Touhill Performing Arts Center

'Miriam Makeba: Mama Africa the Musical' dancers and singers held a pop up performance at UMSL's Millennium Student Center Monday.
Provided by UMSL campus photographer August Jennewein

When Niyi Coker considers Africa’s contributions to modern music, he can’t help but think of Miriam Makeba, the acclaimed South African singer and activist who introduced international audiences to the continent’s sounds.

It’s impossible to separate Makeba’s art from her activism, said Coker, a professor of African-American studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. In a life that was heroic and tragic, the singer suffered three decades of forced exile from her homeland for challenging its racist policies and injustice.

When Makeba died in 2008, she left an incredible legacy, said Coker, a native Nigerian who wrote “Miriam Makeba: Mama Africa the Musical.” Its first performance in the United States takes place Thursday at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Famed choreographers Dianne McIntyre and Bebe Miller discussed their parts in Dance St. Louis' production of New Dance Horizons IV.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Dance St. Louis’ fourth installment of “New Dance Horizons” celebrates Black History Month. It will highlight the works of three nationally-renowned African-American choreographers inspired by those who came before them.

Miles Davis and Maya Angelou were two such artists with St. Louis ties that inspired choreographers Bebe Miller and Dianne McIntyre, respectively, as they created pieces that will be performed by St. Louis dancers this weekend.

Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Heather McGinley was born in St. Louis and graduated from O’Fallon Township High School in 2001. Now, she’s returned to the region with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, performing Oct. 2 and 3 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center as the 50th season opener for Dance St. Louis.

“I’ve been dancing professionally in New York for seven years,” said McGinley on Friday’s “Cityscape.” “This will be my first performance in St. Louis since beginning that career.”

George Davis, left; Eric Person, right
Alex Heuer

On June 19, for one night only, The Jazz Edge Big Band along with a special guest will pay tribute to St. Louis’ eight most influential saxophonists in their concert entitled “Tribute to St. Louis Saxophonists.”

Among those honored will be Oliver Nelson, Jimmy Forrest and David Sanborn.

On Friday, George Davis, co-founder of The Jazz Edge Big Band and board member of The Jazz Edge, Inc., and Eric Person, saxophonist, joined “Cityscape” host Steve Potter to discuss the event.

Brazilian dance troupe Compagnie Käfig
Agathe Poupeney / (Provided by Dance St. Louis)

Fans of dance in St. Louis are in for a treat this weekend, with National Dance Week - St. Louis taking over Grand Center and an exciting dance performance at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.  

Dance St. Louis presents Compagnie Käfig, a male Brazilian dance troupe that has been selling out performances on their U.S. tour and will perform at the Touhill this weekend.

Alla Voskoboynikova grew up in a small town in Russia near Moscow. She received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano performance before moving to St. Louis in 1996.

Since 2004, Voskoboynikova, the director of Keyboard Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, has seen many of her former students go on to graduate school and successful careers as performers and teachers.

“This is probably the greatest reward for all the hours of hard work,” Voskoboynikova told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday.

Founded in 1992, the Arianna String Quartet (ASQ) moved from Michigan to St. Louis in 2000 and became the Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Initially the quartet split its concert schedule between the Ethical Society and the Sheldon Concert Hall but was concerned that the audiences were completely separate. But with the opening of UMSL’s Touhill Performing Arts Center in 2003, the quartet found a new home in the center’s Lee Theater.

courtesy MADCO

On Friday, April 11 the Modern American Dance Company (MADCO) will premiere “Liquid Roads” at the Touhill. Choreographed by Gina Patterson to music directed by Brian Casserly, the 90 minute work is a celebration of St. Louis as a crossroads of music.

“St. Louis has a tradition of being a crossroads, with the river and also the railroads coming from east and west coming into St. Louis. And all of that brought people, and the people brought their music,” said Casserly.

(Courtesy Fellowship of the Performing Arts)

A theatrical adaptation of the C.S. Lewis novel The Screwtape Letters returns to the Touhill this weekend. When the play was first performed in St. Louis in 2010, director and co-author Max McLean performed the role of the demon Screwtape. The role is now performed by Brent Harris.

"He has a lot of experience playing evil characters," said McLean of Harris. "Macbeth, Iago, Scar from the Lion King."

When Paula David decided over Thanksgiving weekend of 2009 that she intended to start a contemporary dance company, she knew that she wanted to commission a work by her former colleague, Hubbard Street Dance’s founder Lou Conte, The ‘40s.  When he agreed, she set to work on incorporation and other logistics necessary to create a non-profit organization.

For the 34th year, the University of Missouri – St. Louis School of Professional and Continuing Studies presents a four-day festival highlighting the art of storytelling.  From May 1 – 4, six featured storytellers from across the nation join fifty storytellers from the St. Louis region to present more than one hundred events  in a host of locations including the Gateway Arch, the Missouri History Museum and numerous libraries, parks and bookstores in St. Louis and St. Charles Counties.

Cory Weaver

In the late 1990’s Eastman School of Music students Gavin Chuck and Alan Pierson saw the need for a top notch ensemble to perform their compositions and other contemporary music.  They set to work and formed the student ensemble Ossia.  One of their more notable concerts was one in 1999 that featured music by Steve Reich which the composer attended. After the concert, Reich expressed to the group his desire for an American new music ensemble that would be equivalent to England’s London Sinfonietta or Germany’s Ensemble Modern.

From April 18th through 20th, the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival will bring some of the greatest names in professional jazz to the stage as well as provide training opportunities for some 800 students.  In its tenth year, the festival has grown to be one of the most significant festivals in the Midwest.  Founded in 2004 by the University of Missouri – St. Louis and the Touhill Performing Arts Center, the festival last year added a partnership with Jazz St. Louis.

Marianne Leach

When a symphony orchestra performs Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” it’s always something of a spectacle.  The stage is packed to the brim with a large orchestra including two pianos and celeste, vocal soloists, a chorus and children’s chorus.  But Nashville Ballet Artistic Director Paul Vasterling’s vision of “Carmina Burana” employing 120 singers, 60 orchestral musicians and 40 dancers takes the work to new proportions.