Carnegie Hall Presents Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration Featuring Jazz Pianist Jason Moran and Mezzo-Soprano Alicia Hall Moran in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage on Saturday, March 30
Ground-Breaking Program Celebrates the Influence of the Historic Great Migration Movement on American Music Today
Additional Great Migration Programming Highlighted in Migrations: The Making of America Includes Performances by Renowned Trumpeter Nicholas Payton and Singer-Songwriter Deva Mahal at Carnegie Hall Plus Events at Prestigious Partner Venues Across New York City
(New York, NY, March 6, 2019) On Saturday, March 30 at 8:00 p.m., Carnegie Hall presents Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration, a ground-breaking production created by jazz pianist Jason Moran and mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran, in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage. Presented as part of Carnegie Hall’s citywide Migrations: The Making of America festival, the Morans have drawn upon their own family lore and the historical record of the Great Migration to compose a series of tableaux that explore a continuum of music from rhythm and blues to gospel, classical to Broadway, work songs to rock ‘n’ roll. Featuring outstanding musicians and dynamic actors, the production invites audience members on a journey from the American South after emancipation to all points North, West, and beyond, shining a light on how this epic movement of people within the United States changed American music forever.
“This is more an experience than it is a concert,” says Jason Moran. “It will look at a catalog of music that is both personal—that we have written—and also a catalog of music that we want to share, that we hope will open up a narrative about how powerful and how important and how tragic the story is of the Great Migration, how that helped shape the way we think of America right now.”
"The Great Migration is the title, an umbrella we might say, for all the epic waves of American populations shifting and fleeing the Jim Crow South, fleeing its insecurity, unfairness, and violence,” adds Alicia Hall Moran. “Largely untitled while it was happening, it is the greatest honor to consider now and explore the multitude of ways that our present hearts and minds were altered forever by the courage of those who left in the past. When I think about the many great American cities that grew from this, as well as the pressure this migratory flight exerted on the American South to abolish the laws of Jim Crow, I am deeply moved. The music we make flows from this sense of pride and a concert gives us all some shared part in the mourning and the celebration of the many great trials these Americans survived to get us to today. As people make their way to Carnegie Hall that evening, I hope they will feel that they are taking a trip to join the flock for a great gathering. They can enjoy a sense of purpose."
For Two Wings, the Morans will be joined by a line-up of leading artists including vocalists Pastor Smokie Norful, Toshi Reagon, Hilda Harris, and the acclaimed wind quintet Imani Winds. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson will read excerpts from her New York Times best-selling book The Warmth of Other Suns, which tells the compelling stories of three young people who set out from the American South during different decades of the twentieth century en route to the North and West in search of what the novelist Richard Wright called "the warmth of other suns." As part of the performance, Alicia Hall Moran also pays homage to her own musical lineage at Carnegie Hall, featuring works by her great-great uncle Francis Hall Johnson, among the most prominent arrangers of African-American spirituals, as well as the traditional spiritual “Two Wings”—arranged by lyric tenor and composer Roland Hayes—showcasing the Morans’s artistic range at the intersection of classical and jazz music.
Following its Carnegie Hall performance, Two Wings will be presented at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. on Sunday, April 14, and Chicago’s Symphony Center on Friday, May 24, with each evening tailored to showcase rich musical traditions that are unique to each city.
Migrations festival programming aligned with the Great Migration continues at Carnegie Hall on Saturday March 16 at 9:00 p.m. with a Zankel Hall concert by trumpeter Nicholas Payton. In this performance, Payton traces the path of African rhythms from their arrival in the Caribbean through their journey to New Orleans and on to Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, and New York, exploring how swing, bebop, rhythm and blues, hip-hop, and more share a DNA that connects people around the world.
The Great Migration ushered in a century of music shaped and performed by African American artists—and particularly women of color—across the country. On Saturday, April 13 at 10:00 p.m., singer-songwriter Deva Mahal takes inspiration from generations of female vocalists and songwriters, including special guests Meshell Ndegeocello and the Resistance Revival Chorus in her Zankel Hall concert, performing songs embodying R&B and soul with a modern edge from her debut album, Run Deep.
Inspired by the Migrations festival, a Spring Family Day in Carnegie Hall’s Resnick Education Wing will highlight how Harlem became the hub for African American artistic expression, offering a wide range of free, interactive fun activities for children and families on Saturday, April 7 at 12:00 p.m.
