Brooklyn Philharmonic Features Mos Def, Leslie Uggams, et al. in New Season


Brooklyn philharmonic has just announced their 2011-12 season:

It's not every day a Board of Directors appoints a new Artistic Director and gives that person carte blanche to determine and design the artistic present and future of the organization. But that is exactly what the Brooklyn Philharmonic Board has done in appointing Alan Pierson the eighth Director of the orchestra since its founding in 1857. Pierson, well-known as founder and conductor of the leading new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound, is celebrated not only for his musical skill and intellect but his programming, which is genuinely creative and completely entertaining. The 2011-12 season reveals Pierson's adventurous vision for the Brooklyn Philharmonic: a new programming paradigm, which actively involves communities and engages them in new and exciting collaborations.

Pierson will bring the Philharmonic out into the borough, giving concerts in three vital neighborhoods: Brighton Beach, Downtown Brooklyn, and Bedford-Stuyvesant. Each neighborhood will host three different events-an orchestra concert, a chamber concert with readings by distinguished authors, and a family event-which are influenced by local culture and involve the participation of local artists, organizations, and businesses. All events will be free or low-cost, use a variety of indoor and outdoor venues, and demonstrate the orchestra's ability to make music in a variety of styles and configurations.

Of prime importance to the new Brooklyn Philharmonic is the creation and nurturing of community partnerships in each neighborhood. This season, the Brooklyn Phil's Community Partners include the Brooklyn Youth Chorus (Downtown Brooklyn), Roulette (Downtown Brooklyn), Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation's Center for Arts and Culture (Bed-Stuy), Children's Talent Development Fund (Brighton Beach), and Brooklyn Public Library, a long time partner (Downtown Brooklyn and Bed-Stuy).

In this debut "reboot" season, the Brooklyn Phil features the work of generations of great Brooklyn musicians, from Aaron Copland and Lena Horne to Mos Def and Sufjan Stevens. The orchestra will also connect with its own past, through Beethoven's Eroica Symphony-the first work the Brooklyn Philharmonic ever performed, in 1857. In each of the three neighborhoods, one Beethoven movement is presented in a context that speaks to the local community.

Says Pierson: "I can't imagine another place where the project of designing orchestra concerts to reflect and speak to the local culture would be as rewarding and stimulating."
Hip hop legend and critically-acclaimed actor Mos Def, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, songstress Mellissa Hughes and other special guests join members of the Brooklyn Philharmonic in two lively samplings of things to come in 2011-12. The programs will feature small ensemble versions of music the full orchestra will play later in the season, including Derek Bermel's arrangements of Mos Def's original songs, 19th century Shape Note singing, and works by David T. Little, Frederick Rzewski, and Lev Zhurbin. 

Brooklyn Phil & Mos Def at Restoration Rocks Music Festival
October 8, 2011, time TBA
1368 Fulton Street
Tickets: Free

Mos Def, hip hop artist
Brooklyn Phil Chamber Players; Alan Pierson, conductor
Mos Def arr. Derek Bermel, "Life in Marvelous Times" (2008) and other songs
Frederick Rzewski, Coming Together (1972)

WNYC New Sounds Live presents the Brooklyn Phil
October 12, 2011, 7:00 pm
The Winter Garden at the World Financial Center, NYC
Between 225 Liberty Street and 200 Vesey Street
Tickets: Free

Mos Def, hip hop artist
Mellissa Hughes, voice
Corey Dargel, voice
Brooklyn Youth Chorus; Dianne Berkun, director
Brooklyn Phil Chamber Players; Alan Pierson, conductor
Shape Note Singing
David T. Little, excerpt from Winter Scene (2011)
Lev Zhurbin, excerpt from Only Love (2008)
Frederick Rzewski, Coming Together (1972)
Mos Def arr. Derek Bermel, "Life in Marvelous Times" (2008) and other songs


Brooklyn Phil Orchestra Concert:
November 3, 2011, 7:30 pm
Millennium Theater, 1029 Brighton Beach Avenue
Tickets: $10-$55

The Brooklyn Philharmonic launches its yearlong journey through the diverse neighborhoods of New York's largest and most vibrant borough in Brighton Beach. The Brooklyn Phil, local Russian artists, and legendary Soviet animation studio Soyuzmultfilm team up to bring 70 years of great Russian animation back to the big screen and onto the concert stage for the first time. With great scores by Shostakovich and Vyacheslav Artyomov, Russian actors voicing much loved Soviet-era cartoon characters, and an award-winning new Russian cartoon (Only Love) taking a tongue-in-cheek look back at the Soviet era, the first orchestral performance of the Brooklyn Phil's relaunch season promises an entertaining and wholly original concert experience. Advisory: These are adult-themed cartoons; parental guidance suggested.

