The Performing Arts Series is an arts-based distance learning program that utilizes interactive capabilities of satellite broadcasting, educational cable and public broadcasting, and the Web to share the artistic resources of the Kennedy Center with a national audience of students and educators.
These programs feature national and international artists in theater, classical music, jazz, dance, and the literary arts in performances, demonstrations, and discussions. Programs can be viewed in their entirety or in selected segments and provide content for use in arts-focused or arts-integrated learning environments. Currently, no new programs are being added but all programs to date are available on the web and through rebroadcasts on cable stations throughout the country.
Performing Arts Series Library
2010 - 2011 Season
Friday, May 20
A 2008 Grammy®-nominated jazz artist at age 21, Eldar is described as "one of the finest jazz pianists of his generation" (CMJ Magazine). Having already produced five albums and performed in Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and some of the most notable jazz venues around the world, Eldar is known for his extraordinary technique, musicality, and virtuosity. With his trio, Eldar guides students in how to listen to jazz and performs some of his original compositions.
Friday, May 20
The music and dance of India provide students with a window to the vibrant culture and traditions of one of the world's largest countries. As part of the Kennedy Center's maximum INDIA festival, Ragamala Dance introduces students to Bharatanatyam, a traditional dance form from south India. Combining virtuosity and aesthetic beauty, the dancers, accompanied by live music, demonstrate how basic body positions, rhythms, gestures, and facial expressions are woven into each piece. Acclaimed sitar and cello duo, Shubhendra Rao and Saskia Rao-de Haas, perform their own compositions blending European and Indian styles and also perform with Ragamala Dance. Rao-de Haas will show how she adapted the western instrument to create the 'Indian cello'—the only such instrument in existence.
Telling Stories: Katherine Paterson
Friday, April 1
Called a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress, Katherine Paterson sits down with moderator Maria Salvadore in an engaging interview that explores the emotional themes and personal memoirs in her award-winning books Bridge to Terabithia and Jacob Have I Loved. Mrs. Paterson captivates audiences of all ages with her memorable characters and attention to detail earning her the title of National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress and the Children’s Book Council. Mrs. Paterson shares her experiences growing up the daughter of missionaries in China, her love of books and authors like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein and also reads several selections from her time-honored books.
Musical Theater: Stephen Schwartz
Friday, March 4
In this never-before-seen interview, Academy Award®, Grammy® and Tony® winner Stephen Schwartz talks with Michael Kerker, director of Musical Theater at ASCAP, about his Tony Award®-winning Broadway musical, Wicked, "the most complete—and completely satisfying—new musical in a long time" (USA Today). Stephen Schwartz also discusses his other musicals, including Godspell, Pippin, and the Baker's Wife and students hear a few of his well-known songs performed live.
From Page to Stage: Locomotion
Friday, February 4
Have you ever wondered how all the elements of a theater production come together to form the final product? Join award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson as she talks with moderator Maria Salvadore about the creation and adaptation of her book, Locomotion, for the stage. This new production, a Kennedy Center co-commission with Orlando Repertory Theater, is an inspiring story of the journey of an eleven-year-old African American boy as he moves from tragedy to hope, losing one family and gaining another. Additionally, through specially created Webisodes available online only, the actors and technical artists discuss their role in the creative process providing insight into this process from start to finish.
A Tribute to Frank Loesser
Friday, February 4
Over the course of his career, Frank Loesser wrote more than 700 songs and 5 Broadway musicals and contributed music and lyrics to dozens of films, leaving behind classics like "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and "Luck Be a Lady." Celebrate Frank Loesser's 100th Birthday with ASCAP's Michael Kerker and Jo Sullivan Loesser as they commemorate the work of the late composer who created such gems for the stage as How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Guys and Dolls. Musical guests Susan Egan, Noah Racey, Ron Raines, and pianist Donald Pippin perform the best of Frank Loesser with a special tribute by his daughter and Broadway star Emily Loesser along with her mother Jo Sullivan Loesser.
Poets and Presidents
Friday, January 21
President John F. Kennedy and Mrs. Kennedy believed strongly in the power of words and the value of poetry for their children. In The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children, Caroline Kennedy has gathered together poems about nature, heroism, adventure, and imagination by celebrated poets Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Nikki Grimes, and Carl Sandburg; poems her parents loved and read to her during her childhood. As part of the Kennedy Center's The Presidency of John F. Kennedy: A 50th Anniversary Celebration, several well-known poets of today read and discuss their poems and show how these important themes are continued in their work today.
Telling Stories: Linda Sue Park
Friday, December 3
Linda Sue Park discusses her recent books and provides a look at what inspired them. Ms. Park also talks about her diverse interests that include perfecting her craft, a desire to explore her heritage, and her passion for baseball. Ms. Park also reads from her recent novels as well as her collection of sijo and discusses this little-known Korean form of poetry.
