As the world grapples with the most severe global refugee crisis since World War II, musicians convened by conductors John Devlin and Lidiya Yankovskaya, herself a refugee who found asylum in the United States, are coming together to provide a voice to refugees in the country.
At 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 10, Yankovskaya and instrumentalists whose friends and families have fled to the U.S. to escape violence and persecution will perform a special concert for residents in the nation’s capital and surrounding areas. The performance will take place in The Fillmore Silver Spring and will feature a full symphony orchestra and soloists—including award-winning soprano Zhanna Alkhazova—performing works by refugee composers, such as Iranian composer Gity Razaz, Béla Bartók, and Irving Berlin, as well as music that involves refugee themes written by Verdi and Puccini, among others. The concert will showcase, through music, the positive impact that those who have come to this country seeking safety and a better life have had on American culture and society. It is one of three fundraising events that the Refugee Orchestra Project is organizing this spring.
“I organized the Refugee Orchestra Project as a way to demonstrate, through music, the critical role that these individuals play in our cultural landscape,” said Refugee Orchestra Project Conductor and Artistic Director Lidiya Yankovskaya. “In light of the negative rhetoric we regularly read and hear in the news today, I felt it important for all of us to once again be reminded of the essential role that refugees play in making American culture vibrant and strong.”
Devlin and the D.C.-based Gourmet Symphony will support this endeavor by recruiting local musicians to participate in the concert, as well as food vendors who will provide product and services to encourage donations for the cause.
“Gourmet Symphony was thrilled when the Refugee Orchestra Project representatives reached out to us about a possible collaboration around this worthy cause,” said John Devlin, co-founder and Artistic Director of Gourmet Symphony. “As artistic leaders in the nation’s capital, we feel that it is our responsibility to play an active role in our community and in matters of national importance. The concert will also allow us to engage culinary partners who are passionate about this cause. Our common goal is to offer a sense of connectedness and hope through the music and fellowship shared in this performance.”
Admission to the concert is free, donations are suggested. Guests who make a donation of at least $50 will receive premium seating and a gourmet gift box including snack bites from Gourmet Symphony’s culinary partners at Beuchert’s Saloon and Mike Isabella Concepts, among others—this will be capped at 100. Proceeds from donations will go toward the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees in support of those seeking asylum in the U.S. and abroad.
As much as Jonathan Larsen’s unprecedented Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Rent impacted popular culture, it also transformed the lives of the actors that embodied a group of young friends trying to forge a life for themselves in New York’s bohemian East Village. 20 years after Rent’s Broadway debut, original cast members Adam Pascal & Anthony Rapp reunite at the Music Center at Strathmore on Friday, April 28, 2017 at 8 p.m. to commemorate this cultural touchstone and 20 years of friendship. The concert of duets and solos will include originals, reimagined Broadway classics, and favorites from Rent. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (301) 581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.
Throughout the set, the duo will share stories about their careers, including what it was like working on one of the longest running musicals in Broadway history. Rent has proved a thread throughout their careers that has periodically brought the two back together—prior to the 20thanniversary concert tour, both reprised their Rent roles during the national tour in 2009.
Tony-nominated Adam Pascal recently returned to Broadway’s Nederlander Theater, where Rent lived for years, in the new musical Disaster! Since his days playing Roger in Rent, Pascal has starred in Aida, Chicago, and Memphis. He is currently playing Shakespeare in the national tour of Something Rotten!
After originating the role of Mark in Rent, Anthony Rapp went on to originate another character in If/Then alongside previous Rent co-star Idina Menzel, which debuted at Washington, D.C.’s National Theatre. He wrote the book Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent, about the demands of life in the theater during his mother’s battle with cancer, which he later adapted into a one-man show. It was recently announced that Rapp will star as “astromycologist” Lt. Stamets in Star Trek: Discovery for CBS All Access, the first series developed specifically for this platform and the first Star Trek series since Star Trek: Enterprise (2005). Stamets is also the first openly gay character conceived for the Star Trek franchise.
PAUL D. MILLER aka DJ SPOOKY: REBIRTH OF A NATION
Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 8 p.m.
By Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky
Featuring Sound Impact
Eisenhower Theater–from $19
Conceived as a reimagining of director D.W. Griffith’s infamously racist 1915 silent film, The Birth of a Nation, DJ Spooky’s Rebirth of a Nation is a culturally significant project that examines how “…exploitation and political corruption still haunt the world to this day, but in radically different forms.” Today, more than a century since the release of The Birth of a Nation, the project continues to be presented internationally, engaging audiences in themes of civil rights and freedom, seen through the lens of DJ Spooky’s unique art of remixing. Dr. King once said that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”—one of the drivers behind Miller’s work is influenced by this. “I try to give people thought tools for mindfulness, or for thinking about the patterns we inhabit as not fixed of locked down, but changeable. It’s the beauty of that, which makes life worth living.” The Kennedy Center debut of Rebirth of a Nation is a multimedia performance featuring a string quartet from D.C.-based music ensemble Sound Impact. Two violins, a viola, and a cello will accompany three screen video projections, controlled live on stage by DJ Spooky.
NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA CONCERT HONORING JOHN F. KENNEDY
Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 8 p.m.
National Symphony Orchestra
Joshua Weilerstein, conductor
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano
Concert Hall–from $79
Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man
William Grant Still: Poem for Orchestra
Mason Bates: Passage
John Williams: Cello Concerto
Bernstein: Three Dance Episodes from On The Town
This performance features Kennedy Center Artistic Advisor at Large Yo-Yo Ma and is led by young American conductor Joshua Weilerstein in his Kennedy Center debut.
The National Symphony Orchestra performs the world premiere of Mason Bates’s Passage, an NSO commission created especially for JFK’s 100th. Passage examines the theme of American exploration through the visionary words of Walt Whitman and President John F. Kennedy. Composed for renowned mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and the NSO, the work imaginatively sets Whitman’s “Passage to India” alongside recorded fragments of JFK’s moonshot speech given in 1961. Two iconic American voices—that of poet and President—come together on a journey to the ever-expanding human frontier.
Thursday, May 25, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
Paola Prestini, composer
Royce Vavrek, librettist
Concert Hall–from $15
The Hubble Cantata, brought to life by Metropolitan opera star Nathan Gunn (with soprano to be announced), music director Julian Wachner, a 20-piece instrumental ensemble, and a 100-person choir from The Washington Chorus, is an unprecedented live experience. The program pushes the boundaries of art and science as it takes audiences on a journey of wonder and exploration, seeking parallels between human life on Earth and the stars in the heavens. Framed by the birth, life, and death of a star—and connected to a narrative of a couple experiencing loss—the hour-long, space-inspired cantata features a cutting-edge virtual reality film (Fistful of Stars) by Eliza McNitt, music by composer Paola Prestini, and libretto by Royce Vavrek. Through his narration, New York Times best-selling author and eminent astrophysicist Dr. Mario Livio explains the larger celestial implications at stake, placing the characters’ story within the grand scheme of the cosmos.
In a final gesture, this family-friendly performance incorporates virtual reality cardboard headsets, simulating an immersive voyage through the universe, expertly created by The Endless Collective, a leading VR FX firm, with a 360-degree soundscape developed by Arup, the global leaders in acoustic and sound design. This mesmerizing live experience, co-produced by VisionIntoArt/National Sawdust, Beth Morrison Projects and Arup, reflects Livio’s poignant themes and the powerful realization that humans discovered, explore, and continue to expand the understanding of the universe, and man’s place in it.
Between a film premiere and a West End debut, there’s Strathmore. Unparalleled in her breadth and versatility, Audra McDonald brings the music that has shaped her career to the Music Center at Strathmore on Friday, May 26, 2017 at 8 p.m. The concert follows the premiere of her latest film, a live action remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and just before her West End debut in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. An icon of Broadway, McDonald is the winner of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, and an Emmy Award. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (301) 581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.
Tickets to this show go on sale to the general public on Friday, March 10, 2017 at 10 a.m.
