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Stew and More to Perform at Alice Tully Hall Opening Nights Festival

Lincoln Center today announced updated programming information for its Alice Tully Hall Opening Nights Festival.  The Festival opens on February 22 in the newly transformed Alice Tully Hall-designed by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro in association with FX Fowle-with a two-week celebration designed to showcase the Hall's prominence as one of New York City's premier concert venues, and highlight the artistic range of its primary tenants: The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and The Juilliard School, as well as home to the Film Society of Lincoln Center's New York Film Festival.  For more information, visit

New Program Information

Tuesday, March 3 at 5:30 PM  The musically omnivorous American string quartet ETHEL will give a free performance of the New York premiere of Space, a site-specific  sound installation for amplified string quartet by composer Phil Kline and sound artist Jody Elff.   Designed for play in large public spaces, the work will be performed in the new glass-enclosed outer lobby of Alice Tully Hall, and includes both live and recorded music as well as computer manipulated loops.  In addition to appearances at New York City's Winter Garden and on NBC's The Late Night with Conan O'Brien show, ETHEL's Juilliard-trained composer/musicians have performed in ten different countries, collaborating with everyone from pop/rock icons Todd Rundgren and Joe Jackson to classical music star Yo-Yo Ma and jazz giant Ornette Coleman.  ETHEL celebrates its 10th anniversary season with its 2008 TruckStop odyssey, a 10-city and 10-month long residency/concert tour that ends in its hometown of New York City at BAM's Next Wave Festival in October 2008.  

Friday March 6 at 8:00 PM  Lincoln Center's American Songbook artist Stew, whose hit Broadway show Passing Strange recently won a Tony Award for Best Book in a Musical, has announced his program for the Opening Nights Festival.  The evening will reflect the musical journey of Stew (Mark Stewart) and his writing-partner, bassist Heidi Rodewald, beginning with music from early Stew and the band he founded in 1995, The Negro Problem.  The group was ironically named to highlight the music industry's problems with a mostly white band fronted by a black man whose influences were not only Sly Stone but also Stephen Sondheim.  The evening will continue with Stew's solo songs, selections from his musical Passing Strange, and then new material.  He and Rodewald have been working together on Passing Strange since 2004, with successful runs at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and The Public Theater as well on Broadway.  Stew's discography includes four recordings with The Negro Problem, and another four as Stew, two of which were named Album of the Year by Entertainment Weekly: Guest Host and The Naked Dutch Painter and Other Songs.

Saturday March 7 at 9:00 PM   Lincoln Center's Night of World Music will present Grammy-nominated sitar virtuoso Ustad Shujaat Khan, who joins forces with multi-instrumentalist, producer, and composer Karsh Kale in a musical collaboration that blends classical Indian music, electronica, jazz and rock.  Featuring producer and pianist Vijay Iyer, a rising star in the jazz world, and the imaginative low-end musings of bassist Jonathan Maron, this quartet reunites for the first time since its now legendary sold-out 2004 debut at Joe's Pub at The Public Theater.  These four virtuosos will highlight the improvisational range of their individual backgrounds in a genre-twisting experiment gone right.

Ustad Shujaat Khan belongs to the Imdad Khan tradition of the sitar, and is the seventh in an unbroken family line of many musical masters.  One of today's greatest North Indian classical musicians, he began giving public concerts at age six as a child prodigy.  Khan has since appeared at major venues worldwide, and was chosen by the United Nations as the sole artist representing India for its 50th Anniversary of Independence concert at Assembly Hall in Geneva.  He has developed his own unique style of Indian music and rhythm, and is also known for an exceptional voice that he uses for folk song and poetry.  The recipient of numerous awards from many international organizations, Khan has more than 50 releases on a variety of record labels.  His collaborations with the Indo-Persian ensemble Ghazal-with whom he appeared in 2004 on Lincoln Center's Great Performers series and in a Mostly Mozart concert-resulted in a 2004 Grammy nomination for their album Rain.  He has also been a visiting faculty member at England's Dartington School of Music and at UCLA.

