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, Delfeayo Marsalis, Kamal Khan, and the PUBLIQuartet
6:30pm reception • 7:15pm doors • 7:30pm show
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 artist to sing in the main hall of Carnegie Hall.
Harolyn Blackwell – soprano
ELEW – piano
David Gonzalez – scriptwriter
Alicia Graf Mack – dancer
Kamal Khan – pianist
Delfeayo Marsalis – trombonist
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
Rachael Worby – music director
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
Jessye Norman, one of the world’s most celebrated performing artists, is acclaimed for her performances in a wide range of leading roles with the world’s premier opera companies, in solo recitals and in concerts of her cherished classical repertoire with preeminent orchestras all over the globe, as well as her latest artistic expansion with her jazz ensemble.
Her collaborations with artists of other disciplines is a hallmark and include: Bill T. Jones, Steve McQueen, Garth Fagan, Laura Karpman, and Robert Wilson among many others.
She is the recipient of a number of awards and accolades including more than forty honorary doctorate degrees from colleges, universities and conservatories around the world, five Grammy awards including the ‘lifetime achievement award’, the National Medal of the Arts and is a Kennedy Center Honors recipient. Miss Norman has also been awarded the highest honor of the NAACP, The Spingarn Medal.
Her community service includes trustee board memberships at Carnegie Hall, The New York Public Library, The New York Botanical Gardens and The Dance Theatre of Harlem.
The Jessye Norman School of the Arts in her hometown of Augusta, Georgia is now in its fourteenth academic year.
Grammy–nominated soprano Harolyn Blackwell is recognized for her expressive and exuberant performances, with a career that has spanned opera, concert, and recital stages around the world. Following college, the Washington, DC native began her career on Broadway in Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. Shortly thereafter, she was selected as a finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and her career path changed from musical theatre to opera. Since then, she has performed with many of the major national and international opera companies and at festivals around the world, including Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires), the Seattle Opera, Opéra de Nice, Florida Grand Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, the Aix-en-Provence festival, the Opera Orchestra of New York, and New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival.
She has appeared in several productions at the Metropolitan Opera, including Un Ballo in Maschera, Le Nozze di Figaro, Manon, Die Fledermaus, Werther, and La Fille du Régiment. Ms Blackwell starred as Cunegonde in the Broadway revival of Candide. An accomplished recitalist, she has performed in several acclaimed concert venues, including London’s Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Morgan Library, the Library of Congress, the San Francisco Performances Series at the Herbst Theatre, the Kennedy Center’s Fortas chamber series, the Vocal Arts society of Washington, and the Ambassador Foundation performing arts series in Los Angeles. She has also appeared in a number of nationally televised concerts such as the Grammy Awards, the Kennedy Center Honors, the Memorial Day and Fourth of July concerts on PBS, Christmas in Washington, and PBS’s In Performance at the White House to name a few.
Ms Blackwell is the recipient of numerous awards, including two career grants from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation; Artist of the Year from the Seattle Opera; the Alumna of the Year Award from her alma mater, Catholic University; an honorary doctorate in music from George Washington University; an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Siena College; and the Norman Vincent Peale Arts Award. An advocate of arts education, Ms Blackwell is a board member of the George London Foundation and The Voice Foundation. Presently, she is serving on the artist board for The Metropolitan Opera Guild, the Morgan Library, and the Martina Arroyo Foundation. Since 2005, she has served on the artists committee for the Kennedy Center Honors as well as the artist selection committee for the Marian Anderson Competition and the NEA Awards.
Photo credit: Luc Papa
Soprano Laquita Mitchell consistently earns acclaim on eminent international opera and concert stages, leading performances with Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, and Opéra Comique in Paris, New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, among many others. This season, she performs Violetta in La traviata with Edmonton Opera and reprises the role of Bess in Porgy and Bess with Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Grange Park Opera in the UK. She will also create the role of Josephine Baker in Tom Cipullo’s Josephine for Opera Colorado.
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.
Eric Lewis, began his career as a jazz pianist, performing alongside Wynton Marsalis and Elvin Jones. A decade into his career, he reemerged as ELEW and began fusing his piano skills with modern pop and rock music, generating a new genre of music, Rockjazz. Over the course of multiple albums, ELEW has reenergized songs by Coldpay and Michael Jackson, and even joined forces with rapper Lil’ Wayne’s album IANAHB II. He also recently produced for Roc Nation artist and rapper Belly’s new album.
