Artswego season to serve up music, dance, science, more


August 5, 2019

This year’s Artswego performing arts season at SUNY Oswego will feature a variety of music plus dance, family-friendly science and more.

As with previous seasons, Artswego performers also provide residencies, classroom appearances, community outreach and other ways of tying in with SUNY Oswego’s academic offerings, often in interdisciplinary ways.

The 2019-20 lineup incorporates more music than previous years, but “I feel like there’s a diversity of musical events that presents something for everybody,” said Miranda Traudt, SUNY Oswego’s director of arts programming. “Every artist brings something different to the table, and they all have opportunities to engage with our students, our campus and our community.”

The season starts with the musical collaboration of ETHEL + Robert Mirabal presenting “The River” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 11 in Waterman Theatre. The concert connects to the theme of Fresh Water for All, the campus-wide Grand Challenge.

Mirabal is a three-time Grammy-winning Native American musician and instrument builder partnering with ETHEL, who are billed as “one of America’s most adventurous string quartets” and make a return appearance at the college. 

This collaboration is inspired by water as the embodiment of spirit and essential to all life on Earth, providing a flow of music, narrative and ritual that evokes timeless Native American traditions through contemporary musical virtuosity.

The Mark Lomax Quartet will present “400: An Afrikan Epic” at 7:30 Sept. 23 in Sheldon Hall ballroom. This concert  will be the closing event of the college’s annual multicultural ALANA Student Leadership Conference.

The production explores thousands of years of the pre-Colonial era for the continent, the Ma’afa (the 400 years between 1619 and 2019) and Afro-futurism that looks at the next 400 years. Along the way, it celebrates the resilience, brilliance, strength, genius and creativity of a people who continue to endure while offering an inspired view of the future.

The quartet is known to combine the fire and passion of John Coltrane’s legendary Classic Quartet of the 1960s with modern sensibilities, crafting a repertoire that includes spirituals, the works of jazz masters, original music and more.

Squonk Opera returns to Oswego with the free outdoor event “Pneumatica” Oct. 4 and 5 during the college’s annual Homecoming Weekend. It is an event about air, made of air and powered by air.

The production in the center of campus will feature blowers and fans filling inflatables culminating in creating the 40-foot-tall Lady Pneumatica who incorporates a wind turbine on her head. Air-driven music including bagpipes and an accordion plus other instruments punctuate a presentation that merges art, design, music, poetry, science, math and engineering.

“This show incorporates science and technology into the performance and I think has the possibility for a lot of collaboration with courses in those fields,” Traudt said. “It’s an example of the interdisciplinary performances we like to include.”

Cie Herve KOUBI, a high-energy 13-man dance troupe from Algeria and Burkina Faso, will stage “What the Day Owes to the Night” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12 in Waterman Theatre. The production incorporates a dazzling display of backflips, head spins and a transcending emotional intensity.

Created by French-Algerian choreographer Herve Koubi, “What the Day Owes to the Night (Ce Que le Jour Doit a la Nuit)” unfolds to a score that includes Johann Sebastian Bach, Hamza El Din, the Kronos Quartet and traditional Sufi music.

The Oswego performance will be its first time at a SUNY school and a rare appearance in New York, Traudt said. SUNY Oswego was a lead institution in making this tour happen, with support from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.

A musical homecoming will wrap the season when Diana Preisler of the class of 1996 and her a cappella quartet Blue Jupiter perform “Twisted Broadway” at 7:30 p.m. March 7 in Waterman Theatre.

Blue Jupiter’s four soaring and intertwining voices will take attendees through a program including hits from shows such as “The Wizard of Oz,” “Wicked,” “Pippin,” “Porgy and Bess,” “The Sound of Music,” “Chicago” and more.

“They’re just going to be so much fun,” Traudt said. “It will also be a great opportunity for our students to hear from somebody who went to SUNY Oswego and is having a successful career.” Preisler and the band are known for their worldwide hit Lifetime TV show “Pitch Slapped” as well as 15 years of global touring.

Tickets for each indoor show cost $20 for the general public; $15 for SUNY Oswego faculty, staff and alumni; and $5 for SUNY Oswego students, other students and children. Tickets are available online at, at any SUNY Oswego box office or by calling 315-312-3073.

Soaring season -- Cie Herve KOUBI, a high-energy 13-man dance troupe from Algeria and Burkina Faso that will perform in February, is part of a diverse lineup of music, dance, interactive science and more encompassing the upcoming Artswego performing arts season at SUNY Oswego.