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WMPAC closes its season with string quartets

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WARREN MILLER PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

BIG SKY – After being forced to close its doors early last year due to the growing COVID-19 pandemic, the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center wasn’t sure what 2021 would hold. Questions about artists’ willingness to travel and perform lingered, as well as audiences’ willingness to take in a show in public. But the center didn’t see closing its doors for the winter as an option. Instead, the team put together a slate of shows that combined in-person and virtual performances and rolled out a new high-tech streaming platform, wmpac.live, which delivers high-caliber live streams to viewers who prefer to watch from home.

“This year presented challenges like we’ve never seen before, but we’re immensely proud of what we’ve accomplished and presented this season,” said John Zirkle, executive director of WMPAC. “We embraced the creativity of needing to rebuild from the ground up, and the quality of performances we saw from the artists blew us away.”

WMPAC brings its unprecedented 2021 Winter Season to a close with a performance by two exceptional string quartets, Cascade and Kronos. The Cascade Quartet is Montana’s foremost string group. They have toured nationally, and had the privilege of playing alongside Yo-Yo Ma when he performed with the Great Falls Symphony. The Cascade Quartet will travel to Big Sky to perform in-person on the WMPAC stage.

“We love having national groups join us, but it’s a special feeling to give the spotlight to local Montana artists who are exceptionally talented,” Zirkle said.

Cascade’s in-person performance will be paired with and amplified by high-quality films of Kronos Quartet performing pieces from their extensive repertoire. Kronos will not appear on the stage in-person, but have been working closely with Cascade to craft this dual performance for the WMPAC audience. Of late, Kronos has prioritized selecting music by contemporary and underrepresented composers, using their substantial name recognition to bring awareness to new trends and voices within the classical music world. The group will perform pieces by Tanya Tagaq, Aftab Darvishi and Hawa Diabate, among others.

Up to 50 patrons are able to attend each of the live performances at WMPAC, which will take place at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. on both Friday, March 26 and Saturday, March 27. Audience members will wear masks for the duration of the show, and groups will be seated with social distancing measures in place. For those who feel more comfortable taking in the show from home, the 5:30 p.m. performance on March 27 can be streamed live at wmpac.live, the center’s new virtual streaming platform.

Tickets and more information are available at warrenmillerpac.org.

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