Above: Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon will write original music for a Liquid Music concert featuring TU Dance. (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune)


Over five seasons, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra's Liquid Music series became known for bridging the worlds of classical and indie rock. With its 2017-18 season, announced Tuesday, Liquid Music brings more dancers, visual artists and storytellers to the mix.  

The season's marquee event pairs Bon Iver singer/songwriter Justin Vernon with St. Paul's TU Dance troupe. Vernon will compose original music for the occasion, with TU Artistic Director Uri Sands creating an evening of fresh choreography. Their collaboration will unfold over three nights in April, 2018, at downtown St. Paul's newly renovated Palace Theatre. The project marks Vernon's first formal partnership with contemporary dancers, noted Liquid Music Curator Kate Nordstrum. "It feels like a risk for everyone in the best possible way," she said.

The Liquid Music season kicks off Oct. 21 with another world premiere by Rafiq Bhatia, a guitarist and composer best known for his work with the experimental electronic trio Son Lux. A co-presentation with the Walker Art Center, the concert also will feature Twin Cities visual artists Michael Cina and Hal Lovemelt

In conjunction with the SPCO's No Fiction Festival in March, 2018, Liquid Music has invited composer Brian Harnetty for a live performance of "Shawnee, Ohio." Written in 2016, Harnetty's composition uses archival sounds, field recordings and live musicians to illuminate the economic and environmental challenges facing this small Appalachian town.

Also for the No Fiction Festival, flutist Nathalie Joachim completes her 2016-17 Liquid Music "virtual residency" with a concert of new compositions exploring women's contributions to Haitian music.

The season concludes May 31-June 1, 2018, with "Blind Spot," a co-commission with the Walker Art Center featuring new music by jazz pianist Vijay Iyer with live narration by spoken word artist Teju Cole

Other concerts include a world-premiere composition by violinist and multi-instrumentalist Emily Wells, a regional premiere by "maximalist" British composer Anna Meredith, a six-pianist supergroup known as Grand Band, plus a performance of 20th-century music for electronics and violin by SPCO artistic partner Patricia Kopatchinskaja.

And finally, Liquid Music continues its "virtual residency" initiative for a second season by connecting Minneapolis choreographer Ashwini Ramaswamy with New York DJ/writer Jace Clayton. They'll partner on a project inspired by novelist Vladimir Nabokov for the 2018-19 season.

Tickets are on sale for the full season as well as individual concerts. See the Liquid Music site for details on these shows:

Rafiq Bhatia, Michael Cina and Hal Lovemelt: "Breaking English"
Oct. 21 at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

Patricia Kopatchinskaja: Luigi Nono’s "La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura"
Oct. 26 at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

Emily Wells: "The World Is Too ______ For You"
Nov. 16 at Machine Shop, Minneapolis

Anna Meredith: "Varmints"
Feb. 7, 2018, at Aria, Minneapolis

Nathalie Joachim: "Fanm d’Ayiti, Women of Haitian Song Project"
March 14, 2018, at Amsterdam Bar & Hall, St. Paul

Brian Harnetty: "Shawnee, Ohio"
March 20, 2018, at Macalester College, St. Paul

TU Dance and Justin Vernon
April 19-21, 2018, at the Palace Theatre, St. Paul

Grand Band: "Degenerate Psalms"
May 16, 2018, at Ordway Concert Hall, St. Paul

Vijay Iyer & Teju Cole: "Blind Spot"
May 31-June 1, 2018 at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis