Daniel Bernard Roumain and Lisa Armstrong Address Youth Incarceration in New Work at YoungArts
On May 20, 2017, the National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) will present "Little Boy Lost: One Child's Story of Life Behind Bars," a collaborative work that amplifies the voices of incarcerated youth through the story of 20-year-old Miami native Damien Duncan. The performance is part of YoungArts' celebrated Outside the Box series, which engages the community with free, multidisciplinary performances that take place outside of the iconic Jewel Box on the YoungArts Plaza.
Created by composer and performer Daniel Bernard Roumain and journalist Lisa Armstrong, "Little Boy Lost" employs classical music, spoken word, rap and film to address the issue of youth incarceration and the prison industrial complex through the eyes of one young adult. At the center of the performance is a 40-minute documentary by Armstrong with live scoring by Roumain, cinematography by Nilo Batle (2017 YoungArts Winner in Cinematic Arts), and spoken word by Simbaa Gordon (2016 YoungArts Winner in Writing).
"Little Boy Lost" follows a day in the life of Damien, who has recently been released from state prison, and has since become a role model in his local community by volunteering as an active mentor for Empowered Youth, a non-profit that helps at-risk inner city teens in Dade-County. Through transmedia, Roumain unpacks the cultural and socio-economic context of Damien's experience, and highlights what could have been through character juxtaposition with YoungArts alumnus Gordon.
"It is interesting that Damien is actually a musician," said Roumain. "I learned that music is how he expresses what he went through. He was in an adult facility and he doesn't talk about what he experienced in detail, but those things come out in his music." Armstrong elaborates, "I think the arts can offer young people an alternative path in life, and also give young people a way to express themselves, which is especially important for people who have had traumatic experiences."
Support for Outside the Box is provided by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; National Endowment for the Arts; Wells Fargo and the Miami Downtown development Authority.
About Daniel Bernard Roumain
Daniel Bernard Roumain's acclaimed work as a composer and performer spans more than two decades, and has been commissioned by venerable artists and institutions worldwide. "About as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets" (New York Times), Daniel Bernard Roumain's is perhaps the only composer whose collaborations traverse the worlds of Philip Glass, Bill T. Jones, Savion Glover and Lady Gaga.
Known for his signature violin sounds infused with a myriad of electronic and urban music influences, Roumain takes his genre-bending music beyond the proscenium. He has been nominated for an EMMY for Outstanding Musical Composition for his work with ESPN; featured as keynote performer at technology conferences; and written large scale, site-specific music for public parks.
DBR's made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2000 with the American Composers Orchestra performing his Harlem Essay for Orchestra, a Whitaker commission. He went on to compose works for the Boston Pops Orchestra; Carnegie Hall; the Library of Congress; the Stuttgart Symphony, and myriad others.
Roumain's commitment to arts education has garnered long-term relationships with countless universities, orchestras, and performing arts centers. Roumain earned his doctorate in Music Composition from the University of Michigan, where he currently serves as Guest Entrepreneur.
An avid arts industry leader, Roumain serves on the board of directors of the League of American Orchestras, Association of Performing Arts Presenters and Creative Capital, the advisory committee of the Sphinx Organization, and is co-chair of 2015 and 2016 APAP Conferences.
Roumain is currently working on We Shall Not Be Moved, a chamber opera commissioned by Opera Philadelphia, with libretto by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and direction by Bill T. Jones.
About Lisa Armstrong
Lisa Armstrong is an award-winning journalist with credits in The Washington Post, O, The Oprah Magazine, Parade, National Geographic, Ms., TheAtlantic.com, NYTimes.com, MSN, The Daily Beast and other publications and Websites. In addition to an MA in journalism, she has a master's in urban planning with a specialization in international development and have written and edited for several organizations, including UNICEF and The World Bank.
Lisa has covered a range of topics- such as spending days beading with Maasai women in Kenya and trekking up pyramids in Mexico. She has made several trips to Haiti since the January 12, 2010 earthquake, reporting from the tent cities and makeshift wards at the general hospital through a grant from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Lisa has also worked the red carpet at movie premieres and profiled celebrities and politicians, as well as ordinary people with remarkable stories, like Carlton Henry, a drug dealer turned champion fencer, and Lovetta Conto, a Liberian teenager who makes jewelry from the spent bullets of her country's civil war.
Lisa's eclectic interests have been somewhat inspired by her nomadic existence: Born in New York, I grew up in Kenya and the Caribbean and have lived in several cities worldwide. She has also reported from Kenya, Liberia, Ethiopia, India, Tajikistan, Senegal and other countries.
Currently, Lisa is an adjunct professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and taught introductory journalism courses at New York University for two years. She has spoken and taught workshops at universities, high schools and middle schools nationwide and also recently ran a week-long humanitarian reporting workshop in Zimbabwe, through the U.S. Department of State's Speaker Program.
About the National YoungArts Foundation
The National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) was established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison to identify and nurture the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts, and assist them at critical junctures in their educational and professional development. Through a wide range of annual programs, regular performances, and partnerships with some of the nation's leading cultural institutions, YoungArts aspires to create a strong community of alumni and a platform for a lifetime of encouragement, opportunity and support.
YoungArts' signature program is an application-based award for emerging artists ages 15 - 18 or in grades 10 - 12 from across the United States. Selected through a blind adjudication process, YoungArts Winners receive valuable support, including financial awards of up to $10,000, professional development and educational experiences working with renowned mentors-such as Debbie Allen, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rebecca Walker, Plácido Domingo, Frank Gehry, Jeff Koons, Wynton Marsalis, Salman Rushdie and Carrie Mae Weems-and performance and exhibition opportunities at some of the nation's leading cultural institutions, including The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), The Museum of Modern Art (New York) and New World Center (Miami). Additionally, YoungArts Winners are eligible for nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students who exemplify academic and artistic excellence.
YoungArts Winners become part of a thousands-strong alumni network of artists, which offers them additional professional opportunities throughout their careers. YoungArts alumni who have gone on to become leading professionals in their fields include actresses Viola Davis, Anna Gunn, Zuzanna Szadkowski and Kerry Washington; Broadway stars Raúl Esparza, Billy Porter, Andrew Rannells and Tony Yazbeck; recording artists Josh Groban, Judith Hill and Chris Young; Metropolitan Opera star Eric Owens; musicians Terence Blanchard, Gerald Clayton, Jennifer Koh and Elizabeth Roe; choreographers Camille A. Brown and Desmond Richardson; visual artists Daniel Arsham and Hernan Bas; internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Doug Aitken; New York Times bestselling author Sam Lipsyte; and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Doug Blush.
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