Items tagged with Music

Music Historian Harvey Sachs on “Toscanini: Musician of Conscience”

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Arturo Toscanini is widely recognized as the most famed conductor of the twentieth century and was once one of the most famous people in the world. But his legacy reaches far past his musical contributions.

Location: The Westport Woman's Club, 44 Imperial Avenue

In author and musical historian Harvey Sachs’s acclaimed biography, Toscanini: Musician of Conscience, Toscanini is revealed as a man who was incapable of separating his spectacular career from the call of his conscience. In this talk, Sachs will show us not only the Toscanini that brought audiences to their feet, but also the man who opposed totalitarianism with a personal bravery that would make him a model for artists of conscience.

Music, Authors
Authors, Music

Music Series: Bits and Pieces—A Tribute to Leonard Bernstein

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Hear Broadway performers Frank Mastrone and Terry Eldh, accompanied by Heather A. Hamilton, pay tribute to the great maestro through his songs and their stories. This all-star line-up of local professional musicians have performed on Broadway and in major venues from Lincoln Center to the stages of Europe.
Note time of performance: Sunday evening at 7:30 pm.

The Shack Sackler Foundation is the primary benefactor of this music series.

Partner & location: Saugatuck Congregational Church, 245 Post Road East

Heather Amlin Hamilton, Ed.D., a native of Fairfield, CT is the Director of Music at Saugatuck Church, UCC in Westport, CT and is also the owner of Hamilton Music Services where she teaches piano, theory and history to students of all ages and abilities. She is also a former conducting student of Bernstein at Tanglewood. Dr. Hamilton attended the Mannes College of Music and holds two Master’s Degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. She has the distinction of being the first fellowship recipient as pianist in the Orchestral Performance Degree Program at MSM studying with Harriet Wingreen, former pianist with the NY Philharmonic. In 2010 Heather received her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Bridgeport, CT.

Dr. Hamilton has performed as pianist, accompanist, organist, percussionist and conductor throughout the United States and Europe. She has performed in many venues including Merkin Hall, Symphony Space, Town Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center. This past May she performed at the Metropolitan Club with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Branford Marsalis in a piece by Miles Davis. As a graduate student, she premiered over eighty new works and was fortunate to work with acclaimed composers Aaron Jay Kernis, Richard Danielpour and John Corigliano. Heather was a piano fellow and attended the National Orchestral Institute, The Waterloo Music Festival. She was an assistant to Jeaneane Dowis at the Music Studies Abroad Program in Provence, France for two summers and was a conducting student at the Tanglewood Music Center in 1987 learning from Leonard Bernstein, Gustav Meier, and Seiji Ozawa. Dr. Hamilton has performed under the batons of Marin Alsop, Leonard Slatkin, Kurt Masur, Gerard Schwartz, Gunther Schuller among others.

Terry Eldh, a Westport 'home-grown' talent, is at home on the stages of Broadway, opera houses, and concert halls. She was Carlotta in the Broadway Company of The Phantom of the Opera and has enjoyed principal roles in La Boheme, La Traviata, the Marriage of Figaro, among other operas, throughout the United States and Europe including Michigan Opera Theatre, Dayton Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Français of New York, Opera Theatre Company of Ireland, and Teatro Lirico of Spoleto, Italy.

Frank Mastrone has appeared on Broadway in The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Les Miserables, Jekyll and Hyde, Saturday Night Fever and Big: The Musical, as well as off-Broadway and major National tours. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Long Wharf Theatre (New Haven), The Old Globe Theatre (San Diego) The Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City) and The Royal Albert Hall (London). He also works as an entertainment specialist for a senior living corporation; teaches musical theatre at the Greenwich Performing Arts Studio; performs with numerous theatre companies and choirs; creates events, concerts and cabarets for a large variety of businesses and non-profit organizations.

Saugatuck Congregational Church

The Malloy Lecture in the Arts Presents "Bernstein on Broadway"

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This event is currently sold out. Please contact the Quick Center box office at 203-254-4010 or by email at boxoffice [at] quickcenter [dot] com to be added to a waiting list.

This special evening focuses on the life and contributions of the legendary composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein and, specifically, on his influence on modern American musical theater. The evening is part of the worldwide celebration of his 100th birthday and includes a panel discussion with two of Bernstein’s children, Nina Bernstein Simmons and Alexander Bernstein, moderated by conductor, composer and producer George Steel. The discussion will be enhanced with extraordinary archival Bernstein family footage showing scenes of their life in Fairfield, summers in Martha’s Vineyard, and elsewhere.