Up Close and Personal: Jerry Herman
Friday, December 3
Join Broadway legend Jerry Herman for an evening filled with personal stories and songs as the accomplished lyricist looks back on his career. In an intimate interview moderated by ASCAP's Director of Musical Theater, Michael Kerker, Herman discusses the creation of his award-winning musicals, including Hello, Dolly!, Mame, Mack and Mabel, and La Cage Aux Folles, and shares a lifetime of stories filled with wit and charm. Broadway artists Debbie Gravitte, Jason Graae, and Ron Raines, along with longtime collaborator Donald Pippin, round out the program with performances of "Shalom," "It Only Takes a Moment," "Wherever He Ain't," and "If He Walked Into My Life," from Herman's songbook.
Tambuco Percussion Ensemble
Friday, November 19
One of the finest percussion quartets of today, Tambuco Percussion performs a wide assortment of music styles, ranging from structured percussion music to ethnic drum music and avant-garde sound interpretation. Using percussion instruments from bongos to vibraphones, this talented ensemble demonstrates the unique sounds of their instruments, discusses the culture and traditions of Mexico as expressed through music, and performs original compositions inspired by the popular and folk music idioms of Mexico.
Up Close and Personal: Marvin Hamlisch
Friday, November 5
ASCAP Director of Musical Theater Michael Kerker sits down for an intimate interview with the multi-award-winning NSO Principal Pops Conductor Marvin Hamlisch. The dynamic composer shares candid stories about his life and work in film that include hits such as The Way We Were, Sophie's Choice, and, most recently, The Informant along with his stage credits that include the ground-breaking Chorus Line and They're Playing Our Song. In this special evening, join Liz Callaway, Kevin Earley, and Karen Ziemba with pianist Alex Rybeck performing the composer's best.
Telling Stories: Richard PeckFriday, October 15
Creative writing students Justin Allen and Brianna Cole from Woodbridge Senior High School in Prince William County, Virginia, join moderator Maria Salvadore as they explore with Richard Peck several of his recent books, influences on his work, and the craft of writing, as well as solicit Peck's advice for aspiring writers.
2009 - 2010 Season
Gospel Across AmericaFriday, May 21
In a program that celebrates gospel music—from contemporary rising stars to established traditional artists—American gospel artists come together to perform on one stage. The Fisk Jubilee Singers are considered a landmark of Tennessee's artistic heritage and are instrumental in preserving the musical tradition known today as Negro spirituals. Join the Fisk Jubilee Singers and other gospel artists participating in the Kennedy Center's Gospel Across America Celebration as they share this rich culture with students during a performance of both contemporary and traditional songs that bring together the past and the present.
Shen Wei Dance ArtsThursday, May 6
Choreographer and Kennedy Center artist-in-residence Shen Wei and his dancers take students on a journey in Re- (I, II, III), a triptych inspired by his travels throughout Asia. Filled with dramatic imagery, movement, and traditional as well as recorded music, students experience Asia through the eyes of this visionary artist known for blending modern dance with elements from theater, visual arts, and opera. In this multimedia presentation moderated by France Pepper, students experience the history and culture of Tibet, Cambodia, and China through the choreography of Shen Wei.
Limón Dance Company: The TraitorFriday, March 26
Limón Dance Company returns to the Kennedy Center with The Traitor, one of modern dance’s most significant works of the 1950s. The Traitor was Limón’s response to the McCarthy hearings and the climate of betrayal that haunted the arts and entertainment fields during this period. Against Gunther Schuller’s musical score of violence, passion, and tenderness, the tragedy of Judas and the theme of betrayal are portrayed in a detailed demonstration and explanation of the dancers’ movements followed by the full-length performance of Limón’s signature piece.
Exploring the Arts with the Masters: The BergmansFriday, March 19
Iconic songwriting duo, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, are important pillars of the Great American Songbook. Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Award winners, the Bergmans' life work spans song lyrics for film, television, and stage, and their songs have been recorded by the greatest performers of our time, from Frank Sinatra to Barbra Streisand to Luciano Pavarotti to Tony Bennett.
Come sit around the piano with these great masters as they visit with high school students at New York City's Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) for a conversation about their creative process, influential legacy, and the relationship between songwriter and performer. Legendary jazz and popular music singer Tony Bennett, Kennedy Center Honoree and founder of FSSA, joins the discussion providing insight into interpreting lyrics and developing his unique singing style. Exploring the Arts with the Masters is produced by Exploring the Arts, Inc. in cooperation with the Kennedy Center and The ASCAP Foundation (the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers). Exploring the Arts is a non-profit organization co-founded by Tony Bennett and Susan Benedetto.
Connections: MORE Science and MusicThursday, March 4, 2010
Endangered species, synapses and neurons, condensation and precipitation—are these terms from a science course or a music class? In this fast-paced, multimedia performance by NSO cellist Yvonne Caruthers with her NSO colleagues Natasha Bogachek, violin, and Stephen Dumaine, tuba, students hear and see how a melody can be played on a laundry hose (or a tuba); how instrument makers are responding to the near-extinction of their favorite trees; and whether a violinist can break a world speed record...don't miss it!
