An evening honoring Jessye Norman
With performances from Harolyn Blackwell, ELEW, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, Alicia Hall Moran, Laquita Mitchell, Jared Grimes, Susan Platts, Arthur Woodley, Alicia Graf Mack, and the PUBLIQuartet
National Sawdust honors icon of the operatic stage Jessye Norman with an exclusive peek into Norman’s latest project, Sissieretta Jones: Call Her By Her Name!. Join National Sawdust to hear powerhouse performers from across disciplines and styles in an electrifying evening of masterful interpretations that celebrate the life and career of Sissieretta Jones, a groundbreaking figure in the 19th-century American opera world and the first African American artists to sing in the main hall of Carnegie Hall.
Harolyn Blackwell – soprano
ELEW – piano
David Gonzalez – scriptwriter
Alicia Graf Mack – dancer
Kamal Khan – accompanist
Darryl “DMC” McDaniels – narrator/hip-hop artist
Laquita Mitchell – soprano
Alicia Hall Moran – narrator
Jared Grimes – tap dancer
PUBLIQuartet – string quartet
Susan Platts – mezzo-soprano
Aaron Severini – arranger
Arthur Woodley – bass
Following the performance, hear Jessye Norman discuss the project in conversation with Harolyn Blackwell and Adina Williams, moderated by television journalist and fashion model Gail O’Neill.
$250 ticket ($200 tax deductible) includes pre-concert reception; proceeds will directly support the development of Sissieretta Jones: Call Her By Her Name!.
From Adina Williams — Executive Producer, National Sawdust Curator, and Founder of AdinaWorks Productions:
My mother was the first to tell me of the great Sissieretta Jones. The next reference to her name came to me during my early professional years at Carnegie Hall. Then, about ten years ago, the stars aligned and I met the iconic Jessye Norman by way of our mutual friend Wynton Marsalis. Jessye and I have been dreaming up together Sissieretta Jones: Call Her By Her Name! ever since.
As this year marks dear Sissi’s 150th anniversary, I am especially honored to collaborate on such a significant and timely project with creative and courageous arts incubator National Sawdust.
With the brilliance of all the artists attached to the project, including Harolyn Blackwell and David Gonzalez, I feel that collectively we are developing an important new cultural work so that a voice that shattered barriers has the platform to be heard and Sissieretta Jones can finally speak her truth.
Sissieretta Jones circa 1895 – Napoleon Sarony
Jessye Norman – Carol Friedman
She is a member of the voice faculty at NYU Steinhardt and Barnard/Columbia University. Previously, she was a member of the voice faculty at The Peabody Conservatory of Music at The Johns Hopkins University.
Ms. Blackwell is currently performing in " A Tribute To Ella", a centennial celebration of Ella Fitzgerald with major orchestras across the US.
Last season, she sang selections of Porgy and Bess with Allentown Symphony, the soprano solo in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Berkeley Symphony, the soprano solo in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with Missoula Symphony, Violetta in La traviata with Opera Memphis, the world première of Moravec’s Sanctuary Road at Carnegie Hall with Oratorio Society of New York, and Coretta Scott King in I Dream with Opera Grand Rapids, Toledo Opera and Opera Carolina. She also returned to the Philadelphia Orchestra to perform in their Academy Ball alongside Steve Martin and led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
An active concert artist, Ms. Mitchell recently performed Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Philadelphia Orchestra at Saratoga Performing Arts Center; Over the Rainbow – an evening honoring Harold Arlen at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall; Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Louisville Orchestra; a début with the New World Symphony in Alberto Ginastera’s Cantata para la América Mágica; the world première of composer Steven Stucky’s August 4, 1964 with Dallas Symphony Orchestra; her Boston Symphony Orchestra début as the soprano soloist in Wynton Marsalis’ All Rise under the direction of Kurt Masur; and the soprano solo in Tippett’s A Child of our Time with the Washington Chorus at Kennedy Center. Additionally, she performs in recitals annually at Harare International Festival of the Arts in Zimbabwe.
Throughout his career ELEW has built an elite fanbase of celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Gerard Butler, Will Smith, Holle Berry, Terry Crews, and the list goes on... He has performed at the behest of Google, Fendi, Disney, and Mercedes Benz. ELEW has even taken Rockjazz to the White House, where he played for Barack and Michelle Obama in the East Room. Due to his commitment to the jazz ELEW has a new album out called "And To The Republic”.
ELEW’s creativity and innovative artistry has propelled him to new endeavors in his career that range from composing for films, writing screenplays, Directing, DJ-ing, to speaking engagements for Fortune 100 companies and luxury brands. His work on films can be heard on The Great Debaters (Directed by: Denzel Washington) starring Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, Kimberly Elise. Most recently, he has scored the up & coming feature film called Revival! starring Harry Lennix (of Blacklist), Victoria Gabrielle Platt, Victoria Rowell, Mali Music and Chaka Khan.
