Fuller speaks with Joe Miller, director of Choral Acivitives for Spoleto Festival USA and director of the Westminster Choir, about that group's performances at this year's festival.

Spoleto Festival Hopes to Inspire Children through Music

May 30, 2019
Chamber Music musicians plays for kids at Sanders Clyde Elementary School in downtown Charleston
Victoria Hansen

Chamber music and children may seem like an unusual combination.  But don't tell that to Geoff Nuttall.  The director of Spoleto’s Chamber Music Series works a room of fourth and fifth graders like the strings of his violin, with charisma and class.

“Music has been such a huge part of my life, said Nuttall.  “If there’s any way we can just open the ears and the eyes of a few of these kids it would be a great thing.”

A.T. Shire/SC Public Radio

On this episode of Spoleto Backstage, host Adam Parker speaks with mandolinist and singer-songwriter Chris Thile of the progressive bluegrass group Punch Brothers about their history of performing at Spoleto Festival USA. The two also discuss Thile's experiences as host of the public radio program Live From Here.

I'm With Her/Facebook

On this episode of Spoleto Backstage, host Adam Parker interviews singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sarah Jarosz about I'm With Her, a folk trio consisting of Jarosz, Sara Watkins, and Aoife O’Donovan.

Sonatas and Soundscapes host Bradley Fuller speaks with Lillian Heley and Paul Barrit of the 1927 Theatre Company about the world premiere of their latest work, "Roots," at Spoleto Festival USA.

Piccolo Spoleto Festival 2019 Logo
Piccolo Spoleto Festival/City of Charleston

On this episode of Spoleto Backstage, we learn about this year's Piccolo Spoleto Festival from Scott Watson, director of the Office of Cultural Affairs for the city of Charleston, and violinist Yuriy Bekker, concertmaster for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.

Host Adam Parker speaks with stage director David Herskovitz about his innovative new play, "Pay No Attention to the Girl."

And filmmaker Amos Gitai joins us with a preview of his multimedia performance "Letter to a Friend in Gaza."

Alfred Turner/SC Public Radio

The Spoleto Backstage podcast returns for 2019 to introduce you to the artists and people who make things happen at Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston.

Join host Adam Parker of the Post and Courier as we speak to key figures and artists about their performances before they go live. On this episode, Adam gets an inside scoop on this year's festival from Spoleto Festival USA General Director Nigel Redden, Sonatas & Soundscapes host Bradley Fuller speaks with Chamber Music series director/host Geoff Nuttall, and we hear from acclaimed Cuban jazz pianist David Virelles.

A scene from The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk.
Spoleto Festival USA

In this season finale of Spoleto Backstage, Jeanette Guinn talks with the stars of The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Marc Antolin and Daisy Maywood. 

Victoria Hansen speaks with Geoff Nuttall, artistic director for the Spoleto Chamber Music Series, about working with local schools to introduce classical music to students.

John Kennedy, conductor in residence at Spoleto Festival USA.
Spoleto Festival USA

In this episode of Spoleto Backstage, Jeanette Guinn sits down with Spoleto's busiest conductor John Kennedy who will be involved with three of this years performances: Music in Time, Tree of Codes, and You are Mine Own. We also get to hear from the conductor of Pia de Tolomei, Lidiya Yankovskaya.

Ranky Tanky/Reese Moore via Facebook

On this episode of Spoleto Backstage, trumpeter Charleton Singleton talks about the success of Gullah-inspired jazz ensemble Ranky Tanky.

Sonatas and Soundscapes host Bradley Fuller meets up with Marco Ceco, the conductor of the Colla and Sons Marionette’s production of "Il Matromonio Segreto."

Mayor John Tecklenburg performing at Spoleto USA, 2017.
Spoleto Festival USA

To kick off Spoleto Festival USA, we interviewed key figures and artists about their performances before they go live. Let us take you backstage to get the inside scoop from Spoleto’s general director, Nigel Redden; the mayor of Charleston, John Tecklenburg; and the director/host of the Chamber Music series, Geoff Nuttall.

Alfred Turner/SC Public Radio

Spoleto Backstage is a new short-run podcast taking you behind the curtain to meet the artists and people who make things happen at Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston.

In this teaser episode, host Jeanette Guinn introduces you to the show and previews what you can expect during the festival.