The second half of the evening will feature live musical performances of some of Bernstein’s most iconic pieces including selections from West Side Story, On the Town and Wonderful Town. The selections will be performed by Broadway soloists, including Tony Award nominee Tony Yazbeck, Amy Owens and Bryonha Marie Parham. The evening will also include a special performance by the Staples High School Orphenians. The evening’s Musical Director Michael Barrett will perform a four-hand piano arrangement of the Candide Overture with celebrated pianist Frederic Chiu. The Executive Producer of “Live From Lincoln Center” and member of the Westport Library Board of Trustees, Andrew C. Wilk, is the Executive Producer of this program.

Register online for tickets to this free event; registration will be available beginning 10 am on Monday, September 24. The Malloy Lecture in the Arts is made possible by a generous contribution from the late Westport artist Susan Malloy. 

For updates please check the Westport Library website:

Note location: Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University, 200 Barlow Road, Fairfield, CT

The Malloy Lecture in the Arts is made possible by a generous contribution from Westport artist Susan Malloy. The Westport Library created the lecture series in 2002 as a free, public annual discussion by an individual who has had a significant cultural influence and whose work has enhanced the understanding and appreciation of the arts.

Past programs have included Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; distinguished playwright Arthur Miller; artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude; musicians Joshua Bell and Frederic Chiu; poet-laureate Billy Collins; Vartan Gregorian, President of the Carnegie Corporation; author Joyce Carol Oates; cartoonist Roz Chast; actor Christopher Plummer; stage, film and theater star John Lithgow; preeminent classical dancer Jacques d'Amboise; music legend Clive Davis, author Salman Rushdie, and Falsettos: In Conversation.

Leonard Bernstein (August 25, 1918-October 14, 1990) was a world-renowned conductor and composer, and one of classical music's icons of the 20th century. He was Music Director of the New York Philharmonic and conducted the world's major orchestras, leaving behind an enormous legacy of audio and video recordings. His books, as well as the much-beloved televised Young People's Concerts with the New York Philharmonic, established him as a leading educator. His orchestral and choral works include three symphonies (No. 1 "Jeremiah", No. 2 "Age of Anxiety", and No. 3 "Kaddish"), Serenade, Mass, Chichester Psalms, Songfest, Divertimento for Orchestra, Arias and Barcarolles, and Concerto for Orchestra. Bernstein's works for the Broadway stage include On the Town, Wonderful Town, Candide and the immensely popular West Side Story. In addition to the West Side Story collaboration, Mr. Bernstein worked with choreographer Jerome Robbins on three major ballets, Fancy Free, Facsimile and Dybbuk. Mr. Bernstein was the recipient of many honors, including eleven Emmy Awards, one Tony Award, the Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, and the Kennedy Center Honors. 
Leonard Bernstein Photo by Paul de Hueck, Courtesy of the Leonard Bernstein Office

Nina Bernstein Simmons is Leonard Bernstein's youngest daughter. After several years working as an actress, initially at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, she turned her attention to tending her late father's legacy. In the earliest days of the internet, she worked with the Library of Congress on making the Bernstein Archives digitally available to the public. The fruits of that collaboration can be seen at the Library's American Memory website. From 2000 until 2005, Nina worked on a film about her sister, Jamie, and her remarkable journeys around the world bringing Bernstein's music and teaching legacy to new audiences. Leonard Bernstein: A Total Embrace premiered in Germany in December of 2005. Since 2008, Nina has been working as a food educator in underserved communities.

Alexander Bernstein is Leonard Bernstein's second child. He is president of Artful Learning, Inc., and founding chairman of The Leonard Bernstein Center For Learning. Prior to his full-time participation in the center, Bernstein taught for five years at the Packer-Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, New York, first as a second grade teacher, then as a teacher of drama for the middle school. He has studied acting, performed professionally, and worked as a production associate at the ABC News Documentary Unit. Bernstein holds a Master's degree in English education from New York University and a Bachelor's degree from Harvard University.
Nina & Alex Bernstein Photos by Steve Sherman, 2017

George Steel is the founder and conductor of two acclaimed ensembles, the Vox Vocal Ensemble (founded in 1990) and the Gotham City Orchestra (in 1998), and he has worked around the world as a producer, conductor, composer, singer, pianist, teacher, musicologist, and impresario. In the words of the New York Times, he is “a spokesman of national stature about ways to make classical music matter to new generations of listeners.”

As a conductor, Steel is equally at home in the music of six centuries, being a “specialist” in several distinct kinds of music. He has conducted dozens of world premieres for orchestra, chorus, or both. An advocate for early music, he has conducted hundreds of acclaimed performances with his group Vox Vocal Ensemble, and has created or commissioned dozens of editions of early music, including publishing the complete works of composer Robert Parsons (d. 1572) online, which has led to a wave of performances and recordings.

