Etienne Charles. Photo by Laura Ferreira.

Kelly Strayhorn Theater
June 23, 30 & July 7
6:30 p.m.

Whether you’re a voracious classical music fan or looking to expand your musical horizons, Chamber Music Pittsburgh‘s Just Summer! concert series has something for all ears.

Third Coast Percussion. Photo by Saverio Truglia.
Third Coast Percussion. Photo by Saverio Truglia.

For its fourth annual installment, the Just Summer! lineup features an eclectic, mixed-genre repertoire of percussion, jazz and local favorites. All performances take place at East Liberty cultural hub, The Kelly Strayhorn Theater, and include a festive pre-concert mixer at 6:30 p.m., and are paired with locally crafted food and drink from the nearby Italian osteria and cocktail bar, Livermore.

And with a reasonable $25 admission fee, these are classical concerts that won’t break the bank. Open to all ages, the family-friendly series also provides ample time for concert-goers to mix and mingle with featured Chamber artists and staff, and fellow music fans.

Just Summer! kicks off on Thursday, June 23 with the Chicago-based ensemble, Third Coast Percussion. Featuring the talents of Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and David Skidmore, the internationally acclaimed group has honed a bold sonic approach that blends contemporary classical music, energetic grooves, and cutting-edge new media. The group’s unique collaborative performances integrate the use of participatory iPhone and iPad apps that allow audience members to create their own musical components.

Etta Cox
Etta Cox

On June 30, the series welcomes legendary jazz vocalist Etta Cox, who will take the stage with her signature eight-person band featuring trombonist Al Dowe. Cox and Dowe—who co-owned the popular downtown jazz club Dowe’s on 9th—have opened for renowned stars such as Ray Charles, Doc Severinson, Debbie Reynolds, Ossie Davis, and Mavis Staples. Originally from St. Joseph, MO, Cox has also appeared on Broadway, in film and television, and is the recipient of numerous high profile cultural awards.

Not to miss is the series’ culmination on July 7 featuring a performance by the rising star young trumpeter and bandleader Etienne Charles. A pioneer in the contemporary jazz scene, Charles and his sextet will perform works from his latest album, Creole Soul, which features a fusion of rhythms and cultures—from calypso to Haitian voodoo—that explore the artist’s rich Afro-Caribbean background. Born in Trinidad, Charles went on to study jazz at Juilliard NYC, and is now assistant professor of jazz studies at Michigan State University.

Pre-show mixers start at 6:30 p.m.; concerts start at 7:30 p.m.

Buy tickets now.

Looking for more events? Read our 10 Pittsburgh events not to miss in July, Everything you need to know about Pittsburgh concerts in July, and our Top 10 things for families to do in July in Pittsburgh feature articles.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.