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While you may not immediately recognize the name François Clemmons, you certainly may know him from his groundbreaking role as Officer Clemmons, a recurring character on "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" with Fred Rogers.

Clemmons overcame a difficult childhood of discrimination to become a musician, a noted choir director, and to serve as a positive image of a black American at a time when racial tensions in the United States were very high.

As he writes in his new memoir, he found a family in Fred Rogers, a friend and mentor. He writes about his life and his deep friendship with Rogers in his new memoir "Officer Clemmons."

Chita Rivera
Laura Marie Duncan

On November 16, Helsinki on Broadway in association with Gary DiMauro presents “Chita: A Legendary Celebration” at Helsinki Hudson in Hudson, New York. The one-and-only Chita Rivera will perform songs from her Tony Award winning Broadway career with her longtime trio at 7 and 9:30 p.m. At Helsinki Hudson she’ll perform songs from “West Side Story,” “Sweet Charity,” “Chicago,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” ”Bye, Bye, Birdie,” “The Rink,” “The Visit,” and more.

Theatrical icon and living legend of the stage, Rivera is among the most nominated performers in Tony Award history and received the 2018 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. Among her many honors through a lifetime of performance and activism, Rivera was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009 and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2002.

Acclaimed vocalist Lizz Wright will perform at The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, New York on Saturday, January 26 at 8 p.m. Wright’s interpretations of American music bring depth and vibrancy to her original songs and compositions by other great songwriters.

Her song “Lean In” from the album “Freedom & Surrender” landed on President Barack Obama’s 2016 Summer Playlist. Her latest album is entitled “Grace.” In addition to creating and performing music, Lizz Wright is the cafe manager at Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center in the Southside of Chicago, Illinois.

Broadway’s Jana Robbins and Haley Swindal bring “WE JUST MOVE ON!” - their critically acclaimed sold out cabaret concert salute to Kander & Ebb to the Sharon Playhouse in Sharon, Connecticut this Saturday, January 26 before a return engagement at New York City’s Feinstein’s/54 Below early next month. This evening of song and story features hits from Broadway shows that include “Cabaret,” “Chicago” and “Zorba.”

http://ajwnews.com


  Ne’imah Jewish Community Chorus will perform their 25th Anniversary Concert this Sunday June 11 at 7 p.m. at The Massry Center for the Arts at the College of Saint Rose.

 

This year’s concert is entitled Sterling Sounds and the special guest will be Cantor Meir Finkelstein. Born in Israel, the son of the late Cantor Zvi Finkelstein, Meir showed outstanding musical abilities, and at an early age began accompanying his father and older brother at services. In 1982 Meir became Cantor of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California, which he served for 18 years.

 

He has composed over 150 settings for the liturgy and has written music for film, television, and concerts. He also produces and arranges music for recordings and live performance. He is currently the cantor at Congregation Beth Yeshurun in Houston, TX.

In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani continue their series of discussions about women who influenced classical composers. This week we learn about Felix Mendelssohn and "The Swedish Nightingale," Jenny Lind.

One of William Kennedy's acclaimed novels has been transformed into an amazing opera. Roscoe: An American Grand Opera is tragic, comic, and poignant and it will be performed with the Albany Symphony Orchestra at the Palace Theatre in Albany on Saturday Night at 7:30PM. Evan Mack is the composer, Josh McGuire the librettist, Maestro David Alan Miller conducts the symphony with special guests Deborah Voigt (Soprano) and Jeffrey Williams (Baritone).

Roscoe Conway, after years as the motor of Albany's political machine, longs to retire. But just when he thought he was out, things pull him back in. The opera features the radiant voice of opera superstar Deborah Voigt.

Deborah Voigt joins us along with the composer of Roscoe, Evan Mack.

Tomorrow night, the Albany Symphony will kick off David Alan Miller’s 25th Anniversary Season at the Palace Theatre, celebrating the Grammy award-winning Conductor’s leadership and the orchestra’s world-class musicians. 

Miller, recipient of over 25 ASCAP Awards for adventurous and innovative programming and a 2014 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo, has established a reputation as one of the leading American conductors of his generation and a champion of American symphonic music. 

Miller’s commitment to giving voice to new works by living American composers will be celebrated on September 24, 2016 at 7:00PM with the Capital Region debut performance of “Aria” for Hindustani Soprano and Orchestra by two-time ASCAP Morton Gould Award winner, Reena Esmail. 

The Opening Night performance will also feature internationally acclaimed pianist Natasha Paremski performing, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, a three movement concerto inspired by partly by the jazz music Ravel encountered during his 1928 American concert tour; and a centennial performance of Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5, originally composed in 1915 and revised first in 1916.

It is a great pleasure to welcome David Alan Miller to the RT this morning. We are also joined by afore mentioned composer Reena Esmail and Hindustani Vocalist Saili Oak.

Renée Fleming
Decca/Andrew Eccles

  This Thursday at 8pm the Philadelphia Orchestra, under the baton of its music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, will take the stage at SPAC and be joined - for her first time at that venue - by opera star, Renée Fleming.