A Tribute to Cy ColemanThursday, March 4, 2010
Come celebrate the life and sounds of legendary composer Cy Coleman, the genius behind Tony Award®–winning musicals The Will Rogers Follies and Sweet Charity and classic songs such as “The Best Is Yet to Come” and “If My Friends Could See Me Now.” Join Tony®-winning lyricist David Zippel, ASCAP’s Michael Kerker, and the musical talent of Judith Blazer, Jason Graae, Billy Stritch, Lillias White, and Christopher Marlowe as they commemorate the life and creativity of Coleman in a night of sweet melodies and memories.
Ella!Friday, February 19
Celebrating the life and work of legendary jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald, Grammy® winner Dee Dee Bridgewater and Janis Siegel of The Manhattan Transfer pay tribute to the “First Lady of Song” in a program that includes some of the songstress’s best-loved jazz hits. Supported by an ensemble from the Dizzy Gillespie™ All-Star Band, Ms. Bridgewater and Ms. Siegel show how Ella Fitzgerald has influenced singers of today, share film clips of this remarkable vocalist, and perform well-known favorites from Ella Fitzgerald’s repertoire.
Telling Stories: Lois LowryThursday, February 4
Two-time Newbery Medalist (Number the Stars and The Giver) Lois Lowry shares her inspiration for writing, the universal themes in her stories that deal with human connections—relationships between people and their impact on the world—and how she translates her ideas to the page. The award-winning author also discusses her versatility as a writer from her futuristic settings to her colorful characters and the stories they tell.
Sheldon HarnickThursday, February 4
Tony Award®–winning lyricist Sheldon Harnick’s words have delighted audiences on Broadway and beyond for more than half a century. His long list of celebrated works includes Fiddler on the Roof, She Loves Me, The Apple Tree, and The Rothschilds, as well as the Kennedy Center original production for young people of The Phantom Tollbooth. In this special evening, join Harnick for an intimate interview with ASCAP’s Michael Kerker and live performances by vocalists Kate Baldwin, Karen Mason, and Ron Raines, and pianist Joseph Thalken sharing the best of Sheldon Harnick.
The Suzanne Farrell Ballet:Deconstructing DivertimentoThursday, January 21
Renowned ballerina and Balanchine collaborator Suzanne Farrell, along with her acclaimed ballet company, presents a performance and demonstration titled Deconstructing Divertimento. This program is designed to give students a unique vantage point as the company breaks down the choreographic theme and variations that define the classic 1956 Balanchine tutu ballet, Divertimento No. 15.
Stefon Harris and BlackoutFriday, December 18
During this session, vibraphonist-composer Stefon Harris along with his band Blackout teaches students what to listen for in jazz. Heralded as "one of the most important young artists in jazz" (Los Angeles Times), Harris leads students through a series of listening exercises as the ensemble demonstrates their eclectic sound—a hybrid of acoustic music and progressive sounds. In this program, students develop a heightened awareness for jazz music while learning the art of active listening and how to interpret music.
Waiting for GodotThursday, December 3, 2009
Two tramps meet by the roadside, and endlessly wait for someone—or something—named Godot. Samuel Beckett's most popular work masterfully examines the tedium and hope of human existence. Students experience "the closest production we will ever get to the perfect official Godot" (The Irish Times) in a discussion with director Walter Asmus and cast members Stephen Brennan, Barry McGovern, Johnny Murphy, and Alan Stanford, along with video excerpts of the production by Gate Theatre in Dublin.
Charles StrouseThursday, December 3, 2009
With a career that spans decades, Charles Strouse is a luminary of Broadway, Hollywood, television, and pop and concert music. Best known for his legendary Tony Award®–winning Broadway musical compositions, Bye Bye Birdie, Applause, and Annie, his other credits range from the 1958 girl group hit, “Born Too Late” to motion picture scores and the theme from All in the Family. Join Charles Strouse for an intimate interview with ASCAP’s Michael Kerker and live music by vocalists Liz Callaway, Karen Morrow, and Jason Graae, and pianist Chris Denny performing the best of Charles Strouse.
Telling Stories: Bryan CollierFriday, October 16, 2009
Illustrator Bryan Collier started painting at the age of 15 in his hometown of Pocomoke, Maryland. The eastern shore served as the backdrop for many of his early works which included–the bay, marshlands, and wildlife. At an early age, Collier developed his own style of painting that incorporated water colors and collage. During this interview with moderator Maria Salvadore, Collier shares his interest in books as a young reader, how he integrates his original style of painting into children’s books and his collaborations with authors such as Nikki Giovanni (Rosa) and Nikki Grimes (Barack Obama: Child of Promise.)
