Palladium's inaugural lineup offers a musical mix
by Jay Harvey | The Indianapolis Star | October 17, 2010
The Cleveland Orchestra, Clint Black, Marvin Hamlisch, Yolanda Adams, the Vienna Boys Choir, Marcus Miller and Michael Feinstein are just some of the musical heavyweights scheduled to play the Palladium -- Carmel's new 1,600-seat concert hall in the Center for the Performing Arts -- when it opens next year.
The inaugural season, debuting in January and sponsored by St. Vincent Health, packs lots of performances into five months, with five series -- four musical genres, plus dance.
"Our goal is to bring in artists who haven't been here before, as well as those who haven't been here for a long time," said Steven Libman, executive director of the center.
The Cleveland Orchestra, for example, has performed in Indianapolis seven times. But its May 22 appearance at the Palladium will be the orchestra's first concert in the area since 1983.
Libman said the series -- classical, jazz, country, songbook and dance -- was selected because of its success in similar performing arts centers across the country. "We know this model works in other cities," he said. "We're not introducing a new way of doing things."
More categories could be added once full seasons get under way in 2011-12, said Libman, mentioning blues and bluegrass in particular. He and Feinstein, a scholar and advocate of the Great American Songbook who serves as the center's artistic director, planned the series.
"Michael and I collaborate on everything, but with the Songbook Series he had a particular list of artists he wanted."
Libman is certain Feinstein's name was vital in assembling the array of performers.
"It adds a lot of cachet to what we're doing," he said. "In some cases, it was an enormous help; in others, it helped us close the deal."
Eventually, the center also may make its mark as a place where new music and dance originate, Libman said.
"Michael and I want to commission original work, too. We're very committed to that."
A sign that the Palladium has the potential to change the local arts scene is the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's willingness to get in on the ground floor.
The ISO will present itself at the Palladium in two additional performances of programs already on the Downtown schedule at Hilbert Circle Theatre. On May 5, Joshua Bell will be featured soloist in Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. On June 19, the ISO will bring back conductor laureate Raymond Leppard to lead the orchestra with the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and soloists in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor ("Choral").
"These are additional performances we feel will have a lot of demand in Carmel," said Simon Crookall, ISO president and CEO. Their popularity is unlikely to diminish attendance at the Circle on those two weekends, he added.
"The vast majority of our audience comes from Northern Indiana and Hamilton County," said Jessica Di Santo, ISO director of communications. "We don't know yet (among potential concertgoers) who might not be inclined to come Downtow