As an impresario, Steel has produced ballet, opera, theater, films, recordings, art installations, and concerts.  For his work, Steel has twice received the Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming, as well as the inaugural Trailblazer Award from the American Music Center and the ASCAP Concert Music Award. New York magazine named him as one of the most influential people in New York.

Tony Yazbeck was most recently seen on Broadway in the Susan Stroman/Harold Prince helmed Prince of Broadway after appearing in the original Japan production (Chita Rivera Award, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations). Tony was recently seen in Manhattan Concert Productions 25th Anniversary concert of Crazy For You, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman. Prior to that, he starred in the Broadway production of Finding Neverland. For the 2014 Broadway revival of On the Town, he won the coveted Astaire Award and was nominated for Tony, Drama League, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for his virtuosic performance. His other Broadway credits include Chicago (Billy Flynn), Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (Phil Davis), Gypsy opposite Patti LuPone (Tulsa; Outer Critics Circle nomination), A Chorus Line (Al), Oklahoma!, Never Gonna Dance and Gypsy with Tyne Daly. Off-Broadway credits include Beast in the Jungle (Vineyard Theatre), Fanny Hill (at the York) and for City Center Encores!, he has appeared in Little Me, On the Town, Gypsy, The Apple Tree, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Pardon My English. Regional credits include Alliance, Barrington, Williamstown, Hartford Stage, Goodman, St. Louis MUNY, Goodspeed (Connecticut Critics Circle Award), Signature (Helen Hayes Award), Trinity Rep, Paper Mill, and Old Globe. Yazbeck was seen internationally in Kiss Me, Kate at the Royal Albert Hall in London. TV/Film credits include “Billions,” “Smash” and the feature documentary Every Little Step. Concert appearances include the San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas, Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops and Steven Reineke, and Bernstein at 100 concert with Michael Barrett and The National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap. Tony also stars in his own song and dance show. His debut album "The Floor Above Me" has been released digitally and on CD by P. S. Classics.

Amy Owens enjoys a diverse career in concert work, opera, new music, and alternative pop. She has appeared in concert in venues ranging from Wolf Trap to Carnegie Hall with renowned orchestras across the United States, including the National Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony, Reno Philharmonic, Omaha Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, and New Mexico Philharmonic. Her operatic engagements have taken her to Santa Fe Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Dallas Opera, Utah Opera, Central City Opera, On Site Opera, and others. She appears regularly with the New York Festival of Song, and she has collaborated with many composers including William Bolcom, Matthew Aucoin, Bright Sheng, and Paola Prestini. Her debut album of original music, HAETHOR, was released Spring 2018 to acclaim in the electronica world. This year, she was selected to participate in the Hart Institute for Women Conductors at Dallas Opera. She has received awards from several organizations, including the Sullivan Foundation, the George London Foundation, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and the Santa Fe Opera. Amy holds degrees in vocal performance from Rice University and Brigham Young University. 

Bryonha Marie Parham most recently made her mark in the Hal Prince-Susan Stroman directed Broadway retrospective Prince Of Broadway, in which she created not just three distinct roles, but three different worlds. From the winsome shop girl Amalia of She Loves Me; to the British chanteuse of Cabaret; to an indelible Queenie from Show Boat, Bryonha proved herself an actress-singer-dancer of astonishing range and versatility. Bryonha is equally comfortable on Broadway (Prince of Broadway representing her 5th Broadway show) or the Opera House (Bernstein’s Mass with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Ricky Ian Gordon’s upcoming adaptation of Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel, Metropolitan Opera, spring of 2018).

Bryonha first made Broadway take notice in the acclaimed Kennedy Center revival of Ragtime, where she tore off the roof with the scorching Act 1 finale; then for director Diane Paulus’ Tony-winning revival of Porgy & Bess, she broke audience’s hearts with her searing rendition of the mournful, show-stopping aria “My Man’s Gone Now.” Other appearances on the great stem include featured roles in After Midnight and Book Of Mormon.

In addition to her career on Broadway, Bryonha has graced major regional theatre stages, having twice essayed the role of Effie in Dreamgirls in critically acclaimed, award-nominated turns; a groundbreaking voice of the Plant in Little Shop Of Horrors; and the Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd for “Live At Lincoln Center.”

Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, Bryonha is a graduate of the Music Theatre Department at Illinois Wesleyan University. She currently resides in Manhattan.

