Honor! A Celebration of African American Cultural Legacy
A Festival Curated by Jessye Norman: March 4-23, 2009
March 4, 2009; Press release
NEW YORK, March 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On March 4, Carnegie Hall launches Honor! A Celebration of the African American Cultural Legacy, a festival saluting the enduring vitality, influence, and creativity of African American culture, curated by renowned soprano Jessye Norman. Running through March 23 with more than 20 events at Carnegie Hall, the Apollo Theater, and venues throughout New York City, Honor! celebrates African American music and its influence worldwide, with programs paying tribute to pioneering artists including Marian Anderson, Duke Ellington, Langston Hughes, and more in programs that showcase performances by leading artists of today representing classical, gospel, the Spiritual, blues, jazz, and popular music. Complete festival information is available at www.carnegiehall.org/honor.
The Honor! festival is bookended by two special programs at Carnegie Hall. On March 4, "Honor: Blues, Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Soul and Beyond" features today's musical innovators in tribute to great popular music artists of the past. Musical Director Ray Chew joins Geri Allen, Terence Blanchard, Ron Carter, James Carter (jazz); James "Blood" Ulmer, Toshi Reagon (blues); Anthony Hamilton, Freddie Jackson, Leela James, Kem, Ryan Shaw (R&B, soul); Vernon Reid (rock); Doug E. Fresh and MC Lyte (hip-hop). The festival concludes with "Honor: The Voice" on March 23, a program bringing together acclaimed African American classical singers to pay tribute to icons who paved the way for succeeding generations. Featured singers include Harolyn Blackwell, Gregg Baker, Angela M. Brown, Nicole Cabell, Kevin Maynor, and Eric Owens. click to read more
"Jessye Norman is “one of those once-in-a-generation singers who is not simply following in the footsteps of others, but is staking out her own niche in the history of singing” (New York Times). This rich history continues to be made as she brings her sumptuous sound, her joy of singing, and her spontaneous passion to recital performances, operatic portrayals, and appearances with symphony orchestras and chamber music collaborators to audiences around the world. The sheer size, power, and luster of her voice share equal acclaim with that of her thoughtful music making, innovative programming of the classics, and fervent advocacy of contemporary music. Miss Norman’s collaborations with artists on the cutting-edge in their fields—Robert Wilson, Andre Heller, Bill T. Jones, Steve McQueen, and Laura Karpman—serve to add new dimensions and exciting new challenges to her work." continued
Honor: Blues, Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Soul, and Beyond
Wednesday, March 4 at 8:00 p.m. (Carnegie Hall; Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage)
Honor! opens with a concert that pays tribute to the great African American popular music artists of the past. Each presentation will parallel an event in the bountiful history of performances by African American artists at Carnegie Hall. Ray Chew—Musical Director for NBC’s The Singing Bee, Showtime At the Apollo, and BET’s Sunday Best—is Music Director for the program. Featured artists for this program include pianist Geri Allen, trumpeter Terence Blanchard, bassist Ron Carter, and saxophonist James Carter (jazz); vocalist/guitarist James “Blood” Ulmer and vocalist/guitarist Toshi Reagon (blues); vocalists Ashford & Simpson, Anthony Hamilton, Freddie Jackson, Leela James, Kem, and Ryan Shaw (R&B, soul); guitarist Vernon Reid and vocalist Corey Glover (rock); rappers Doug E. Fresh and MC Lyte (hip-hop) and actor Avery Brooks. Emmy Award winning WABC news anchor Sade Baderinwa will host the program alongside actor Wendell Pierce from the acclaimed HBO’s series The Wire.
Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert: Imani Winds
Thursday, March 5 at 1:00 p.m. (CUNY Graduate Center’s Music in Midtown)
In the first of six free Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts presented by The Weill Music Institute during Honor!, the Grammy-nominated wind quintet Imani Winds will perform a sneak preview of a new Carnegie Hall commission by Daniel Bernard Roumain at Manhattan’s CUNY Graduate Center (to be premiered on March 8; see Panel Discussions below). Since 1997, Imani Winds has sought to diversify and expand the wind quintet repertoire by incorporating diverse musical genres into their performances, including compositions by classical composers Elliott Carter, Luciano Berio, and György Ligeti and jazz artists Wayne Shorter and Paquito D’Rivera.
Saturday, March 7 at 8:00 p.m. (The Cathedral of St. John the Divine)
Comprised of excerpts from Duke Ellington’s large-scale, three-part work known as the Sacred Concerts, Sacred Ellington features Jessye Norman in a program that pays homage to this legendary figure and his music. The concert, which features Miss Norman performing with Music Director/pianist Mark Markham, tap dancer Maurice Chestnut, dancer Margie Gillis, the Flux Quartet, the choir Sacred Voices, plus a jazz ensemble, takes place at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, a special sanctuary of central importance in Ellington’s life and where he gave the premiere of his Second Sacred Concert in January 1968. Less than four months later, on April 4, 1968, Ellington performed excerpts from the Second Sacred Concert at Carnegie Hall, where it was announced from the stage prior to the start that Martin Luther King, Jr., had just been assassinated. The concert was subsequently performed in memory of Dr. King.
Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert: Esperanza Spalding
Thursday, March 12 at 7:00 p.m. (Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture)
Twenty-three-year-old bassist/vocalist/composer Esperanza Spalding performs a free Neighborhood Concert at Manhattan’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Spalding’s fresh approach to jazz—mixing pop, soul, and Latin music bolstered by classical music training—made her the youngest professor in the history of the prestigious Berklee College of Music where she had studied since age 16.
Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert: Community Sing with Gospel for Teens
Friday, March 13 at 6:30 p.m. (Apollo Theater’s Soundstage)
The Gospel for Teens Choir will join host Vy Higginsen at the Apollo Theater’s Soundstage for a free Community Sing where audience members are invited to come together and sing along with the choir. Higginsen, writer/producer/director of the 1984 musical Mama, I Want to Sing, founded Mama Foundation for the Arts and its Gospel for Teens Program, which teaches aspiring teenagers about the importance of gospel music as an art form.
Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert: Harlem Quartet, A Sphinx Ensemble
Saturday, March 14 at 2:00 p.m. (Langston Hughes Community Library & Cultural Center)
The Harlem Quartet, comprised of First Place Laureates of the Sphinx Competition, will engage the audience in this free Neighborhood Concert highlighting works by minority composers at the Langston Hughes Community Library & Cultural Center of the Queens Library. The Harlem Quartet made their acclaimed debut in the fall of 2006 at the Sphinx Organization’s Gala Concert at Carnegie Hall.
Ask Your Mama!
Monday, March 16 at 8:00 p.m. (Carnegie Hall; Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage)
Soprano Jessye Norman, hip-hop group The Roots, and vocalists de’Adre Aziza and Tracie Luck are the featured artists in the world premiere performance of Ask Your Mama!, an extraordinary multimedia concert production from composer Laura Karpman commissioned by Carnegie Hall. Based on Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz, Langston Hughes’ 1961 poem cycle about African-American life, music, and culture, this collaboration between the four-time Emmy Award-winning composer Karpman and the five-time Grammy Award-winning soprano Norman will be directed by Annie Dorsen (Passing Strange) with conductor George Manahan leading the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Artist Rico Gatson will provide visuals.
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Tuesday, March 17 at 8:00 p.m. (Carnegie Hall; Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage)
Chief Conductor Charles Dutoit and The Philadelphia Orchestra return to Carnegie Hall for a program dedicated to the great soprano Marian Anderson, featuring bass-baritone Eric Owens singing Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen. Anderson, a native of Philadelphia, performed at Carnegie Hall 56 times throughout her life, the third-most performances by an African American musician behind trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Jon Faddis. The program also features African American composer George Walker’s 1996 Pulitzer Prize-winning work Lilacs with tenor Russell Thomas and European classical works inspired by African American music including Milhaud’s La création du monde and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, “From the New World.”
Dee Dee Bridgewater
Wednesday, March 18 at 8:30 p.m. (Carnegie Hall; Zankel Hall)
Grammy- and Tony Award-winning vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater presents an evening of original music and jazz standards. Noted by The New York Times as “a woman of a thousand voices [with the] stage personalities to match,” Ms. Bridgewater has performed on Broadway and with jazz legends such as Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, and Max Roach, earning her the reputation of a consummate entertainer. Ms. Bridgewater also hosts the syndicated weekly NPR radio show, JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater.
Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert:
McCollough Sons of Thunder & Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Thursday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. (Harlem Stage/Aaron Davis Hall, Inc.)
The McCollough Sons of Thunder, a “shout” gospel brass band ensemble, and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, made up of seven sons of the jazz trumpeter Phil Cohran, will perform two free Neighborhood Concerts, first at Harlem Stage/Aaron Davis Hall, Inc., and then Brooklyn’s Kingsborough Community College Performing Arts Complex. The “shout” band, a tradition deeply rooted in the African-American church, is quickly gaining recognition in larger circles, and the McCollough Sons of Thunder provide a unique fusion of these traditions with brass band instruments.
Carnegie Hall National High School Choral Festival
Friday, March 20 at 8:00 p.m. (Carnegie Hall; Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage)
Presented by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, the National High School Choral Festival features choirs from Georgia, New York, New Jersey, and Washington, chosen by audition, performing Sir Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time, a work that utilizes the African American Spiritual in much the same way that Bach employed chorales in his choral masterworks. Craig Jessop, former Music Director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir conducts the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Soloists include soprano Angela M. Brown, contralto Meredith Arwady, tenor Russell Thomas, and bass Morris Robinson. Throughout the year, the four chosen choirs have rehearsed the work and will have intensive rehearsals in New York the week prior to the performance. At the performance, each choir will also perform its own set led by their own choir directors.