The London-born and New York-raised Indian producer, composer, and musician Karsh Kale is known for bringing the music of his heritage into the Western pop mainstream, creating genre-busting global electronic music in the process. A traditional drummer and Indian percussionist, Kale pioneered a unique blend of Classical Indian, electronica, and rock, coining the term "Asian Massive" to describe this genre. Along with producer Bill Laswell and tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, Kale founded the supergroup Tabla Beat Science, and over the course of his young career has collaborated with a wide range of musicians from Herbie Hancock to Sting to Paul Oakenfold.  In 2008, Kale was commissioned to perform a live score of the classic martial arts film, Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon, which he played for thousands at Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park. No stranger to Lincoln Center, Kale previously performed in an all-electronic version of Terry Riley's In C as part of Lincoln Center Festival's Electronic Evolution series in 2000.  He has six recordings on the Six Degrees label, as well as Breathing Under Water, a joint 2007 release with Anoushka Shankar on the Blue Note label.

Pianist Vijay Iyer was voted #1 Rising Star Jazz Artist and Composer in Downbeat magazine's' International Critics' Poll in both 2006 and 2007.  The son of Indian immigrants, he is a largely self-taught musician grounded in the American jazz lexicon, drawing from a range of Western and non-Western traditions.  Iyer's recent engagements as performer/composer include those at BAM's Next Wave Festival, the Smithsonian Institution, the Kennedy Center, and Carnegie Hall, in addition to appearances at major music festivals around the world.  His commissions include those from the American Composers Orchestra, New York State Council on the Arts, and Meet The Composer.  A polymath whose work spans the arts and sciences, Iyer also holds a B.S in Mathematics and Physics from Yale College, and a Masters in Physics from the University of California at Berkeley. He was chosen as one of nine "Revolutionary Minds" by the science magazine Seeds.

Jonathan Maron, longtime electric bassist with Groove Collective, has recorded and/or performed with artists including Raul Midon, India.Arie, Jewel, and, DJ Spinna.  Maron's warm sound, inventive bass lines and old-school funk have made him the subject of several features in Bass Player Magazine, and he was also included in Brave New Bass, a collection of interviews with today's top players.

Most Festival performances--including orchestral and chamber music, choral works, recitals, popular song, world music, period and contemporary ensembles, and film--will be presented either free or with tickets priced at $25 or less. Overall, the Festival will offer 22 events including three world, one U.S., and six New York premieres. A complete list of Festival programs follows below, with program changes indicated in red.  For more information, visit  

First Look-The Opening-Night concert of the Festival on February 22 will be a collaboration of three of the Lincoln Center resident organizations that have most frequently used Alice Tully Hall as a venue over the years: The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and The Juilliard School.  In a program that ranges from 15th-century Sephardic music to works by Bach and Golijov, the performance will feature the celebrated viola da gamba player Jordi Savall and soprano Montserrat Figueras, Hespèrion XXI, pianist Leon Fleisher, the Emerson String Quartet, members of The Chamber Music Society, and conductor David Robertson leading the Juilliard Orchestra.  A Late-Night Concert titled Occident - Orient: A Dialogue of Cultures assembled by early music specialist Jordi Savall, will follow at 9 PM. Savall and a hand-picked pool of musicians will perform a musical journey that travels through Afghanistan, Turkey, Sarajevo, Alexandria, Morocco, and points in between, demonstrating that these diverse cultures share a common bond of instruments, expression, and creative inspiration. 

Visitors to the transformEd Hall will be greeted by the striking three-story-high, glass-enclosed lobby that cantilevers out onto Broadway at 65th Street.  To better accommodate Lincoln Center audiences and visitors before and after performances, the soaring, light-filled space will house new facilities including a mezzanine-level donor room for special events, more restrooms, a café/bar with extended public hours, and an expanded box office and ticketing area.  Inside the concert hall, patrons will experience a transformed auditorium with innovative lighting that glows softly from translucent walls, custom theater seats that retain the original spacious plan required by Ms. Tully, an automated film screen, and two mechanized stage extensions that will create adjustable staging options.  For artists, a new warm-up/rehearsal room has been added along with expanded dressing/choral spaces, extended stage wings, and a bigger freight elevator to accommodate larger stage equipment for a variety of presentations. 

After nearly 40 years of year-round use (approximately 750 events are held annually), Alice Tully Hall closed for renovations following a gala "Good Night Alice" concert on April 30, 2007.

All LCPA events will be presented free, or with tickets priced at $25 or less.

Photo: Stew by Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.

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