Spoleto Festival USA
Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina, is one of the world's major performing arts festivals. It was founded in 1977 by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti, who sought to establish a counterpart to the Festival dei Due Mondi (the Festival of Two Worlds) in Spoleto, Italy. The annual 17-day late-spring event showcases both established and emerging artists in more than 150 performances of opera, dance, theater, classical music, and jazz.
When Italian organizers planned an American festival, they searched for a city that would offer the charm of Spoleto, Italy, and also its wealth of theaters, churches, and other performance spaces. Charleston was selected as an ideal location.
The Festival's mission and programming philosophy 
One of the Festival's tenets is to provide young artists the opportunity to work with veteran directors, designers and performers. World-renowned artists who performed at Spoleto Festival USA early in their careers include Renée Fleming, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Yo-Yo Ma.
Each year, Spoleto Festival USA produces its own operas, which are rarely performed masterpieces by well-known composers or traditional works presented in new ways, and also presents theater, dance and music ranging from classical to jazz. Since its inception, the Festival has presented over 100 international and U.S. premieres, notably Creve Coeur by Tennessee Williams and The American Clock by Arthur Miller.
Piccolo Spoleto 
The official companion festival to Spoleto Festival USA, is operated by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs. Whereas Spoleto Festival USA features artists and performers of national and international renown, Piccolo Spoleto highlights outstanding local and regional artists with several hundred performances throughout the city. Piccolo Spoleto is "the perfect complement to the international scope of its parent festival and its 700 events in 17 days transform Charleston into an exhilarating celebration of performing, literary and visual arts."