Long established as a platform for fine classical chamber music, Bay Chamber Concerts has announced an October through June Performing Arts Series that re-positions the organization within the Midcoast’s vibrant music scene and is generating intense interest from jazz, world, and Celtic music fans in addition to the traditional classical music audience.

Balkan Gypsy funk band Slavic Soul Party!, Haitian reggae star BélO, Van Cliburn piano competition winner Nobuyuki Tsujii, premier American post-classical string quartet ETHEL, Gypsy swing ensemble Hot Club of San Francisco and “An Irish Christmas in America” all feature in the program. There also are new ticket discounts.

New this season, Bay Chamber Concerts offers lower ticket prices and younger audience deals. Young adults (age 21 to 35) get a $10 reduction in ticket prices to all Performing Arts Series shows. For anyone younger than 21, tickets for all shows are available with no restrictions for just $10. Bay Chamber Concerts also has subscription rewards to those who attend just three different events, and savings increase with every concert attended. Subscription rewards apply to Younger Audience Deals, too — save up to 25 percent when attending up to six or more different events.

Bay Chamber dives into new musical territory with the Haitian reggae star BélO Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. at Rockland’s Strand Theatre. BélO’s remarkable voice and dynamic live performances powerfully connect the music of his native island to the vibrant Parisian Afro-global music scene. A young, socially conscious singer/songwriter, BélO and his five-piece band deliver a high-energy mix of jazz, worldbeat, rock, R&B, reggae and Afro-Haitian traditional rhythm. Seating will be general admission.

“Irish Christmas in America” will bring festive seasonal cheer to the Camden Opera House on Thursday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. This family-friendly performance features evocative Irish and Scottish ballads, lively instrumental tunes and thrilling Irish dancing, while atmospheric photographic images provide a backdrop depicting rich, Celtic historical traditions.

On Sunday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Strand, the JP Jofre Hard Tango Chamber Band will bring steamy tango into the heart of Maine’s winter. After sold-out, standing-ovation performances at the Umbria and Sudtirol Festivals in Italy, composer and bandoneón player-par -excellence J.P. Jofre will make his Bay Chamber Concerts debut with a sensuous program of music by Astor Piazolla, Leo Brower and his own much-praised compositions.

On Saturday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. at the Camden Opera House, ETHEL will perform “Present Beauty,” a program of music featuring a suite from "The Hours" by Philip Glass, arranged by ETHEL.  ETHEL invigorates contemporary concert music with exuberance, intensity, imaginative programming and exceptional artistry.

Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii, affectionately known as “Nobu,” captured the hearts and imaginations of music lovers throughout the world with his gold medal–winning performances at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2009. Blind since birth, Tsujii believes that there are no barriers in the field of music and will prove it Sunday, March 17 at 2:30 p.m. at the Rockport Opera House. He will perform a sumptuous program of well-known virtuosic works by piano giants Debussy and Chopin.

Bay Chamber will keep shaking up the Midcoast music scene with Slavic Soul Party! Friday, April 5 at 7 p.m. at the Strand Theatre. With fiery Balkan brass, throbbing funk grooves, Gypsy accordion wizardry and virtuoso jazz chops, the nine-piece Slavic Soul Party! offers an acoustic mash-up of Balkan and Gypsy sounds with North American music, weaving the gospel, techno, funk, dub, jazz, and Latin influences of New York’s neighborhoods seamlessly into a Balkan brass setting.

Hot Club of San Francisco will be in town for a fun weekend of swinging Gypsy jazz  in May.  Hot Club will present “Cinema Vivant” Saturday, May 11 at 7 p.m. at the Strand, a fun movie-going experience featuring vintage silent films accompanied by live Gypsy swing.  On Sunday, May 12 beginning at 3 p.m., Hot Club of San Francisco will host a Mother’s Day Swing Dance for the whole family at Rockport’s Union Hall.  After a fun lesson, attendees will swing dance the afternoon away to live music. Delicious cakes, tea, and Cellardoor Winery dessert wines will be served, making this a truly special Mother’s Day occasion.

Bay Chamber will wrap up its Performing Arts Series in a cool way with Gilad Hekselman Quartet Saturday, June 15 at 7 p.m. at the Strand Theatre. This award-winning jazz ensemble features Mark Turner (tenor sax), Joe Martin (bass), Marcus Gilmore (drums) and Gilad Hekselman (guitar and composition).  Their 2011 album “Hearts Wide Open” received rave reviews globally and was featured in many Best of 2011 lists, including those compiled by The New York Times, Amazon and iTunes.

For more information and tickets, visit Bay Chamber online at baychamberconcerts.org or call the box office at 236-2823.

Based in Rockport, Bay Chamber is a 501 (c)(3) registered nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming lives through high-quality concert programs, music education and community outreach. Bay Chamber acknowledges the importance of all musical languages and encourages people of all ages and abilities to explore them both in concerts and in the classroom of its Bay Chamber Music  School.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.