Forty million record sales later, and more than fifteen years after the untimely death of his bandmate Jam Master Jay, DMC still continues to create, inspire and motivate. In 2009, as a member of Run-DMC, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2016 he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy given to “performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording.”
In 2014 he launched a comic book company called Darryl Makes Comics, a new journey that helps bridge the gap between the worlds of hip-hop and the fantastic adventures he got wrapped up in as a youth. The company’s first full length graphic novel hit stores in October 2014 and has since followed up with a new release annually. http://www.dmc-comics.com
Darryl is also the co-author of two critically acclaimed books: his recent memoir entitled, Ten Ways Not to Commit Suicide (2016/Harpers/Amistad), and a past autobiography King of Rock; Respect, Responsibility and My Life with Run-DMC (2001/ Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martins) as well as an award winning solo album Checks, Thugs & Rock and Roll.
That album produced the hit single “Just like Me” featuring Sarah McLachlan; a song DMC wrote after discovering he was adopted, that spoke to his new revelation and began his journey down another life path, in search of his birth mother. While his search struggle was captured in the 2007 Emmy Winning VH1 documentary DMC: My Adoption Journey, the process gave DMC tremendous insight and purpose, prompting him to become an advocate for adoption and children in foster care.
In 2006 he co-founded the Felix Organization with Sheila Jaffe- a nonprofit that works to provide inspiring opportunities and new experiences to enrich the lives of children who are growing in the foster care system. http://www.thefelixorganization.org
All the while, DMC’s music continues to inspire! In 2017 he released the eagerly anticipated special vinyl-only limited edition EP, Back From the Dead- The Legend Lives on National Record Store Day/ Black Friday, November 24, with the 4-track power-bolt featuring iconic collaborations from the rock and hip hop worlds including Chuck D (Public Enemy), John Moyer (Disturbed), Rome (Sublime), and Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge, Slash), and others.
The Deluxe Package (a limited rollout of 4000, individually numbered and pressed in red vinyl) with the cover artwork for Back From The Dead portraying DMC as a zombie, was designed by award winning Walking Dead graphic novel artist Tony Moore.
The EP is in advance of a new album entitled DMC: Dynamic Music Collaborations that will feature new songs with Rome (Sublime) Joan Jett, Travis Barker (Blink 182), Tim Armstrong (Rancid), Chuck D, Sum 41, DJ Hurricane (Beastie Boys), Sebastian Bach (Skid Row), Mick Mars (Motley Crue) and more set to be released in 2019.
When DMC is not in the studio recording he’s on the road with his rock band performing around the globe , including sold out shows across the US, Europe, Hong Kong and Bahrain and more.
In between his work as a musical artist and producer, published author and speaker, or his work with his nonprofit, McDaniels has been invited around the globe to address various youth groups on respect, responsibility and self- awareness, including an invitation to the White House by President Obama. Darryl has also appeared before Congress and various State legislatures in support of adoptees and foster children, worked with First Lady Michelle Obama on part of her “Get Fit” Campaign, was a featured speaker at the 2016 Kennedy Forum #Young Minds Matter event on Mental Health, a featured speaker at the 2017 SXSW Music Festival , and recently appeared on the 2017 Kennedy Center Honors.
He has received numerous awards including the Hard Rock’s Love All Serve All Award for his numerous philanthropic endeavors, the Doing Art Together (DAT) Honoree Award for his contributions to helping under-served communities in NYC in the classroom and life, and the coveted CHILDREN’S RIGHTS Champion Award for his tireless work on behalf of foster children through his FELIX ORGANIZATION/ Adoptees for Children, as well as his work providing other year-round opportunities for children in foster care.
In addition to the Felix Organization, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Garden of Dreams Foundation, a non-profit charity that works closely with all areas of The Madison Square Garden Company, including the Knicks, Rangers, Liberty, MSG Entertainment and MSG Media, to make dreams come true for children facing obstacles.
These distinctive qualities led New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to name PUBLIQuartet as 2016-17 MetLiveArts Ensemble-in-Residence, featuring a series of concerts in various spaces at the Met, including the Cloisters, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, and the Met’s new Breuer space. The unique programs created by PQ for each performance included such collaborators as Andy Akiho, Ian Rosenbaum, Nadia Sirota, Helga Davis, and James Carter. Those successes for MetLiveArts have led to a busy 2017-18 touring season across the US, featuring their DC debut on the Washington Performing Arts series and a special performance of John Corigliano’s epic string quartet at Wolf Trap, celebrating the composer’s 80th birthday.
