Judith Clurman and Essential Voices USA Set for 'BERNSTEIN MEETS BROADWAY' Celebration at Barnes & Noble, 9/15
Celebrate the publication of Bernstein Meets Broadway: Collaborative Art in a Time of War (Oxford University Press) at Barnes and Noble, 86th Street & Lexington Avenue, New York City, on Monday, September 15, 2014 at 7PM.
Author Carol J. Oja, Harvard University's William Powell Mason Professor of Musi and American Studies and the New York Philharmonic's Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence, will be on hand to sign copies of her book and lead an exciting panel of distinguished artists. She will be joined by music director Judith Clurman and members of Essential Voices USA, special guests Billie Allen, Jamie Bernstein, Phyllis Newman, singers Diana Rose Becker, Arlo Hill, Daniel Schwait, Jorell Williams and pianist Kurt Crowley. Selections from the Leonard Bernstein (music), Betty Comden & Adolph Green (lyrics) musical On The Town will be performed. The audience will be invited to sing-along. There is no admission fee.
When Leonard Bernstein first arrived in New York City, he was an unknown artist working with other brilliant twenty somethings, notably Jerome Robbins, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green. By the end of the 1940s, these artists were world famous. In Bernstein Meets Broadway: Collaborative Art in a Time of War, award-winning author Carol J. Oja examines the early days of Bernstein's career during World War II, centering around the debut in 1944 of the Broadway musical On the Town and the ballet Fancy Free. Bernstein and his visionary friends focused on urban contemporary life and popular culture, featuring as heroes the itinerant sailors who bore the brunt of military service. They were provocative both artistically and politically. In an era of race riots and Japanese internment camps, they featured African American performers and a Japanese American ballerina, staging a model of racial integration. Rather than accepting traditional distinctions between high and low art, Bernstein's music was wide-open, inspired by everything from opera and jazz to cartoons. Oja shapes a wide-ranging cultural history that captures a tumultuous moment in time
"When Bernstein, Comden, Green, and Robbins created On the Town in 1944, they were twenty-somethings who ended up as BFF's. Their audacious talent was breathtaking. The first production of On the Town -- appearing towards the end of World War II -- marked an important moment in the long march for civil rights in performance." --Carol Oja
"Carol J Oja and I co-directed Harvard University's landmark Leonard Bernstein: Boston to Broadway Festival. I am happy to be collaborating with her again and thrilled to celebrate the publication of her wonderful book." --Judith Clurman
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CAROL J. OJA, Author
Carol J. Oja is William Powell Mason Professor of Music and American Studies at Harvard University. She is author of Making Music Modern: New York in the 1920s, winner of the Irving Lowens Book Award from the Society for American Music and an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award. She is Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence with the New York Philharmonic, and in 2006 she co-directed the Harvard festival Leonard Bernstein: Boston to Broadway with Judith Clurman. She has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Newhouse Center for the Humanities at Wellesley College
ESSENTIAL VOICES USA
Judith Clurman's Essential Voices USA (EVUSA) comprises a highly talented mix of seasoned professional and auditioned volunteer singers whose roster is dictated by the unique needs of each project. EVUSA was recently featured on NBC's Macy's Fireworks Spectacular. The group performs regularly with The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall and produces "The Composer Speaks" series at the DiMenna Space for Classical Music. Their critically acclaimed Sono Luminus CD Celebrating the American Spirit was featured on NPR during the 2013 Presidential Inauguration. Other performances include the Leonard Bernstein Tribute at Symphony Space, the recording of Marvin Hamlisch's "The Music in My Mind" for his children's book, and the 2011 and 2012 NBC Rockefeller Center Tree Lightings. EVUSA is thrilled to unveil its Sono Luminus recording Cherished Moments: Songs of the Jewish Spirit this coming October. www.essentialvoicesusa.com
JUDITH CLURMAN, Music Director
Emmy and Grammy-nominated conductor and music educator Judith Clurman currently conducts Essential Voices USA (EVUSA), works with the Omaha Symphony on their Sacred Voices concerts, collaborates with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, conducts programs at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, and maintains an active vocal studio in New York City. She has worked with numerous renowned orchestras, dance companies, and music festivals worldwide and has commissioned and premiered works by more than 50 such composers. Her critically acclaimed CD, Celebrating the American Spirit, was featured on NPR on Inauguration Day 2013 and her work was recently featured on national television, on the 2014 NBC's Macy's Fireworks Spectacular. Judith served as Director of Choral Activities for The Juilliard School and Co-Director for Harvard University's Leonard Bernstein: Boston to Broadway Festival with Carol J. Oja. www.judithclurman.com
Jamie Bernstein is a writer and concert narrator; her father was the composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein.. She has developed "The Bernstein Beat" together with conductor Michael Barrett, as well as narrated concerts about Aaron Copland, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and others. She recently completed a film documentary -- "Crescendo! The Power of Music" -- about two youth orchestra programs in the US inspired by Venezuela's El Sistema model. More about Jamie's multifaceted life can be found on her website. www.jaimebernstein.net
