New season and new leadership for the Washington Performing Arts Society

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Entertainment,Music,Marie Gullard

Known for presenting a variety of programs that include classical, jazz and global music, the Washington Performing Arts Society announced a 2013-2014 season packed with more than 50 exciting performances to take place at 11 venues throughout the D.C. area.

Audiences can look forward to the debut of Wynton Marsalis' "Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration" performed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Chorale Le Chateau, as well as the relaunched Dance Theatre of Harlem in a weeklong residency of performances and community programs.

A hallmark of WPAS' five-decade legacy is the introduction of emerging performers, international orchestras and soloists, a wide range of repertoire and the finest of new creative voices. WPAS performances have helped many young artists launch, while repeat visits from renowned artists continue to enthrall audiences of all ages.

With the presentation of the 2013-2014 season, WPAS also welcomes a new president and CEO, Jenny Bilfield.

"Curious, inquisitive audiences with tastes ranging from classical to jazz, new music and dance will be rewarded by a treasure trove of must-see performances at an increasing number of venues across the area," she noted.

Season highlights include the return of such luminaries as pianists Simone Dinnerstein, Yuja Wang and Jeremy Denk along with violinist Stefan Jackiw. A celebration of the 100th anniversary of the premiere performance of "The Rite of Spring" features the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra in an all-Stravinsky program. International orchestras on the WPAS roster include the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic.

WPAS continues and expands its successful partnership with the Choral Arts Society of Washington and the WPAS Men, Women and Children of the Gospel Choir.

Another hallmark of WPAS is the educational outreach program, which expands in the new season to include workshops, master classes and performances in the community. WPAS performances taking part in the program include the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Step Afrika! and the Koresh Dance Company. In addition, more than 57,000 students and adults are engaged annually through WPAS educational events such as concerts in schools, in-school artists residencies, and the organization's jazz, strings, dance and gospel programs.

"As I start a new chapter in WPAS history, I look forward to connecting artists and audiences alike in powerful ways through public events, regional collaborations with key partners and arts education programs, using the past as a springboard to a future where the city becomes our stage," Bilfield said.

For more information on the Washington Performing Arts Society, visit wpas.org.

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