2008 - 2009 Season
Nnenna Freelon & Harolyn Blackwell
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Ellington Voices: Classical to Jazz
In this Kennedy Center commission, two of today's top vocalists and an internationally-known composer and pianist explore how classical sounds intertwine with improvisational jazz in the music of Duke Ellington, one of DC's native sons. Bringing together their respective expertise from the jazz and classical worlds, Nnenna Freelon and Harolyn Blackwell together with music director Mike Garson demonstrate how Ellington's compositions blended European classical traditions with syncopated rhythms and African American work songs, blues, and spirituals.
The Making of RagtimeFriday, April 24, 2009
Go behind the scenes of the new Kennedy Center production Ragtime with moderator Michael Kerker, director of Musical Theater at ASCAP, as he explores the musical partnership between composer and lyricist. Joined by acclaimed lyricist Lynn Ahrens and composer Stephen Flaherty, they discuss their successful collaboration and their body of work, including the brand-new production of Ragtime. Students also get a glimpse of the many elements—stage sets, lights, and costumes—needed to make a production come to life and hear some of the well-known songs from the musical performed by cast members.
Sweet Honey In The RockFriday, March 13, 2009
Join members of internationally renowned a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock for a unique sound experience as the group captures the complex sounds of blues, spirituals, traditional gospel hymns, rap, reggae, and hip hop using their vocal prowess. During this performance and demonstration, students learn how the ensemble uses their collective voice as an instrument to create music that is filled with soulful harmonies and intricate rhythms. The Grammy Award®—winning group discusses how they blend musical idioms and styles to create a sound that can only be described as sweet!
Telling Stories: Craig HatkoffThursday, February 12, 2009
The Hatkoff Family, father Craig and his two daughters Juliana and Isabella, are authors of a collection of amazing animal stories featuring real-life animals from Africa, Germany, and Florida. These naturally wild animals, as seen in their books Owen and Mzee and Looking for Miza, have overcome great adversity and have captured headlines and the hearts of people both young and old. With moderator Maria Salvadore, Craig Hatkoff discusses the inspiration for writing about these animals, the process of research and documentation, and introduces real world issues to students to empower them to affect change on our planet.
Understanding Arab Music with Simon ShaheenThursday, February 5, 2009
Western music is very connected to the rich history of Arabic music. Many of our Western musical instruments are direct descendents of Arabic stringed and reed instruments as well as the use of complex melodies and improvisation in performance. Master musician and composer Simon Shaheen, along with his ensemble Qantara, demonstrates the unique sound and range of several Arabic instruments, performs traditional Arabic music with jazz and classical influences, and involves students in learning rhythms and patterns used most frequently in traditional/classical Arab music.
Theater: Frost/NixonTuesday, November 25, 2008
Frost/Nixon is a chilling recount of one of the most monumental interviews of all time. The fast-paced production depicts former President Richard Nixon in his first interview since his resignation following the Watergate scandal. Frost/Nixon tells the story of how the historic interview came about and how it played out on television as British talk-show host David Frost elicits the apology from Nixon that the rest of the world was waiting to hear. In this program with cast members from the production and teachers of history and political science, students get a look into the historic context surrounding this play, and see how history and theater come together to reveal not only the facts but the human and emotional aspects of history.
Telling Stories: Our White House: Looking In, Looking OutThursday, November 6, 2008
Nationally recognized creators of books for young people, Katherine Paterson, Steven Kellogg and Mary Brigid Barrett, share insights into a recently released book titled Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. This book is a compilation of history, historical fiction, personal essays, poetry, drama, and original art by 108 renowned authors and illustrators that offers a view of American history as seen through the eyes of the White House. Our White House was created by the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance, NCBLA, in an effort to combat illiteracy and to get students excited about reading.
Telling Stories: Carole Boston WeatherfordFriday, October 31, 2008
Carole Boston Weatherford's love for writing developed at an early age. The award-winning author composed her first poem in the first grade and soon after she began publishing her poems with the help of her father, a printing teacher. In her most recent stories, BIRMINGHAM, 1963 and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, Weatherford brings the pages of history alive through stories, poems, and pictures. During this discussion with moderator Maria Salvadore, Weatherford shares her unique talent of making music with the language of poetry and talks about developing her own voice as both a poet and author through the celebration of family stories, fading traditions, and forgotten struggles.
Allan Harris: Cross That RiverThursday, October 23, 2008
Students go on a musical journey with Allan Harris and the Cross That River Band as they go back in time and explore America's West during the 19th century. Through song, narration, and imagery, students experience an incredible story of triumph as the lives and struggles of African American cowboys are depicted in this song cycle that chronicles their escape from slavery and their journey to freedom in the West. Interweaving fiction with historical fact, each song in the cycle presents a different page in this chapter of American history.
2007 - 2008 Season
Jazz Reach's She Said/She Says is a celebration of women's achievements and music in jazz from the early 20th century to the present day. This high-energy program is filled with music, narration, film, and stunning lighting, scenic, and projection designs. Students will explore the lives of women composers, arrangers, instrumentalists, and vocalists who have dedicated their lives to jazz.
