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Newman Center brings ‘special sauce’ to audiences in 2023–2024

Newman Center Presents launched its 21st season in September, offering audiences a mix of the world-class jazz, dance and classical music performances it’s known for and a slate of diverse international acts that can’t be found anywhere else in Denver.

This ambitious combination is what Executive Director Aisha Ahmad-Post calls the Newman Center’s “special sauce.”

“People know that what they’re going to see here, even if it’s not [their cup of tea], is going to be something of excellent artistic quality,” says Ahmad-Post. “But our audiences have also told us, ‘We want to be challenged, we want to know what’s out there. We don’t just want to see the same thing over and over.’” 

Samara Joy

And this season answers the call, showcasing top performers—such as vocalist Samara Joy, who won Best New Artist and Best Jazz Vocal Album at the 2023 Grammy Awards, 10-time Grammy Award-nominated saxophonist Joshua Redman and his quintet, and the beloved Martha Graham Dance Company—while also welcoming more international musicians and dancers than ever before. 

From the “Love in Exile” trio of vocalist Arooj Aftab, pianist Vijay Iyer and multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily, who all have South Asian roots, to Compagnie Hervé Koubi (pictured at top), a troupe of Algerian, Moroccan, Bulgarian, Italian and French dancers whose work explores the historical mix of cultures and religions in the Mediterranean, audiences will be treated to dynamic and thought-provoking performances.

Ahmad-Post, who attends hundreds of performances a year all over the world, says she is always thinking about what will connect with Denver audiences. “If I’m bringing a performance from the Middle East, for example, what is that performance going to speak to in our community? Will our audiences ‘get it’ even though it’s not in their language?”

Audiences seem to trust that they will. Ahmad-Post says they sold more subscriptions by the middle of 2023 than they did in all of 2022. “We’re really bucking a larger trend—our audiences are coming back in much higher numbers than we’re seeing elsewhere in the arts community. We’re seeing younger audiences and many folks coming for the first time, which I think speaks a lot to the desire for these kinds of performances and the impact that they have.”

Learn more about this season’s performances and how to get tickets at

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