Michael Barrett Michael Barrett has had an impressive career as an impresario, creating new festivals and programs, and providing executive leadership at crucial periods for the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (2003-2012) and 92Y (1994-97). As assistant conductor to Leonard Bernstein from 1985-1990, Mr. Barrett inherited the legendary maestro’s passion for the teaching of people of all ages, as well as a wide-ranging knowledge and interest in a variety of music. Known for his exciting and unusual programming, Barrett has founded and built two successful music festivals- the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) in New York City (1987), and the Moab Music Festival (MMF) in Moab, Utah (1992). He currently serves as Co-Artistic Director and Music Director respectively.

As a conductor and pianist Mr. Barrett has appeared with leading orchestras, dance, and opera companies in over a dozen countries. His interest in music education has led to the development of successful programs with NYFOS, the Moab Music Festival, and the creation of BarBer Adventures, a company which develops and presents concerts and materials for young audiences and families. He is dedicated to the performance of new music and has participated in and commissioned over 90 new works. He was Chief Executive and General Director of Caramoor from 2003-2012, producing over 80 events per season; Director of the Tisch Center for the Arts at New York's’ 92nd Street Y from 1994-1997, overseeing the production and presentation of 100 concerts per season, and 40 events at the Unterberg Poetry Center, presiding over the Center’s first balanced budget in over a decade.

Frederic Chiu Frederic Chiu performs in major venues on five continents: Lincoln Center in New York, Kennedy Center in Washington, The Chatelet in Paris, the Mozarteum in Buenos Aires, as well as touring extensively in smaller and unusual venues. He collaborates with Classical music friends Joshua Bell, Pierre Amoyal, Gary Hoffman and the St Lawrence String Quartet, as well as non-Classical friends like jazz pianist Bob James or storyteller David Gonzalez, to bring the vivid live concert experience to all audiences. 

He is known for his innovative programming, including “Classical Smackdown”, where composers face off in head-to-head comparisons, with listeners voting for their favorite composer: Debussy vs. Prokofiev, Bach vs. Glass, etc. Results tracked at He created the arts non-profit, Beechwood Arts & Innovation, to further the collaboration across art genres and the use of the arts to create community. He is preparing for Romeo & Juliet: The Choice, an innovative and provocative production of the Prokofiev ballet.

Frederic Chiu has over 27 recordings, including the most extensive complete piano works of Prokofiev, and works of Chopin, Liszt, Ravel, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Rossini and Grieg, as well as the Beethoven/Liszt Symphony V and the solo piano version of Carnival of the Animals. His latest projects include “Hymns and Dervishes,” music of Gurdjieff/de Hartmann, and Distant Voices: Music of Claude Debussy & Gao Ping. A regular on St. Paul Sunday and Performance Today, he is a favorite of public radios across the country.
Frederic Chiu photo credit Chris Craymer

Andrew C. Wilk is a multiple Emmy Award-winning producer and director whose career has encompassed leading roles in many areas of commercial and educational content. Since his arrival at Lincoln Center in 2011, he has served as Executive Producer of “Live From Lincoln
Center” for 40 national broadcasts on PBS. Program highlights during Andrew’s tenure include Lincoln Center Theater’s production of Falsettos on Broadway which was nominated for 5 Tony Awards, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street starring Emma Thompson (Primetime Emmy Award), Kern & Hammerstein’s Show Boat (also as Director), Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel (Emmy Award nominated), Audra McDonald’s Go Back Home (also as Director), Danny Elfman’s Music From The Films of Tim Burton (also as Director), The Nance starring Nathan Lane, Lang Lang’s New York Rhapsody (also as Director), and Joshua Bell: Seasons of Cuba (also as Director). His productions also include the New York Philharmonic’s opening night gala concerts as well as the New York Philharmonic’s New Year’s Eve specials, all on PBS. Andrew’s most recent mini-series on PBS, STARS IN CONCERT featured solo one-hour specials by Leslie Odom, Jr., Sutton Foster, Andrew Rannells, and Stephanie J. Block.

Andrew also launched and was Executive Producer for Lincoln Center’s foray into in-cinema entertainment. Lincoln Center at the Movies productions include films with four prominent dance companies: New York City Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, San Francisco Ballet and Ballet Hispanico.