Hakata Kinjishi Taiko and Hakata Koma is led by siblings Jyuraku and Syouraku Chikushi and performs a style of drumming which derived from music used for the Lion Dance, a traditional dance used to bring good luck, and traditional Hakata Top-spinning act. These taiko drummers use a wide range of stick percussion instruments to meld their drumbeat with other genres such as jazz and rock while integrating a traditional Hakata Top-spinning act into this unique sound experience. Playing with tops is an old form of child's play in many countries. In Japan, the birth of this koma (top-spinning) art came about in a unique style with the use of a top in a series of tricks. The origin of this top art, said to have come from the Hakata Koma, has a long history of more than 400 years and was first developed in Japan as a magnificent form of entertainment. This presentation was part of the Kennedy Center's JAPAN! culture + hyperculture festival.
Black Grace, an all-male dance company from New Zealand, takes the stage with an explosive program that mixes rhythm, spirit, and energy. The Boston Globe hails their work as "a strikingly imaginative fusion of traditional Samoan/Maori dance and contemporary styles." Artistic Director Neil Ieremia weaves his abiding belief in three key Samoan principles—Fa'amaoni (integrity, honesty, and pride), Fa'amalosi/Loto Tele (perseverance and determination), and Fa'aloalo (humility and respect)—into his choreography, which translates into an amazing program that captivates audiences. Company members also discuss the unique cultural aspects of their work and demonstrate the mix of traditional and contemporary dance forms.
Time for Three is a youthful and engaging trio of musicians who play a widely diverse repertoire that transcends traditional performance genres. These classically trained string players perform an eclectic mix of bluegrass, Hungarian gypsy, jazz, country-western fiddling, classical, and improvisatory music. During the program, Time for Three performs music from Brahms to the Beatles and beyond and demonstrates how engaging music of all genres can be when played with spontaneity, enthusiasm, and technical virtuosity.
Go beyond the page with author Gene Yang as he discusses childhood, his Chinese influences, and comic books. The author of American Born Chinese, the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award and Printz Award winner, joins moderator Maria Salvadore in the studio as part of the Telling Stories series.
A gifted and versatile trumpeter, Terell Stafford and his quintet combine lyricism and a deep love of melody with an adventurous edge. Currently the Director of Jazz Studies at Temple University, Terell Stafford and his quintet demonstrate and discuss the blues as well as Louis Armstrong's musical influence with the classic hit "West End Blues," which set the standard for jazz for many years. In addition, the quintet will talk about improvisation and ensemble playing and, through performance, guide students in what to listen for in jazz.
Author of Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots, Tim Hornyak takes students on a historical journey detailing the rise of robots in Japan during this discussion and demonstration program. Students take a virtual tour of the robot exhibition, a part of JAPAN! culture + hyperculture at the Kennedy Center, featuring some of Japan's most popular robots. Students also meet two researchers who have made remarkable progress in the field of robotics: Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro and Robo Garage's creator Tomotaka Takahashi.
Christopher Myers comes from a long line of creative storytellers and has come to tell his own tales in books such as Black Cat, Fly! and Wings. The celebrated author and illustrator shares his own experiences and influences growing up as well as his passion for art which has earned him several awards, including a Caldecott Honor for his illustrations in Harlem as well as a Coretta Scott King Honor for Illustration. Myers discusses his books as well as his unique style of artwork that combines painting, photography, and collages with moderator Maria Salvadore.
2006 - 2007 Season
Hailed by the New York Times as "startlingly imaginative" and widely acclaimed wherever it performs, Shen Wei Dance Arts fuses the art forms of dance, theater, Chinese opera, painting, sculpture, and Western and Eastern cultures. In this program, the ensemble performs segments of Shen Wei's recent work, Connect Transfer, along with excerpts from his new work, Second Visit to the Empress. Through performance, demonstration, and discussion, students see how dance movement, music, and the visual arts combine in unique and unexpected ways.
This Grammy-nominated wind quintet is known not only for its expert musicianship and ensemble playing but also for its ability to mix classical, jazz, spirituals, and contemporary music into a lively and fun performance. In addition to learning about the origins of modern wind instruments and the cultural bridges that exist between musical genres, students hear music from around the world presented in an understandable and most enjoyable and delightful way.
Author of such whimsical children's books as The Time Warp Trio, Math Curse, Science Verse, and The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales, Jon Scieszka discusses his humorous approach to rethinking academic subjects as well as his "updating" of classic myths and fairy tales for modern young readers. Maria Salvadore moderates this program along with two students as part of the Telling Stories series.
Hailed as "the most provocative thinker in current jazz", (Rolling Stone Magazine), award-winning pianist and composer Jason Moran is known for challenging "the same old thing" in jazz and confronting contemporary audiences' notions about the classic jazz trio. In this high-energy performance and demonstration program with his group the Bandwagon, Moran explores the genres of jazz, gospel, blues, and hip-hop, and features jazz students in performance with the trio.
