Arizona Musicfest’s 27th season showcases diverse lineup

Grammy Award winner Lee Ann Womack performs Feb. 16 at Highlands Church, 9050 E. Pinnacle Peak Road in Scottsdale.

The 27th annual Arizona Musicfest festival season brings a diverse lineup of exceptional artists to Valley audiences from country superstars Mary Chapin Carpenter and Lee Ann Womack to Broadway legends Chita Rivera and Tommy Tune, and from famed singer/pianist Michael Feinstein to internationally celebrated Pink Martini and the iconic bandleader/trumpeter Doc Severinsen.

The 2017-18 season features 25 performances beginning with the six-concert Fall Fest (Nov. 3-17) followed by the Winter Festival from January 26 to March 16, 2018.

Arizona Musicfest’s Festival Orchestra, under the baton of Maestro Robert Moody, will take the stage with special guest pianist Olga Kern and, during Festival Week in February, will perform renowned works by Beethoven, Vivaldi, Brahms, Gershwin, Mozart and Strauss.

On Feb. 25, Musicfest honors the centennial of Leonard Bernstein with his monumental “Kaddish Symphony,” narrated by the composer’s daughter, Jamie Bernstein.

“Our goal is a concert schedule that coincides with the metro area’s incredibly varied musical appetite,” says Arizona Musicfest Executive and Producing Director Allan Naplan.

“At the same time, our mission also is to provide music education programs to area students and schools, important performance opportunities and financial assistance to aspiring young musicians, and lifelong learning programs to the entire community.”

Tickets are now on sale at or by calling 480-422-8449.

Concerts are held at several Scottsdale and Phoenix locations.

The Fall Fest lineup:

  • “Super Diamond: The Neil Diamond Tribute,” Nov. 3 at Highlands Church, 9050 E. Pinnacle Peak Road, Scottsdale. The premier Neil Diamond tribute band presents a celebration of the singer-songwriter’s greatest hits.
  • Young Musicians Fall Concert, Nov. 5 at the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix. Arizona’s brightest young classical musicians showcase their virtuosity, technique and prodigious musicianship.
  • Olga Kern, pianist, photographed by Chris Lee at Steinway Hall.

    Dennis Rowland with Diana Lee, Nov. 7 at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church, 25150 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale. Dennis Rowland, former lead singer of the Count Basie Orchestra, and friend and musical partner Diana Lee, are backed by the Greg Warner Trio.

  • Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra, Nov. 11 at La Casa de Cristo Church, 6300 E. Bell Road, Phoenix. Featuring alums of the original Kenton Band, the Legacy Orchestra honors and amplifies the beloved bandleader’s enduring tradition by nimbly blending classic arrangements with new compositions in the Kenton style.
  • Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nov. 12 at Highlands Church. Five-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Mary Chapin Carpenter performs songs from her expansive 14-album catalog and new songs from her latest record, “The Things That We Are Made Of.”
  • The HillBenders, Nov. 17 at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church. Winners of the distinguished Telluride Bluegrass Band Competition, The HillBenders are favorites on the bluegrass scene with their own brand of acoustic fusion.Arizona Musicfest Winter Festival lineup, Jan. 26-March 16, 2018:
  • Chita Rivera and Tommy Tune in “Two for the Road,” Jan. 26, 2018 at Highlands Church. With a combined 12 Tony Awards to their credit, the duo will perform an evening showcasing the artistry, history and celebrity that have made them iconic stars of the Great White Way and beyond.
  • Young Musicians Winter Concert, Jan. 28 at Musical Instrument Museum. Some of the best young classical talent in Arizona showcase their musical talent, maturity and artistry.
  • Alison Brown Quartet, Jan. 31 at La Casa de Cristo Church, 6300 E. Bell Road, Phoenix. Grammy winner Alison Brown has established herself as not only one of the best banjo players in the world, but also one of the most innovative musicians around today.
  • The Fab Faux, Feb. 2 at Highlands Church. The Fab Faux brings impeccable attention to reproducing The Beatles’ seminal songs and sound.
  • Pink Martini, Feb. 6 at Highlands Church. Self-described as a “little orchestra,” Pink Martini’s music masterfully spans classical, Latin, jazz and classic pop.
  • Michael Feinstein, Feb. 8 at Highlands Church. Michael Feinstein, backed by a 17-piece big band, brings his mastery of the Great American Songbook to the Musicfest stage. ‘
  • The Doo Wop Project, Feb. 10 at Highlands Church. Showcasing stars of Broadway’s “Jersey Boys” and “Motown: The Musical,” the five charismatic, triple-threat performers entertain with street-corner singing Doo Wop favorites.
  • American Brass Quintet, Feb. 12 at Musical Instrument Museum. Internationally recognized as one of the premier chamber music ensembles of our time, the group’s performance history spans the globe, including nearly 60 recordings and the premieres of 150 works.
  • Lee Ann Womack, Feb. 16 at Highlands Church. Country star and Grammy Award winner Lee Ann Womack makes her debut at Musicfest. From her chart-topping global hit, “I Hope You Dance,” to her recent album, “The Way I’m Livin’,” and other beloved and award-winning favorites, Womack has become known for her deeply personal songwriting and remarkable voice.
  • Festival Sinfonia: Vivaldi & Mozart, Feb. 18 at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church. Following its successful debut in 2016, the Festival Sinfonia, comprised of Festival Orchestra musicians, performs an intimate concert of beloved orchestral works for smaller ensembles.
  • Festival Orchestra: Strauss & Brahms, Feb. 20 at La Casa de Cristo Church. Maestro Robert Moody leads the Festival Orchestra, comprised of players from the nation’s finest orchestras.
  • Olga Kern with the Festival Orchestra, Feb. 22 at La Casa de Cristo Church. The young Russian pianist and 2001 Van Cliburn Piano Competition Gold Medalist Olga Kern makes her Musicfest debut performing Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 3.”
  • ‘Festival Orchestra POPS! with Robert Moody & Friends, Feb. 23 at La Casa de Cristo Church. Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” featuring jazz star Tamir Hendelman, headlines a concert filled with symphonic favorites and beloved classics.
  • Festival Orchestra: Beethoven & Bernstein, Feb. 25 at La Casa de Cristo Church.

    The Allison Brown Quartet performs Jan. 31 at La Casa de Cristo Church, 6300 E. Bell Road, Phoenix.

  • Doc Severinsen’s Trumpet Kings, March 1 at Highlands Church. Trumpeter and bandleader Doc Severinsen returns to the Valley for a special concert joined by trumpet virtuoso Byron Stripling.
  • Alice Tatum Band, March 6 at Fairway House at Grayhawk, 8620 E. Thompson Peak Parkway, Scottsdale.
  • Papa Doo Run Run, March 9 at Highlands Church. Performing and recording continuously since 1965, Papa Doo Run Run’s high-energy, highly interactive show features classic rock favorites plus the band’s award-winning re-creation of the hits of The Beach Boys.
  • Seamus Egan Project, March 11 at Highlands Church. Founding member of the seminal Celtic band Solas and composer of Sarah McLachlan’s Grammy-winning song, “I Will Remember You,” Seamus Egan explores the breadth and depth of the Irish musical tradition mixed with bluegrass and much more.
  • Decades Rewind, March 16 at Highlands Church. A concert, dance party and theatrical performance featuring more than 60 songs, 100 costume changes, and videos.

Founded in 1991, Arizona Musicfest, a secular non-profit arts organization based in north Scottsdale, produces an annual concert festival as well as important music education programs, youth performance opportunities and a life-long community learning series for the Greater Phoenix area.

The Scottsdale Independent publishes a free daily newsletter. A print edition is mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses each month. If you value our journalistic mission, please consider showing us your support.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable. Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the arrow in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment