Scroll down to browse through performances, lectures and other campus events open to the public.


Lila Downs, April 14Lila Downs

On Tuesday, April 14th, Cal Poly Arts presents Lila Downs. Theshow will take place in theCohan Center and will begin at 7:30pm. With a stunning, smoky voice and a multicultural vision, this Grammy winner has become one of the most innovative masters of Mesoamerican music on both sides of the border. Pre-show lecture scheduled. More on the show

Cal Poly's Open House, April 16-18

The 22nd annual event, themed “This is the Mustang Nation,” will give attendees an opportunity to explore the enriching aspects of the Learn by Doing philosophy at Cal Poly, one of the nation’s top polytechnic universities, while sampling life in San Luis Obispo, which media mogul Oprah Winfrey dubbed America’s Happiest Town in 2011. The three-day event begins Thursday, April 16, for all prospective students and their parents and supporters with a Club Preview Night at Farmers’ Market on five blocks of Higuera Street in downtown San Luis Obispo.Admitted Students’ Preview Day on Friday, April 17, helps incoming students learn about Cal Poly degree programs and courses, hear from the leaders of the university’s six colleges, and meet faculty, staff and current students. The campus opens its doors to the community Saturday, April 18, to exhibit the talents and accomplishments of its vibrant student population. The public is invited to enjoy food, games and booths prepared by more than 200 student clubs and organizations. Special events include a Poly Royal parade, a Kids’ Fair, the Cal Poly Truck and Tractor Pull, a rodeo and live music. More on Open House

Adonis Puentes, April 17Adonis Puentes

On April 17th at 8:00pm, Adonis Puentes is coming to Cal Poly’s Spanos Theatre. Adonis Puentes opens up the marvelous world of Cuban music to his audiences the second they hear his rich voice and all-acoustic orchestra. Puentes' vocals are surrounded by syncopated Cuban rhythms, deep bass lines, jazzy horn arrangements, and melodic piano and guitar when the other players kick in with their tight, multi-layered arrangements. (This is a high volume performance) More on the show

Cal Poly Open House Concert, April 18

Three Cal Poly music ensembles featuring more than 100 of the university’s finest student musicians will perform at this year’s Open House Concert at 8 p.m. Friday, April 17, in Harman Hall in the Performing Arts Center. The Cal Poly Symphony, conducted by David Arrivée, will feature works for symphonic orchestra, including “Palladio” by Karl Jenkins, “Oblivion” by Astor Piazolla, and Monty Norman’s theme from the James Bond films. The Wind Ensemble, conducted by Andrew McMahan, will perform a selection of wind band masterworks including “Strange Humors” by John Mackey. This piece features Cal Poly 2012 music alumnus Jonathan Withem on the djembe, a rope-tuned, skin-covered goblet hand drum originally from West Africa. The University Jazz Band I, directed by Paul Rinzler, will perform “Wind Machine” by Sammy Nestico, “Smack Dab in the Middle” by John Clayton, and “Some Skunk Funk” by Randy Brecker.More on the concert

The Bobs, April 18

The Bobs will be coming to Cal Poly’s Spanos Theatre on Saturday, April 18th for an 8:00pm show. With their vocal mastery and an irreverent sense of humor, The Bobs are the pinnacle of a cappella music. Called “a band without instruments,” The Bobs use just their voices and body percussion to fill a room with an orchestra of harmonious sound and comedy, performing unique covers and original tunes. More on the show

All-State Music Festival Concert, April 19

The Cal Poly Music Department will host the Cal Poly All-State Festival Concert, featuring some of the state’s best high school musicians, at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 19, in the Performing Arts Center’s Harman Hall. Dave Eshelman, trombonist, composer, big band leader, recording artist, and jazz educator, will be the Festival Jazz Band director.The Festival Wind Orchestra will be conducted by husband-and-wife team Heidi Johanna Miller and James Patrick Miller. Tickets to the concert are $12 and $14 for the public and $9 and $12 for senior citizens and students. Pricing includes all Performing Arts Center fees, and event parking is sponsored by the PAC. Tickets are sold at the Cal Poly Ticket office between noon and 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. To order by phone, call SLO-4TIX (756-4849). More on the concert

Faculty Chamber Ensemble Concert, April 24

Members of the faculty will perform as part of the Faculty Chamber Ensemble at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 24. The event will include masterworks of chamber music, including beloved gems and less-known works. The evening shows what is possible when faculty artists put what they preach into practice. Tickets are $5 at the door. The event was rescheduled from the original April 3 performance.

