The esteemed Artosphere Festival Orchestra, known for its exceptional caliber of musicianship, returns to Northwest Arkansas next month to delight audiences as the musical centerpiece of the 8th Annual Artosphere: Arkansas’ Arts + Nature Festival.

Presented by Walton Arts Center, the 2017 Artosphere Festival celebrates the intersection of art, music, nature and sustainability with performances, events and activities at locations across the region May 4-20.

The Artosphere Festival Orchestra (AFO) is now in its seventh year performing under the baton of internationally acclaimed Maestro Corrado Rovaris. Recognized as an important voice in classical music by American Public Media’s Performance Today — the nation’s most popular classical music radio program — AFO features more than 90 premier musicians from major symphonies, prestigious ensembles and distinguished programs across the globe performing both classic and new works by leading composers.

At this year’s Artosphere Festival, AFO musicians will traverse broad musical terrain from beloved traditional chamber performances in more intimate settings, to major performances at Walton Arts Center and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and fresh and lively “pop-up” concerts in Fayetteville’s Downtown/Dickson entertainment district.

“We are so excited to have the Artosphere Festival Orchestra return for its seventh season in Northwest Arkansas,” Walton Arts Center President and CEO Peter B. Lane said. “Participating musicians have performed across the United States, Europe and Asia delivering outstanding chamber music and orchestral performances, regularly bringing audiences to their feet. We’re thrilled to welcome Maestro Rovaris and the entire AFO ‘home’ for another exceptional festival season.”

During the festival, AFO will perform three main concerts: Live from Crystal Bridges: Mozart in the Museum on May 12; Mendelssohn In Scotland on May 17; and the Artosphere Festival Finaleon May 20.

In addition, classical music lovers can enjoy chamber music performances during the Chapel Music Series featuring by AFO’s founding principal strings and resident quartet, the Dover Quartet: An Evening of Beethoven on May 9 and Live from Crystal Bridges: Dover Quartet on May 13. AFO musicians will also perform causal “pop-up concerts” on May 18 in downtown Fayetteville during AFO: Off the Grid.

AFO MAIN EVENTS:

Live from Crystal Bridges: Mozart in the Museum
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville
Friday, May 12, 8 pm | Limited Availability
This all-Mozart program showcases the talents of the orchestra’s principal clarinet player Andrea Levine, bassoonist Wade Coufal, hornist Alexander Chin and oboist Rick Basehore as featured soloists. This concert will be broadcast live on KUAF 91.3 FM Public Radio.

Mendelssohn In Scotland
Walton Arts Center, Baum Walker Hall, Fayetteville
Wednesday, May 17, 7 pm | Tickets $10
This invigorating performance musically sketches Felix Mendelssohn’s 1829 three-week walking tour of Scotland, featuring his Hebrides Overture and Symphony No. 3 “Scottish,” as well as Johannes Brahms’ Variations on a theme by Haydn.

Artosphere Festival Finale
Walton Arts Center, Baum Walker Hall, Fayetteville
Saturday, May 20, 8 pm | Tickets $10
Musicians will perform Luciano Berio’s Four original versions of the “Ritirata notturna di Madrid” of L. Boccherini, superimposed and transcribed for orchestra; Antonin Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7; and Avner Dorman’s Frozen in Time Percussion Concerto featuring soloist Malavika Godbole.

MORE CLASSICAL MUSIC EVENTS:

Chapel Music Series
Dover Quartet: An Evening of Beethoven
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fayetteville
Tuesday, May 9, 7 pm | Tickets: $10
One of the most in-demand ensembles in the world and dubbed “the young American string quartet of the moment” by The New Yorker, the Dover Quartet will kick off this year’s Chapel Music Series with a special all-Beethoven performance in the stunning St. Paul’s chapel in Fayetteville.

Chapel Music Series
Live from Crystal Bridges: Dover Quartet
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville
Saturday, May 13, 4 pm | Tickets: $25
The internationally acclaimed Dover Quartet will present an afternoon of exquisite entertainment in the Great Hall of Crystal Bridges with a variety of classical music including the world premiere of Four Miniatures for String Quartet by Richard Danielpour, commissioned for the Dover Quartet by Walton Arts Center and Artosphere. This concert will be recorded live for delayed broadcast on KUAF 91.3 FM Public Radio.

AFO: Off the Grid
Downtown/Dickson Entertainment District, Fayetteville
Thursday, May 18, 7 pm | Free
Enjoy an evening of music and celebration at local pubs and other popular gathering places as AFO musician perform pop-up concerts for your listening pleasure. See the Artosphere App or website for details and locations.

The 2017 Artosphere Festival features many free and low-cost performances, events and art experiences across the region for children, families and the entire community to enjoy. Showcasing artists who are influenced by nature, Artosphere provides a creative framework by which the community can explore important issues of sustainability.

To purchase tickets and for more information about the Artosphere Festival Orchestra and 8th Annual Artosphere Festival, download the new Artosphere App, available on Google Play™ or in the Apple(R) App StoreSM; visit artospherfestival.org; or call the Walton Arts Center Box Office at (479) 443-5600.

Thanks to Greenwood Gearhart Inc., Tyson Foods Inc., Walton Family Foundation, Walmart, Experience Fayetteville, Springdale A&P, Visit Bentonville, Mid-America Arts Alliance, National Endowment for the Arts, Blue & You Foundation and Friends of Walton Arts Center. Additional support provided by Lee and Linda Scott. Support for AFO Music Director Corrado Rovaris provided by Mary Ann and Reed Greenwood. Media Partners: NWA Democrat-Gazette, CitiScapes Magazine, Celebrate Arkansas, NWA Business Journal, The Arkansas CW and KUAF 91.3 FM Public Radio. The Artosphere App is compatible with all standard smartphones and tablets. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Google Play is a trademark of Google Inc.

About Walton Arts Center
Walton Arts Center celebrates its 25th Anniversary season as Arkansas' premier center for the performing arts and entertainment. The Investing in our Future $23 million campaign marked its completion when the doors opened in November of 2016. Each year more than 190,000 people from Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma and beyond attend over 350 public events at Walton Arts Center, including performances, rehearsals, community gatherings, receptions, graduations and more. Approximately 45,500 students and teachers participate annually in arts learning programs at Walton Arts Center, and almost 300 volunteers donate more than 22,000 hours of time each year to its operations. Walton Arts Center presents entertainers and artists from around the world including Broadway musicals, renowned dance companies, international artists, up-and-coming jazz musicians and more. As a non-profit organization, Walton Arts Center enjoys the generous support of public sector funding, corporate sponsorship and private donors, allowing audience members to pay on average only 50% of the cost of programs offered. To learn more about Walton Arts Center, visit www.waltonartscenter.org