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.
Photo courtesy of the artist
Darryl “DMC” McDaniels is a legendary music icon who first impacted the world over 35 years ago. From the first rap group to grace the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine to the first to appear on MTV, Grammy nominated Run-DMC changed music, culture, fashion, language and made American history. It would be hard to overstate his influence on popular culture.
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.
Photo credit: Peter Adamik/1B1
Applauded by the Washington Post as “a perfect encapsulation of today’s trends in chamber music” and by The New Yorker as “independent-minded”, PUBLIQuartet’s creative programming lends a fresh perspective to the classical music scene. Dedicated to presenting new works for string quartet, PUBLIQuartet was selected as Concert Artists Guild’s New Music/New Places Ensemble at the 2013 CAG Competition, and then garnered Chamber Music America’s 2015 ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award for outstanding and innovative approaches to contemporary classical, jazz, and world chamber music. PQ’s genre-bending programs span the classical canon and also feature open-form improvisations that expand the techniques and aesthetic of the traditional string quartet.
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.
Gail O’Neill is a regular contributor to ArtsATL where she writes about the arts and culture, style editor at Southern Seasons Weddings magazine and freelance writer for Apprécier. She blogs about film, politics, sports and trending news at The Gaily Planet.
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— including 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.
Photo credit: Tim Bell Photography
A recipient of a New Music USA Project Grant and The Juilliard Career Advancement Fellowship, Aaron Severini is a composer for concert, dance, film, television, and new media. Prior to receiving his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in composition from The Juilliard School, Mr. Severini trained at the School of American Ballet and enjoyed a career dancing professionally for the New York City Ballet. His concert works have been performed at Alice Tully Hall (NYC), Davies Symphony Hall (San Francisco, CA), and premiered by today’s leading musicians, including three-time Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn. Mr. Severini collaborates regularly with choreographers and has composed original scores for the New York City Ballet, the Pacific Northwest Ballet School, The Juilliard School, and the New York Choreographic Institute. His music for filmmakers and videographers includes works for PBS documentaries, iPad/iPhone applications, and promotional campaigns for Cartier, Squarespace, the New York City Ballet, and others. Mr. Severini’s latest score for the hour-long theatrical production, Echo & Narcissus, premiered this past September at BAM (NYC). Seen and Heard International wrote, “Severini’s score was mesmerizing, its sounds perfectly captured in motion by choreographer Norbert De La Cruz III.” Please visit aaronseverini.com for more information.
Photo credit: Godofredo Astudillo
Susan Platts brings a uniquely rich and wide-ranging voice to the concert and recital repertoire. She is particularly esteemed for her performances of Gustav Mahler’s works. She is a Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative Fellow, which gave her the opportunity to study with world-renowned soprano Jessye Norman.
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.
This season, American bass Arthur Woodley, brings his acclaimed performance of Emile Griffith in Terence Blanchard’s “Champion” to the Montreal Opera and appears in concert with Atlanta Symphony as Rocco in “Fidelio” and the US Naval Academy’s annual “Messiah” performances.
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
Photo credit: Carl Cox
Alicia Graf Mack enjoyed a distinguished career as a leading dancer of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She has also been a principal dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Ms. Graf Mack has danced as a guest performer with Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, Beyoncé, John Legend, Andre 3000, and Alicia Keys.
Ms. Graf Mack graduated magna cum laude with honors in history from Columbia University and holds an MA in nonprofit management from Washington University in St. Louis. In 2007, Smithsonian magazine named her an American Innovator of the Arts and Sciences. She is a recipient of the Columbia University Medal of Excellence, an award given each year to one alumnus who has demonstrated excellence in their field of work. In 2008, she delivered the keynote address to the graduates of Columbia University’s School of General Studies.
As a dance educator, Ms. Graf Mack most recently taught as adjunct faculty at the University of Houston and was a visiting assistant professor at Webster University. She is a co-founder of D(n)A Arts Collective, an initiative created to enrich the lives of young dancers through master classes and intensives. She began her inaugural season as Director of the Juilliard Dance Division in the fall of 2018.