Paul Taylor Dance Company, April 25

Paul Taylor Dance CompanyPaul Taylor Dance Company will be coming to the Cohan Center for a performance on Saturday, April 25th at 8:00pm. Over his six decades as a world-renowned choreographer, Paul Taylor’s work covers an amazingly wide palette: from the lovely, warmly human to the terrifyingly grotesque to everything between those two poles. The range of emotions is extraordinary, full of vitality and often filled with wicked humor. Pre-show lecture scheduled. More on the performance

Gary Beard & Ryan Anthony, April 26

Cal Poly Arts will present Gary Beard & Ryan Anthony on Sunday, April 26th. The show will be held in the Cohan Center on the Cal Poly campus. This organ/trumpet duo will bring a unique and energetic blend of instrumentation to the PAC in this Forbes Pipe Organ Series afternoon concert, including music by Pachelbel, Mozart, Albinoni, and Faure, plus music by film composer Ennio Morricone, Duke Ellington and George Gershwin. More on the show


Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy: Visions of Cape Breton & Beyond, May 3

Natalia MacMaster & Donnell LeahyAt 7:00pm on May 3rd, Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are coming to Cal Poly for a performance. The show will be held in the Cohan Center. Electrifying Celtic fiddlers Natalie MacMaster and husband Donnell Leahy – each a much beloved musician – highlight the unique talents, influences and stories of the gifted Leahy clan when their children share the stage. Celtic dancers and singers from their hometowns of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and Lakefield, Ontario join the “First Family of Fiddlers” in a celebrated musical and personal journey. Pre-show lecture scheduled. More on the performance

Cal Poly Theatre & Dance Department to Present ‘Spike Heels’ May 7-16

Cal Poly’s Theatre & Dance Department will present Theresa Rebeck’s serio-comedy, “Spike Heels,” at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, May 7-9 and 14-16, in the Spanos Theatre.

A contemporary interpretation of George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play “Pygmalion,” Rebeck’s “Spike Heels” also explores the complex relationships and emerging power dynamic of the play’s characters: Georgie, Andrew, Edward and Lydia. After Andrew begins teaching Georgie about culture through the study of language, Andrew’s previous engagement to Lydia is interrupted. Simultaneously, Edward’s treatment of Georgie reveals Andrew’s intentions. As vulnerabilities, passions, emotions and lust push the characters toward their breaking points, the characters in turn surprise themselves and each other.

For full details, visit the CLA website

The Assad Brothers: 50th Anniversary Tour, May 14

Assad BrothersThe Assad Brothers are coming to Cal Poly on Thursday, May 14th at 7:30pm. Celebrating their 50th anniversary, Brazilian-born brothers Sérgio and Odair Assad have set the benchmark for all other guitarists by creating a new standard of guitar innovation, ingenuity and expression. Their virtuosity has inspired a wide range of composers to write for them and invited renowned artists, such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, to work with them. Don't miss out on this showcase of talent held in the Cohan Center at Cal Poly. A pre-show lecture is scheduled.
More on the event

Tour the Cal Poly Pier in Avila Beach, May 16

Bring the kids and the camera and tour the Cal Poly Pier in Avila Beach from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 16. The spring open house will feature interactive displays, including special touch tanks full of live marine creatures, microscopes for viewing ultra-small sea creatures, a “Discover Scuba” experience and more. This is a walking tour; safety rules require everyone wear closed-toe walking shoes (no flip-flops or high heels). More on the event

“Whose Live Anyway?” May 28

Cal Poly Arts will present, “Whose Live Anyway?” on May 28th in the Cohan Center. The show will begin at 7:30pm. Stand-up is fun, improv is funnier! Following their two sold-out performances at the PAC in seasons past, Ryan Stiles and his band of madcap comic mischief-makers are back with a hilarious new evening of star-quality improvisation and plenty of audience participation. A perfect way to cap off the 2014-15 season! More on the show

Whose Live Anyway?
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Music Dept. Performances