Recent career highlights include PQ’s Lincoln Center debut on the Great Performers series, and a sold-out Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall, along with a wide variety of venues/festivals including BAM Café, (Le) Poisson Rouge, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, the Detroit Jazz Festival, and a special appearance with Grammy–winning pianist/composer Billy Childs at the Newport Jazz Festival. In 2016, PUBLIQuartet was selected by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to perform a 90–minute improvised soundtrack to the final presidential debate, streamed live on the Late Show’s Facebook page, which has over one million views.
PUBLIQuartet’s commitment to supporting emerging composers inspired their innovative program, PUBLIQ Access, designed in 2014 to promote emerging composers and to present a wide variety of under-represented music for string quartet, from classical, jazz, and electronic to non-notated, world, and improvised music. In addition to annual PUBLIQ Access showcase concerts at NYC’s DiMenna Center for Classical Music and at Boston’s First Church, the group features at least one PQ Access composition on every concert program. The best of these works are included on PUBLIQuartet’s new self-titled debut album, which was released in fall 2015 on CAG Records, and they will premiere three brand new works during the 2017-18 season, written for PQ by Jessica Meyer, Steven Snowden, and Xian Wang.
Other current projects include the original program MIND|THE|GAP, described by The Strad as “ingenious hybrids…bridging the divide between diverse musical genres through group improvisation”, which PQ developed in 2011 to generate interest in new music while also engaging traditional classical music audiences.
PUBLIQuartet is sought after for its creative and energetic educational workshops. The quartet’s mission to enrich and inspire students of diverse backgrounds has led PQ to hold residencies with American Composers Orchestra and Deer Valley Music Festival’s Emerging Quartets and Composers program, among others.
Founded in 2010, PUBLIQuartet has been presented by The American Composers Orchestra, the Virginia Arts Festival, the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, and The Chautauqua Institution. PQ has collaborated with members of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), JACK Quartet, jazz tuba legend Bob Stewart, and innovative jazz clarinetist/composer Don Byron. Mentors include members of the Muir, Juilliard, Orion, Mendelssohn, Tokyo, American, and Brentano String Quartets as well as composers Joan Tower and Butch Morris. They have participated in residencies at the Juilliard String Quartet Institute, the Robert Mann String Quartet Institute, the Shouse Institute (GLMF), and the Banff Centre.
Most recognizable for her work in fashion, the native New Yorker spent 10 years circling the globe as a model before finding her voice in front of the camera as a features reporter for CBS
News in New York. She relocated to Atlanta in 2000 to write and host Travel Now, a weekly series for CNN and subsequently hosted several primetime series and specials for HGTV— in-
cluding Mission Organization, Christmas at the White House and Behind the Design of HGTV’s Dream Home.
Gail is a graduate of Wesleyan University and divides her time between homes in Atlanta and New York City.
Ms. Platts has performed with, amongst others, the Philadelphia, Cleveland and Minnesota Orchestras, Orchestre de Paris, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, Detroit, Milwaukee, Baltimore and Houston Symphonies, as well as the Los Angeles and St. Paul Chamber Orchestras.
She has collaborated with many of today’s leading conductors including Marin Alsop, Sir Andrew Davis, Christoph Eschenbach, JoAnn Falletta, Jane Glover, Keith Lockhart, Kent Nagano, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Peter Oundjian, Bramwell Tovey, Osmo Vänska and Pinchas Zuckerman.
Ms. Platts’ recent highlights include her Royal Opera House debut in Mozart‘s Die Zauberflöte, John Adams’ Nixon in China for BBC Proms, Mahler‘s Das Lied von der Erde and the premiere of a new work by Howard Shore with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius in Mexico City with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional and Mahler’s Third Symphony with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Ms. Platts was on a recent Naxos release of Mahler‘s Das Lied von der Erde (chamber version). She has recorded the full version of Das Lied von der Erde with the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the Smithsonian Chamber Players, and Lieder of Robert and Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms on the ATMA label.
Mr. Woodley has appeared with prestigious opera companies all over the U.S. including the San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Dallas Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, New Orleans Opera, and the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. His many roles have included Varlaam in “Boris Gudunov”, Bartolo in “Le Nozze di Figaro”, the Four Villains in “Les Contes d’Hoffmann”, Kuno in “Die Freischutz”, Banquo in
“Macbeth”, Nick Shadow in “The Rake’s Progress”, Sulpice in “La Fille du Regiment”, Leporello in “Don Giovanni”, Rocco in “Fidelio”, Publio in “La Clemenza di Tito”, Angelotti in “Tosca”, Achillas in “Giulio Cesare”, and Dansker in “Billy Budd”. He also recently created the role of Dick Halloran in Paul Moravec’s “The Shining” at the Minnesota Opera and Emile Griffith in Terence Blanchard’s “Champion” at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
Mr. Woodley has a distinguished history with the role of Porgy in “Porgy and Bess”. He sang the role in concert with the San Francisco Symphony , the National Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony and on tour in Italy , including Santa Cecilia in Rome with Yuri Temirkanov. In staged performances, he has appeared with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Indianapolis Opera, Opera Colorado, the Bregenz Festival, the Savolinna International Festival in Finland and the Catfish Row Opera Company of Charleston, South Carolina in a gala celebration of the 50th anniversary of the opera’s debut.
