More Performing Arts in Lincoln
Chamber music, jazz, ballet, comedy—the performing arts continue to grow in Lincoln.
by Rayna Collins
Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra
Founded in 1927, Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra presents inspiring programs that encourage the Lincoln community to discover and cultivate a deep personal connection with live symphonic music. LSO presents 10 concerts each season—two family concerts, two pops concerts (one of which is a holiday concert) and six classical concerts.
The 2021-2022 season features soprano Renée Fleming, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in celebration of his 250th birthday. LSO is also committed to educational activities, having played for more than 13,000 students through the LSO’s school residences, artist visits, and Young People’s Concerts. For more information call 402-476-2211 or visit lincolnsymphony.com.
Nebraska Chamber Players
Formed in 1997, the Nebraska Chamber Players is made up of professional musicians dedicated to playing a unique brand of chamber music. Known for creative programming, the group has premiered commissioned works from composers across the country. The spirit of chamber music, performed in an intimate atmosphere, comes alive through each of the Nebraska Chamber Players’ gifted musicians. For more information call 402-429-8227 or visit nebraskachamberplayers.org.
Lincoln Friends of Chamber Music
Since 1964, Lincoln Friends of Chamber Music has presented chamber music concerts, lectures, and master classes to introduce the public to live chamber music. Nationally known and exceptionally talented musicians perform new works by living composers as well as a standard classical repertoire. Enjoy and evening with friends at their four in-person concerts this fall season. For more information visit www.lfcm.us.
The Lincoln Civic Orchestra
The Lincoln Civic Orchestra is a symphonic orchestra comprised of musicians from around the Lincoln area. Formed in 1977 on the campus of Union College, the Lincoln Civic Orchestra became the resident orchestra at Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1987. The 70-piece ensemble regularly performs on the Nebraska Wesleyan campus with performances in the fall, winter and spring, and travels to other communities with concert presentations. LCO aims to provide a quality symphonic experience for musicians and the community at large through collaborative musical performances and education. Visit lincolncivicorchestra.org/home for more information.
Nebraska Jazz Orchestra
One of the region’s premiere big bands, the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra presents at least four concerts annually featuring the genre’s best musicians. The NJO features traditional big band classics from masters like Duke Ellington and Count Basie, as well as new compositions and arrangements from local talent. The NJO is committed to educating future musicians through sponsorship of the Young Artist Jazz Composition, the Young Lions All-Star Big Band, and the annual Nebraska Jazz Camp. In 2019 they performed with Paul Schaeffer on the Lied Center stage, although their 2021 were concerts were online due to Covid. For more information call 402-477-8446 or visit artsincorporated.org/njo.
Lincoln Municipal Band
Begun in 1911, the Lincoln Municipal Band is both Nebraska’s oldest professional music organization and its only professional wind ensemble. The band annually presents a series of free outdoor concerts at 7 p.m. on Sundays during July and August. Held in the John Shildneck Memorial Bandshell in Antelope Park, these popular free concerts draw regular crowds of more than 1,500 and feature some of the capital city’s best instrumentalists and vocalists. The organization also holds the annual John Schildneck Young Artist Competition. For more information call 402-477-7899 or visit artsincorporated.org/lmb.
Nebraska Repertory Theatre
The Nebraska Repertory Theatre provides professional acting and production experience to University of Nebraska-Lincoln students and faculty in collaboration with professional artists-in-residence. Read more about them on page 81. For more information visit nebraskarep.org or for tickets call 402-472-2072. For more local and summer theatre, see page 98.
Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company
For 35 years the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company has been presenting its annual staging of the holiday season classic, The Nutcracker at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. Dance students from Southeast Nebraska star in the performances that also feature a live orchestra and nationally known guest artists. In conjunction with performances, the company hosts Backstage at the Ballet, an artist-in-residency program at Lincoln elementary schools. It also produces rotating spring ballets, Cinderella and Snow White, and holds a summer dance camp. For more information call 402.441.0739 or visit lincolnmidwestballet.org.
Capital Jazz Society Big Band
The Capital Jazz Society Big Band has been livestreaming their concerts this last year. This big band provides an opportunity for jazz musicians of all ages to hone their chops by sight-reading and performing both classic and new big band pieces. The Lincoln Jazz Series provides formal jazz groups with a venue to showcase their talents. Local, regional and national groups have performed as part of this series. The Monday Night Big Band and Lincoln Jazz Series are supported by the Capital Jazz Society. For more information call 402-477-7899 or visit artsincorporated.org/cjs.
Lincoln has comedy, too. Almost every Sunday evening for the past six years, the Zoo Bar downtown has hosted Zoolarious. The show has featured national comedians Kyle Kinane and Nick Griffin among others. The Rococo Theatre, the Bourbon, and the Lied Center for Performing Arts also bring in national comedy acts like Trevor Noah, Jerry Seinfeld, John Mulaney and Hannibal Buress. For more information visit Zoolarious on Facebook.