Emancipation's Jubilations: Spirituals and Songs that Led a Nation
Saturday, March 21 at 3:00 p.m. (New York Public Library for the Performing Arts)
Presented by the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts as part of its series Mystic Chords of Memory: Abraham Lincoln and the Performing Arts, baritone James Martin performs a recital based on songs Lincoln heard at a contraband camp (a refuge for escaped slaves), including "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen," "Every Time I Feel the Spirit," "I Thank God that I Am Free at Last," "John Brown's Body," "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," "Didn't My God Deliver Daniel," "Go Down, Moses," "I Ain't Got Weary Yet," "I've Been in the Storm So Long," "Steal Away," and "Praise God from Whom Blessings Flow."
Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert:
McCollough Sons of Thunder & Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Sunday, March 22 at 3:00 p.m. (Kingsborough Community College Performing Arts Complex)
See Thursday, March 19.
A Celebration of the Spiritual and Gospel Music
Sunday, March 22 at 5:00 p.m. (Apollo Theater)
A weekend devoted to the Spiritual and gospel music at the Apollo Theater begins with a panel discussion on Saturday, March 21 (see below). Then, on Sunday, a concert traces the development of the Spiritual from its African roots through solo vocal performances and choral arrangements. Following intermission, choirs from around New York City join forces for a joyous celebration of gospel music. Music Director Ray Chew is joined by gospel singers Shari Addison, Shirley Caesar, Donnie McClurkin, Smokie Norful, and Richard Smallwood, the Abyssinian Baptist Church Cathedral Choir, Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Choir, Sweet Honey In The Rock, and Vy Higginsen’s Gospel for Teens Choir.
Honor: The Voice
Monday, March 23 at 8:00 p.m. (Carnegie Hall; Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage)
In the Honor! closing program, acclaimed African American singers from the classical world come together to pay tribute to icons who opened the doors for succeeding generations. Featured performers are sopranos Harolyn Blackwell, Angela M. Brown, and Nicole Cabell; baritone Gregg Baker; bass-baritone Eric Owens; and bass Kevin Maynor.
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Sunday, March 8 (Carnegie Hall; Zankel Hall)
12:00 p.m.—Exploration: A Panel Discussion
Attorney Gordon J. Davis; author Michael Eric Dyson; Dr. Luvenia A. George, author and developer of the Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong curriculum for the Smithsonian Institute; composer Laura Karpman; conductor Rachael Worby; and scholar Cornel West offer a wide ranging discussion on music today ranging from hip-hop and jazz to contemporary orchestral music. Following the discussion, Imani Winds will perform Five Chairs and One Table, a new work by Daniel Bernard Roumain, commissioned by Carnegie Hall. The piece portrays a history of African and African-American song and struggle and includes brief musical portraits dedicated to Jessye Norman, South African singer and civil rights activist Miriam Makeba (1932-2008), the folk singer Odetta (1930-2008), and the daughters of Barack and Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha. Imani Winds will also perform the New York premiere of Cane by jazz pianist and composer Jason Moran.
3:30 p.m.—Impression: A Panel Discussion
Composer/conductor Tania León, author Toni Morrison, tenor and professor George Shirley, and actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith take part in an afternoon of reminiscences and anecdotes of a life in the arts. Leading figures discuss their individual performance experiences on the international stages. Baritone Robert Sims and pianist Paul Hamilton will conclude the event with a 20-minute performance.
7:00 p.m.—Expression: A Panel Discussion
Poet and award-winning writer Maya Angelou, scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., journalist Gwen Ifill, artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Judith Jamison, musicologist Portia Maultsby, and dancer and choreographer Arthur Mitchell of Dance Theatre of Harlem participate in a discussion of the history of African American performing arts and its role in social and political change. The event will conclude with a performance by Dance Theatre of Harlem School and Ensemble.
Dance Theatre of Harlem: Classically American
Thursday, March 12 at 3:00 p.m. (New York Public Library for the Performing Arts)
As part of its multimedia exhibition, Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts, running from February 11 to May 9, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts presents this panel discussion with moderator Alastair Macauley and panelists Suzanne Farrell, Frederic Franklin, and Lorraine Graves exploring the lasting legacy of this important cultural institution. Additional panelists are to be announced.
THE STORIES I COULD TELL: Arthur Mitchell at 75
Thursday, March 12 at 5:30 p.m. (New York Public Library for the Performing Arts)
As part of its multimedia exhibition, Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts, running from February 11 to May 9, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts presents an interview with Arthur Mitchell, the Founding Artistic Director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, moderated by Robert Greskovic.
Panel Discussion: The Spiritual and Gospel Music
Saturday, March 21 at 7:00 p.m. (Apollo Theater)
Distinguished figures discuss the historical, political, and musical issues associated with this music. Participants include Derrick Bell, Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, Portia Maultsby, Chapman Roberts, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Olly Wilson.
click for more info: http://www.carnegiehall.org/article/press/press_release/111721.html