In partnership with prestigious partner institutions across New York City, programming exploring the Great Migration movement continues citywide throughout this spring with events including music, dance, theater, talks, exhibits, and family-friendly activities. Highlights include two weekly walking tours—East Harlem–El Barrio: Where Art, Culture, and Community Intersect (Fridays and Saturdays at 11AM through July) and Harlem: The Migration and Integration of America's African Voice, both presented by Harlem One Stop (second Saturday in April through June at 11:30AM); a performance by the Lakecia Benjamin Quintet presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center (March 13); Louis Armstrong Sound Salon presented by New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (March 26); The Great Migration: Searching for Security, Finding Injustice, a talk presented by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law (April 10); Black Shadows on a Silver Screen: The Great Migration and Independent Filmmaking presented by New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (April 15); In Perpetual Flight: The Migration of the Black Body, a multidisciplinary, day-long performance at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, presented in collaboration with the National Black Theatre (April 16); and more.
About the Migrations: The Making of America festival
Kicking off at Carnegie Hall on March 9 with events through May 2019, Carnegie Hall’s citywide festival Migrations: The Making of America traces how large-scale movements of people—both to and within our country—have helped shape American arts, culture, and society. The festival features more than 100 events with musical programming at Carnegie Hall and public programming, performances, exhibitions, and events at more than 75 leading cultural and academic institutions across New York City and beyond.
At Carnegie Hall, festival concerts will examine the musical legacies of three migrations: the crossings from Scotland and Ireland during the 18th and 19th centuries, the immigration of Jews from Russia and Eastern Europe between 1881 and the National Origins Act of 1924, and the Great Migration—the exodus of African-Americans from the South to the industrialized cities of the Northeast, Midwest, and West from 1917 into the 1970s. Events at festival partner organizations, ranging from music and dance to exhibitions, talks, and films, will further amplify the themes celebrated by Carnegie Hall as well as explore many other migrations from around the world—from elsewhere in Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia as well as the internal migration of Native Americans—all of which have contributed to American culture today. Programming throughout the festival also focuses on New York City’s history and identity as a city welcoming to immigrants, highlighting traditions and cross-cultural collaborations of the city’s many diverse communities.
About the Artists
Mezzo-soprano and composer Alicia Hall Moran conjures a creative world in which the sonic languages of classical and African American music flow richly, intersecting with luminaries of visual art, spoken word, and dance.
At the heart of Ms. Hall Moran’s artistry is a sense of urgency around personal histories, drawing on her own and her family’s stories. Black Wall Street (2016), a chamber performance piece, was inspired by the actual Wall Street career of her father, a native Oklahoman, and the violent Tulsa race riot of 1921 that decimated an affluent African American neighborhood. The piece, which examines the role of money in African American history—from slave trade to Manhattan financiers—has struck a chord with communities across the country, and has been staged at the River to River Festival in New York, Opera Southwest, and Tulsa Performing Arts Center, after developing at National Sawdust and the Schomburg Center/NYPL.
Breaking ICE: The Battle of the Carmens, last seen at MASSMoCA, draws on Ms. Hall Moran’s past as an amateur figure skater. She reinterprets Bizet’s opera Carmen through the lens of two competitors at the 1988 Winter Olympics who both performed to the opera’s famed “Habanera.” The New York Times dedicated a feature to the mezzo-soprano as she laced up with Ice Theatre of New York to premiere Breaking Ice on the Bryant Park ice skating rink as part of the 2018 Prototype: Opera/Theatre/Now Festival.
Ms. Hall Moran also draws musical DNA from her family tree—most notably from her great, great uncle, the seminal arranger, composer and famed choral conductor Hall Johnson, whose arrangements of Spirituals are sung by the world’s foremost operatic voices, including Marian Anderson, Shirley Verrett and Jessye Norman. Trained operatically, Ms. Hall Moran made her breakout debut in the Tony Award-winning revival The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess in 2012, covering for Audra McDonald on Broadway and starring as Bess on the celebrated 20-city American tour, leading the Los Angeles Times to note: “Moran finds the truth of the character in her magnificent voice.”
An innate collaborator, she has worked with a staggering array of preeminent creatives across disciplines, including guitarist Bill Frisell, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, pianist Lara Downes, and visual artists Carrie Mae Weems, Ragnar Kjartansson, Suzanne Bocanegra, and Adam Pendleton. She regularly performs with symphonic orchestras like the Chicago Philharmonic and National Symphony Orchestra Pops, and was recently featured with the Oregon Symphony in singer-songwriter-composer Gabriel Kahane’s new oratorio emergency shelter intake form, about homelessness in America.
