04.26.17 @

One of the world’s greatest dance companies, American Ballet Theatre (Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director), will unite with the seven-time GRAMMY® Award-winning musicians of the St. Louis Symphony in February 2018, at the University of Nebraska’s Lied Center for Performing Arts. The collaboration was announced this morning at New York City’s Lincoln Center and features a once-in-a-lifetime performance of Igor Stravinsky’s masterwork: Firebird with Principal Dancers Misty Copeland (Friday, Feb. 16, 2018) and Isabella Boylston (Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018) illuminating the iconic Firebird role.

The Lied Center for Performing Arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has become a national leader in presenting artists and collaborations normally only seen in the country’s major metropolitan centers like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Lincoln, NE will be the only city in the world during 2018 to host this collaboration between St. Louis Symphony, the second-oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, and American Ballet Theatre (ABT), America’s National Ballet Company®.  In recent seasons, the Lied Center has served as the venue where Yo-Yo Ma filmed a portion of his 2015 documentary “The Music of Strangers,” Idina Menzel made the live concert debut of music from her newest album in September 2016 and the Chicago Symphony performed on tour with Conductor Jaap van Zweden who was recently appointed as Music Director Designate of the New York Philharmonic.

The historic performances and collaborations between American Ballet Theatre and the St. Louis Symphony are made possible with generous private support from the estate of Glenn Korff. In recognition of the gift, the event will be recognized as the GK Platinum Command Performance. The gift also provides a $500,000 community challenge grant to build an endowment fund supporting the presentation of iconic artists for future generations at the Lied Center.

Born in Hebron, NE in 1943, Korff graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1965 and went on to have a successful career in in the area of finance and investments, retiring from Goldman Sachs. Lied Center Executive Director Bill Stephan said Korff’s legacy continues to enrich the human spirit through the arts by creating opportunities for Nebraska audiences and students to experience the world’s top artists at the Lied Center. “We are honored to forever recognize Glenn Korff’s contributions to the University of Nebraska and Lied Center for Performing Arts,” Stephan said.

Beyond the main-stage performances, this monumental collaboration will provide countless life-changing opportunities for students and Nebraskans of all ages with extensive educational residencies happening with artists from ABT and the St. Louis Symphony throughout the week leading up to the performance. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green said, “Engaging with artists like American Ballet Theatre and St. Louis Symphony is part of what makes the student experience on our campus distinctive. Throughout every academic year the most distinguished artists in the world teach in our classrooms and inspire our students.”   

Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler said, “My goal as Mayor has been to make Lincoln a world-class city, and that includes bringing the top artists from around the globe to our community. The Lied Center -- along with Pinnacle Bank Arena, Pinewood Bowl and our outstanding private venues – are making that happen. In recent years, residents and visitors from throughout the region have come to see such international stars as Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Yo-Yo Ma, the Chicago Symphony, Tony Bennett and Idina Menzel. We’ve enjoyed musicals fresh from Broadway and top professional dance companies like the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Lincoln is becoming known as a hub of the Silicon Prairie, but we are equally proud of our growing reputation as a center for arts and entertainment.”

Lincoln Chamber of Commerce President Wendy Birdsall said Lincoln is a world-class city. “We are routinely named as a top place to start a career or find a job, and we’ve been ranked as the happiest state in America. Lincoln’s arts and music scene is a reflection of that,” she said. “Stars like Joshua Bell, Wynton Marsalis, Katy Perry and Pink consider our community a destination tour stop and we believe there is no limit to what the future holds for arts and entertainment in Lincoln.

The February 2018 performances at the Lied Center will feature two works (Firebird & Serenade after Plato’s Symposium) by internationally celebrated choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, performed by the world-renowned artists of American Ballet Theatre.  These pieces will be complemented by two classic and iconic pas de deux, Black Swan and White Swan. Ratmansky served as Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Ballet prior to becoming Artist in Residence at ABT in 2009. ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie said, "We are so looking forward to working with St. Louis Symphony and combining our energy to produce a unique experience at the Lied Center and for Lincoln."

The full 2017-18 Lied Center Season is scheduled to be announced on May 4, 2017. Tickets to the February 2018 performances of ABT with the St. Louis Symphony will be available beginning May 11, 2017, as part of the Lied Center’s “create-your-own” season ticket packages.