In addition to her Tony-winning performances in Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, she has appeared on Broadway in The Secret Garden, Marie Christine (Tony nomination), Henry IV, 110 in the Shade (Tony nomination), and Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed. The Juilliard-trained soprano’s opera credits include La voix humaine and Send at Houston Grand Opera, and Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at Los Angeles Opera.
On television, she was seen by millions as the Mother Abbess in NBC’s The Sound of Music Live! and played Dr. Naomi Bennett on ABC’s Private Practice. She won an Emmy Award for her role as host of PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center and has received nominations for Wit, A Raisin in the Sun, and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.
On film, she has appeared in Seven Servants, The Object of My Affection, Cradle Will Rock, It Runs in the Family, The Best Thief in the World, She Got Problems, Rampart, and Ricky and the Flash. She plays the Garderobe in the 2017 live-action remake of Disney’s classic Beauty and the Beast.
An exclusive recording artist for Nonesuch Records, she has released five solo albums for the label. McDonald also maintains a major career as a concert artist, regularly appearing on the great stages of the world and with leading international orchestras.
She was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people of 2015 and received a 2015 National Medal of Arts, America’s highest honor for achievement in the arts, from President Barack Obama.
Of all her many roles, her favorites are the ones performed offstage—passionate advocate for equal rights and homeless youth, wife to actor Will Swenson, and mother to her children.
Strathmore presents and produces exemplary visual and performing arts programs for diverse audiences; creates dynamic arts education experiences; and nurtures creative ideas and conversations that advance the future of the arts. The organization’s hallmark is the Music Center at Strathmore, with a 1,976-seat concert hall and education complex. Its core campus also includes the historic Mansion at Strathmore, which features an intimate Music Room and art galleries. Most recently, Strathmore opened AMP, a 250-seat cabaret-style venue located just up Rockville Pike from the core campus in the burgeoning Pike District of Montgomery County. Strathmore’s signature education, mission-driven programs include the Strathmore Student Concerts and the Artist in Residence program.
Strathmore is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to non-profit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities.
Strathmore is also supported in part by the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County.
Friday, May 26, 2017
Music Center at Strathmore
5301 Tuckerman Lane
North Bethesda, MD 20852
KENNEDY CENTER OPEN HOUSE: CELEBRATING JFK AT 100
Saturday, May 27, 2017, 12 p.m.–10 p.m.
With world premiere commission and activities for all
In celebration of John F. Kennedy’s 100th birthday, the Kennedy Center will host an Open House. This free event welcomes the public to explore and experience the performing arts through the halls, theaters, and plazas of the Kennedy Center through more than 30 free performances, activities and events for all ages and tastes. The arts program will feature artists from across the U.S., the Washington, D.C. region, and abroad.
- Bandaloop, the pioneers of vertical dance, will present multiple performances suspended from the roof of the Kennedy Center throughout the day.
- Company E, a D.C-based contemporary dance company, will perform a Kennedy Center JFK Centennial-commissioned work and world premiere, (In) Security or Jack and Nikki Do the Cold War Tango, in the Grand Foyer using both Millennium Stages simultaneously to explore the John F Kennedy/ Nikita Khrushchev relationship.
- Flexn will present five different performances throughout the day in the Eisenhower Theater of flex dance which is an electrifying form of street dance evolved from Jamaican bruk-up and reggae. Each performance will be in a different format (solo, two-on-two battles, full company), and each focusing on one of the five JFK Centennial ideals as well as opening with a discussion of the works by Peter Sellars and Reggie Gray.
- Finding a Line: Skateboarding, Music, and Media will return with a skate park and music stage open and active throughout the day on the plaza.
- Citizen Artist Fellow Paige Hernandez and Baye Harrell will perform “All the Way Live!” in the Family Theater.
- The National Memorial Day Choral Festival in the Concert Hall will present patriotic repertoire which will include works that celebrate President Kennedy such as the “Star Spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Inauguration,” and “To the Moon.”
- Local Washington Ballet will participate in Open House activities by presenting their independent commission Frontier.
All of the programming in the three largest theaters and the Grand Foyer will explore and celebrate the legacy of President Kennedy.