Jason Moran, a pianist, composer, and educator, grew up in Houston, Texas. He began studying piano when he was six, but early on developed a strong interest in both hip hop and jazz and graduated from Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He moved to New York and graduated from the Manhattan School of Music. He began his professional career playing with Greg Osby, and his debut recording on Blue Note Records, Soundtrack to Human Motion, was released in 1999 to great critical praise. The following year, Facing Left established his trio The Bandwagon, with bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits. JazzTimes Magazine declared the album "an instant classic,” and Rolling Stone wrote, “Jason Moran is shaping up to be the most provocative thinker in current jazz.”
Since his first album, Moran he has produced ten additional albums and six film soundtracks, including scores for Ava DuVernay’s films Selma and 13th. In 2007, Moran was commissioned to create In My Mind: Monk at Town Hall, 1959, producing a critically-acclaimed multi-media performance investigating Thelonious Monk’s famous recording, Monk at Town Hall. Recent releases include The Armory Concert (2016), Thanksgiving at the Vanguard (2017) and BANGS (2017), under Moran's own label Yes Records.
Mr. Moran was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2010, and in 2011 he was appointed artistic advisor for jazz at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. By 2014, he was made artistic director for jazz. Music education plays a central role in Mr. Moran’s life. He teamed up with Chicago high school students and artist Theater Gates to create Looks of a Lot, an evening-length concert exploring the relationship between the blues and healing. He has been on the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music since 2010, and also teaches in Copenhagen at The Rhythm Conservatory. He lives with his wife, Alicia Hall Moran, in Harlem.
Carnegie Hall Program Information
Saturday, March 30, 2019 at 8:00 p.m.
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
TWO WINGS: THE MUSIC OF BLACK AMERICA IN MIGRATION
Jason Moran and Alicia Hall Moran, Producers
Jason Moran, Piano
Alicia Hall Moran, Mezzo-Soprano
Lawrence Brownlee, Tenor
Rebecca Hargrove, Soprano
Steven Herring, Baritone
Pastor Smokie Norful, Piano and Vocals
Harriet Tubman: The Band
·· Brandon Ross, Guitar
·· Melvin Gibbs, Bass
·· JT Lewis, Drums
Hilda Harris, Mezzo-Soprano
Toshi Reagon, Guitar and Vocals
featuring Isabel Wilkerson, Author
·· Brandon Patrick George, Flute
·· Toyin Spellman-Diaz, Oboe
·· Mark Dover, Clarinet
·· Jeff Scott, French Horn
·· Monica Ellis, Bassoon
The Harlem Chamber Players
Joseph Joubert, Music Director
Sponsored by United Airlines®, Official Airline of Carnegie Hall
The Trustees of Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Earle S. Altman in support of the 2018–2019 season.
Saturday, March 16, 2019 at 9:00 p.m.
NICHOLAS PAYTON, Trumpet
Lady Fingaz, DJ
Burniss Travis, Bass
Jonathan Barber, Drums
Daniel Sadownick, Percussion
This concert and the Joyce and George T. Wein Shape of Jazz series are made possible by the Joyce and George Wein Foundation in memory of Joyce Wein.
Presented by Carnegie Hall in partnership with Absolutely Live Entertainment LLC.
Tickets: $44, $52
Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 10:00 p.m.
Resistance Revival Chorus
Meshell Ndegeocello, Musical Director and Special Guest
Presented by Carnegie Hall in partnership with WFUV.
Tickets: $44, $53
Lead support for Migrations: The Making of America is provided by the Ford Foundation, The Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund, and Igor Tulchinsky.
Additional support is provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation.
Public support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.
Photo at top by Dawoud Bey.
Tickets for events taking place at Carnegie Hall are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org. In addition, a limited number of seats, priced at $10, will be available day-of-concert beginning at 11:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 12:00 noon on Sunday until one hour before the performance or until supply lasts. The exceptions are Carnegie Hall Family Concerts and gala events. These $10 tickets are available to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis at the Carnegie Hall Box Office only. There is a two-ticket limit per customer.
For all Carnegie Hall presentations in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, a limited number of partial view (seats with obstructed or limited sight lines or restricted leg room) will be sold for 50% of the full price. For more information on this and other discount ticket programs, including those for students, Notables members, and Bank of America customers, visit carnegiehall.org/discounts. Artists, programs, and prices are subject to change.
For tickets to Migrations: The Making of America festival partner events, please contact the specific venue. For links to more information, please see the Migrations complete event listings.
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