In concert, Mr. Woodley has appeared with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Symphony, the Modesto Symphony, the American Composers Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, the Collegiate Chorale at Lincoln Center and at the Bard Music Festival. He also sang the world premiere of “God, Mississippi, and Medgar Evers” with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and was the bass soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in Mexico City with Sir Neville
Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.
Mr. Woodley was born in New York City and raised in Saint Croix. He currently resides in Montclair, NJ. He recently joined the faculty of Vocal Performance at NYU.
David Gonzalez is a professional storyteller, poet, playwright, musician and public speaker. He is a cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department, and is the proud recipient of the International Performing Arts for Youth “Lifetime Achievement Award for Sustained Excellence“. Mr. Gonzalez was named a Fellow of the Joseph Campbell Foundation and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for “Unique Theatrical Experience” for The Frog Bride. David has created numerous productions, including the critically acclaimed ¡Sofrito!with The Latin Legends Band, and MytholoJazz, both of which enjoyed sold-out runs at New Victory Theater. Sleeping Beauty was co-commissioned by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Brooklyn College, and The McCallum Theater. David was a featured performer at the National Storytelling Festival, and appeared for three seasons at the Royal National Theatre in London. The Man of the House was commissioned by, and premiered at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2013.
David has composed and recorded music for three albums of by the Spanish poet Gopala, available at http://gopalaweb.blogspot.com.es/
Mr. Gonzalez’ work Double Crossed: The Saga of the St. Louis toured nationally, including a run at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. As If the Past Were Listening, was in Lincoln Center Institute’s repertory for three seasons.Finding North, commissioned by the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park ran at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. He co-wrote Mariel, an Afro-Cuban musical won the Macy’s “New Play Prize for Young Audiences.” David is also the librettist for Rise for Freedom!, produced at the Cincinnati Opera, and wrote and produced Jimi and Mr. B, a musical commissioned by the Empire State Plaza Performing Arts Center. His poems for The Carnival of the Animals with classical piano virtuoso Frederic Chui, premiered in 2008. David was the host of New York Kids on WNYC for eight seasons, earned his doctorate from New York University’s School of Education, and worked as a music therapist with handicapped children for many years. David’s poetry project (City of Dreams) has performed at colleges, festivals, and theaters throughout the country. He is also the Director of Crisalida Communications which consults to arts and civic organizations helping them create effective community outreach programs. Online at crisalidacom.com
Storyteller/musician/poet/playwright David Gonzalez received the Lifetime Achievment award from International Performing Arts for Youth, and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his original production of “The Frog Bride” at Broadway’s New Victory Theater. Mr. Gonzalez was named a Fellow of the Joseph Campbell Foundation and was the host of New York Kids on WNYC for eight seasons. He wrote Rise for Freedom!, an opera libretto commissioned and produced by the Cincinnati Opera, and Mariel, an Afro-Cuban musical which won the Macy’s “New Play Prize for Young Audiences”. Mr. Gonzalez’ poetry has been featured at Lincoln Center’s Out-of-Doors Festival, Bill Moyers’ documentary Fooling with Words on PBS, and NPR’s All Things Considered. His performance poem, Oh Hudson, was commissioned by the Empire State Plaza Performing Arts Center to commemorate the Quadricentennial of Henry Hudson’s exploration. He is the author of numerous plays and one-man shows including: The Boy Who Could Sing Pictures, Aesop Bops!, Double Crossed: The Saga of the St. Louis, As If The Past Were Listening, MytholoJazz, Maddog and Me, Wounded Splendor, Finding North, City of Dreams, Sofrito!, The Carnival of the Animals, The Man of the House, and Sleeping Beauty which have been presented at many of the best performing arts centers, theaters, and festivals in the US and abroad. David was a featured performer at the National Storytelling Festival and received his doctorate from New York University’s School of Education. Mr. Gonzalez is bi-lingual and is the Artistic Director for the Crisalida Communications, a company that consults on arts outreach to theaters and community organizations. Online at www.davidgonzalez.com and www.crisalidacom.com