" Delfeayo is, in many ways, the most fun of the Marsalises. He’s the family trombonist. And record producer. And he seems to be the family wise guy too." — Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News
Born and raised in New Orleans, LA, trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis has dedicated his life to music, theatre and education. At the age of 17, he began his career as a producer and has to date produced over 120 recordings with several Grammy nominations. Mr. Marsalis has played trombone in bands led by jazz legends Ray Charles, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Elvin Jones and Slide Hampton, as well as leading his own groups. In 2008, he formed the Uptown Jazz Orchestra, a highly entertaining ensemble that focuses on maintaining important jazz traditions such as riff playing, New Orleans polyphony and spontaneous arrangements.
In 2000, Mr. Marsalis formed the Uptown Music Theatre, a non-profit organization that empowers youth through musical theatre training. He has written sixteen musicals to date based on historical themes and/or uniting the community. His American Legacy Series includes informational works on Harriet Tubman, Althea Gibson, Duke Ellington, the Harlem Renaissance and Those Crazy 60s!
Mr. Marsalis has a dual degree in music performance and production from Berklee College of Music, a masters in jazz performance from the University of Louisville and was conferred a doctorate from the New England College. In 2011, he was named an NEA Jazz Master, the highest honor given to a jazz musician in America. Mr. Marsalis is the 2016 Best of the Beat Award winner for Best Contemporary Jazz Artist in New Orleans, and his latest cd, Make America Great Again! was named 2017 Best Contemporary Jazz recording.
Photo credit: Frank Stewart
Jared Grimes is a quadruple threat in the world of the arts, where he is heavily making his mark in singing, dancing, acting, and choreography. On numerous occasions, he has danced alongside legends such as Wynton Marsalis, Gregory Hines, Ben Vereen, Jerry Lewis, and Fayard Nicholas, and he has also performed for Barack Obama and Ted Kennedy at the Kennedy Center.
Grimes has toured with musical legend Mariah Carey under the choreography of Marty Kudelka and danced for artists such as Common, Salt-n-Pepa, Envogue, Busta Rhymes, and the Roots. Jared’s theater credits include After Midnight on Broadway, directed by Warren Carlyle; Twist, directed by Debbie Allen; Babes in Arms at the Goodspeed Opera House, choreographed by Randy Skinner; Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, directed by John Rando (at Encores); and Broadway Underground, directed by himself.
Grimes has appeared in commercials for Coca-Cola, Subway, and MTV as well as in television shows such as CBS‘s Star Search, Showtime at the Apollo, ABC Family’s Dance Fever, The Jerry Lewis Telethon, Fox‘s Fringe, and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.
Grimes made his choreography debut in Cirque Du Soleil‘s Banana Shpeel off broadway and has choreographed commercials for Chili’s and assisted choreography with Kristin Denehy for Macy’s popular Kidz Bop commercial.
Recently, he is a choreographer of After Midnight on Broadway and associate choreographer of Holler If You Hear Me, the Tupac musical.
His feature film credits include Paramount‘s The Marc Pease Experience, starring Ben Stiller; New Line Cinema’s Little Manhattan; and Elevation Filmwork‘s’ First Born, starring Elizabeth Shue. Jared also recently choreographed the feature film Breaking Brooklyn with director Paul Becker.
Photo credit: Kat Hennessey
American conductor and pianist Kamal Khan has performed with many opera companies around the world including the Metropolitan Opera, Dallas Opera, Baltimore Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil, Teatro de las Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Oper der Stadt Bonn and the Staatstheater Schwerin, Germany, Cape Town Opera, Opera South Africa, Opera de Puerto Rico, Asian Cultural Center, Korea and the International Festivals of Cervantino in Mexico and Santander, Mérida, La Coruña, Tenerife and Málaga in Spain. Additionally he has conducted the Jerusalem Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Beijing Symphony, Shanghai Symphony, São Paulo Philharmonic, Balearic Islands Philharmonic, Oviedo Philharmonic, the Spanish Radio and Television Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic, Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic and the Orchestra of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Some of the works he has conducted include Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro, Cosi fan tutte, Die Zauberflöte, Norma, I Puritani, La Sonnambula, Lucia di Lammermoor, La Favorita, L’Elisir d’amore, Tosca, Rigoletto, La Boheme, Il Tritico, Turandot, La Traviata, Nabucco, Un Ballo in Maschera, Carmen, Werther, Mefistofele, Cavalleria Rusticana, I Pagliacci, Die Fliegende Holländer, Ariadne auf Naxos, Porgy and Bess, Die Fledermaus, The Rake’s Progress, The Merry Widow and the African premieres of Il Viaggio a Reims and Dead Man Walking and the Five:20 Operas Made in South Africa commissioned to celebrate the South African College of Music’s Centennial in 2011 which was followed by the Four:30 Operas Made in South Africa.
