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.