Usdan Festival Announces Upcoming Concerts: Tokyo Quartet, Randy Brecker and More


Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts ( announces its Festival Concerts lineup for its 45th season. These are a special feature of the Center: private, on-site daily educational performances by distinguished artists for students in Usdan’s 1,000-seat McKinley Amphitheater. Many of the artists will also teach workshops and master classes during the season.

Featured artists include: On Monday June 25, opening day: Metropolitan Opera soprano Monica Yunus in a duo recital with tenor Brandon McReynolds, whose recent performance in Verdi’s La Traviata “delivered considerable thrills (Opera News)”; Tuesday June 26: Genghis Barbie Horn Quartet, a rising ensemble of four post-feminist French horn players, playing everything from Queen to Beyonce; Wednesday June 27: Ensemble ACJW, a joint fellowship program of Juilliard, Weill Music Institute, Carnegie Hall and the NYC Dept. of Education, called “Exemplary, a valuable part of New York;’s musical fabrice (New York Times)”; June 29, “Voices Of Broadway” – cast members from Porgy and Bess, Ghost, Anything Goes, and Rebecca in a special musical revue; Monday July 2, Grammy-winning jazz/R&B/rock trumpeter Randy Brecker with his quintet; Tuesday July 3: Pat Hall Dancers and La Troupe Makandal return – Pat Hall’s art has taken her to the stages of the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia, including collaborations with La Troupe and their exciting Haitian rhythms; July 5 – The Dance Collective, celebrated ballet dancers presented by Maurice Brandon Curry, the Broadway choreographer and Chair of Usdan’s Dance Department; Friday July 6, Bobby Watson (saxophonist with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Max Roach, Branford Marsalis, many others) and his 29th Street Saxophone Quartet; July 9 – The Chameleons, the popular mime ensemble bringing a unique style to families throughout the U.S., returns; July 11 folksinger Lucy Kaplansky (“A truly gifted performer, full of enchanting songs (New Yorker)”); and on July 16: Renowned Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist and Usdan alumna Jane Monheit, (“Her voice, in its clear, ringing tone suggests a trumpet in its silvery mode New York Times.”) comes back to the Usdan stage.

In addition, on Wednesday July 18, Usdan will host a special event to honor the final year of the acclaimed Tokyo String Quartet, which will also mark the ensemble’s 19th year of performance at Usdan Center. Members of the Tokyo Quartet have decided to retire at the end of the 2012-13 concert season, and there will be a presentation of a Usdan Center service award at their July 18 farewell concert at the Center.

Master Classes for the 2012 season will be taught by: Randy Brecker (July 2);and jazz vocalist/composer/arranger Pamela Baskins-Watson (July 5 and 6) whose work has been performed by Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Betty Carter and the Boys’ Choir of Harlem.

Usdan’s daily concerts are presented every weekday at the Center’s 1,000-seat McKinley Amphitheater. Concerts are presented at 12:00 Noon, and again at 12:30 PM. Artist concerts expose Usdan students to the best of music, dance and theater while they are pursuing their studies in these fields. After several weeks of attending these artist performances, students take over and perform onstage themselves. In addition, there are on-site exhibits displaying the work of visual arts students.

Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts (, is the nation’s premier not-for-profit summer arts day camp. Usdan, now entering its 45th season, has been declared a “Best Of” camp TimeOutNY/Kids, and by NY Metro Parents, and Long Island Press. Usdan is open to all young people from age 6 to 18, and no audition is needed for most programs. Admission to Usdan is based on an expression of interest in the arts. The Center is situated on a 200-acre woodland campus in Huntington, Long Island, to which 1,600 students travel each day on buses that depart from neighborhoods throughout the New York metropolitan area. Although Usdan’s mission is for every child to establish a skill-based relationship with the arts, the unique inspiration of the Center has caused many to go on to professional careers. Usdan’s 60,000 alumni include actors Natalie Portman, Olivia Thirlby and Lisa Gay Hamilton, singers Jane Monheit and Mariah Carey, Broadway playwright Michele Lowe, Grammy-Award winning producer Adam Abeshouse, Juilliard Pre-College Orchestra conductor Adam Glaser, and members of major American orchestras, dance, and theater companies. A special feature of each student’s program is the Center's series of Festival Concerts, daily educational performances by distinguished artists. Some of those who have appeared and taught at Usdan include James Galway, Yo-Yo Ma, Canadian Brass, jazz artists Jimmy Heath, Jon Faddis, Clark Terry, the Tokyo String Quartet, the Limon Dance Company, members of the New York City Ballet, Metropolitan Opera soprano Monica Yunus, and Tony Award-winner Cady Huffman and other stars of Broadway shows.

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