With 34 shows in the 2014–15 season program, a 30 percent increase from last season, Sonoma State University's Green Music Center is more than a kick in the head; it's shaping up to be a very good year.
The opening night gala (Sept. 28) features Michael Feinstein in a tribute to Ol' Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, solidifying the New York connection made by former Carnegie Hall chairman and current GMC chairman Sandy Weill when he brought on former New York Philharmonic executive director Zarin Mehta this year as co-executive director with SSU administrator Larry Furukawa-Schlereth.
Yo-Yo Ma returns to the GMC for a third time. This season, Ma takes the stage in a solo performance of music by J. S. Bach. He's the most celebrated cellist in recorded history playing music by the most celebrated composer of all time—don't miss it. Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile from the Goat Rodeo Sessions (Ma's bluegrass band) are also scheduled for this season.
Stewart Copeland (yes, the drummer from the Police) and Jon Kimura Parker (yes, the pianist who recently performed The Rite of Spring as a solo piece) team up March 8 for an evening of drum set and piano magic that will include some of Copeland's Police hits and Parker's virtuosity.
A cappella legend Bobby McFerrin performs on April 10, and five-time Tony-winning actress and singer Audra McDonald takes the stage Dec. 5. The SFJAZZ collective brings musicians from around the world together for a Joe Henderson retrospective on April 17.
Experimental multimedia pioneer Laurie Anderson used harmonizers way before Imogen Heap made it cool. She's kind of like a cross between David Bowie at his most conceptual and David Byrne at his most poetic. She performs "Language of the Future," a collection of songs about contemporary culture, on Oct. 25.
The year-end holiday season will be especially joyful this year with a performance of Handel's Messiah by the American Bach Soloists (Dec. 21), a smooth jazz show by saxophonist Dave Koz (Dec. 22) and the one and only Johnny Mathis with a 35-piece orchestra playing Christmas favorites (Dec. 19).
The season also marks the opening of the 250-seat Schroeder Hall. The smaller recital hall is designed for student and choral ensembles, and was the original idea by the center's namesakes, Don and Maureen Green, for their beloved Sonoma County Bach Choir (though the 1,400-seat main hall isn't half bad, either).