As a recitalist and accompanist Kamal Khan has appeared in venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall and Weill Hall in New York, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Gran Teatro Liceu and the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, Palais Garnier in Paris, Suntory Hall and Casals Hall in Tokyo, the Palau de Congressos in Andorra and the Baxter Concert Hall and Montecasino in South Africa with singers such as Marcelo Alvarez, Juan Pons, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, June Anderson, Veronica Villarroel, Pretty Yende, Nadine Sierra, Bryn Terfel, Justino Diaz, Lauren Flanigan, Herman Prey, Ainoha Arteta, Angela Meade, Nadine Benjamin and violinist Joshua Bell.
Most recently Prof. Khan was the Director of the Opera School at the University of Cape Town, he is Affiliate Faculty at the Royal Opera Covent Garden Jette Parker Young Artists Program and the Juilliard School, Music and Artistic Director of the Mediterranean Opera Studio and Festival. He has been Assistant Conductor at the Metropolitan Opera and Resident Conductor and Chorus Master of the Palm Beach Opera where he founded the Resident Artist Program. He was also Resident Conductor of the Opera Festival in Tenerife and Head of Faculty of the International School of Vocal Study of the Balearic Islands. Additionally he has worked with the Mannes College of Music, the Manhattan School of Music in New York, the International Vocal Arts Institute, European Center for Vocal Arts, Chautauqua School of Music, Opera Theatre of St Louis, Ravinia Festival and Glimmerglass Opera. He has given masterclasses at the Opera Hogskolan at the University of the Arts in Stockholm, the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin, the University of Michigan, and Georgia State University in Atlanta.
A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music Kamal Khan was assistant to James Levine at the Metropolitan Opera and collaborated with such conductors as James Levine, Nello Santi, James Conlon, Julius Rudel, Christian Thielemann, Carlo Rizzi and Marco Armiliato and singers Teresa Stratas, Plácido Domingo, Renata Scotto, Sherrill Milnes, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Mirella Freni, Luciano Pavarotti, Marilyn Horne, Renée Fleming, Carlo Bergonzi, Tatiana Troyanos, Ghena Dimitrova and Bonaldo Giaiotti to name a few.
A native of Washington DC, Kamal Khan was the recipient from the first National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts prize, he is also received prizes and grants from the National Association of Music Teachers and the National Symphony Orchestra and the PBS- Channel 13 documentary “I Live to Sing” based on his work in South Africa won the 2014 EMMY for best cultural programing http://www.thirteen.org/program-content/i-live-to-sing-full-program/
Rachael Worby, Artistic Director, Conductor and Founder of MUSE/IQUE – a dynamic, nonprofit organization that creates exhilarating live music adventures in Pasadena, California.
Inspired by the innovation and activism of Leonard Bernstein’s career, Rachael Worby became one of the first highly successful female conductors of national and international renown. Her exuberance and accessibility have spurred remarkable growth in the organizations under her leadership.
Worby rose to prominence when she earned the role of Music Director and Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra in Wheeling, West Virginia. During her 17-year tenure, she increased programming from six annual concerts to forty and accomplished new milestones for the orchestra, including touring, the creation of a Pops series that was frequently sold out, and the release of the orchestra’s first CD. Worby simultaneously served as Music Director and Conductor of the Young People’s Concerts at Carnegie Hall, a role she had dreamed of holding since she was a child. She hosted the nationally-acclaimed Arts and Letters series on public television and was appointed to the National Council of the Arts by then President Clinton.
From 2000-2010, Worby continued her legacy as a dedicated orchestra builder as Music Director of the Pasadena POPS. In addition to increasing the number of annual concerts and audience attendance, she also instituted free concerts and expanded outreach programs to underserved communities.
At the conclusion of her term, she and a group of community leaders founded MUSE/IQUE in 2011 to continue re-imagining the concert-going format. She remains committed to creating transformative multi-disciplinary performance experiences that ensure everyone has access to inspiring music.
Worby has been honored with many awards, including the Spirit of Achievement from Albert Einstein College, the Women of Excellence award from the YWCA, the degree Doctor of Humanities honoris causa from Marshall University, and the degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa and the Presidential Medal of Honor for her consummate lifetime achievements both from Claremont University. She is in demand as a guest conductor and has led orchestras throughout Europe, South America, Australia, and Asia.