Tilles Center launches its 2011-12 season on a global theme, while Staller Center awaits word about whether a global celebrity will arrive in time for its curtain-raiser.
The "Yoko Ono Imagine Peace" exhibit at Staller's University Gallery continues through Oct. 15, coinciding with the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger concert -- Sean Lennon, girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl and their band. "When we landed Yoko's show," says Staller director Alan Inkles, "we worked hard to get her son here for a concert at the same time."
The Saber Tooth principals will fly here from Iceland following Sunday's relighting of the Imagine Peace Tower on what would have been John Lennon's 71st birthday -- part of a weeklong festival. "We're hopeful Yoko can make it," Inkles says. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, Tilles opens its "Create a World" season Sunday with an Ariel Quartet concert. The Israeli foursome is the former New England Conservatory resident ensemble and winner of several international competitions. Ariel will perform a program of Mozart, Schubert and songs by Copland and Bernstein.
TILLES CENTER Despite the global theme, Tilles' Nov. 5 gala features hometown girl Idina Menzel ("Wicked," "Rent," TV's "Glee"), a Syosset High alum. The State Symphony Capella of Russia (Oct. 16) is the first of two "Global Voices" concerts; Soweto Gospel Choir of South Africa is the second (Feb. 17). The grand opera tradition returns to Long Island with Dicapo Opera Theatre's fully staged "Tosca" Oct. 22, followed by "La Traviata" May 5, both in Italian with supertitles. Grammy and Emmy winner Rubén Blades adds a Latin flavor to the concert lineup Oct. 29. Jazz genius Herbie Hancock improvises on March 24. The Broadway series opens Oct. 30 with the L.I. premiere of Tony-winning "In the Heights." Among five symphonic heavyweights are the Vienna Symphony Orchestra Nov. 12 and Dresden Philharmonic March 10. A dance highlight is Momix's mesmerizing "Botanica," Dec. 9 and 10. "We cover a lot of ground," says Tilles director Elliott Sroka.
STALLER CENTER If there's a theme for Staller's season, it's something new, something tried and true. "We're looking for ways to find new audiences," Inkles says, "without forgetting our mainstays." Bebe Neuwirth ("Addams Family," TV's "Cheers") brings her "Stories With Piano" cabaret show to Staller's March 10 gala. Among new attractions: "Remember Me," a rock/modern dance mashup by Parsons Dance and the East Village Opera Company (Oct. 29), and club-inspired dance sensation Burn the Floor (May 11). The Royal Winnipeg Ballet stages "Moulin Rouge" March 17.
Much of Staller's classical music is in-house, with three concerts, starting Oct. 20 by the Emerson String Quartet, Stony Brook University's nine-time Grammy-winning resident ensemble. The Starry Nights series, beginning Nov. 17, features faculty musicians with distinguished solo careers, among them cellist Colin Carr and pianist Gilbert Kalish. Tapestry, a female vocal ensemble specializing in ancient chants on period instruments, performs a new work by Stony Brook's Sheila Silver Dec. 4.
Film and live streaming play a major role at Staller, with 12 movies in its fall series, plus Metropolitan Opera screenings, including "Anna Bolena" Oct. 16. London's National Theatre makes its simulcast debut at Staller in March.
WHAT Ariel Quartet
INFO Concert $42; Tilles Center season ticket plans, tillescenter.org, 516-299-3100
WHEN | WHERE Noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, plus 7 to 9 p.m. Saturdays, through Oct. 15, University Gallery; Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, 8 p.m. Oct. 15, Recital Hall, Staller Center, Stony Brook University
INFO Exhibit: free; stallercenter.com/gallery, 631-632-7240; concert: $34; Staller Center season ticket plans, stallercenter.com, 631-632-2787