Artistic director and co-founder Thomas Wolf has announced the next portion of Bay Chamber Concerts’ special 50th anniversary season, which includes nine performing arts events for the upcoming fall, winter and spring.

“I don’t think we have ever offered such a diverse series of artists and art forms. We have jazz dance and tango for the first time, world music, Celtic/folk and, of course, our mainstay of classical music … Our goal is to make sure everyone in the Midcoast wants to come to at least one of our events, no matter what their taste,” he said.

Bay Chamber Concerts’ Performing Arts Series will kick off with Jump Rhythm Jazz Project Saturday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. in the Strom Auditorium of Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport. Jump Rhythm Jazz Project celebrates the timeless core of jazz performance – dancing and singing in high-energy bursts of rhythm to the beat-driven sounds of swinging jazz, blues-and-funk-based rock and world music. Monica Kelly, Bay Chamber’s managing director, said “We are thrilled to begin the season with such an energetic performance. It should be a blast!”

Just over a week later, on Sunday, Oct. 10 at 4 p.m., Bay Chamber Concerts will present its Columbus Day weekend tradition of the Chamber Music All Stars at the Rockport Opera House. Outstanding chamber music artists from around the world will come together to celebrate the music of Felix Mendelssohn. Wolf said he was especially happy that the Muir String Quartet will lead the group again this year.

Another upcoming program that is sure to draw attention is Bach and Forth with pianist Stephen Pressman Sunday, Nov. 21 at 2:30 p.m. at the Rockport Opera House. The fascinating program, which debuts here before heading to Lincoln Center in New York City, connects and juxtaposes the timeless music of J.S. Bach with works of virtually every style since his day. Prutsman’s performance will feature Bach’s music, matched with a variety of musical selections that mirror the unique character of Bach’s musical genius. It promises to be unlike any concert ever presented at Bay Chamber.

Bay Chamber will present internationally renowned fiddler and Cape Breton native Natalie MacMaster Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Strom Auditorium. Kelly said MacMaster’s energetic performance will be a treat to folk and Celtic music fans of all ages.

An exciting collaboration will take place Sunday, Feb. 27 between the Paul Winter Consort, Midcoast Community Chorus and artist Eric Hopkins at Strom Auditorium at 4 p.m. The Grammy-Award winning Paul Winter Consort will be joined by the Midcoast Community Chorus for a performance of selections from Winter’s “Missa Gaia” including the three mass movements celebrating the whole earth as a sacred space. The concert also will feature a solo performance by Winter alongside “The Balance Between Heaven & Earth,” a multi-media exploration by artist Eric Hopkins.

The 2010-2011 Performing Arts Series will wrap up with a 50th Anniversary Chamber Music Celebration Saturday, May 21 at 7 p.m. at the Rockport Opera House. The performance will feature six favorite artists from Bay Chamber’s 50-year history coming together to perform a program culminating in Brahms’ monumental piano quintet. Featured artists for this celebration concert include violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, who played in Bay Chamber’s first season; and Joseph Silverstein, the former concertmaster of the Boston Symphony. Curtis Institute of Music Director Roberto Diaz will play viola and Vermeer Quartet veteran Marc Johnson will play cello; finally, co-director of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society Wu Han and prize-winner Anastasia Antonacos will be the pianists.

“The 50th Anniversary Chamber Music Celebration promises to be an historic homecoming,” said Wolf.

For the best value, Bay Chamber Concerts urges patrons to subscribe to the full season. A variety of subscriptions packages are available, from all nine concerts to a classical package and a rhythm package featuring the more eclectic performances. Bay Chamber also offers a flexible Explore Pass where one can compile their own “season.” Subscribers receive a discount on their tickets as well as other benefits including complimentary ticket exchange privileges and advance notice of coming events.

Tickets to most of the events in the Performing Arts Series are $25 and $45 for adults, $8 for students younger than 19. Discounts are available up to 30 percent off tickets for subscribers and groups of eight or more. Tickets and subscriptions to Performing Arts Series events are available by calling the Bay Chamber offices at 236-2823 or toll-free at 888-707-2770 or online at baychamberconcerts.org.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.