Prior to his work at Lincoln Center, Andrew served as Chief Creative Officer of Sony Music Entertainment where he oversaw all visual content for Sony’s label groups and spearheaded Sony’s digital expansion. Andrew also served as Executive Vice President of Programming and Production for the National Geographic Channel, where he launched the channel in 2001 and developed all of its initial programming. Andrew also helmed the famed National Geographic Specials as seen on both NBC and PBS. Andrew has won five personal Emmy Awards and has received 15 nominations. Over the course of his career, he has produced and/or directed more than 1,000 television shows. Andrew continues his work as a conductor of live symphonic concerts when time permits. During his career, he has directed a vast array of eclectic artists from Beverly Sills, Michael Tilson Thomas and Zubin Mehta, to Peter Ustinov, Tom Brokaw and Jim Henson’s Muppets. Andrew received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from New York University.

Music, Malloy Lecture in the Arts

Music Series: The Collective Brass Quintet

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Collective Brass performs "Beautiful, Bright, and Fast," classical music spanning the centuries. With music originally written for brass quintet as well as music composed by Monteverdi, J.S. Bach and Claude Debussy, this features classical favorites, beautiful melodies and breathtaking energy.

Founded in 2016, Collective Brass is a chamber group that performs a broad range of exciting and virtuosic music. Members of the quintet have trained at the most prestigious music schools and conservatories in the country and now hold positions in major performing ensembles in New York. In addition to performing traditional and contemporary brass chamber music, Collective Brass creates original arrangements and editions of early music for brass—much of which was recently recorded on the acclaimed album, In Thy Sweet Name. Members are Alaina Alster, trombone, Carl Stanley, trumpet, Keith Kile, tuba, Drew Mangus, french horn, and Bill Owens, trumpet. Links to their music.

The Shack Sackler Foundation is the primary benefactor of this music series.

Partner & location: Saugatuck Congregational Church, 245 Post Road East

Raised in a musical household in California, Carl Stanley's trumpet career has taken him around the globe. After completing his B.A. in music in 2008 from California State University, East Bay, Mr. Stanley won a position with the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band in Hampton, Virginia. In his four years as Trumpet in the Concert Band and a member of the Heritage Brass Quintet, Mr. Stanley toured throughout the United States, performing in concerts, recitals, ceremonies, professional sporting events, competitions, and conventions as an Air Force musician. Deploying to the Middle East, he was also able to perform in an outreach band, which utilized music as a partnership-building tool to better U.S. relations in war-torn regions. Mr. Stanley left the Air Force in 2013 to complete his Master of Music degree at the Yale School of Music. Upon graduating in May of 2015, he transitioned into the U.S. Army as a member of the United States Military Academy Band at West Point.

Bill Owens is currently the associate principal trumpet of the West Point Band. Upon receiving his Bachelor’s degree from the Juilliard School in 2005, Bill moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a free-lance chamber and orchestral musician. He quickly established himself by performing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Diego Symphony, the Santa Barbara Symphony as well as numerous other orchestras in Southern California. For six years, Bill was a member of the national touring ensemble, Presidio Brass. While maintaining a busy performing schedule with Presidio, Bill and organist Alison Luedecke performed recitals in venues throughout SoCal. In addition to performing, Bill is the artistic director of the Purchase Symphonic Winds as well as a member of the chamber music faculty at SUNY Purchase. He continues to write, edit and arrange music for his instrument within varying contexts including a recent publication, Basic Training for Trumpet and a series of arrangements for solo trumpet and organ.

Drew Mangus is originally from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He began playing horn in public school there, being taught by his father, a horn player and band director. Following High School, he earned his Bachelor of Music Performance from the University of Oklahoma studying under Eldon Matlick. From there he earned his Master of Music Performance from Southern Methodist University where he studied under Gregory Hustis and Haley Hoops of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Drew joined the West Point Military Academy Band in 2014 and currently resides in the Hudson Valley. Drew has performed with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He also spent a summer in Breckenridge Colorado performing with the National Repertory Orchestra.

Trombonist Alaina Alster has been a member of the West Point Band since 2013. Prior to joining the West Point Band, Alaina was an active freelance musician in New York City where she enjoyed a career performing a wide range of musical genres. She continues to perform with ensembles outside of West Point, specifically as a member of PitchBlak Brass Band, a ten piece hip-hop brass band based out of Brooklyn, NY. She is also a music educator and has worked as a teaching artist for the Phil Ramone Orchestra for Children, as well as a private music instructor. Originally from Long Island, NY, Alaina began playing the trombone at
the age of nine, but shortly after beginning switched to
Euphonium. When she turned twelve she picked up trombone again and began pursing both instruments. In 2002 she was accepted
to the University of Michigan as a double major in trombone and
euphonium performance where she studied with David Jackson and Fritz
Kaenzig. Alaina received her masters in trombone performance from the 
Manhattan School of Music in 2010 and studiedwith Stephen Norrell.