Tony Award-winning actress and singer Phyllis Newman played "Claire DeLoone" in the 1971 revival of On the Town, and she was married to the late Adolph Green, who wrote the show's book and lyrics with Betty Comden. Newman's many renowned shows include Subways Are for Sleeping, Bells Are Ringing, The Apple Tree, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, Awake and Sing, Broadway Bound, and the one-woman show, The Mad Woman of Central Park West. A television celebrity, she has appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and on game shows including What's My Line?, Match Game, and To Tell the Truth. Newman was the first woman to host The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. She founded The Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative of The Actors Fund of America. www.phyllisnewman.com
Billie Allen joined the dance chorus of the original production of On the Town when the show began a national tour in 1945. Born in Richmond, Virginia and educated at Hampton University, she has had a major career on stage and screen. In 1950, Allen appeared in Head of the Family and in 1952, she was among the lead dancers in the revival of Four Saints in Three Acts by Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson. She was cast as "WAC Billie" in five episodes of the Phil Silvers' Show from 1955 to 1959, among many other television appearances. One of her most important roles was in Adrienne Kennedy's Funnyhouse of a Negro (1964), where she played the lead. In the 1980s, Allen stepped forward as a director, notably with a revival of Funnyhouse of a Negro at the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. In 2001, she directed Saint Lucy's Eyes starring Ruby Dee. Allen is a founding member of the Women's Project and Productions, and she has served as a founder and co-president of the League of Professional Theatre Women. In 1973, Allen, with Morgan Freeman, Garland Lee Thompson and Clayton Riley founded Harlem's Frank Silvera Writers' Workshop. Allen married the late composer, Luther Henderson with whom she received the 2002 Audelco "VIV" Pioneer Awards. She has two grown children and lives in New York City.
DIANE ROSE BECKER
Diana Rose Becker, a native of Long Island, NY, studied Vocal Performance and Music Education at The Eastman School of Music. Diana made her European debut at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin playing Maria in the International Tour of West Side Story. Roles include Company (April), The New Moon (Marianne Beaunoir), The Student Prince (Princess Margaret), Oklahoma! (Laurey Williams), A Wonderful Life (Mary Hatch) and My Fair Lady (Eliza Doolittle). Diana was a recipient of the Lys Symonette Award at the 2014 Lotte Lenya Vocal Competition. www.DianaRoseBecker.com
Kurt Crowley is a music director and arranger based in New York City. Conducting credits include Bring it On: The Musical (Broadway), Natasha/Pierre...Great Comet of 1812 (off-Broadway), In the Heights (National Tour), FLY(World Premiere), and Next Thing You Know (Original Cast Recording). This fall he will be assistant music director of Hamilton at the Public Theater. In addition to working in musical theater, he is a graduate of Harvard University, where he was honored with a Paine Fellowship to travel to North India to study sacred music. He has previously worked in Havana on a workshop presentation of Carmen Jones: El Amor Cubano, where he was the music director and conductor. www.music.fas.harvard.edu/Kurt_Crowley.html
Arlo Hill, a 2014 winner of the Lotte Lenya Competition, appears in the Broadway cast of The Phantom of the Opera and in Jacques Brel Returns! at the Triad. He was recently seen singing "Standing on the Corner" in the Encores! production of The Most Happy Fella at City Center. Other credits include Little Me, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Where's Charley? at Encores!, as well as Lincoln Center's televised, Emmy-nominated Carousel. A resident artist with Sightline Theater, Arlo has devised and performed in Hold Music (Ars Nova; Culture Project), One Arm and a Leg (HERE), and that time... (Dixon Place). Regional work includes Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Henry Spofford) and Fiddler on the Roof (Fyedka). Arlo's solo show, I've Been in Love Before: Frank Loesser's Life in Songs appeared this summer at 54 Below. www.arlohill.com
Daniel Schwait recently appeared in the ensemble of The Most Happy Fella at City Center Encores! Past roles include: Foreman/Coufeyrac (Les Mise?rables), Tateh (Ragtime), Terry Connor (Side Show), Kurt Weill (September Songs: The Legacy of Kurt Weill). He has also appeared in various guises with the Oratorio Society of New York, New York Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Musica Sacra, Essential Voices USA, and the Boston Pops. Daniel graduated from the Manhattan School of Music. www.danielschwait.com
Baritone Jorell Williams 2013-14 season currently included debuts with Syracuse Opera, Omaha Symphony Orchestra, and soloist with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in the U.S. tour of Abyssinian Mass led by Damien Sneed and composer Wynton Marsalis. Winner of the Patricia and Heyward Gignilliat Silver Medal Award at the 2014 American Traditions Competition, Jorell is also a recipient of the Lys Simmonette Award from the Kurt Weill Foundation, as well as distinguished awards from the Gerda Lissner International Competition, Schuyler Foundation for Career Bridges, Liberace Foundation, Serge Koussevitzky Foundation, David Adams Art Song Competition, Civic Morning Musicals Foundation, and the Charles A. Lynam Competition. He has performed with the Caramoor International Music Festival, Chautauqua Opera, Ravinia Festival, New York City Center Encores, and Opera Theater of St. Louis.