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Jake Heggie and Nico Muhly to Join Sasha Cooke for CLASSICAL CONVERSATIONS

Coming up in the series: Violinist Leila Josefowicz and composer John Adams come together in conversation on Sunday, May 2, hosted by Abhijit Sengupta.

Jake Heggie and Nico Muhly to Join Sasha Cooke for CLASSICAL CONVERSATIONS

Classical music's Hamlen-Palm Series will be presented this year as four engaging online chats called Classical Conversations. The series is set to debut Thursday, April 29, 2021, with a discussion between American composers Jake Heggie and Nico Muhly hosted by two-time Grammy Award winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke.

The evening begins at 7 pm Eastern. It is produced by and benefits Classical Action, a program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Although the event is free, advance reservations are required. Sign-up opens today at

Traditionally, the Hamlen-Palm Series features celebrated artists and musicians performing intimate house concerts at a tony New York City loft. Since Classical Action's first house concert in 1993, more than 50 performers have shared their time and talents. With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting indoor gatherings, Classical Conversations was born to continue the Hamlen-Palm Series tradition of bringing classical performers and music lovers together.

"The Hamlen-Palm Series has been such a unique opportunity for classical music fans to experience extraordinary talent in an exclusive setting," Classical Action Director Denise Roberts Hurlin said. "We are so fortunate to have found a temporary alternative to the in-person concerts that will allow us all to gather virtually and hear insider stories and insight from the best in the business. While so many people are missing connection to music and art, we're excited to help create a temporary bridge through Classical Conversations."

Coming up in the series: acclaimed violinist Leila Josefowicz and composer John Adams come together in conversation on Sunday, May 2, hosted by Abhijit Sengupta, the director of artistic planning at Carnegie Hall. On Wednesday, June 16, American jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch will share stories with iconic pianist Emmanual Ax, hosted by arts presenter Ken Fischer. Guests for the fourth Classical Conversations , which will feature emerging artists discussing classical music in the 21st century, will be announced soon.

Heggie's opera compositions include Dead Man Walking, Moby-Dick, It's a Wonderful Life, If I Were You, Great Scott, Three Decembers and Two Remain, among others. Dead Man Walking , created alongside the late Terrance McNally, is the most-performed American opera of the 21st century. It is expected to return to the stage at New York's Metropolitan Opera in a future season, helmed by director Ivo van Hove and conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Muhly is a recipient of commissions from The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Tallis Scholars and St. John's College, Cambridge and others. Having written more than 100 works for the concert stage, his work for stage and screen include music for the Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie and scores for films including the Academy Award-winning The Reader.

Cooke, a highly revered mezzo-soprano, has an impressive international resume that includes performances with the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, English National Opera, Seattle Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux and more. She took home Grammy Awards in 2011 and 2018 for Best Opera Recording for Bates: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs and Adams: Doctor Atomic.

In non-pandemic times, the Hamlen-Palm Series presents intimate house concerts in a captivating New York City loft featuring celebrated talents in classical music and jazz. Recent performers have included Joshua Bell, Emerson String Quartet, Denyce Graves, Lisette Oropesa, Cécile McLorin Salvant and Yuja Wang.

The series is named for Classical Action founding director Charles Hamlen, who died from leukemia in 2018, and the late financial expert and philanthropist Michael Palm, who dedicated his life to the arts, gay rights and the fight against HIV/AIDS.

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