Keith Kile, originally from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is the Principal Tubist of The West Point Band at The United States Military Academy. Outside of The West Point Band, Kile is an active free-lancer - performing regularly with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and Collective Brass Quintet - and is on faculty at The New School's Mannes Prep. Prior to moving to New York, ​Kile performed regularly on both tuba and euphonium and appeared with The Mr. Jack Daniel's Original Silver Cornet Band, the Hal Leonard Studio Ensemble, numerous regional orchestras in the Midwest and Southeast, and served in the 129th Army National Guard Band for eleven years. As a successful soloist, Kile was selected the winner of the prestigious Jacobs School of Music Concerto Competition and is now a regular performer at conferences around the United States. Kile holds a B.S. in Music Education from Tennessee Tech University, and a M.M. and P.D. from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and is currently pursuing a D.M.A. at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.

Saugatuck Congregational Church

Martin Luther King Day Celebration

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The 12th Annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration features keynote speaker Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction for Stamped from the Beginning, a book about the history of racist ideas in America. Musical performances will be by the Good News Gospel Choir, directed by Chris Coogan; and Weston High School jazz group. Students from the Regional Center for the Arts will present a spoken-word piece.

Note location: Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court

The celebration is co-sponsored by The Westport Library and Westport Country Playhouse in partnership with TEAM Westport and the Westport/Weston Interfaith Council. Seating is unreserved. Complimentary refreshments will be served in the Playhouse lobby after the presentation.

Keynote speaker Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is an assistant professor of African American History, focusing on racist and anti-racist ideas and movements. He is a frequent public speaker about the findings of his New York Times bestseller, Stamped from the Beginning and how they can fit into the national conversation surrounding movements such as #BlackLivesMatter and social justice.

The Westport/Weston Family YMCA will provide childcare and activities in the Lucille Lortel White Barn, Sheffer Studio, adjacent to the theater.
For more information, call the Westport Country Playhouse box office at 203.227.4177, toll-free at 1.888.927.7529. Westport Country Playhouse is located at 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport.

Westport Country Playhouse
Music, Authors
Authors, Music

Caribbean Music: Steel Drum Bands

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Enjoy the warm sounds of the Caribbean with two steel drum bands, the Jim Royle Drum Studio A Team and the Silver Steel Band. The lively vibe of Caribbean favorites as well as Soca- and Calypso-styled music from Trinidad and Tobago bring the islands to Westport.

Community partner and venue: Saugatuck Congregational Church, 245 Post Road East


The Jim Royle Drum Studio A Team is a collective of teachers, performers and composers. They have performed at both the national and international level, including such venues as The Teatro Sociale di Soresina in Soncino Italy, The Sforzata, Laventille, and Golden Hands pan yards in Trinidad and Tobago, The International School in Beijing and 9 beats music academy in Tianjin China, and the Royal Academy of Music in London England. Our A team is by audition only and is our highest level ensemble at the studio. Although performing steel drums today, they is well versed in all concert percussion where every year our students place in Western Region and All State festivals. Many of the students in this group go onto study percussion in college and work their way to successful careers in music.

The award-winning Silver Steel Band is a Steel Drum Band based in Bridgeport, CT, directed by Jim Royle of Jim Royle Drum Studios. They play many Caribbean favorites, as well as Soca and Calypso-styled music from Trinidad and Tobago. They have performed all over CT including the Oyster Festival, The Newtown Labor Day Parade, where they won the parades highest award! This past April they traveled to Trinidad and performed at the birth place of the steel drum! 

Saugatuck Congregational Church

WestportREADS 2018: West Point Glee Club with Music of WWI

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The West Point Glee Club, one of the U.S. Military Academy’s most visible cadet organizations, performs a special concert created for WestportREADS with music and writings from WWI. For over one hundred years, its members have touched audiences around the world with a model depiction of the Corps of Cadets through live performance in the nation’s finest concert halls, national network and feature film appearances, and recordings. The Glee Club enhances life at West Point through its traditional ceremonial duties and represents West Point and the U.S. Army at official events.

Community partner and venue: Saugatuck Congregational Church, 245 Post Road East

Guide to the WestportREADS books and program.

Under the direction of Constance Chase, the Glee Club’s recent seasons included the Kennedy Center special Taking the Stage, aired on ABC, in which they appeared with Tom Hanks, GEN Colin Powell and six living original Tuskegee Airmen, and the Carnegie Hall premiere of Jake Runestad’s Dreams of the Fallen. The Glee Club travels throughout the United States appearing at venues as diverse as Lincoln Center, Tanglewood Music Center, Library of Congress, Kansas City’s Kauffman Center, New York Public Library, Grand Ole Opry, Madison Square Garden and Soldier Field. The Glee Club has performed with such renowned ensembles as the Boston Pops, New York Pops, U.S. Marine Band ”The President’s Own,” and Opera Orchestra of New York. The group has recorded with country artist Trace Adkins, also appearing with him on the CBS ACM Awards national broadcast, with crossover pianist Marina Arsenijivec in a PBS special “Marina at West Point: Unity through Diversity,” and with Tony-award winner Lea Salonga in the DVD “Stand Ye Steady.” 

WestportREADS is funded by the estate of Jerry A. Tishman.

West Point Glee Club Director Constance Chase has conducted the renowned college choir in the nation’s finest concert halls including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Tanglewood, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She has directed the Glee Club in national concert tours and many recordings, including closing credits for We Were Soldiers (Paramount), Stand Ye Steady (Curtain Call) with Tony Award winner Lea Salonga, Marina at West Point: Unity through Diversity (PBS) with cross-over pianist Marina Arsenijivec, ‘Til the Last Shot’s Fired (Capitol) with country artist Trace Adkins, which they performed live with Mr. Adkins at the 2009 ACM Awards Show, and the CDs “Voice of the Corps” and “Live at Notre Dame.” Under her preparation, the Glee Club garnered  New York Times’ critical praise for its “robust and well-prepared singing” in a 2008 Carnegie Hall performance with Opera Orchestra of New York, Eve Queler, Director, of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tsar’s Bride. Recent guest conductor appearances include Symphony of the Americas and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Artistic Director of Connecticut Chamber Choir since 2008, Ms. Chase conducted CCC’s 2016 U.S. premiere of Donald Fraser’s stunning new arrangement for chamber choir and string orchestra of Elgar’s Sea Pictures, its2011 New York City debut at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 2015 appearance at the inaugural ChoralfestUSA at Symphony Space, and biannual performances of major works including J.S. Bach Magnificat, Haydn Paukenmesse and Lord Nelson Mass, Fauré and Duruflé Requiems, Bernstein MASS, chamber works spanning the sixteenth to twenty-first centuries, and most recently, Illumination: Early Cantatas of J.S. Bach with the period instrument consort, The Sebastians. Ms. Chase is an adjunct professor in applied voice at Western Connecticut State University’s School of Visual and Performing Arts. A lyric soprano and accomplished soloist in recital and chamber works, Ms. Chase has performed as a choral artist under the batons of Gerard Schwarz, Louis Langree, Nicholas McGegan, and Jane Glover. She presents workshops on the voice regionally and across the country for ACDA and NATS. Ms. Chase earned the B.M., magna cum laude, from University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Zertifikat from Goethe Institut, Schwäbisch Hall, Germany, and M.A. in Voice Performance from Hunter College-City University of New York where she was awarded the Agnes Duffy Prize. She is co-author with the late Shirlee Emmons of Prescriptions for Choral Excellence, Oxford University Press (2006).

Andrea Shaut is a prominent musician in the Hudson Valley music scene. Since graduating with a Music Performance degree from Ithaca College and moving to Kingston NY, she has established a demanding and diverse schedule of musical performances and a private teaching studio with students of all ages/levels.

Andrea has been accompanist for the prestigious West Point Military Academy Glee Club since 2010. With this talented choir, she has had the opportunity to perform across the country at renowned theater venues, hospitals, stadiums, and schools. A few noted performances include Louisiana Governor’s Inauguration, an NFL-sponsored Super Bowl party opening for Blake Shelton & Jon Stewart, performing with Trace Adkins at The Grand Ole Opry, a recording session at the world famous Skywalker Sound in California, and performances at George Washington University, Ellis Island, Tiger Woods Nike Theater in Portland Oregon, and West Point’s own Eisenhower Hall. Other accompanying highlights have been performing Carmina Burana with Ars Choralis at Opus 40, traveling abroad (Hungary, Italy, Austria) with the Hudson Valley Youth Chorale, accompanying musicians at Maverick Concerts in Woodstock, and collaborating with many professional musicians for concert recitals. Andrea also enjoys accompanying and coaching young musicians for competitions and recitals, as well as for local school choirs.
Andrea founded the Hudson Valley Recital Project, a recital series featuring professional and student musicians, with the mission to strengthen community and education through music. Recitals are held every two months and feature Andrea as director and accompanist. Each event is a themed evening with music, dance, art, food, drink. Past events have included Journey Through the Senses, An Italian Dinner Show, and Women in Music.
As a concert pianist, Andrea has performed as soloist with SUNY Ulster Wind Ensemble and regularly performs solo recitals and as a guest artist/speaker. In 2014, she released her debut CD, Simple Beauty, a collection of solo piano music dedicated to the memory of her grandmother. Other regular groups are The Father/Daughter duo, The Shaut Three-O, and new solo projects – Raggedy Andi and Classical TeaTime. Andrea is also on the Adjunct Faculty at SUNY Ulster, where she teaches piano.

