PALM BEACH — Gerard Schwarz, who led the Seattle Symphony to national prominence in his 26 years with the orchestra, has been named artistic and music director of the Palm Beach Symphony.
Schwarz takes over from Spanish conductor Ramón Tebar, who has led the orchestra since 2009. This is the second South Florida appointment for Schwarz, who earlier this year was appointed to the faculty at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music.
A native of New Jersey who served as principal trumpeter of the New York Philharmonic until 1973, Schwarz has led New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the New York Chamber Symphony in addition to his post in Seattle.
He currently directs the All-Star Orchestra and the Eastern Music Festival, and has won seven Emmy Awards, eight ASCAP Awards and been nominated 14 times for a Grammy Award.
Schwarz, 71, has been an increasingly familiar face to South Florida audiences in recent years, conducting concerts by The Symphonia Boca Raton for several years in a row, and in April, closing the Palm Beach Symphony season in music of Mozart and Bruckner. His son, cellist Julian Schwarz, also has been a repeat visitor, making two appearances this past season with local orchestras.
“Accepting the music director position at the Palm Beach Symphony is my great honor,” Schwarz said in a prepared statement. “During a wonderful week with the orchestra this season, I experienced their dedication to excellence, and I quickly realized what a superb orchestra they are. It is an unusually musical ensemble, and I believe we can accomplish a great deal together.”
Schwarz, a noted champion of American composers (especially David Diamond, whose symphonies he recorded with the Seattle Symphony), has programmed a masterworks series that will bring Palm Beach Symphony into “a new era of innovation and diversity,” according to the orchestra’s official announcement.
He plans to announce it next month, and orchestra officials said it will feature the works of traditional and living composers, shed light on the work of women composers and feature “a diverse roster of high-profile guest artists.”
Spady Museum gets NEA grant for superheroes of color comic book exhibit
DELRAY BEACH — Thanks to a $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Spady Cultural Heritage Museum in Delray Beach will be able to present an exhibit that focuses on the little-known legacy and historical significance of superheroes of color.
Titled Eroica: Black, Brown Red and Yellow Comic Book Narratives, the exhibit organized by curator and artist Khaluah Nuruddin and artist William Cordova, focuses on the origins and representations of superheroes of color in different comic book publications since their origins in the late 1930s.
Eroica (which is Italian for “heroic”) includes examples of early comics that reveal the origins of superheroes of color such as Voodha, the first black hero to appear in comic books in Crown Comics No. 3 of 1945.
Voodha was created by African-American artist Matt Baker, best known for his costumed crimefighter, the Phantom Lady, and who was also one of the first and most successful black comic book artists during the Golden Age of comics during the late 1940s and early 1950s.
The exhibit will also reintroduce Lobo (1965), a Western-style black hero created by Dell Comics, who was introduced during the civil rights era but discontinued after only two issues.
“‘Eroica’ will be an opportunity to engage people in conversations and reflections that deal with pop culture, iconic imagery, cultural representation, civil rights, modernism and history – all through the depiction of heroism in comic books,” said Museum Director Charlene Farrington.
“With the popularity of Marvel and DC comic book characters, now is a fantastic time to unpack the legacy and influence of cultural characters and what they meant to us then versus now, not to mention the artistry of the comic book drawings themselves.”
The exhibit will open this October. The Spady Cultural Heritage Museum is located at 170 N.W. Fifth Ave. For more information, call 561-279-8883 or visit spadymuseum.com.
New Theatre Lab season announced
BOCA RATON — Theatre Lab, the professional resident company of Florida Atlantic University, has announced the plays it will present for its 2019-20 season.
The season will include a three-play MainStage Series, including a regional and a world premiere in tandem with an off-Broadway company in New York.
“Theatre Lab’s audience has continued to grow and as we move into our fourth season of full productions, our expanded programming reflects our growth,” said Matt Stabile, Theatre Lab’s artistic director.
The MainStage season will feature in November a co-world premiere of Everything Is Super Great, by playwright Stephen Brown. The Theatre Lab production will run concurrently from Nov. 30 to Dec. 22 with a production by the New Light Theater Project and Stable Cable Lab Co. at the off-Broadway theater 59e59 in New York City.
“This heartfelt comedy (previously titled ‘Welcome Home’) was a huge hit at our 2019 New Play Festival and we are so proud to be able to bring it to full life,” said Stabile.
To Fall in Love, a play by Jennifer Lane, part of the 2109 Spring Playwright’s Forum Series, will return this year as the final Mainstage production of the season from March 14 to April 5.
“We knew from the work on the reading and the response from our audiences that this play would be a perfect fit for next season,” said Louis Tyrrell, Theatre Lab founding director, who will also direct the production.
When She Had Wings, by Suzan Zeder, a Heckscher Theatre for Families production about the tribulations of a 9-year-old girl named B., opens the MainStage season on Sept. 7 and runs through Sept. 29.
Theatre Lab will again offer the Playwright’s Forum and MasterClass Series in October, including emerging American playwrights Christopher Demos-Brown and Jaqueline Goldfinger.
The upcoming season also features the annual New Play Festival from Jan. 3-5, with a weekend of readings of new works with playwrights in attendance. Both of these series will include a new play from Theatre Lab’s Fair Play Initiative, a commission and development program for LGBT playwrights made possible by funding from Our Fund Foundation.
All of the events will take place in the Heckscher Stage theater space in Parliament Hall. For more information about Theatre Lab, visit fau.edu/theatrelab. For tickets and season subscriptions, call 561-297-6124. — Palm Beach ArtsPaper staff