In this intimate studio session, meet cast members Harriet Harris, Alan Muraoka, Parker Esse, and 13-year-old Harrison Chad as they discuss their roles and methods of preparation for the Kennedy Center's recent production of Mame, and offer students insights into the professional world of musical theater. American University Professor of Theatre Caleen Sinnette Jennings moderates this program that provides a unique perspective on reviving a cornerstone of American musical theater.
Join Dr. Billy Taylor, jazz advisor for the Kennedy Center, and his trio (Chip Jackson on bass, Winard Harper on percussion) as they coach and perform with three young jazz musicians. Experience the best jazz has to offer from both seasoned professionals and up-and-coming students in this lively and informative program.
Born and raised in New York City, Nikki Grimes began composing verse at the age of six and has been writing poems and stories ever since. Ms. Grimes has received numerous honors for her books, including the Coretta Scott King Author Award and recognition from the ALA and NAACP. In this program, Ms. Grimes reads from and discusses two of her well-known books, What is Goodbye? and Talkin' About Bessie, with moderator Maria Salvadore.
For nearly 60 years, the Jose Limon Dance Company has championed the pioneering movement technique and philosophy of theater developed by Mexican-American choreographer Jose Limon. Through a detailed demonstration and explanation of the basic elements of dance—space, time, gesture, and energy, students learn what to look for and how to interpret the dancers' movements in the graceful and nuanced dramatic performance of The Moor's Pavane, based on an Italian legend—the same story Shakespeare used for his tragedy, Othello.
Join members of the cast of Twelve Angry Men as they explore the connections between the play's themes and such relevant issues as the influence of personal history and perspective on decision making, the balance between civic responsibility and personal goals, and the power of a persuasive argument. Emmy winner Richard Thomas (TV's The W altons) and six-time Emmy nominee George Wendt (TV's Cheers) star in this gripping revival of an American classic the New York Times trumpeted as "the undeniable hit of the Broadway dramatic season!"
2005 - 2006 Season
At this session meet composer/lyricist and Academy Award® and Grammy® winner Stephen Schwartz as he talks with Michael Kerker, director of Musical Theater at ASCAP, about his most recent Broadway musical, Wicked, "the most complete—and completely satisfying—new musical in a long time" (USA Today). Stephen Schwartz also discusses his other musicals, including Godspell, Pippin, Working, and The Magic Show and students hear a few of his well-known songs performed live.
Meet Kwikstep, Rokafella, Spex, Baba, and the rest of the crew as they break, lock, pop, and up-rock until you stand up and cheer! The members of Full Circle Productions present a behind-the-scenes look at the culture and aesthetics of hip hop, the elements and dance styles, and the high-energy performance characteristic of this positive and vivacious expression of urban culture.
Country music is among the most popular of American art forms, and its cultural appeal is greater now than ever. Through performance, demonstration and discussion with country music Grammy winner Jerry Douglas and musicians Bryan Sutton, Dudley Connell, Sally Love, and Marshall Wilborn, students learn about the history, the styles, and the traditions of this truly American music. Joe Wilson, country music historian, moderates the program.
African American author Christopher Paul Curtis is widely recognized for his historical fiction books for students. In addition to winning a Newbery Medal, Mr. Curtis is the only children's author ever to win both the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Author Award for the same book— Bud, Not Buddy. With a student audience, Mr. Curtis discusses this award-winning book along with his Newbery Honor winner, The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963.
Shanghai Song and Dance Ensemble is a multidisciplinary performance troupe that focuses on ethnic dance drama. Drawing from various traditional Chinese genres, artistic director Doudou Huang seeks to reinvent Chinese dance, skillfully weaving East and West, old and new, and interpreting history through a modern filter. In this demonstration and performance, the company helps students achieve a deeper understanding of Chinese culture.
What do Mozart, Marie Antoinette, and Benjamin Franklin have in common? That question and many others will be answered in this fast-paced, multimedia program developed by NSO cellist Yvonne Caruthers, which explores the connections between history and music. An ensemble of NSO musicians brings to life the history and music of colonial Jamestown, the Lewis and Clark expedition, the post–Civil War era, and the turbulence of the twentieth century. History as you have never "heard" it before!
Born in Illinois to Korean immigrant parents, Linda Sue Park has always enjoyed writing poems and stories. With just her third novel, she won the coveted Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. In this session, moderator Maria Salvadore talks with Ms. Park about her Newbery-winning book A Single Shard and her newest book Project Mulberry .
2004 - 2005 Season
Ballet Hispanico has been recognized around the world as the foremost dance interpreter of Hispanic culture in the United States. The company presents a spirited blend of dance and narrative that provides a theatrical and entertaining insight into the cultures of Latin American countries through such dances as Mexico's folklorico, Brazil's samba, and Honduras' punta.
Hot Air: The Story of Brass Instruments The Chestnut Brass CompanyMarch 16, 2005
This unique and celebrated brass quintet presents highlights of the development of brass instruments from the earliest trumpets to the present day. Utilizing a collection of historical instruments from the 16th to the 19th centuries, students are treated to a rare glimpse into the past as they hear Renaissance music and music from the Civil War performed on instruments that were played at that time. The program culminates with a virtuosic display on modern brass instruments demonstrating how the instruments have changed over the centuries.
Considered to be America's leading spokesman for jazz, Dr. Billy Taylor—with his trio and trumpeter Jon Faddis—presents a program of performance and demonstration"used on trumpet legend "Dizzy" Gillespie. Guest artist Jon Faddis, known for his tremendous range and technique on this amazing instrument, also talks about performing with his mentor. This program provides a first-hand introduction to one of the giants of jazz and is an opportunity for students to develop listening skills and to better understand the art form that Dr. Taylor calls "America's classical music."
Known as "one of the great companies of the world" (The New York Times), Martha Graham Dance Company is the oldest contemporary dance company in America and one of its most celebrated. As part of the Kennedy Center–wide festival* A New America: The 1940s and the Arts, company members discuss the legacy of Martha Graham, demonstrate the technique that continues to influence dancers today, and perform excerpts from some of the company's most celebrated works, including the 1944 classic Appalachian Spring—Graham's ode to pioneer families of America.
Tony Award®–winning songwriters Jeanine Tesori and Dick Scanlan join Broadway singers and moderator Michael Kerker, director of Musical Theater at ASCAP, for a discussion of careers in musical theater. This acclaimed group talks about their own careers, offers students insights into the professional world of musical theater, and performs selections from the Tony®–winning musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Award-winning author Richard Peck has written a wide-range of books for young people that contain thought-provoking, heartwarming, and humorous stories. In this program, he talks about his Newbery award–winning books, A Long Way from Chicago and its sequel A Year Down Yonder, historical novels set at the time of the Great Depression whose characters—grandparents and grandchildren—have universal appeal. A former English teacher-turned-writer, Mr. Peck is one of America's most highly respected writers for middle school students and young adults.
2003 - 2004 Season
Who are the new generation of jazz musicians about to become tomorrow's well-known performers? Hand-selected by jazz piano legend Dr. Billy Taylor, six up-and-coming high school and college jazz musicians present a program of performance, demonstration, and discussion. These young performers share their thoughts on the future of jazz and add their interpretations to the music of Dr. Billy Taylor.
Patricia C. McKissack, Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King award-winning author, storyteller, and writer of Color Me Dark, a title from Scholastic's popular Dear America series, talks about this inspiring story with moderator Maria Salvadore. Ms. McKissack reads from the book; highlights its important themes of family love, racism, and inner strength; and compares the different ways stories are shared through books, on stage, and through oral storytelling.
Master drummer, educator, and Grammy®-nominated artist Bobby Sanabria, and ¡Quarteto Aché!, take students on a musical journey that demonstrates how history, politics, and religion influenced the rhythms of Africa to create the rich array of musical styles known as Latin music. Students hear how the five-beat rhythm of the clave can be traced from 15th century Africa to the New World and can still be heard today in rock-and-roll and hip hop. This presentation was part of the Kennedy Center's AmericArtes Festival of Latin American Arts and Culture.
The vibrant, energetic music of the Andes region of South America is performed in its most authentic form by Andes Manta, professional musicians and natives of the Ecuadorian Andes. Students hear and learn about dozens of traditional instruments, including six-foot-long panpipes. Andes Manta musicians discuss the history, music, and traditions of their culture, demonstrate the rich and haunting sounds of the rain forest, and perform traditional folk music. This presentation was part of the Kennedy Center's AmericArtes Festival of Latin American Arts and Culture.
The members of Project Bandaloop honor nature, community, and the human spirit through dance. Inspired by the possibilities of rock climbing and rappelling, the company uses aerial, vertical, and horizontal movement to create a blend of dance, sport, ritual, and environmental awareness. Through demonstration, performance excerpts, and discussion, company members explore the relationship between movement and gravity and stimulate student awareness of their natural and built environments.
2002 - 2003 Season
Can works of art help us better understand the history of our country? Join well-known American artist James Wyeth inside a museum for a look at selected historical events and significant Americans of the 2Oth century as seen through paintings by N.C., Andrew, and James Wyeth. This tour of works by the most famous family of artists in America demonstrates how the artist as witness and recorder of history can give new meaning to our understanding of our nation' s history.
Los Danzaq de Ayacucho, a professional folk ensemble of dancers and musicians from the Central-Southern Andes of Peru, present a breathtaking performance of scissor dancing, an ancient art form that bears a striking resemblance to break dancing. The Scissors Dance is a one-on-one competition between dancers that is a test of strength, agility, imagination, and artistry. This program features four of Peru's finest dancers and musicians in a demonstration and performance of the music, rhythms, and increasingly difficult acrobatic moves, all presented with traditional folk instruments and costumes. Part of the Kennedy Center's AmericArtes festival of Latin American Arts and Culture.
