Called “one of the Southeast’s most creative cross-cultural musical events” by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the 17-day festival has been raising the bar each year by showcasing an exceptional cross section of award-winning icons, trailblazing contemporaries and dynamic newcomers. SMF 2023 features a series of outdoor performances at Trustees’ Garden, including two nights showcasing living legend and blues pioneer Buddy Guy on his “Damn Right Farewell” tour with special guests Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Eric Gales, King Solomon Hicks and Jontavious Willis. The Tedeschi Trucks Band returns after a four-year hiatus, and New Orleans jam favorites Galactic teams up with funk maestro Cory Wong and the jazz, R&B and pop fusion of Nate Smith + KINFOLK for a special performance.
Classical highlights include the Philip Dukes & Friends chamber music series, led by the world-renowned viola player and SMF Associate Artistic Director Dukes. A concert by the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, also with Dukes and former SMF Artistic Director Daniel Hope, represents a symbolic passing of the baton from Hope to Dukes. Additionally, the esteemed chamber ensemble the Emerson String Quartet makes a stop in Savannah on their final tour, the Dover Quartet performs with Savannah’s own Joseph Conyers, and acclaimed emerging pianists Alexander Malofeev and Drew Petersen give recitals.
Also known for unique artist collaborations, the 2023 festival will offer a number of one-time-only programs and special double bills. Melding world music with Americana, Malian master of the ngoni (precursor to the banjo) Bassekou Kouyate shares a bill with Jake Blount, scholar/performer of the Black string band tradition, appearing with Nic Gareiss and Laurel Premo. Master old-time and bluegrass practitioners Bruce Molsky, Tony Trischka and Michael Daves share the stage with The Onlies, which finds the mentors alongside a young, award-winning string band. Newgrass pioneers Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas share the stage, with Bush’s set featuring the inimitable music of the late John Hartford. Acclaimed jazz violinist Regina Carter offers “Gone in a Phrase of Air,” an original music and multimedia performance that explores the effects of the urban renewal of the 1950s and 1960s. Kenny Barron, Dave Holland and Johnathan Blake celebrate Barron’s 80th birthday, Terence Blanchard & E-Collective perform with the Turtle Island Quartet, and Grammy Award-nominated jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant shares the stage with vocal sextet San Salvador.
To purchase tickets and see a complete festival schedule, please visit savannahmusicfestival.org.