WestportREADS 2018, WestportREADS, Music

Professor and Musicologist Jack Sullivan on “New Orleans Remix”

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Since the 1990s, New Orleans has been experiencing its greatest musical renaissance since Louis Armstrong. Brass band, funk, hip hop, Mardi Gras Indian, zydeco, and other styles are rocking the city in new neighborhood bars far from the Bourbon Street tourist scene. In New Orleans Remix, Jack Sullivan shines the light on superb artists little known to the general public, and he introduces a surge of female, Asian and other previously marginalized groups that are making the vibe more inclusive than ever.

Dr. Sullivan's specialties include 18th- and 20th-century American literature, music and film. He has published six books and has written for Opera, The New York Times, Washington Post, Newsday and USA Today. He teaches a variety of subjectsat Rider University, including several in the American Studies Program, which he chairs. An advocate of an active Emersonian education, Dr. Sullivan frequently takes students to plays and other cultural events in New York City, where he lives with his wife and two children.

Large Reading Room
Music, Authors
Authors, Music

Music: Stolen Gems—Transcriptions for Harp

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Harpist Victoria Drake entertains with arrangements she transcribed for the harp. From a wide range of styles and genres and across several centuries, these highlight the special capacity of the harp. From well-known pieces for the cello and guitar to keyboard works of famous composers, Victoria Drake brings to the harp her own perspective on repertoire written for other instruments. She will also talk about the harp and demonstrate how it works.

Community partner and venue: Saugatuck Congregational Church, 245 Post Road East

Victoria Drake, harpist, is a multi-faceted artist with a career that stretches the boundaries of music for the harp. She performs regularly with the American Symphony Orchestra, New York City Ballet, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Voices of Ascension, and the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, and has worked with American Ballet Theatre, Musica Sacra, New York City Opera, New York Philharmonic, Oratorio Society of New York, and Orpheus. She has been performing as principal harpist with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in Minnesota since 2008. She has appeared as concerto soloist with several notable orchestras in the New York area. She performs regularly at the Bard Music Festival and has played at the Aspen, Banff, Cabrillo, Cape May, Caramoor, Fontainebleau, and Vermont Mozart Festivals. She has received numerous awards, and achieved finalist status at the 10th International Harp Contest in Israel. As recital soloist and chamber musician, she has appeared across the country, as well as in Israel and France.

She performed some of her recently published transcriptions of the Six Cello Suites of J.S. Bach at the 2012 American Harp Society Conference in New York City, the 2014 World Harp Congress in Sydney, Australia, and recently at the 2017 World Harp Congress in Hong Kong. Tori’s interest in expanding the harp repertoire has led to four solo recordings: Harping on Bach, Scarlatti’s Harp, Spanish Gold and From the Bach Notebook of Harpist Victoria Drake: The complete Cello Suites Transcribed. She has also recorded the Mozart Concerto for Flute and Harp on period instruments with Sandra Miller and the American Classical Orchestra under Thomas Crawford and the Frank Martin Petite symphonie concertante with Philharmonia Virtuosi. She has performed and recorded Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She has also recorded contemporary music for the Arabesque, CRI, Koch and Spectrum labels.

Her Broadway credentials include the Tony-winning Broadway revivals The King and I and 42nd Street, and The Light in the Piazza at Lincoln Center Theater. She can be heard on those original cast albums, as well as many movie soundtracks. She has also performed with many popular artists including Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Lady Gaga, Audra MacDonald, Barry Manilow, Sting, and Luther Vandross.

Saugatuck Congregational Church

The Funky Dawgz Brass Band

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Connecticut’s own Funky Dawgz Brass Band kicks off the Library’s fall music series with their exuberant brand of New Orleans-style brass music.

Note location & community partner: Saugatuck Congregational Church, 245 Post Road East, Westport

The Funky Dawgz Brass Band embodies the spirit and traditions of New Orleans, playing a contagious upbeat mix of traditional New Orleans brass music, R&B, original music, hip hop, funk and today’s top hits with a brass twist. They have toured internationally and have been featured on bills with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Snarky Puppy, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Rebirth Brass Band. When the band is not playing shows they are giving back to the community. The Funky Dawgz aim to connect, engage, inspire and rejuvenate music education in inner city schools across the country.