Ms. Fleming joins us to discuss that concert, travel, language, and her role as Kennedy Center Artistic Partner.

  Nadine Sierra makes her debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and her first appearance at Tanglewood tomorrow night as part of the festival’s opening weekend concerts. Tomorrow night’s concert will hear the American singer in her acclaimed account of the soprano soloist’s role in Orff’s Carmina Burana. Jacques Lacombe will conduct the performance.

Praised for her vocal beauty, seamless technique, and abundant musicality, Sierra is being hailed as one of the most promising emerging talents in the opera world today. She is already making a name for herself through her performances with top opera companies and symphony orchestras around the world.

  Seth MacFarlane is the creative force behind TV's Family Guy, American Dad!, and The Cleveland Show. He was also the writer-director of the films Ted, its sequel Ted2, and A Million Ways to Die in the West.

He has also released three successful albums of standards including Music is Better than Words and No One Ever Tells You. MacFarlane's voice has been celebrated for its perfect phrasing, richness, and consistency. He has been nominated for 4 Grammys. 

He has played to sold out audiences as London's Royal Albert Hall, New York's Carnegie Hall, and Symphony Hall in Boston. He will be back with The Boston Pops this Sunday at 2:30pm in The Shed at Tanglewood

  In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, we learn bit about Yma Sumac "The Peruvian Songbird" - who lived from 1922 to 2008.

Jason Danieley
Justin Patterson

  This coming fall, Chicago, Kander and Ebb’s merry-murderess musical, will have been running on Broadway for 20 years.

To celebrate, six-time Tony Award-winning costume designer William Ivey Long will be revising some of his Tony-nominated designs for the show, there will be a special SummerStage concert in Central Park in August, and Takarazuka, the all-female Japanese musical revue troupe, will celebrate the centennial of their founding with its first appearance in New York in over 25 years with "Takarazuka Chicago," marking the first time ever that two identical productions in two different languages will be running at the same time in NYC. That’s happening in July.

Right now, the role of Billy Flynn, the silver-tongued solicitor and suave defender of Roxy Hart, is being played by Jason Danieley. On Broadway, Jason played Candide in the 1997 revival of Candide, Malcolm MacGregor in The Full Monty, Aaron Fox in Curtains, and Frederich Kuhn in The Visit.

  Il Volo, the critically acclaimed trio, will play the Palace Theatre in Albany, NY tonight.

Il Volo is comprised of members Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto and Gianluca Ginoble and have released four albums so far, starting in 2011: two studio albums, a live album, and a Christmas album. Recently, Il Volo won the "Big Artist" Award at the prestigious Sanremo Music Festival in Italy, which led them to go 3x Platinum in Italy with their latest EP and contributed to their sold-out summer tour.

Piero Barone joins us.

  Sinatra’s Century is a collection of one-hundred short reflections on the man, his music, and his larger-than-life story, by a lifetime fan who also happens to be one of the poetry world’s most prominent voices.

David Lehman uses each of these short pieces to look back on a single facet of the entertainer’s story—from his childhood in Hoboken, to his emergence as “The Voice” in the 1940s, to the wild professional (and romantic) fluctuations that followed. Lehman offers new insights and revisits familiar stories—Sinatra’s dramatic love affairs with some of the most beautiful stars in Hollywood; his fall from grace in the late 1940s and resurrection during the “Capitol Years” of the 1950s; his bonds with the rest of the Rat Pack; and his long tenure as the Chairman of the Board, viewed as the eminence grise of popular music inspiring generations of artists.

  Frankie Liked to Sing celebrates the life of Frank Sinatra, whose iconic voice changed popular music forever and influenced generations of listeners all over the world.

From his early days in Hoboken, New Jersey, to making it big in New York City, Sinatra was determined to follow his dream of being a singer and moving people with his voice. And now, one hundred years after his birth, his legacy lives on with this spirited and loving tribute by John Seven and Jana Christy.

  In 2010's Frank: The Voice, James Kaplan, in rich, distinctive, compulsively readable prose, told the story of Frank Sinatra's meteoric rise to fame, subsequent failures, and reinvention as a star of live performance and screen.

The story of "Ol' Blue Eyes" continues with Sinatra: The Chairman, picking up the day after Frank claimed his Academy Award in 1954 and had reestablished himself as the top recording artist in music.

Frank's life post-Oscar was incredibly dense: in between recording albums and singles, he often shot four or five movies a year; did TV show and nightclub appearances; started his own label, Reprise; and juggled his considerable commercial ventures (movie production, the restaurant business, even prizefighter management) alongside his famous and sometimes notorious social activities and commitments.

  In honor of Sinatra's 100th birthday we speak with Pete Hamill about his classic tribute, Why Sinatra Matters

In this unique homage to an American icon, journalist and award-winning author Pete Hamill evokes the essence of Sinatra--examining his art and his legend from the inside, as only a friend of many years could do.

Shaped by Prohibition, the Depression, and war, Francis Albert Sinatra became the troubadour of urban loneliness. With his songs, he enabled millions of others to tell their own stories, providing an entire generation with a sense of tradition and pride belonging distinctly to them.

  Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings have just released a new record, It’s A Holiday Soul Party. Their previous album, Give the People What They Want was nominated for a Grammy Award. The new Christmas album features soul revivals of holiday classics and original songs like “There Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects” and “8 Days (of Hanukkah).”

Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings are performing at The Egg in Albany, NY this Saturday, December 5th at 7:30pm -- bringing their inimitable energy and sound to the stage of The Hart Theatre. They are also guests on “Michael Bublé’s Christmas in Hollywood” which will air on NBC on December 10th. The Dap Kings blast and blare, side-step and put on a great show at the center of which is the incredible vigor of Sharon Jones - providing lead vocals and more power than seems possible.

  Blessed with what the New York Times described as a “beautiful countertenor,” Grammy winner and pop-folk icon Art Garfunkel has made an indelible mark on the music world as both a solo artist and half of the unrivaled Simon & Garfunkel. He has also enjoyed a successful film career, published a book of poetry and released 12 original solo albums.

Art Garfunkel will perform at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA on November 14th*.

*This concert is sold out. 

http://www.concordmusicgroup.com/

  Tony and Emmy Award winning star Kristin Chenoweth will perform with The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra in The Koussevitzky Music Shed at Tanglewood.

Chenoweth most recently wowed audiences in Roundabout Theatre Company's production of On the Twentieth Century. During that run she co-hosted the Tony Awards. Other Broadway credits include You're A Good Man Charlie Brown and Wicked. On television she's popped up often, notably on Glee, The Good Wife, and Pushing Daisies.

  Star of stage and screen - Bernadette Peters will once again join The Boston Pops in The Shed at Tanglewood for an afternoon of song on July 5th.

Theo Bleckmann

May 14, 2015
Susie Knoll

  

  The Dogs of Desire is the Albany Symphony Orchestra’s eighteen-member chamber ensemble. They perform all-new music from some of America’s most creative up-and-coming living composers. At this year’s American Music Festival, The Dogs, as they are often affectionately called, will perform a Cabaret evening with Theo Bleckmann and Sleeping Giant. We’ll be joined by members of Sleeping Giant later, right now we are joined by jazz singer and new music composer, the Grammy Award nominated Theo Bleckmann.

The American Music Festival concert he’ll perform in tomorrow night features arrangements of songs by composers from Charles Ives to Kate Bush, plus great new works by the six members of Sleeping Giant.

'Souvenir' At TheRep

Mar 11, 2015

  At the turn of the last century, Florence Foster Jenkins was a New York phenomenon where she rose to fame for her annual sold-out recitals at the Ritz Carlton and Carnegie Hall. Crowds went wild when Mrs. Jenkins tackled the most difficult arias in opera, festooned in fabulous costumes.

The only trouble was: Mrs. Jenkins could not sing. Not a note. Still, Florence, a YouTube sensation far ahead of her time, could not be deterred from her dedication to music and voice lessons with her accomplished and compassionate accompanist, Cosme McMoon.

Souvenir is a play by Stephen Temperley about Florence Foster Jenkins and Cosme McMoon. It is currently running at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, NY. The production is directed by CapRep’s Producing Artistic Director, Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill.

Jonas Cohen plays afore mentioned “compassionate accompanist,” Cosme McMoon and he joins us to discuss the play.

    One of the most beloved and celebrated musical ambassadors of our time, soprano Renée Fleming is loved for her sumptuous voice, consummate artistry, and compelling stage presence. At a White House ceremony last July, the President awarded Ms. Fleming the National Medal of Arts, America's highest honor for an individual artist.

Known as “the people’s diva” and winner of the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo. Over the past few seasons, Ms. Fleming has hosted a wide variety of television and radio broadcasts, including the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series for movie theaters and television, and Live From Lincoln Center on PBS.

She will be performing at the Tanglewood opener on Saturday night and later this month, she will stay in the Berkshires to perform her first role in a play. She will make her debut at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Living on Love, playing an opera diva at odds with her husband over the people they’ve hired to ghostwrite their autobiographies. It runs July 16 through 26th.

  You have chance to be part of a one-night-only special concert event with Broadway star and concert performer Linda Eder being recorded Saturday June 21st in Saratoga as-it-happens for her upcoming CD - “Linda Live” CD.

Linda Eder’s diverse repertoire spans Broadway, standards, pop, country and jazz. Born in Tucson, Arizona, and raised in Brainerd, Minnesota, Eder began her career singing in her home state and eventually landed a gig at Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic City. But it was her appearances on the 1987 season of Star Search, where she won for an unprecedented 12 weeks, that attracted the attention of audiences and record companies alike.

Stu Rosner

Star of stage and screen (large and small), Bernadette Peters, will perform withe Keith Lockhart and The Boston Pops in the Shed at Tanglewood in Lenox, MA on Sunday, July 8th at 2:30pm.

We welcome her to the show and speak with her about Sondheim, The Muppets, Broadway Barks, and more.