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Lincoln Center announces 2018 White Light Festival
Les Arts Florissants, 2018. Photo: Julien Benhamou.

NEW YORK, NY.- Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts announced its 2018 White Light Festival, which will run October 16 through November 18. The multidisciplinary festival will feature events presented in six venues across the city, including world, U.S., and New York premieres. The ninth annual international festival will explore transcendence, interior illumination, and the communal impulse as exhibited through artistic expression across continents and centuries.

"Today we are both more connected and less connected than ever before," said Jane Moss, Ehrenkranz Artistic Director of Lincoln Center. "This year's White Light Festival offers an array of exemplary cross-cultural performances that explore inner contemplation as well as outward creative expression, offering new, profound communal experiences."

The festival takes its name from a quotation by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt: "I could compare my music to white light, which contains all colors. Only a prism can divide the colors and make them appear; this prism could be the spirit of the listener."

The 2018 White Light Festival opens on Tuesday, October 16 with the return of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's Sutra, which had its U.S. premiere in a sold-out run at the inaugural White Light Festival in 2010. The Belgian choreographer mixes contemporary dance with martial arts in this singular piece featuring warrior monks from China's Shaolin Temple, a Zen Buddhist enclave devoted to kung fu.

In another bold fusion of East and West, British choreographer Akram Khan presents the U.S. premiere of XENOS, which marks his final performances as a dancer in a full-length piece. Combining classical Indian kathak and contemporary dance, Khan conjures up the shell-shocked dreams of a colonial soldier in this exploration of identity, personal mythology, and the universal horrors of war.

Two more groundbreaking works bring contemporary dance to the stages of White Light. Cutting-edge Company Wang Ramirez based in the South of France, presents the New York premiere of Borderline in which dancers, attached to cables, bring to light and transpose the desire of freedom inherent in all forms of dance to create a visual poetry of gravity and weightlessness. East London's Boy Blue, founded by Michael "Mikey J" Asante and Kenrick "H2O" Sandy, epitomizes physical virtuosity with a fierce political bite in the U.S. premiere of the dance-theater work Blak Whyte Gray.

Ireland's inestimable Druid theater company and Tony Award-winning director Garry Hynes present Samuel Beckett's irreverent existentialist masterpiece, Waiting for Godot. In this refreshing reimagining infused with slapstick comedy, Druid's award-winning production joins the festival for a 14-performance run.

Framing Time combines music, movement, and light in a performance of Morton Feldman's piano work Triadic Memories. For this world premiere production, co-presented with Baryshnikov Arts Center, pianist Pedja Muzijevic performs Feldman's spare, poetic piece alongside captivating movement from Spanish choreographer and dancer Cesc Gelabert.

The human voice steps into the light in a concert version of The Creation, Haydn's triumphal oratorio depicting the birth of the universe, presented by Les Arts Florissants under William Christie with a trio of archangel soloists. In a more intimate a cappella offering, the Latvian Radio Choir pairs transcendent Mahler with contemporary Latvian composers at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin.

Violinist Hilary Hahn revisits Bach's captivating sonatas and partitas in a solo recital at Alice Tully Hall, and the Takács Quartet appears with new violinist Harumi Rhodes in a sublime exploration of Schubert, joined by cellist David Requiro.

The festival closes with the U.S. premiere of Kaija Saariaho's chamber opera Only the Sound Remains, directed by Peter Sellars. Based on two Noh plays, the hypnotic work creates a shimmering world of supernatural encounters, given voice by countertenor Philippe Jaroussky and bass-baritone Davóne Tines, and embodied by dancer Nora Kimball-Mentzos.

As in prior years, the 2018 White Light Festival will offer opportunities for audiences to delve further into the themes of the festival with pre- and post-performance artist talks, film screenings, and a special panel discussion moderated by John Schaefer. White Light Lounges follow many performances: these receptions are exclusive to White Light Festival ticketholders and provide opportunities to mingle with artists and fellow concertgoers while enjoying a complimentary glass of wine or sparkling water.

The White Light Festival is one of many programs offered by Lincoln Center that annually activates the campus's indoor and outdoor spaces across a wide range of the performing arts. Additional presentations include the Mostly Mozart Festival, American Songbook, Midsummer Night Swing, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, ongoing free performances at the David Rubenstein Atrium, and Live From Lincoln Center broadcasts that reach beyond the iconic campus.

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