UA Presents launches 25th; here are some ‘can’t miss’ highlights

UA Presents begins its 25th anniversary season this weekend with the incomparable Motown legend presentation of Smokey Robinson.

This season was programmed embracing UA Presents’ history and future by featuring a wide-range of diverse and major artists from around the world, including In the Room with David Hume Kennerly featuring Jon Meacham presented by Bank of America, violinist Itzhak Perlman, and comedian Hasan Minhaj, recognized as a ‘Pioneer’ and one of 2019’s Most Influential People by Time Magazine.

Visit UA Presents for more information on the season.

New UA Presents’ Executive Director Chad Herzog highlights eight acts that you shouldn’t sleep on.

Smokey Robinson

During Smokey Robinson’s 50-year music career, he has amassed more than 4,000 song credits, and has helped write songs for artists such as The Temptations, Mary Wells, and Marvin Gaye- among others. Robinson has been inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.

He also served as the Vice President of Motown records for many years, and had an illustrious solo career with songs like “Just to See Her,” “Quiet Storm,” and “Being with You.”

Smokey Robinson | Saturday, Oct. 5 | 8 p.m. | Centennial Hall

  “To see Smokey is going to be cool, no matter how old you are.”

Lila Downs

Lila Downs is a multi-Grammy® award winning Mexican singer who has shared Mexico’s culture with audiences worldwide. Lila’s performance, Día De Los Muertos: AL CHILE, is a celebration of dance, music, and Hispanic traditions. The performance will feature Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company, and Mariachi Femenil Flores Mexicanas, an all-woman mariachi band.

Lila Downs | Wednesday, Oct. 16 | 7:30 p.m. | Centennial Hall

“With over 40 people on stage, a true celebration of Dia de los Muertos with Lila, her band, an all-woman mariachi group, and dancers.”

Maceo Parker

Maceo Parker, an American saxophonist, has been at the forefront of the funk genre for decades.  Through collaborations with artists like James Brown, George Clinton and Prince, Maceo Parker has pioneered and developed funk as a musical genre. Parker’s performance is part of the 2020 Tucson Jazz Festival.

Maceo Parker | Jan, 10, 2020 | 8 p.m. | Centennial Hall

“Maceo is incredible — soul, jazz and a lot of funk.”

Kronos Quartet

San Francisco’s Kronos Quartet is comprised of David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello). Over the last 45 years, Kronos Quartet has performed thousands of concerts and won multiple prestigious awards.

Kronos Quartet, according to their website, “has persued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually reimagine the string quartet experience.”

Kronos Quartet| Jan. 18, 2020 | 8 p.m. | Crowder Hall

“Kronos celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and reminds us of all the change we hope is still to come.”

Cirque Mechanics

Cirque Mechanics was founded in 2004 by Chris Lashua, a Boston native.  Cirque Mechanics combines traditional circus acrobatics and mechanical contraptions to tell unique stories inspired by “American ingenuity.”

Cirque Mechanics is “the greatest contribution to the American circus since Cirque de Soleil,” according to Spectacle magazine.

Cirque Mechanics | Jan. 26, 2020 | 3 p.m. | Centennial Hall

“Cirque Mechanics is just fun.”

Black Violin

Black Violin is a Florida-based duo comprised of classically-trained musicians Kevin Sylvester (“Kev Marcus”) and Wilner Baptiste (“Wil B”).  The two met in a high school performing arts program, and after attending separate universities, created Black Violin.

Black Violin gained national recognition after their performance with Alicia Keys at the Billboard Awards in 2004, and is best known for their dynamic shows that combine modern music genres with classical instruments. Black Violin has shared the stage with renowned artists like Kanye West, Aerosmith, and Tom Petty.

Black Violin | Jan. 30, 2020 | 7:30 p.m. | Centennial Hall.

“These guys are insane.  We will be dancing at Black Violin.”


NIYAZ is an electronic world fusion group that was founded in 2004 by Iranian refugees Azam Ali and Loga Ramin Torklan, in collaboration with Carmen Rizzo, an American producer and engineer. NIYAZ blends traditional Middle Eastern instrumental tracks with electronic beats and lyrics based on Sufi poetry. Since the group was founded in 2004, they have released multiple albums, including Nine Heavens and Sumud.

NIYAZ | March 5, 2020 | 7:30 p.m. | Centennial Hall

“A truly transformative experience, with live music from another part of the world and mind-tripping projection and dancing.”

Cécile McLorin Salvant

Cécile McLorin Salvant is a multi-Grammy® award winning jazz vocalist. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Cécile spent years in France studying jazz at the Darius Milhaud Conservatory. In 2010, she won the Thelonious Monk competition.  So far, Cécile has released five jazz albums.

“Her voice clamps into each song, performing careful variations on pitch, stretching words but generally no scatting; her face conveys meaning, representing sorrow or serenity like a silent movie actor.” — Ben Ratliff, New York Times.

Cécile McLorin Salvant | April 8, 2020 | 7:30 p.m. | Fox Tucson Theatre

“Cecile is bringing voice back to the jazz world, and she’s someone you don’t want to miss.”


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