Savannah Music Festival

Thursday's at 8:00 p.m.
  • Hosted by Rob Gibson

The Savannah Music Festival is dedicated to presenting a world-class celebration of the musical arts by creating timeless and adventurous productions that stimulate arts education, foster economic growth, and unite artists and audiences in Savannah. It is Georgia's largest musical arts event and one of the most distinctive cross-genre music festivals in the world. In addition to an array of musical performances that includes dance, film, and narrative programs, the festival operates year-round to produce youth concerts, lectures, in-school touring programs, recordings, a weekly radio series, an annual high school jazz band competition and festival, and interactive websites.
     The Savannah Music Festival   stages original, one-time only productions, premieres and double-bills, including commissioned works and unique series. The Savannah Music Festival  has made collaboration a priority and works with organizations including the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah Tour of Homes & Gardens, The King-Tisdell Cottage/Beach Institute, The Savannah Garden Exposition, Georgia Historical Society, and a variety of the City's houses of worship, all of which have helped to draw record numbers of tourists and locals alike.

Air Thursday, July 4 at 8 p.m. Back in the 1930s, a group of related Pentecostal churches developed an African-American gospel music tradition known as sacred steel. The steel guitar was embraced in worship services in place of the traditional organ. This new instrument was met with great enthusiasm by musicians, many of whom made recordings in the 40s and 50s. Since then, sacred steel has flourished in churches across America, and the tradition continues to be vital and alive today. Tune in for a 2012 Savannah Music Festival performance by one of the foremost exponents of the sacred steel tradition, The Campbell Brothers.

Airs Thursday, June 27 at 8 p.m. Every now and then a musician comes along with an artistic conception that is so original, he/she is incapable of sounding like anyone else. Such is the case with all great artists, but at age 30, Chris Thile has become one of the most unique American musicians of our time. Tune in for excerpts from a solo performance by Mr. Thile at the 2012 Savannah Music Festival, where he wove Bach's G minor sonata into a unique collection of covers (including Josh Ritter and Fiona Apple songs) and original music in a free spirited and masterful performance.

Airs Thursday, June 20 at 8 p.m. Philadelphia has been the birthplace of many great jazz musicians, including many masters of jazz. By the late 1920s, players such as Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti had put Phillip on the jazz map, followed later by Stan Getz and a jazz scene in the 1950s that would include the Heath Brothers, Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Brown, John Coltrane, Benny Golson and Philly Joe Jones, just to name a few. One local kid who fell in love with jazz while still in high school and gradually made a name for himself is none other than pianist Kenny Barron, who at age 68, is playing his finest music ever. Tune in to hear a 2012 solo recital given by Mr. Barron at the Savannah Music Festival. 

Airs Thursday, June 13 at 8 p.m.  Old-time American music has always resided comfortably next to classic country, folk and bluegrass. Fans of these styles have always known they can count on a superb blend of them when listening to Tim O'Brien, who has spent the last three decades expanding the possibilities of acoustic music. In 2011, Tim O'Brien brought an all-star quartet to the Savannah Music Festival, featuring Bryan Sutton on guitar, Stuart Duncan on fiddle and Mike Bub on bass. Tune in to hear excerpts from their three exceptional 2011 sets in Savannah.

Airs Thursday, May 23 at 8 p.m. Tucked between Togo to the west and Nigeria on the east, the West African nation of Benin is one of the smallest on the continent, yet it has produced one of Africa's finest contemporary musicians. During the Spring of 2011, we premiered a special production featuring guitarist Lionel Loueke in a seven-piece ensemble under the direction of Robert Sadin. Working together, Sadin and Loueke crafted an extraordinary hour-long set built around original compositions and an array of stunning instrumentalists: Sadin conducted cellist Vincent Segal, violinist Mark Feldman, multi-reed and wind player Charles Pillow, along with Walter Blanding on bass clarinet, percussionists Cyro Baptista and Thioko Diagne, while Loueke sang and played guitar.