Grades 4 - 8
The award-winning performance troupe Urban Bush Women and the National Song and Dance Company of Mozambique join together to present a program that demonstrates the rich and complex music and dance of Southeast Africa, and shows how dance, music, narration, and puppetry can be combined to tell a richly layered story of a young girl's heroism. Through performance excerpts from the commissioned work, Shadow's Child, the company addresses issues of intolerance, embracing difference, and finding strength and sense of self in difficult times.
Grades 5 - 8
Stories are often windows to understanding other cultures and traditions, as well as helping us to understand ourselves. Award-winning author Laurence Yep talks about his personal experiences growing up as a Chinese-American and explores how the history of a country and different cultures intertwine with one's own history. Mr. Yep also talks with young student writers, offering suggestions and advice on writing stories based on one's personal experiences.
2001 - 2002 Season
As part of the Kennedy Center's AmericArtes, a festival of Latin American arts and culture, Grupo Corpo, one of Brazil's best dance companies, shows through demonstration and performance how the dance forms and music of Brazil are combined with the classical dance tradition. Fusing Brazilian spirit with African rhythm and the grace of classical ballet, the company explains and demonstrates these cultural influences and performs excerpts from the company's repertoire.
You have probably heard about connections between science and music, but can you actually hear them? When do musicians use science? Why do scientists study music? In this stimulating multimedia performance, NSO cellist Yvonne Caruthers, with a mixed ensemble of NSO musicians, explores scientific and musical concepts in acoustics, medicine, computer science, and psychology.
It's All Music! Billy Taylor, jazz piano and Estela Olevsky, classical pianoDecember 6, 2001
Are you able to hear the differences between classical music and jazz? Are there any similarities between the two styles? Do classical musicians play jazz? This presentation by renowned jazz pianist and educator Dr. Billy Taylor and internationally known classical pianist Estela Olevsky will sharpen your ears as both artists demonstrate the similarities and differences between classical music and jazz.
Award-winning Native American author and storyteller Joseph Bruchac talks about his personal experiences growing up in the foothills of the Adirondacks and discusses his works and the cultural heritage on which his stories are based. A prolific writer, Joseph Bruchac's stories involve actual historical events and offer insight into the Native American culture, beliefs,and traditions.
2000 - 2001 Season
One of the richest eras in the history of jazz was 52nd Street in 1940s New York City. Dr. Billy Taylor takes us back to the jazz clubs of Manhattan and talks about his experiences with the best jazz musicians of that time. Through performance and demonstration, Dr. Taylor and his Trio showcase the many styles of jazz performed during those years and show how these styles have evolved over time. Students hear about this significant age of jazz first-hand from one of America’s greatest jazz musicians and educators.
In this unique celebration of the arts of Ireland, five of Northern Ireland's most notable musicians perform songs, jigs, airs, and reels and show how the Irish musical tradition has influenced music around the world. Ronan Browne, Tommy Hayes, Kevin Glackin, and Conal O'Grada, demonstrate how the traditional instruments of Ireland -- the pipes, the bodhran, the fiddle, and the flute -- are played. As an instrumental ensemble and with vocalist and guitarist Mary Greene, these well-known musicians perform traditional Irish music and discuss their rich musical heritage. Folklorist, musician, educator, and National Heritage Award recipient Mick Moloney moderates.
As part of the Kennedy Center's AmericArtes, a festival of Latin American arts and culture, this outstanding quartet of musicians performs traditional and contemporary music inspired by the popular and folk music idioms of Mexico. Using percussion instruments from bongos to vibraphones, this talented ensemble demonstrates the unique sounds of their instruments, discusses the culture and traditions of Mexico as expressed through music, and performs in traditional costumes.
Jazz and The Violin The Billy Taylor Trio with John Blake, Jr., ViolinFebruary 7, 2001
Is the violin part of the jazz heritage? How do violinists play in the jazz idiom? Legendary jazz musician Dr. Billy Taylor with his Trio and violinist John Blake, Jr. will answer these questions and explain how the violin has been a part of jazz history. Through performance and demonstration, this program looks at historically significant jazz violinists, their contributions to the art form, and the role of the violin in jazz today.
Stories are often windows to understanding other cultures, rites, beliefs, and traditions. Award-winning author Walter Dean Myers discusses and reads excerpts from his books, talks about his personal experiences growing up, and offers insight into his work and the cultural heritage on which his stories are based.
Taylor 2, a select company of dancers with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, provides an introduction to modern dance with performance excerpts from the works of Paul Taylor, one of the most important choreographers of the 20th century. These skilled and engaging dancers demonstrate basic exercises used to warm up the body, show how gesture and movement become dance, and present excerpts from the Taylor repertoire in a variety of styles and tempos.