Singers from the Children's Talent Development Fund
Brooklyn Philharmonic; Alan Pierson, conductor

Gennady Gladkov arr. Zhurbin, One Destiny to Share from "The Bremen Musicians"
(film by Inessa Kovalevskaya) (1969)
Dimitri Shostakovich, The Silly Little Mouse (film by Mikhail Tsekhanovsky) (1939)
Beethoven, Allegro con brio from Symphony No. 3 (with Akop Kirakosyan's film
"Doom") (1804)
Vyacheslav Artyomov arr. Zhurbin, Boy is a Boy (film by Natasha Golovanova) (1986)
Moisei Vainberg arr. Zhurbin, Winnie Pooh goes Visiting (film by Fyodor Khitruk)
Lev Zhurbin, Only Love (film by Lev Polyakov) (2008)
Gennady Gladkov arr. Zhurbin, suite from The Bremen Musicians (film by Inessa
Kovalevskaya) (1969)

Brooklyn Phil Chamber Concert:
October 30, 2011, 5:00 pm
Shorefront Y, 3300 Coney Island Avenue
Tickets: $12

In 1976, Sergei Dovlatov's first book was destroyed under orders of the K.G.B. Three years later, unable to get his work published in the Soviet Union, Dovlatov escaped to America, where his slyly-humorous stories became fixtures of The New Yorker magazine until his death in Brooklyn in 1990. Dovlatov's widow Elena Dovlatov collaborates with the Brooklyn Phil Chamber Players in a concert that brings together Dovlatov's much-loved stories with music by composers who inspired him and who shared his struggle for artistic freedom, including Alfred Schnittke, Arvo Pärt, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Sofia Gubaidulina.

Brooklyn Phil Family Workshop:
October 23, 2011, 10:00 am
Shorefront Y, 3300 Coney Island Avenue
Tickets: Free

Art and music teachers with the Brooklyn Phil Chamber Players lead children through this exciting and creative workshop for families. A week before the Brooklyn Phil and members of the local Brighton Beach community bring to life the famous 1969 Russian cartoon, families at this workshop will read the original Brothers Grimm story, The Bremen Town Musicians. Participants will learn how to draw cartoons and compose original music using this classic folktale as inspiration. A quartet of Brooklyn Phil musicians finishes off the afternoon with a performance of the children's work.


Brooklyn Phil Orchestra Concert:
Co-presented with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and Roulette
Two performances: March 23 and 24, 2012, 7:30 pm
Roulette, 3rd Avenue and Atlantic
Tickets: $20

The entire history of the Borough is encapsulated in Brooklyn Village. The Village was born 387 years ago around an ancient Indian trail in present-day DUMBO. This early settlement gradually evolved into what we now call Downtown Brooklyn, the largest business district in the Borough, and a cultural hotbed known the world over. When Artistic Director Alan Pierson and the Borough's oldest orchestra take the stage at Roulette's impressive new space, the stories of this community will unfold in a modern multimedia presentation. The whole show draws inspiration from Francis Guy's 1820 painting "Winter Scene in Brooklyn," which hangs in the Brooklyn Museum (see All the works on the program have ties to Brooklyn, some depicting sites in the Borough, and most written by Brooklyn residents, including world premieres by David T. Little and Sarah Kirkland Snider.

Mellissa Hughes, voice
Brooklyn Youth Chorus; Dianne Berkun, director
Brooklyn Philharmonic; Alan Pierson, conductor
Ted Sperling, stage director
Royce Vavrek, librettist
Jeff Johnson, research
Beth Morrison, producer

Beethoven, "Scherzo" from Symphony no. 3 (1804)
Sufjan Stevens, The B.Q.E. mvt. 6, "Isorhythmic Night Dance With Interchanges"
Sarah Kirkland Snider, new choral work on Brooklyn Bridge (2011) (World
Premiere commissioned by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus)
George Frederich Bristow, "Nocturno" from Symphony in F# minor, op. 26 (1858)
Benjamin Britten, Carry Her Over the Water for chorus (1941)
Two Shape Note songs for chorus (with audience participation) (early 19th century)
David T. Little, Winter Scene (2011) (World Premiere co-commissioned by Brooklyn
Phil and Brooklyn Youth Chorus)